This is my first, post, so I’ll give a brief intro. Phone systems were foreign to me 2 weeks ago, but then a friend offered me a job. He knows I have some programming experience, and asked if I could do a project for him in which I will program asterisk to make outbound automated phone calls to remind people of appointments they have scheduled. I don’t know if I will be able to achieve this, but I am trying and learning. If I fail to get the job, but learn in the process I’ll be happy. These forums appear very professional, and it’s a bit daunting for me to post here. If there are more “newbie” friendly forums I could use, please let me know. I’ve tried searching these forums, but didn’t find any answers. I’m not sure what terms and vocabulary I should be using in my search.
Enough about me.
I have no equipment to test asterisk on. I tried using softphones, but was rather unsatisfied; I couldn’t find a way to have 2 softphone on the same computer talking to each other, but I was able to setup a single softphone extension and voicemail. I believe I can put together a 2 ghz duel core cpu, 4gig ram, desktop for 150$ or so. I understand this should be more than enough for testing? Cost is my concern, and I can build the test system, although I’m open to suggestions.
My main question is what can I use to attach a real phone (or multiple phones) to this test machine I’m building? I’ve been looking in the digium store, and I see many cards with various functions I don’t understand yet. They’re all several hundred dollars, far to expensive for my purposes.
Is there any cheap hardware I could use to create a PBX (I hope I’m using that term correctly?) that can connect to just one phone (regular analog phone you can use most anywhere) then I could at least talk between a softphone on the computer to the real phone.
I’m open to any suggestions on the subject. Ultimately I just want some environment where I can test the programming (calling plans, etc) of asterisk.