Relay Iowa



Telecommunications Access Iowa
Relay Iowa

A Program of the Iowa Utilities Board
Telecommunications Access Iowa


How do I use Relay Service?

Calling Protocol
Please have the telephone number that you wish to call ready in advance. if you would like to use a CA who is the same gender, please make that request when the CA answers your call. Then give the phone number you are calling to. Voice users should speak clearly and at a moderate speed. Direct your conversation to the party you are calling as if the CA were absent.

Correct: Hello, Jim. The meeting is at two this afternoon. Can you come? Go ahead.

Incorrect: Hello, Communication Assistant. Please tell Jim the meeting is at two this afternoon. Can he come? Go Ahead.

The CA is required to relay everything that you type or speak, and will also relay all background noises. For example, a fire alarm ringing in the background will be relayed.

For TTY Users
A person who is Deaf, hard-of-hearing, deaf-blind, or speech impaired uses a TTY to type his/her conversation to a Communication Assistant (CA), who then reads the typed conversation to a hearing person. The CA relays the hearing person's spoken words by typing them back to the TTY user.

  • Dial 711 or 1-800-735-2942.
  • Relay Iowa will answer Relay Iowa CA #_____, "F" or "M" (for CA gender) and "NUMBER PLS GA" ("GA" denotes 'go ahead').
  • Type in the area code and telephone number you wish to call and then type "GA."
  • The CA will dial the number and relay the conversation to and from your TTY. Type in "GA" at the end of each message.

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For Voice Users
Standard telephone users can easily initiate calls to TTY users. The CA types the hearing person's spoken words to the TTY user and reads back the typed replies.

  • Dial 711 or 1-800-735-2943.
  • You will hear, "Relay Iowa CA (number).
    Area Code and Number to Call Please.
  • Give the CA the area code and telephone number you wish to call and any further instructions.
  • The CA will process your call, relaying exactly what the TTY user is typing. The CA will relay what you say back to the TTY user (Be sure to talk directly to your caller, avoid saying "tell him" or "tell her," and say "Go Ahead" at the end of your response).

For Voice Carryover Users
Voice Carryover (VCO) allows Deaf and hard-of-hearing users to speak directly to a hearing person. When the hearing person speaks to you, a Communication Assistant will serve as your "ears" and type everything said to you on a TTY or text display.

  • Dial 711 or 1-800-735-2942. VCO Direct: 1-800-735-4313
  • Relay Iowa will answer with the CA's individual ID number, "F" or "M" (for CA gender) and "VCO ON " (this will show connection after you request an automatic VCO from your line to CA.
  • You will speak directly to the hearing person. The CA will not repeat what you say, but only type to you what the hearing person says. You both need to say "GA" or "go ahead" at the end of your response.

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For Hearing Carryover Users
Hearing Carryover (HCO) allows speech-impaired users with hearing to listen to the person they are calling. The HCO user types his/her conversation for the CA to read to the standard telephone user.

  • Dial 711 or 1-800-735-2942.
  • Relay Iowa will answer with the CA's individual ID number, "F" or "M" (for CA gender) and "NUMBER PLS GA" ("GA" denotes "go ahead").
  • Type in the area code and telephone number you wish to call and then type "HCO PLEASE GA."
  • The CA will make the connections and voice your typed conversation to the called party. After you type "GA," pick up the headset to listen to the spoken reply. You can also request an automatic HCO connection with a customer profile.

Computer (ASCII) Call Processing
Computer users can also access Relay Iowa directly. Set your communications software to the following protocols at speeds ranging from 300 to 2400 baud: (note: it may be helpful to set your "time out" to 100 seconds.)

  • 8 Bits
  • No Parity
  • 1 Stop Bit
  • Full Duplex

When calling at a rate of 300 baud, follow the above settings, using Half Duplex.

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Emergency Calls
In case of emergency, TTY users should call the TTY-equipped 9-1-1 Center or emergency services center in their community. All customers should verify the emergency phone numbers for TTY calls in their area. Calls placed directly and immediately to the local TTY emergency number can save valuable time in urgent situations. For more information on how to obtain emergency numbers in your area, call Relay Iowa Customer Service.

Public Payphones
The Federal Communication Commission (FCC) issued an order outlining an interim plan for access to public payphone service through the relay. The order states:

All local calls from payphones are free of charge.
toll calls can be billed through calling cards and prepaid calling cards.

TTY users who wish to use a coin TTY payphone can use Relay Iowa to assist in connecting calls. The are several ways to bill non-local calls:

Third Party
Calling Card or Prepaid Card

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What equipment do I need to use Relay Service?
The most common device used to make a relay calls is a TTY (text telephone device) that can be used together with a phone headset. However, the equipment you need may vary depending upon the type of relay service you use. For more information on how to obtain a device for your specific needs, contact Telecommunication Access Iowa, (515) 282-5130 TTY, or (515) 282-5099 Voice. In some cases, it may be available at little or no cost to you.

Turbo Code
Relay Iowa offers Ultratec Turbo Code to relay users. This feature allows for more natural, back-and-forth conversations, the ability to interrupt one another, and information sent at the same speed it is typed.

Billing Preference
There is no charge for using Relay Iowa within your local calling area. Long distance call rates are determined by the carrier of choice. Tell the CA your preferred long distance carrier if you do not wish to use Sprint. Relay Iowa gives you a number of billing options when you place intrastate, interstate, or international calls. Please notify the CA of your preferred billing option:

Third Party
Local exchange carrier (LEC) calling card
Other long distance calling card
Prepaid phone card

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Directory Assistance
Relay Iowa will relay Directory Assistance (DA) calls between TTY users and a directory assistance operator. Once the caller makes the request, the Communication Assistant will connect to the DA operator. After obtaining the number, the caller may choose to place the call through Relay Iowa or dial it directly TTY to TTY.

International Calls
Relay Iowa allows you to place and receive calls to and from anywhere in the world (using English or Spanish language only). Calls originating from a country outside the US may also access Relay Iowa via 1-402-631-4412.

Spanish Relay Service
Relay Iowa offers Spanish relay service. TTY users can type in Spanish and the conversations will be relayed in Spanish. To request Spanish relay, dial 1-800-264-7190. Relay Iowa also offers Spanish to English translation service.

Relay Iowa Customer Service
Relay Iowa Customer Service is available to answer questions about TTY calls, or to receive customer suggestions, comments and complaints. When calling about a specific incident, please remember to provide the Communication Assistant (CA) identification number, date and time of call. Customer Service can also provide Relay Iowa brochures and other additional relay information to customers.

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Copyright 2012, Relay Iowa