Wierd Telephone Problems

Hello: I have this problem with my telephone at home. For incoming calls, sometimes, it would ring once then disconnect the caller. I thought it was my phone, but I bought a new one, and it was the same thing.

I called my telephone company, and the technician came and said that this could be due to wiring inside the building. So, the telephone company thinks it's not their responsibility.

The strangest thing is, outgoing calls seem to be fine. I can dial outside w/o problems.

Anyone seen this before?


[TELECOM Digest Editor's Note: I've seen it lots of times. And as often as not, it is in the wiring somewhere (either 'your' wiring or possibly telco's.) Chances are there is some _tiny_ bare spot where the two wires touch, or nearly so. The amount of current in the line when the phone rings is sufficient to 'bridge the gap' and complete the connection for a half second or so. What does the calling party receive under those circumstances? Usually they will hear one or two ringing signals, then it will change to busy, or maybe it will sound like the line went dead. When you place a call -- as opposed to receive a call -- there is much less voltage on the line because the phone is not ringing. Its the increase in voltage which causes this to occur. That is why you experience no problems when _you_ place a call; the 'current bridge' is not present.

How do you prove it is telco's problem and not yours, or vice-versa? Take your telephone out to the demarc, or place where the telco says your wiring begins. Disconnect where they say yours starts. Use a cell phone (or some other third-party line) to dial into _your_ number. If you have your phone plugged directly into the demarc, and the problem is present, you should hear your phone ring once (a half ring, maybe) and then go dead. Note on the phone you are using to call in what happens, i.e. busy signal, fast busy, the line goes dead, or whatever. If this happens *and you have 'your' wires pulled or disconnected at the demarc, then the problem is telco's. If it rings through normally, and you can talk to yourself (or any confederate who is assisting you), then it is NOT telco's problem.

Then, reattach the wires you took down at the demarc and try the test again. Does it occur this time? If the problem occurs when your wires are connected, but _not_ when you are connected direct to the demarc, then it is indeed your problem. Try this much first, then get back to us with the results. If it is indeed in your length of wire and not telco's, then we will discuss how you go about correcting it. You'll basically have two choices in that case: fix it yourself or with your own electrician hired, _or_ pay telco (or bribe the technician) and they will fix it for you. Typically it costs less to fix it yourself, but depending on the complexity of the wiring (and distance involved and the size of your complex) it may be faster and less grief to let telco handle it. We will discuss both approaches when you get back to us with your findings. Hoping to hear again from you soon. PAT]

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