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More phone stuff ...

Our phone occasionally rings for no apparent reason. It used to be infrequent, but in the last couple of weeks it has been almost a daily event. When I answer the phone there is just a dead line. There's no sound of somebody hanging up, just a bit of static. Most of the time the phone seems to work just fine.

I suggested the phone repair folks check the ground on the line to our house because we had a similar problem years ago (during my youth) when I accidentally damaged the ground wire at my parents' house while I was mowing the lawn. I don't know if the telco folks checked that out. At any rate, the phone company has not found a solution.

I don't think somebody is making prank calls, but I've wondered about putting in Caller ID so we could see whether a number displays.

Has anybody heard of spontaneously ringing phones before?

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Yes, but our symptoms differed

In reply to: More phone stuff ...

Our area has an overloaded cable that our telco has patched up by installing some sort of multiplexing system (Lightspan or such) that allows multiple phones per copper pair. We would have the ringing but but the ring was a bit anemic in sound compared to the usual tone. This persisted and got worse and sometimes I could hear a faint conversation. Eventually I was able to identify a neighbor's voice but I only heard one side of any such conversation. What we finally determined was that any call to her house was also ringing into ours. If she answered or the caller gave up, the ringing stopped. Ring current is a stronger signal than voice, I believe. It does sound as if the problem might be with your telco. Mine always threatens me with a the possibility of a large service bill if they can prove the cause is not on their end. So far, and after many service requests and threats, I've yet to charged. Good luck.

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One Ringy Dingy, Two Ringy Dingies?

In reply to: More phone stuff ...

Has anybody heard of spontaneously ringing phones before?

Bill --- Mystery ringing followed by a dead line upon pick up, happens to our wire-line telephones all the time. This randomly occurring spontaneous ringing has followed us around for years and randomly occurs in all of our homes. It is not clear if the mystery ringing is from a single source or from different sources.

I do not believe in ghosts so I must rule out telephone spirits as a source.

Prank calls are not likely the source because such calls have essentially been made obsolete with the advent Caller ID.

Steve Haninger?s post in response to your query that points to ring signal crosstalk or ring current transients as being a possible source, is a candidate answer. How close is your neighbor?s main phone drop to yours?

Telephone marketing companies use computerized telephone dialing that is programmed to hang up after two or three rings if not answered by a person, to assure they do not get an answering machine. This is another possible source. My wife has a practice of waiting until the phone rings a minimum of three times before picking up. She often picks up to a dead line.

Like you, I do not have Caller ID. Like you, I also have been tempted to get Caller ID just to see who may be calling, but the
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In my more paranoid moments ....

In reply to: One Ringy Dingy, Two Ringy Dingies?

I wonder if somebody could be calling to find out if we are home. That seems relatively unlikely since I don't here anybody hanging up when I answer. Also the number is unlisted.

I don't think it's a phone line cross-talk problem. The ring is exactly like the regular ring, and as far as I know there are no problems with the phone multiplexing or whatever they call it. I'm not sure where the digital/analog conversion happens but they have left us with the impression that the signals are digital up to the place where our copper cables connect at the street about 50 feet from the house. We are semi-rural, but the phone service is usually first rate. Nobody here has been on a shared line for many years, we have high speed aDSL and we could get digital cable from the phone company if we were interested.

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One more thought

In reply to: In my more paranoid moments ....

Occasionally I get calls that I suspect are fax probing ones buy the negotiating tones I recall from my dial up days. Sometimes these would repeat within fairly regular intervals. I learned that sometimes I could make them go away by just laying down the phone and letting it continue until it gave up. After a couple more tries the calls would stop. I suspect this was some sort of automatic device that needed to learn it had no hope of making a connection and scratched my number from it's list. If you haven't done so already, try leaving the phone off the hook when you encounter such calls to see if it does hang up. Such would probably require human intervention or a machine time out of sorts.

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Check your phone book.

In reply to: More phone stuff ...

There is a code to dial after an abusive phone call that tags the last caller in the phone records. If you get after them to track down the abusive caller they may get tired of you and actually fix the problem.


Happy Holidays!

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Can you use *69 to find out whose calling?

In reply to: More phone stuff ...

I don't think you have to have any particular service for that.


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In reply to: Can you use *69 to find out whose calling?

My telco lists that as: Returns call to the last number that called you whether or not you answered the phone.

I hadn't thought of that. If the ringing is from a legitimate call then *69 would help. If the number is from some sort of electronic glitch then it would get somebody who may have called hours ago. It shouldn't be hard to figure out which is which.

That's worth considering. It isn't clear from the phone company's description whether or not there is a charge for that service.

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Probably a per use charge

In reply to: *69?

But it's not available in all areas, so I guess you'd just have to try it.


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lots of features

In reply to: *69?

Apparently, with some companies at least, a person can select three features from the following list, without charge. I had no idea there were so many.

Sorry, I had to use the cache version because I had a hard time getting the normal pages loaded.

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