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From: Floyd Davidson <>
Newsgroups: comp.dcom.modems
Subject: Re: Kinda OT:Phone line problems/Unusual
Date: 16 Apr 2000 20:43:45 -0800

"Brian Simpson" <> wrote:
>First off, Thanks to everyone who responded to my first post.
>Secondly, I'm having a problem with my phone line and am
>wondering if my new 3 Com gaming modem could be the culprit?
>Approx. 4 weeks ago, I had new phone line installed for the
>pc. Around same time I installed the gaming modem. Now for some
>reason, when online I get disconnected occasionally.  This
>never happened before.
>The worst part is, when I get disconnected. The phone line goes
>dead.  (Nothing on this line except the pc)However If I pick up
>a phone in other room(seperate line and #) I can hear static
>and message" If you want to make a call please hang up and try
>again" Then a beeping noise like phone got left off hook, then
>my primary line goes out as well. The odd part is, When I get
>disconnected from my second/computer line. I unplugged the
>modem from the wall jack, So how was I hearing this crap on a
>seperate phone line?

You are saying...

  1) the modem is the only thing on the _second_ line, and

  2) when it disconnects you unplugged the modem from the
     line, and

  3) picked up a phone connected to the _first_ line and
     you hear the "If you want to make a call..." message
     preceding a howler.

>BS says something may be shorting out. Why would that effect
>both lines?

If they are shorting together, that might be exactly what would
happen.  Something is making the second line disconnect (you
might arrange to have a phone on it so you can listen and hear
what it sounds like too).  Something is causing the first line
to draw enough loop current to make the switch see it as off
hook.  The noise indicates it is unbalanced, and if by "static"
you mean lots of snap, crackle and pop (or maybe like a hot
frying pan sizzle), then it is leaking current to some other
return path than the tip/ring loop.

It certainly does indicate a short, most likely between the two
pairs but it also could be something shorting them both to
ground.  (It appears to be a short from the tip of your
second line to the ring of your first line.)

>IMHO they've got a prob in CO or outside my home. They've
>checked my NID and say no problems. I'd appreciate any thoughts
>on this, since I'm probably not gonna be able to rely on BS.

The short could be in your wiring or in theirs.  If they have
checked theirs, then perhaps it is less likely to be in their
equipment than if they had not checked it.  However... you need
to check yours *very* carefully, and they might find that they
didn't check carefully enough.  The common cause of this type of
thing is a small piece of jumper wire (sometimes called a
"frog") that gets dropped onto a terminal block.  They can be
very hard to see.  For far sighted old farts they can be
impossible to see, so this is one case where you *don't* want
some experience old timer doing the trouble shooting!

You didn't mention how long this condition lasts, or what kind
of action makes everything go back to normal.  Or if there are
any other odd things going on when it happens.  Odd things
like wind or rain that might cause the telco equipment outside
your home to have a problem, or similar odd things inside your
home which might cause physical changes.  The fact that you
didn't mention it indicates to me that it probably is not
obvious that something else is related, and that the condition
must not last very long.  Both of those together tend to
suggest something is malfunctioning in the telephone company's

>Thanks for you time,

Good luck!  (And do post something to let us know what you find.)


Floyd L. Davidson                
Ukpeagvik (Barrow, Alaska)

From: Floyd Davidson <>
Newsgroups: comp.dcom.modems
Subject: Re: Kinda OT:Phone line problems/Unusual
Date: 17 Apr 2000 07:54:18 -0800

"Brian Simpson" <> wrote:
>I wired second line from pc to NID. The tech wired it into the
>NID for me, since he was here.  The two lines aren't crossed,
>but they do come within about three inches of each other on
>entrance to my basement. I've removed all but one phone from my
>primary line. I did take a phone out to NID the first time this
>occured. It was dead out there too. Both lines.

You just said the magic words!  If it was dead there, with
everything to your house wiring disconnected...  it belongs to
the telco.

>A tech came this morning and could find nothing unusual. And no
>there hasn't been any unusual weather conditions such as rain,
>snow, etc.. I take it from your responses that this doesn't
>sound like my modem. I didn't think so, but you never
>know. Once again thanks for your time, and I'll be sure to post
>the problem when BS traces it down. Cya in about 6 months<G>

I've spent a little time now and then dealing with telco's (it
is hard to express deadpan humor using ascii text, but you can
assume that statement fits), so maybe I can help with a little
advice on what to do.

One thing is don't get excited, angry, loud, nasty, or in a
hurry.  But every single time your phone does that to you, call
the telco and have them open a trouble ticket.  You want to
first check it again at the demarc and be sure that it is faulty
even after all of your wiring is disconnected.  Then, when you
call in the trouble, get the name or initials of everyone you
talk to, and keep a log.  Write down what they say in general
terms.  When they expect to work on it, what they expect to
test; when they actually do it, log what they say the tests
showed, etc. etc.

They keep the same kind of log, so don't worry that this is
going to make anyone annoyed.  It does let them know you are
serious, and if things don't go well and you need to encourage
them a little, reading your log to anyone of them (with the
exception perhaps of the clerk who answers the phones and takes
your complaints) will definitely have an effect.  Every time you
verify that it is bad at the demarc before calling them is going
to ring a loud bell.

The trick is to convince them that there really is an
intermittent problem and it is not going to go away.  And that
you are going to call them every single time.  They *will* get
tired of working on your line (human nature!).  That, if nothing
else, will cause someone to eventually do *whatever* it takes to
fix it.

Of course you might get lucky and the next time you talk to them
somebody will just land right on it in the first minute and
you'll never have a bit of trouble again... ;-)

If that does not happen, after 2 or 3 times you then want to
start escalating the problem every time it re-occurs.  If you
talked to a tech last time, ask for his supervisor this time.
If you talked to a supervisor, ask for his boss next time.  They
will send you back down the line again, and that is OK and you
want to allow that to take its course each time.  Only when
things appear to have stalled do you want to escalate another

Most likely you will find that the harder it gets to solve
the problem, the more interested in it the telco becomes.  You'll
probably also find they do have some pretty smart folks that
are fun to work with.  (Kinda like Dilbert and Wally, matter
of fact..)


Floyd L. Davidson                
Ukpeagvik (Barrow, Alaska)

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