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The afternoon! * Whew lots to say! Grabbed the …

The afternoon!

* Whew lots to say! Grabbed the 13 yr old for a companion and headed out to Cingular to pay a much needed overdue cell phone bill and sweat over the food bank account shrinking. Looks like we all are on a diet! Then over to the father-in-law’s for some fun fax repair work.

The Fax Saga

My two favorite things in the world are sitting on hold and dealing with BellSouth </sarcasm>

Summary: I own and highly recommend the VTech 20-2431 two line phone system. It’s expandable with up to 8 VTech 20-2420 handsets each supporting both lines and no wiring required. The only thing that gets plugged into the phone line is the base. It has great features including an intercom system. This is the one feature I wish they had done differently. With each handset having a built-in speakerphone, it seems like you should be able to globally or to a specific handset just start talking–like an in-home intercom. It rings and you have to pick it up. No big deal. Anyhow, I recommend this solution to my father-in-law that needs a home line and a business line in his house. For months my 2 lines worked fine and the fax machine was setup on the 2nd line then suddenly one day the 2nd line says “extension in use” and rings busy as long as the fax is hooked up. I figure a wiring problem and sure enough, I connect a shorter cable that has not been stepped on and it works fine. Now, the father-in-law tries to connect his fax to his VTech 20-2431 and gets the same problem. Now things are getting fishy so I email vtech and begin the troubleshooting. Note: The VTech 20-2481 has a built-in answering machine but I recommend the Bellsouth voicemail over a physical answering machine.


  1. Check wiring. All in order.
  2. Send father-in-law to get new phone cable
  3. Call Vtech
  4. Sit on hold
  5. Get technician and explain problem. Tech explains "line voltage is too low. Should be 21 volts" (I always thought phone systems were 12 volts) and that I need to call BellSouth.
  6. Call Bellsouth
  7. Sit on hold
  8. Level 1 tech support schedules repair for father-in-law’s house and my house
  9. Remember the new phone cord. Connect it and ta-da! The fax works!
  10. Father-in-law and I debate cancelling vs keeping service calls.

  11. Phone rings. It’s BellSouth (a technician or higher level support rep) “I’ve been talking to my supervisor and this problem doesn’t make sense”
  12. Debate in mind keeping service call anyway
  13. Tell Bellsouth that the problem is fixed and to cancel service calls
  14. Continue playing with fax to realize that we should have asked Bellsouth Techsupport how to make the Bellsouth voicemail and fax machine play nice together
  15. Call Bellsouth
  16. Sit on hold
  17. Technician answers and says they didn’t used to play nice together but that there is a BRAND NEW feature called Voice Mail Premium which cost “exactly the same as the regular voicemail” (for Complete Choice customers–which we both are). Voicemail Premium allows faxes to be delivered to a fax mailbox then printed to any fax you want at a later time. It fills the void very well! So if you are on the line and a fax comes through it goes to the fax mailbox. If you are away from home, your faxes are not missed. And you don’t have to set your fax machine to answer before the voicemail with some squealing in the person’s ear.
  18. Added it to both houses! Feel very satisfied. Goes into effect at midnight (in hindsight I will probably have to rerecord the voicemail message.

* Next the father-in-law had me listen to a strange noise the car was making and troubleshot that as “get it back to the guys that rotated the wheels!” (metal grinding)

* Returned home to take the 10yr old selling girl scout cookies (I enjoy that a lot!)

* fixed dinner (shrimp and corn on the cob) and got the kids down then relaxed to some blogging.


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