Dial tone wont stop so can't dial out + echo!

1 Sep 2009
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United Kingdom
I've had no phone now for a few days.

BT have tested the line at least 8 times and it shows no errors for every test!
I get a perfect dial tone, phones ring ok as usual and my broadband is working ok.
I've no problems prior to this at all and I replaced most of the wiring about 2 years ago.

When I pick up a phone and press any key the dial tone persists! So can't dial a number. The phone rings ok.
I can get incoming calls but the caller can hear their own voice echo very loud back at them. To me their voice is ok but not always, sometimes it breaks up. The call centre had to call me back on my mobile etc...!

Analogue phone;
Yes I have one, very old. It works!!!!!!! This doesn't make sense to me. It takes ages to dial, as it would but it will dial out. I can then pick up my digital phone put down the analogue phone and move through an automated menu system etc which was the way I managed to get through to the call centre!

I've checked with 4 digital phones I have, 2 of which I stopped using around 3 years ago, they were working fine when I stopped using them!
I also tested the line direct on the Master Socket with a friends phone last night and all my other phones.
It also could not call out and the dial tone would not stop.

If I wait I get the usual BT message "hang up & try again" etc That is clear as a bell!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

The call centre is hit and miss really, hard to understand some, others fine. But...They said they would call me back last night and test the line etc when I had my friends phone connected but THEY DID NOT CALL BACK!

I've also tried disconnecting all devices so the only device connected to my line was the Master Socket. Again all phones apart from the analogue will NOT call out as the dial tone will not stop.
I also bypassed the Master and tried another socket directly to where cable comes into house, still same problem!

I have an overhead cable coming into the house. This comes through the front door frame, into a old I think distribution box, just used for connection, no clever stuff inside etc see photo, not mine but the almost the same.

Cable then runs from this box to the 2nd same type box to floor level, then a short cable from that to the Master Socket. This is an old type with no centre line! like this on inside

I have cables for extensions running from the master and from the lower distribution box. This might not be standard but it's been working for 13 years or more.

Call centre keeps saying the line is ok and I'll be charged £127 for the visit if the line is ok.

I can't afford this right now so any help or advice would be appreciated.

Thanx for reading such a long post.
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strongly suspect a fault in the telephone exchange with the line card
Go back to only having a BT master socket connected (no extensions). You are not meant to hard wire extensions into the type of master socket in your pic.

When you press a button can you hear the tone from the handset?
Once you only have the master socket connected and you have tried a couple of known working phones I'd be inclined to agree that the fault is likely at the exchange and the only course of action is to phone BT out.

The NTE5 is a more modern master socket which has a removable portion where you can connect extensions, if BT come out then make the bloke a cuppa, give him some half coated chocky hobnobs and ask if he can change it. ;)
Thanx Spark123

Yeah when I re-cabled 2 ish years back now I just copied what was there and it all worked fine until a few days ago.
Funny when the outside cable was replaced about 4 years ago the guy didn't say anything to this setup, guess he just wanted to get his work done for the day.

I took everything off the Master socket again yesterday so just had it and the external wire connected. Once again no change.
I have also tried another socket direct on the external cable but with the same outcome.

Yes I can hear a tone when I press buttons on the digital handset. If I keep button pressed down you can still hear the dial tone mixed in with the tone of the key pressed etc..! :rolleyes:

In all now I've tried 5 digital phones, one from a friend on the Master socket and direct on the external cable!! So I now it's not my phones or wiring!
The analogue will dial out but who ever calls me hears their voice amplified very loud back at them and with an echo + I hear them breaking up!

So how should extensions be wired to a Master socket, just the normal plug with a splitter if you you have 2 cables like I have, one for down stairs and one for up etc?

Does the NTE5 wire extensions from the back?
I would like to keep things clean and tidy, having cable coming out of a box in the hall is not what I would prefer :)

Thax for the replies guys
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You have proved a couple times that the fault is with BT - so just get on and report it.

They will more than likely replace your master socket with an NTE5a, especially if you crack the old one or something when they comes to test.

The NTE5a has a removable lower section which contains the customer extension wiring terminals - this removeable section allows you to disconnect the extension wiriing from the BT wiring to faciliate testing.

There used to be an older type of line that would have unbreakable dial tone - It was for payphones. This would not explain your exho though. I suspect you are connected to a faulty card at the exchange, although usually if a card fails a few others users loose service too.
Thanx Lectrician

I've just booked an appointment, well I was given one for the 15 Sep! Been told they will start looking into it straight away tho hopefully with the info I've given them they'll find the problem at the exchange etc soon before waiting to come here on the 15th!

I am a bit worried about how they will react to the wiring configuration in my place now, should I just play stupid and say it's always been like that and never touched it? :oops:

Thanx again all for replies and I'll post back what they say the problem was when resolved.
Cheers guys

PS. I will have the Hobnobs and a cuppa waiting for the engineer :p
I have the same connection setup.

They won't care, as they won't know if they wired it or if you did, they don't keep records at that level (and if they did, they'd not be able to find them anyway).
Thanx for reply davelx
I'll just say if asked it wasn't me guv lol
Anyway I did only copy what I found ish so not that far from the truth :rolleyes:
PS. thay called me today with a slot for tomorrow, had to change my plans but hay, better than waiting until next Wed..
Hi guys
The red mist has come down...!

Should have had an engineer here today between 8am and 1pm
He turned up at 2pm. Not even a hint of an apology about being late. Anyway that didn't bother me at the time cos he here right! Well he was only here for 3 minutes. He decided it was my extensions that were causing the problem even before connecting his test equipment. I said I didn't think so but as I isolated all the extensions!
Anyways, he then does what I did with a new socket... Doh... and connected his tester directly to the external wire coming into my place. Oh he says. That's technical for must be a problem elswhere.
So I said local exchange or other, he says yeah. Said he would try switching me over to a new line down the road etc I guess that means using a spare line at bottom of my road!
Asked if he would let me know how that goes, he says he'll call me on my mobile, he's got the number.

Needless to day he never calls, I then get a tx message update from BT 2 hours later saying "We've fixed everything now"
Even the website had been updated this time to show fault had been fixed!
It still showed the appointment for next week and not the one for today!

Pick up me phone and I can't dial out, no change.
Then spend 20 mins calling BT
Another up to 72 hours or whatever to hear back and of course no way to contact Openreach.

I wouldn't be so angry about this but I changed my plans to get this sorted today, all it would have taken is a 20 second phone call from the engineer to check I could use the line + he simply gets zero out of 10 for a customer facing job like this. That doesn't matter to me if people do the basic things and communicate even at a basic level and can do their job even just as far as making a short phone call.

Guy in the call centre done a bit of checking and said the records show a new cable is needed!! What cable..!
I pointed out my cable hooked up on my neighbours roof, he said not a problem! so I assume this means a bit of cable in a little green cab down the road! He then said they didn't start the work because there wasn't enough time to complete the work

Anyways, I'm ****ed off and rambling so I'll stop.
Thanx for reading :evil:
A short update.
Openreach called to say they wanted to visit again. When I started telling her the engineer said the problem wasn't here she just kept talking over me and told me during the call 3 times I may be charged £127
What a company...!
Oh.. BT told me when I phoned them that engineers found an ADSL fault at the exchange. It has been dropping now and then but ok mostly.
Today my voice side of the line is stone dead, no power even, not a squeak :(
My broadband is ok 99% of the time so. Half a line should mean have the line rental perhaps :confused:

I'm just thinking now should I call BT yet again and tell them the voice side of the line has now gone dead today!
My gut feeling tells me that when the engineer turns up tomorrow he'll say (oh..the line is dead so I can't test it!)

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