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"Line in use" on screen. can't call out or receive calls

All the phones have LINE IN USE on their handset screens. I can't call out and I get a busy signal when I try to call in. I have unplugged all the phones but they still don't work.

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  • Uniden Master
  • 5,475 Answers

First you need to diagnose where the problem is. I like an old corded phone for this. Unplug the cordless phones and plug a different phone. What tone do you hear if any? Find where your phone service comes in and open that box. (If you are lucky, you can just unplug the cable that runs to inside phone lines and plug in an RJ-11 jack (that spare phone). What do you hear? Older service boxes need a special connector to test that line. They are available but expensive (Cyberguys.com for example); a service technician from your phone company will have the tool.

If you hear either nothing or a fast busy signal at the outside connection, call the phone company. (could be a crossed connection or anything else) If you get a regular dial tone there but not inside, it's an inside problem and you'll need to pay for a service call or find the problem in your wall. Check the jacks and any visible wiring (like in a basement) for damage.

I hope this helps.

Cindy Wells
(who has had several phone outages that gave line in use errors that were outside problems. The phone company service person solved the problem quite quickly. One was a crossed line at the road; another was after a lightning strike damaged a part of the DSL installation)

Posted on May 28, 2010

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