Our Distinctive Ring Detector works with distinctive ring service provided by a local telephone company. (Names for the service vary from company to company.)


The service is an update of early-20th-century "party line service" which allowed several families to share one telephone circuit, but with different ringing patterns to indicate if a call should be answered or ignored.


With distinctive ringing, the phone company can provide a 'normal' phone number plus one or more 'phantom' or 'derived' phone numbers. This way one phone circuit can be used, for example, for business and home, or parents and kids, or people, computer and fax, etc.


When you have the service, you can tell people, for example, to call 555-1789 for voice calls and 555-1933 to send a fax.


Your telephone company provides service with up to three different phone numbers on the same circuit ('line" or "pair"). These ring patterns are made up of various combinations of ring patterns. Examples of the different ring patterns could be:
Original Number: 1 regular ring
Second Number: 2 short rings
Third Number: 3 rings (two short and one long)


  • The Distinctive Ring Detector automatically analyzes the ring pattern received from the phone company (without any rings being heard) and then directs the call to one of the jacks on the back of the detector where your phones or other devices are connected.
  • The appropriate phone(s) or fax machine will then ring so it can be answered. A fax machine should answer automatically.
  • Outbound calls are handled normally. The first device to seize a line has it exclusively until the end of a call.
  • Barge-in protection stops a second person from interrupting a call in progress. When a second phone or the fax machine is "picked up" on another phone number a busy signal will be heard. However, two people can be on one number at one time for a conference call.
  • The mode selection switch  allows you to configure your detector to operate with either two or three phone numbers.

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