Utility testing: How to monitor a telephone line with a butt set, by T3 Innovation

Test products: It often becomes necessary for a lineman to monitor a telephone line with a butt set for troubleshooting purposes, as a primary means of tracking down problems with the phone itself or the telephone line. There are several ways the butt set can be used for such tasks, and there are several functions that can be carried out very effectively using the butt set. The butt set is often used in tandem with a modular adapter (commonly referred to as a 'modapt'), which allows in-line testing for any plug and jack combination.

Monitoring a phone line

To tap into a telephone line for the purpose of monitoring any given call, connect your butt set to wires or to another jack already connected to that phone line, and switch the butt set to 'monitor mode' to establish monitoring of the phone line and any calls which are made. You can also use the speakerphone in 'mute' mode, if you don't wish your presence to be known during monitoring.

Connecting to the telephone line

When connecting the butt set to a telephone jack for monitoring of a phone line, the modapt comes in very handy. By using the modular phone cable on the modapt, you can easily connect the modapt to the telephone jack. One end of the cable gets plugged into a port on the modapt, and the other end gets plugged into the telephone jack. The red and black leads of the butt set get clipped onto the test pads located on the perimeter of the modapt, then by pressing 'test call' or 'hook' button on the butt set, a test number can be dialed on the keypad and a connection can be made.

Checking a dead phone

When a phone is dead and you don't know whether it's the phone itself or the line, the butt set can be used to figure out the problem. First, unplug the phone and connect your butt set clips to a modapt, then either plug it into the jack, or connect the butt set clips to the screws inside the jack, if the jack has screws. If you can make calls using your butt set while connected in this manner but not with a regular phone, then the phone itself is the problem.

Checking a noisy or dead line

A noisy or dead line may be attributable to faulty equipment connections, or some problem originating from the phone company itself. At the network interface, disconnect the privately owned equipment, and connect your butt set to the incoming line. While thus configured, if you hear a dial tone and are able to make a call without the presence of background noise, the problem with the line is not due to any problem from the phone company.

Finding a phone number

Determining a phone number is a frequent lineman's task, and since phone lines are not always tagged by phone companies, it's sometimes hard to identify which is which. The good thing is, most phone companies use Automatic Number Announcement (ANA) numbers which can be called, and the automated answering system will tell you which number you're calling from.

The versatility of the butt set

These are a few of the monitoring functions that a lineman can accomplish with the very versatile and handy butt set. With this one tool and a couple simple, helpful supporting utilities, most of the tasks a lineman encounters in the performance of his duties can be easily accomplished in a very effective manner.

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