Hearing radio on the phone during a conversation?

I was on the phone long distance last night and I kept hearing ghostings of a radio program during the conversation. I’m in Ohio, I was calling Louisiana, and the station I was hearing was WEWN in Birmingham, Alabama. Apparently, I was the only one who could hear the radio station. Some brief Net searching turned up this information about WEWN (http://www.ksky.com/satelite.htm):

Satellite: G1
Transponder: 11
Frequency: 5.40 MHz
Mono/Stereo: Mono

Here’s what I’d like to know, since you’re all such a bunch of smarty-pants :slight_smile: :

  1. What’s going on here? How am I getting radio on my phone?
  2. Why could only I hear it, and not my friend?
  3. Why the hell was I picking up a station in Alabama?
  4. Is there any way to prevent this from happening in the future? It got quite loud at times. I dunno, something like aluminum foil wrapped around the receiver? grin


This “radio over the phone” stuff is international – I get it too, all the way down here in the Antipodes. Always happens at night when it does happen, and sometimes I hear vocal sounds when my modem is dialling up the ISP.

If anyone can answer quixotic78’s query, please do so. This phenomenon can drive me nuts! (As if I’m not already.):slight_smile:

Worst is when it’s a tinny country-and-western station …

The following link may be helpful.


I still don’t know why I would hear telephone interference (from other phone calls, from radio, from CB radio?) very occasionally, if the problem was in my telephone equipment.


Finally: http://www.google.com/search?q=telephone+interference :slight_smile:

I can’t say why you pick up a particular radio station, but from personal experience I have seen it in NYC. One of my customers was a gazillion bucks investment banker firm. When the weather was right, the the investment bankers phone system would pick up the local Spanish language radio broadcasts from one particular station. So you could be on a conference call closing a billion dollar deal when, as far as the people on the other end can tell, you would pitch an ad for Hoya Beans, and get Maria Conchita Alonzo to sing a few of her hits to close the deal. Telephone wire, even the wire from the wall to the phone itself, can act like an antenna,and will conduct a radio signal. It is actually a fairly common problem, and equipping the phones with some kind of resistor would help. also re-doing the wiring or the office, as the placement and location of the individual runs helped to “tune” the natural antenna to the particular station/frequency. Even the curly cords could cause a problem. (The resistors worked fine for my customer, by the way.) Wierd weather can bounce radio signals all over the world - I remember picking up Radio Moscow teaching Russian on my car radio one night. Your telephone calls might also have a physical cross in the trunking cables (assuming they are the old fashioned copper) that comes and goes with the humiditiy and temperature.

Hey, jwg, it’s GOYA Beans, not Hoya.

I’m a NYCer too and mom’s got this problem with her phone – which means I’ve got the problem too (mom likes to share life’s burdens with her children). The $20 Radio Shack filter I bought and installed did not help squat, so I’m still looking for solutions too.

Incidentally, from what I’ve read about the problem, it’s not a wires issue, it’s an instrument (that is, the phone itself) issue; some phones don’t pick up stray signals, some do. Am I right?

It happened to an upstairs phone in a house I used to live in. It only happened when you picked up the phone and then depressed the “off-the-hook” switch. The dial tone would go away and the radio station would be audible. I don’t recall that you could hear the station when you were talking on the phone. FWIW, the station was a 1150 AM (broadcasting at 5000 Watts from an antenna about 3 to 4 miles away) if I remember correctly. Don’t know if that’s the magic frequency for phones or not, or just the locally resonant frequency for my old house.

C’mon, this ones easy. Yes, the phone lines act as antennae, and combined with the strange things our atmosphere can do with radio waves, it’s no biggy to pick up a station that is on a completely different wavelength than the reciever of your phone. Toss in a variable like a walk around phone, and things get more fun. I bought one of those nice 900 mhz scanners a couple months before they were outlawed, and depending on how devious I’m feeling, I can pick up hordes of neighborhood conversations. (Usually only one way though, but still fun.) Although things are changing as people buy newer phones with scrambling, there is still plenty of good stuff to listen to. Just thought you should know. :slight_smile: