OT: Favorite Cordless Phones

Our cordless phones are dying. The upstairs one is exhibiting "processor on the fritz" problems, and the downstairs one (for which I
can't get handsets) has a dead '0' key which makes dialing out a challenge.
We need two-line cordless phones, preferably with built-in answering machine functions and easily available spare handsets. It'd be kinda nice to have the same one upstairs and down, just so we'd only have to learn one set of quirks.
Anyone have any favorites? Brands you like? Brands you despise?
TIA.
--

Tim Wescott
Wescott Design Services
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Tim Wescott wrote:

It is hard to recommend particular brand/model as they go obsolete before one can get any meaningful statistics. One thing to remember is avoid the phones operating in the same band as your WiFi network.
VLV
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Tim Wescott wrote:

Not much choice there anymore. The best one we ever had was a Cincinnatti Microwave phone. But they gave up that market. Out here it's all DECT now, unfortunately. You get to pick mainly between three brands, Panasonic, V-Tech and I believe Uniden. The Panasonic made the best mechanical impression, I wan't stuff to be robust.
DECT is a mixed blessing but tough to get anything else. Most phones like our Panasonic are dumbed down to the point where you can't even select the channel, does it "automatically". Yeah, right, sits at the upper end of the band where a cell tower transmits a few meggeehoitzes up. Meaning the phone chokes at times. Then they seem to have screwed up the standard by non-adaptive packet timing <slapping_forehead>. I once knew the usec number, in my case that translates to frequent losses of connection exactly at my office desk unless I close a steel folding door between me and the base, to make an extra reflector and force a different RF path :-(
Important: Phones should take standard AAA or AA NiMH cells. Our Panasonic KX-TGA phones do. DECT is hard on batteries because it's a rather wasteful standard in terms of bandwidth. If you have a phone with proprietary batteries like we had before they'll sock it to you later.
The Panasonics systems can be had with answering machine and you can add lots of handsets. I didn't buy the version with an answering machine because I do not trust electronic ones. Funny, being an engineer who designs electronics ...
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Regards, Joerg

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Perhaps in your retirement you'll take up clockmaking?
Having a similar Panasonic phone to yours, I agree with your assessment. I haven't had an answering machine in years now, so I can't comment on those -- although ~20 years ago I had a Panasonic answering machine that worked pretty well. It apparently used some then-exotic memory, like bubble -- when you first turned it on it would count down from 30 seconds before it would begin to work, and I always figured it was initializing/cataloging all that memory or somesuch (bubble memory being serial input/output and rather slow at the time). It also had a nicely synthesized voice that sounded robotic in a way I rather liked...
---Joel
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Joel Koltner wrote:

Nah, I'd rather start brewing again :-)

I always prefer tape. It won't accidentally be erased, at least not easily. In Germany I had a pricey professional answering machine from TipTel. It's remote access reliability regularly beat the super-fancy system of one of my main clients. Obviously the big kahuna telco guys weren't that good at DTMF decoding. So when in the boonies with their engineers they'd sometimes call in and say "Leave a message for me at Joerg's number, otherwise I may not be able to retrieve it until I get back to the airport". It was a bi-lingual machine and the English robot voice had a German accent that I could clearly identify as being taken from a speaker in Duesseldorf.
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Regards, Joerg

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Ah, very good idea!

A lot of people seem to have the impression that high-quality DTMF decoding is fall-off-a-log easy -- they often haven't heard of the old Bellcore tapes that were the standard for DTMF decoders and are surprised just how much better the decoders from 50 years ago were to some simple-minded DSP method one might attempt such as a Goertzel transform.
---Joel
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There's nothing wrong with using the Goertzel algorithm, but it takes MUCH more than simple tone recognition to make a quality DTMF decoder.
You're absolutely right about those old Bellcore tapes (I think Mitel used to distribute them). They were tough. The so-called "talk off" tests were a bitch to meet. However, using a signal processor allowed for easy tweaking of the decoder.
Bob
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Agreed -- what I meant if that something like "Goertzel followed by nothing more than a threshold detectors" does not a high-quality-decoder make.
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I'm very happy with my Panasonic KX-TG6702B that I bought in a trip to USA four years ago. I paid about $300 for a three handset system, dual line, digital answering machine.
They work in 5.8GHz and never had an interference problem even with the presence of high power transceivers very nearby in the same band (wireless internet).
Standby battery lifetime is about one week, not bad.
Looking at Panasonic site seems that 5.8GHz systems are now replaced by DECT 1.9GHz.
I very much prefer 5.8GHz, DECT will have to fight with all UMTS cellphones.
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wrote:

We've had a Panasonic KX-TGA series DECT phone for about 2 years, and are happy with it. No interference or fading whatsoever in or close to the house. We live in the country, so YMMV. I think a model with two lines is available but I'm not sure.
Our house is on a small rise above the barnyard, and you do lose coverage if you go more than about 20 or 30 feet into the metal covered barn. There are some shadows behind the metal covered barn, but if there is a clear line of sight to the house I have made and received calls up to 1/4 mile away. Battery life is good, except when you get into a shadow area or are far away, and the phone goes into "Boost" due to weak signals.
Batteries are replaceable AAA NiMH, the speakerphone function is as good as any, and the hand sets are reasonably rugged.
I had a Uniden phone before and would not buy one again.
WayneJ
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snipped-for-privacy@seemywebsite.com says...

Uniden. Mine have been dead reliable, much better than the Siemens and V-Tech that I had before. They have a 5.8 GHz 2-line system phone with answering for about 150 bucks, model TRU9496. Comes with 2 handsets and can take up to 10, extras are readily available--sometimes you can find them at Staples or Office Depot, if not Amazon has them.
My Uniden has been dead reliable--a friend has a different Uniden model and it's also been dead reliable.
One nice feature--they've gone through several revisions of the 5.8 GHz line and the newer handsets work with the older bases, so you don't run into the situation of having to replace the whole system to add a handset like you do with some other lines.
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"J. Clarke" wrote:

I have some one year old single line 5.8 GHz DECT Uniden with two handsets sitting here that I had to stop using. Everyone complained about low volume when I tried using them.
My Panasonic single line 5.8 GHz DECTwith three handsets work OK, and so does a cheap single line 'Big Button' phone I keep arounfd for power failures. The Panasonics are over 5 years old and still have the original battery packs
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Often the base stations have a wall wart charge plug. It might be possible to wire the base to a gel cell battery, which would act like a UPS. If you have enough power cuts to be concerned, of course.
Five years on battery packs is outstanding. I'd have guessed one year.
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Christopher A. Young
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I seem to recall that Panasonic sells something like this for many of their phones -- you re-use the wall wart for the base to keep the (nicely packaged) battery charged, and the battery then directly plugs into the base for a cheap-but-effective UPS.
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Joel Koltner wrote:

Cincinnatti Microwave had that almost 15 years ago. There was a spare battery pack in the base. In case of a power failure the base would work for another day or so. If you ran down a battery in a phone but needed to keep some important chat going for another few hours (I always wondered if that's possible without elbow cramps ...) you could swap batteries between base and phone, then continue.
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Regards, Joerg

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I have been using a Uniden PowerMax 5.8 system in a shop environment for 4 years. The handsets have seen lots of abuse; dropped, grease/oil on the keys, swarf, etc. Bulletproof. No probs with the batteries-still going strong. The base unit answering system works well, and the black/orange displays are easy to see. JR Dweller in the cellar
Tim Wescott wrote:

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Tim Wescott wrote:

I really like our Panasonic ones - 1.8GHz band. I chose that before 5.6GHz was available, and 2.4 was known to interfere with WiFi. Recently bought replacements because the base had died, and the 3-handset version was $300, but a two handset one was only $90. We needed 3, so having been told the new ones were incompatible although on the same band, I bought 2 of the 2-set units, just to get the extra handset.
When I got it home, I found that the old handsets *do* pair with the new base, so I now had 7 handsets, 4 charge stations, and 2 base stations. You can have six nodes in a network (including more than one base if you wish), so I gave the spare set to my father.
The only thing that was incompatible between the new & old handsets is the geometry of the charger base.
The 2 AAA NiMH batteries last about a week without being returned to the charger, and at least a couple of years of use, so I wouldn't be worried about that.
Clifford Heath.
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Wow! I could get used to th at. Thanks for the field report. A week on a charge!
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I have a Panasonic KX-TGA931S. I like it because it uses AAA rechargeable batteries which are easily obtained and it has a call- blocking feature. It allows you to block calls where the CID shows a number, but unfortunately not all nuisance call show that.
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