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Dear Matthew Alice:

I understand how cordless phones can pick up signals from other devices. HOWEVER, my wall-mounted (very corded) telephone has been picking up a religious radio station for the past several months. How does this happen? It's very distracting when holding a conversation and hearing a booming guy in the background proclaiming his love for Jesus.

-- Religious Phone Girl, Morris County, NJ

Spiritual telemarketers. What next? We checked in with Wavy Gravy, our Team Matthew Alice wizard of all things wired and wireless. He says if this is a recent problem, then your pipeline to salvation is not likely a glitch in the radio station's transmitter. Wavy suggests your phone has some corrosion somewhere in its guts. Or possibly it's in the phone wiring in the house. Corrosion, sez Wav, turns the joints in the wiring into semiconductors. Semiconductors create DC from your AC house current. And you end up with what's basically a crude radio receiver capable of picking up nearby AM signals. Try hooking the phone to another jack, or try a different land-wired phone to narrow down where the problem is. (If you dial around on your AM tuner, you'll probably find the station you're hearing over your phone. Salvation in stereo.) Wavy always hedges his bets, though. He says if you live very far from the transmitter, you might be getting some crosstalk from another phone circuit. Whatever it is, you have our sympathies.

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