Sharing a fax machine on a voice line

I have a fax machine on the same phone line that I use for voice calls. I just tried to send myself a test fax using My phone rang, and I thought it was a voice call and then heard the fax sound and hung up. The phone rang again. Now, this time I made it ring about 6 or 7 rings. I know that I shouldn’t pick it up if its a fax, but I do not know how many rings it should take to complete the fax. How does one determine if its a personal call? I do not have call waiting. How do I know when the fax is completed and verify it?

Sharing a fax machine on your voice line can be tricky at first. First, understand that in order to receive a fax, the machine needs to take the call. Just like you can’t talk to your friend on the phone until you pick it up, the fax machine can’t receive a fax until it picks up the line. If the phone rings and rings, the fax machine isn’t picking up, and won’t receive the fax.

There are a couple of ways to make the fax machine pick up. One is to configure its auto-answer settings to answer the call after a number of rings. (Read your fax machine’s manual to find out how to do this.) Just like an answering machine, after a certain number of rings it will pick up and take the fax. But this is no good if people call that number — they want to talk to you, not the machine. The other option, and the better choice if you receive faxes only occasionally, is to know how to put your fax machine in receive mode after you’ve answered the phone. When you pick up the phone and hear the beeping of another fax machine, you can press some keys on your touchtone pad to put your fax machine in receive mode. Quietly hang up your handset, and wait while your fax is delivered.

I don’t know if every fax machine has the ability to be activated in this way, but most do. Every model is different, so read the manual to find out how. On many HP multifunction machines, pressing 1-2-3 (not too quickly) activates the fax receive mode. I once had a Brother fax machine that let me set the code.

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