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PLAIN PHONE LIES IN WAIT AS HOUSEHOLD SPY

One of the innovative items at the recent Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas was the TeleSpy, a traditional-looking and normally operating telephone. What makes the TeleSpy unique is its ability to act as a no-cost security monitoring system.

Installation is quick and simple. If you can plug a phone into a standard phone jack, then you can install the TeleSpy. There are no complicated adjustments to activate. Simply position and aim the phone in the direction of the area you want monitored. Plug the standard modular plug into your phone jack and plug the supplied AC power adapter into the jack on the side of the phone.

The 30-foot throw distance covers a 20-foot-wide area. Use the test position switch to compensate for pets.

To arm, pick up the handset and dial in the phone number you want called in the event of an intrusion, then hang up. Since this becomes the last number dialed, it's in the phone's memory and will be the number called. Turn the power switch on.

When the phone senses an intrusion in the specified area, it will silently dial the number you requested, be it a wired or cell phone model, anywhere in the world. When that phone answers, you will hear everything going on for up to 60 seconds. After a 30-second reset period, that number will be dialed again if the activity is still present. In the meantime, you contact your local law enforcement agency to report the intrusion.

When you use an external siren and the security mode is turned on, no number is dialed and the siren is heard immediately. This feature is handy when you are sleeping and want to be alerted to unwanted activity in the area.

An additional feature allows external devices like a smoke alarm or window/door switch to be plugged in. If a fire breaks out or an unwanted entry is made, the phone is triggered to become active and you are alerted.

Since this is a self-contained device you pay no monthly fees to anyone. I tested this phone and found it to work well.

Retail prices vary from $80 to $125. You can learn more at the company's Web site, www.telespy.biz.

Bob Skidmore is a freelance writer who may be contacted at bskidmore@mac.com.

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