I'm putting in this posting primarily for Jim D., but would appreciate anyone with knowledge of the older land line phone lines, to provide any feedback. I've been in my home about 30 years, and have always used the land line phone lines, with service now supplied by AT&T. Last weekend, whenever someone tried to call me, I would get 1 short chirp, but no ringing, and couldn't receive a call, but I could still call out. I called AT&T, and they sent out a service guy who said the problem was not outside of the house, which is what they cover. To trouble-shoot and repair the problem, it would cost about $200. I told them I would call, when ready to have them do this. I then tried to follow the phone line into the house, and into the phone jacks, to see if anything was obviously bad. All I saw was in my crawl space, where the outside (4-wire) old line comes into the house, it goes into a heavy looking U-Shaped piece, which all the wires connect into different screws on the piece, and these connectors also connect to the wires which then go off to the phones. There was also a rather heavy ground wire which connects to the water piping. There was quite a bit of oxidation and crud on the piece, and I'm wondering - what is this piece?, what does it do?, would cleaning off the leads and re-connecting the wires resolve the problem?, and if I should need another of these pieces, where would I get something like this? Anything that might shed light on my problem would be greatly appreciated.