In one of those serendipitous moments, I found that by upgrading one thing, I fixed another thing.
One of the nifty things that you can do with VoIP is add a virtual number to your system. The number can be located pretty much anywhere, as long as your “voice ISP” has a block of numbers available in the locale that you want to have the number.
In my case, I wanted to have a local number available in Albany, New York which is area code 518. So, I logged into the VoicePulse web site, chose the location and selected a number from the ones available. VoicePulse charges US$11.00 to set up a number, and then $11.00 at the beginning of each month for the number.
That should have solved the issue. I was able to verify almost immediatly that my credit card had been charged. But when I called the number I’d get the “the number you have dialed is not in service” message, which follows the three high-pitched tones.
What to do? First, of course, send a note the VoicePulse tech support. They called back and asked for a transcript of the SIP debugger in Asterisk. So, I logged into the Trixbox with my SSL terminal program, logged on to the Asterisk command line, and then activated SIP Debug.
AsteriskBox$ asterisk -vvvvvvvvvvr
AsteriskBox$ sip debug
This gave me a transcript of all the SIP commands, and it was obvious that indeed the call was getting as far as the Trixbox, but was being rejected for some reason. So, I figured it had to be an issue with inbound routes in the Asterisk configuration. These are configured using FreePBX. Poking around on the FreePBX forums, I found that the version I was using was still a release candidate, and indeed other people had had problems with inbound routes. So, an upgrade was in order, and excellent instructions were given on the forum. And indeed, now the inbound number works.
I now have a “local presence” in Albany, even though I’m in Vermont.