Abstract This paper presents a new digital impedance measuring technique for transmission lines that combines symmetrical components and the complex differential equation of an equivalent fault loop circuit. The phase voltages and currents at the relaying point are transformed into symmetrical components using Fourier filters of short window length. Depending on fault type, an appropriate fault loop circuit is formed, signals of which are the appropriate symmetrical components, while a parameter of which is the positive sequence impedance being a geometrical measure of the distance from the relaying point to a fault. The impedance, however, is measured very fast by on-line solving the complex differential equation originated for this fault loop circuit. Consequently, this approach combines frequency domain estimation of symmetrical components (accurate filtration) and time domain measurement of positive sequence impedance (high speed response). The presented method suits well the protection of parallel lines against high-resistance faults occurring very close to the far end of a line. A new method is proposed for detecting high-resistance faults and deciding which line out of two parallel lines actually suffers a fault. The included EMTP test results demonstrate the efficiency of the proposed relaying algorithm.