How many Departments use alpha-numeric pagers instead of tone and voice pagers? Which do you like better?
The reason I'm asking this is because the county I live in is going to be switching from Low band to a 450 trunked radio system and the new paging system is going to be alpha-numeric and I personally have some concerns regarding the pagers,
#1. are they as loud as a tone and voice pager?
#2. are they as rugged?
#3. Can they hold more then one set of tones compared to the tone and voice pager?
Thanks, any help would be greatly appreciated.
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Thread: Alpha-Numeric Pagers
02-19-2003, 02:21 PM #1
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- Feb 2003
02-19-2003, 02:28 PM #2
We use them for the County Hazmat team and ours could wake the
dead. As for Tones, use set up a call list and everone in the call
list gets paged with the info, or you can just page one person at a time. And rugged wel mine has been to many a fire survived been dropped countless times and short of total immersion in water for
extended amounts of time they like water.AKA: Mr. Whoo-Whoo
IAFF Local 3900
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02-19-2003, 02:39 PM #3
- Join Date
- Oct 1999
- Why? It's not like you're going to visit me! But I'm near Waco, Texas
we use alpha numeric pagers as back up to our voice tone pagers. ruggedness depends on what brand you get. dropping one in a toilet is certain death. the experience i have with them is there is on average about a 30 second delay from the time the page is sent to the time the pager receives the page. there are times we don't get pages or they come across scrambled. the only good thing about the alpha pagers is for receiving times and information for meetings or open shifts.
depending on what brand pager you get you can have about 2 different Cap Codes programmed. One is the individual one and then a group code. group is good for when you don't want to clog up the paging system by sending out 20 pages when you can send just one.
get lots of information before hand especially from the pager vendor. get information like what happens if their server goes down, how can messages get out. or you can spend some more money and get your own paging server that you control.NREMT-P\ Reserve Volunteer Firefighter\Reserve Police Officer
Experts built the Titanic, amateurs built the Ark.
02-19-2003, 04:17 PM #4
I know for EMS purposes they are great for dispatch info and they are pretty loud. I still think that voice pagers are more rugged though...at least with the experience I have had with them. I don't know of any Fire Depts in my area that are using them."Some days your the dog, some days your the hydrant"
02-19-2003, 05:28 PM #5
If you have your own dedicated paging system, they are great. But many dept's rely on using commercial paging services (Verizon, Cingular, etc). There is no priority for your calls over everyone else and their brother with a pager. If the paging site goes down, they fix it when they get to it. These system can be SECONDARY notification but can NOT be relied on for actual dispatching.
If it's your own dedicated paging system, you are the only ones using it and when it breaks, radio service contract is out there in 15 minutes to get it back up. You would need your own paging encoder, a a couple hundred watt paging transmitter, a nice expensive antenna, and a spot on a nice high tower. Then the system is YOURS. You know your radio contractor is doing the work and (hopefully) knows what they are doing. Hommie G lookin to buy a baggie of crack paging his dealer is not going to get in the way of Aunt Edna having an MI. THAT can be used as a primary dispatch.
All the different alpha pagers vary in regards to loudness. They do not use "Tones" to activate. There is a digital burst protocol called POCSAG that sends the data along with the recipiant's capcode. Usually, each pager has it's own capcode and therefor can be individually addressed by the paging system. The dispatcher can page everyone or only specific people.Even the burger-flippers at McDonald's probably have some McWackers.
02-19-2003, 08:55 PM #6
I have seen cases where, for some unknown reason, an alpha-page took over half an hour to get through. Not very common, but I suppose it could cause some trouble.
Sure beats the big loud siren going off at two in the morning, though.
02-22-2003, 01:40 PM #7
- Join Date
- Mar 2000
Our county dispatch has its own alpha dispatch and it is just about 100% reliable. As soon as they hit send, the pagers go off, and so far in my dept, we have not had any problems with missed pages. We use the alpha for our primary paging system, and it works great. I think you were asking if you could have it programmed to be used with multiple dept.s or multiple tones? If so, the answer is yes. I have a Motorola Advisor Gold, with this pager I have six mailboxes, you can set it up like this- 1-station 1 fire tone, 2- station 1 ems tone, 3- staion 1 officer tone, 4-your personal tone, 5-staion 2 tones, 6-station 3 tones, or whatever you want. As far as being as loud, it is almost as loud, it does not always wake me up, but for the most part there should't be any problems. Hope this answered your questions. If not a good person to talk to IS Dalmation90, he knows much more about this system than I do...Stay Safe...Jay"WAS THAT BEFORE OR AFTER YOU REALIZED YOU WERE STANDING IN A $#@%*&% PUDDLE OF GASOLINE?"
02-22-2003, 01:50 PM #8
- Join Date
- Jan 1999
The Debate rages
Here ya go...another whole thread about alphas.
We use them as a secondary way to page. As has been said....it depends on whether or not you control the system. Commercial carriers do not offer....at least here...any type of priority, so your page goes in the que with everyone elses.
As far as tones..I am little confused. We have groups set up in the software. These are not tones, and the only alert you receive is the ones the paging unit is programmed with. Remember that with the groups...the software pages alphabetically...so Ames will get his page before Zeller. And if you have a lot of people there can be minutes between the first and last page.
02-22-2003, 01:56 PM #9
- Join Date
- Mar 2000
I talk about it as tones because it is a little easier to understand. Your right about the groups etc., I just used a little bit of a different wording...Stay Safe...JAy"WAS THAT BEFORE OR AFTER YOU REALIZED YOU WERE STANDING IN A $#@%*&% PUDDLE OF GASOLINE?"
02-22-2003, 02:29 PM #10
As far as tones..I am little confused. We have groups set up in the software. These are not tones, and the only alert you receive is the ones the paging unit is programmed with.
The equivelant of tones in alpha pagers are "CAP Codes."
Whenever something goes out on the frequency the Alpha-numeric pager listens to the first part of the transmission. If it contains a CAP Code programmed into that pager, then the pager continues listening and displays the message. Otherwise, the pager goes back to sleep and ignores the rest of the message (to conserve battery life).
Remember that with the groups...the software pages alphabetically...so Ames will get his page before Zeller. And if you have a lot of people there can be minutes between the first and last page.
Back when we where on the commercial paging system through PageNet, we paid for a "phantom" pager each month that was a Common CAP Code programmed in all our pagers, in addition to each pager's unique CAP code. Need everyone? One page, all pagers went off simultaneously. Just the officers? Then we used the group feature in the software, and like HFD said, the paged one at a time in alphabetical order.
The proprietary system myself & jmatteau use is primarily oriented towards using common CAPs. My pager has Mortlake Fire & Ambulance CAPS; ambulance members of our department from Pomfret have Pomfret Fire & Mortlake Ambulance CAPs in their pagers.
The departments buy the pagers, the dispatch center programs them. They also have individual CAPs, but other than for officers I don't think they keep them in their system. So they'll page the Chief individually, but on the rare occassion they're looking for one or two firefighters they'll just blow a common CAP and ask for them to call dispatch. The dispatch center covers 12 towns, so keeping track of hundreds of grunt firefighters isn't a practical thing for them.
02-22-2003, 03:12 PM #11
- Join Date
- Jan 1999
We have a Group cap as well. And although they won't tell you this...pagers can be programmed with mutliple caps....or more than two.
1 issue we have had in the past was that Pagenet could only put 16 pagers on a common cap (thru their software). So they would install 14 pagers on the 1st cap, and then 2 more "phantom" numbers. Giving them another 32 pagers. They would repeat the process until all the pagers were on the system. It became a huge problem for them (too bad) and the company we are with now programs each pager with a dedicated cap and an individual one.
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