Getting on the air with POCSAG pagers

Discussion in 'Amateur Radio News' started by KI6NAZ, Dec 20, 2019.

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  1. KI6NAZ

    KI6NAZ Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    Pagers are alive and well in ham radio! Using your digital Hotspot you can relive the 90's with a pager that receives on ham radio frequencies. You can also set your pager up to receive ham radio news like band conditions, SOTA spots and DXCluster information. It is also a great environment to homebrew your own applications to send information to your pager!

    KA9JYO, KB0OTY, W5YZR and 8 others like this.
  2. K9STH

    K9STH Platinum Subscriber Volunteer Moderator Platinum Subscriber QRZ Page


    I absolutely hate pagers!

    In early 1966, as a senior at Georgia Tech, I was asked to, and did, establish and then manage, the very first Motorola owned portable / pager repair facility away from the Schamburg, Illinois, Motorola plant. The location was the Motorola C&E Area Office located in Forest Park, Georgia (southern suburb of Atlanta). We serviced pagers with operating frequencies as low as 67 kHz all the way to 470 MHz. While there, I wrote the field service manual for the Motorola Pageboy pager (later called a "Pageboy I" to keep it separate from the smaller Pageboy II pager).

    Then, during the entire 1970 decade, when I owned the Motorola reconditioned equipment center for the south-central United States, we reconditioned a LOT of various pager models. Next, during the 1980s, a company, that I owned, handled the radio paging systems for a number of Hospitals in the Dallas, Texas, area including the primary county hospital for Dallas County and the University of Texas research hospital.

    The administrator, at the Dallas County hospital, asked me to carry one of the pagers operating on their particular frequency. I asked why and was told so that they could immediately contact me when the paging system went down. I asked the question several times before she realized that, if the paging system was down, they couldn't page me!

    It was not until I was employed as an in-house telecommunications consultant with TXU (electric company and a lot more) for almost half the State of Texas, that I had to carry a pager. I was on the emergency response team for various functions including the nuclear electric generation Comanche Peak Steam Electric Generation plant. Unfortunately, the telephone number for the pager was very close to that used by a pimp. Several times a week, usually in the middle of the night, I would get a page. Then, when I called the indicated number, it would be one of his "girls" who had been arrested, assaulted by a "client", or something similar. Since my telephone number had been widely distributed, not only within the company, but with first responders, news agencies, etc., I was not allowed to get another number!

    The result is that I still "cringe" when I hear paging tones, digital, etc. Basically, I won't touch a pager with a 3.048-meter pole!

    Glen, K9STH
    AK4G, N1BJX, KF5RRF and 14 others like this.
  3. N9AMI

    N9AMI Ham Member QRZ Page

    I have my hotspot all setup for it and there is also the app from Dapnet on my phone I have used (send myself texts). I have been back and forth on if I really want or need to buy a pager as it seems I can get all the info I need on my cell. I do get the "fun" factor but problem is no one else seems to want to join in the fun.
    KF0XU and (deleted member) like this.
  4. K3XR

    K3XR Ham Member QRZ Page

    W3KCK likes this.
  5. KI6NAZ

    KI6NAZ Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    This made me laugh!
    W8NSI and K4BYB like this.
  6. KJ4YQK

    KJ4YQK Platinum Subscriber Platinum Subscriber QRZ Page

    KF0XU and KB2HSH like this.
  7. KM4OOD

    KM4OOD XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    I set up a PocSag " Repeater" using an MMDVM Hotspot running Pistar a few years back. It's nice to have it and to know how it functions, but I found myself simply not using it as much as in the US there isn't much interest in it, perhaps now there will be. I finished the BLog post here today adding some details on how to accomplish this, unfortunately like I said the pager is 100$ and unless there are other folks in your area that have the same interest in this hardware and software you will find yourself with a pricy pager without any need for it.
    K5MPH, KF0XU and K0UO like this.
  8. KM4OOD

    KM4OOD XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    It is 100$ and unless you are into software development or want to tinker with it, it quickly gets old as it isn't much you can do with it other than get a small page. But it does play on our nostalgia a bit, that's actually why I got into it a few years back.
    KF0XU and K0UO like this.
  9. K0UO

    K0UO Platinum Subscriber Platinum Subscriber QRZ Page


    In 2019, most of us have a phone with all the the web and apps for band conditions, SDR rec, spots, DX Cluster information and QRZ and it is two way!
    Last edited: Dec 22, 2019
    K4BYB and W8LGZ like this.
  10. N9FC

    N9FC Ham Member QRZ Page

    I don't know about sending that data, but part of the reason I became a ham was to be in charge of my own communications and not dependant on cellular network that I have no control of. I use APRS for some of this functionality and it's two way, but paging is another cool option.
    W1JT, IW3ILM, KG7HVR and 3 others like this.

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