Sunday, June 26, 2022
Content

Amateur Pager

Version 4

User Guide

VE3ODR     VE3JPR

 

Table Of Contents

Introduction____________________________________ 3

Getting Started__________________________________ 3

Connecting your Pager____________________________ 3

Operation_____________________________________ 4

Power On_____________________________________ 4

Sending a Page_________________________________ 5

Receiving a Page________________________________ 5

Replaying or Erasing a Page________________________ 5

Advanced_____________________________________ 6

Normal Mode / Maintenance Mode                                    6

Factory Reset__________________________________ 6

Personal ID’s__________________________________ 7

Security______________________________________ 7

Public Passwords / Restricted Passwords_____________ 7

1, 2, 3 or 4 digit Passwords_______________________ 8

Recording Voice Announcements___________________ 8

Pager Coordinator______________________________ 8

Trouble Shooting_______________________________ 9

DTMF Receiver________________________________ 9

DTMF Transmitter Testing________________________ 9

Error Messages________________________________ 9

Volume Adjustment_____________________________10

Tips on usage__________________________________11

Coordinators__________________________________11

24/7_________________________________________11

24 hour Assistance______________________________12

Other Uses____________________________________12

Personal Calls__________________________________12

Group Calls____________________________________12

Net Alerts_____________________________________12

ARES and CANWARN__________________________12

Features and Functions___________________________13

Normal Mode / Maintenance Mode / Factory Reset_____13

Normal Mode Commands________________________13

Maintenance Mode Commands____________________13

Error Messages________________________________13

Cable Connections______________________________13


Introduction

The Amateur Pager was designed to provide personal paging on the Amateur bands, using the numeric keypad on your microphone. 

 

The Pager will monitor the audio output of a radio.  If it receives the correct set of DTMF tones, it will light the appropriate LED, sound 5 beeps, and the speaker will be turned on so that the on-air Message can be heard.  A 15 second Message will also be recorded.  The Message can be played back at any time by momentarily pressing the Reset button.  For the benefit of the blind, pressing the Reset button will also announce the current status of the LED's.  The pager supports a unique Personal ID and Group ID's.

 

The pager comes fully assembled and an input cable is included.  Cables to connect to a power supply are unique to each installation and therefore not provided.  In addition, a receiver, Transceiver, or scanner and a 12 volt source of power are required. 

 

Getting Started

The Pager is ready to use right out of the box.  It comes already configured for minimum security and has no Personal ID.  First you must prepare a power cable and connect up the system. 

 

If you wish to add voice announcements, ID's or change passwords, you must also configure your pager.  Configuration is described in the Advanced section of this document.

 

Connecting your Pager

Input Cable

            A cable is provided with a 3.5 MM mono phone plug on both ends.   

 

Power Cable

      Prepare a cable with a power connector (ID=2.1 mm OD=5.5 mm) on the Pager end and connect it, centre positive, to a 12 V DC supply. 

(ID=2.5 mm OD=5.0 mm) will also work but may not make a reliable connection.

 

      You can use a common power supply in your shack, a battery or a wall module. (8V to 15V is acceptable) The current drawn is 70 milliamps maximum and generally around 30 milliamps.

 

Caution Under low load, wall modules generally provide much higher voltage than they are rated.

 

Speaker Cable

                An external speaker is optional.  Prepare a cable with a 3.5 MM mono phone plug on the Pager end and connect it to an external speaker.

The impedance of the speaker is not critical.  Inserting the speaker plug into the pager will disconnect the internal speaker.

 

 

Receiver

      The Pager monitors the output of a receiver.  This could be the audio output of a transceiver, or a scanner.

 

Connect the system

The Input cable goes from the Receiver earphone jack to the Pager Audio Input jack.  The Power cable goes from the power source to the 12V+ jack on the Pager. The speaker cable (Optional) goes from a speaker to the Pager Speaker jack.

Operation

In order to test your pager, you require a transmitter to send the DTMF commands as well as a receiver to feed those commands into the pager.

 

Tune your transmitter and your receiver to a simplex frequency (146.580) so your testing does not annoy other users of the repeater.  Turn down the squelch on your radio and adjust the volume control on the radio for a moderate level of static.            

Power On

When power is applied to the Pager, all the LED’s will flash, one beep will be heard and the Pager will be in Normal mode. 

 

Press the Red button in and the Green LED should remain on, without flashing.  This indicates that the speaker is connected.  Turn the squelch on the radio counter clockwise and set the volume to a normal level.  Then turn the squelch back up to shut off the noise.

 

If the Red button is pressed in then the Green LED will be on steady and the speaker will be connected.  This permits you to hear all traffic that is received by the receiver.

If the Red button is released, then the Green LED will be flashing and the speaker will be muted.  You will not hear anything until an Alert is received.

 

“Flashing means Muted”

 

Sending a Page

In order to send an alert to your pager, you require an additional transmitter which is equipped with a DTMF keypad.

 

To send an alert you must send a password, followed by a command.  The password is the one character #.  The command is one of the following:

Local Alert       - 0

Personal Call    - 1        (Inoperable until a Personal ID is configured)

Net Alert          - 2

ARES Alert      - 3

CANWARN    - 4

 

For example, to send a Local Alert you must press the press-to-talk, then key #0.

 

Receiving a Page

When a pager receives a string of DTMF tones it will recognize # as the password and the next character received will be accepted as a command.   A #0 will light the Local Alert LED.  #2 will light the Net Alert etc. 

 

When an Alert is received, the Pager will record the receiver audio for 15 seconds.   This may be replayed later.  The Red LED associated with the message will flash during the recording.

 

If more than one page is received, it will still light the appropriate LED, so there could be multiple red LED’s on at the same time.

 

All the Red LED’s may be extinguished by holding the Reset button (Grey) for more than 3 seconds.  This will also erase the recorded message.

 

Note: The Pager must be configured with a Personal ID before it can receive a Personal Call (Command 1).

Replaying or Erasing a Page

When an Alert is received, a 15 second message is recorded.  You may playback this message any number of times, by momentarily depressing the reset button (Red).

 

You may erase the message and extinguish the Red LED’s by pressing the reset button for more than 3 seconds.

 

If there is more than one Red LED lit, you may only play back the most recent message.  The Red LED associated with the message will flash during the playback.

 

The message and the status of the LED’s is retained across a power interruption.

 

Advanced

In order to configure your pager, you require a transmitter to send the DTMF commands and a receiver to feed those commands into the pager.

Tune your transmitter and your receiver to a simplex frequency (146.580) so your testing does not annoy other users of the repeater.  Turn down the squelch on your radio and adjust the volume control for a moderate level of static, then turn up the squelch to stop the static.

 

Maintenance mode allows you to configure the pager to suit your needs.  The pager comes from the factory with default values to make the pager "Ready to use", right out of the box.  It is configured with 1 digit passwords and no Personal ID. If you wish to add a Personal ID, Group ID, or change the Public or Restricted passwords, you can do so by entering Maintenance Mode.  It also includes a command to record the voice announcements for each Red LED. These commands are disabled during normal use.  You can enter Maintenance Mode by holding the Reset button for less than 7 seconds, while you power on the Pager.

 

Normal Mode / Maintenance Mode

The Pager is usually run in Normal mode, which enables the Alert commands and blocks the Configuration commands.  This prevents someone from reconfiguring all the pagers on a repeater, either accidentally or maliciously.  Maintenance mode must be enabled at the Pager by holding the Reset Button while power is applied to the Pager.  Power on without holding the Reset button will bring the pager up in Normal mode with all Configuration commands blocked. 

 

Maintenance mode also enables a series of error messages that assist in reconfiguring the Pager. 

 

The password for all commands in Maintenance mode is always one pound sign. #

Factory Reset

Things can go wrong when changing passwords or ID’s, but you can always return to the Factory Configuration when the Pager was shipped. 

 

Press the Reset button while you apply power to the pager, but continue to hold it for more than 7 seconds.  When you hear it beep 3 times you know that the Pager has been reconfigured back to the factory settings.

 

The factory settings are:

Personal ID table is empty

Number of digits in the passwords is 1

Public password is #

Restricted password is #

 

Personal ID’s

Each Pager may be configured with one or more Personal IDs.  It will respond only to Personal Calls that contain a matching ID.  This will allow someone to Alert one particular Pager or a group of pagers, without disturbing the others.  The Pager can be configured with as many as 10 ID’s.  If two or three Pagers have the same ID, then they will respond together to a Personal Call.  We call this a Group ID. 

 

You may configure your pager with an ID by sending the following command:

#1nnn

Where nnn is the 3 digit ID.

You may send this command multiple times, once for each ID, up to a total of 10 ID’s.

 

You cannot change or remove a particular ID, but you can reset the entire table of ID’s by sending the following command:

#0

Then you can use #1nnn to rebuild the table of ID’s.

 

Security

Security will be discussed under the following topics:

Normal / Maintenance mode

Public / Restricted passwords

1 to 4 digit passwords

Pager coordinator

Tips on usage

 

The Pager, as shipped, is configured for the minimum level of security.  That allows the simplest operation of the system.  The Pager may be configured for additional levels of Security, as required.

Note: After the password length is changed, both the Public and Restricted passwords must be re entered.

 

Now you can reconfigure the Pager to whatever you wish. 

Public Passwords / Restricted Passwords

When in Normal mode, Commands 0, 1 and 2 require the Public password while commands 3 and 4 require the Restricted password.  The Public password may be published freely within the Amateur community but the Restricted password may only be given to those who are authorized to issue the ARES and CANWARN Alerts.  When shipped, the Pager is configured with both Public and Restricted passwords set to one pound sign. #

 

To change the Public password, enter the following:

#2nnn

Where nnn is the new password.  The number of digits must be the same as was set by the command described below.

 

To change the Restricted password, enter the following:

#3nnn

Where nnn is the new password.  The number of digits must be the same as was set by the command described below.

 

1, 2, 3 or 4 digit Passwords

Passwords can be confusing and difficult to remember, so the Pager is shipped already configured for 1 digit passwords.  If you are using the Pager in an area that is prone to malicious interference, you may choose to increase the number of digits in a password to up to 4 digits.  After you change the number of digits, be sure to also reenter the Public and Restricted passwords as described above.

 

To change the length of both passwords, enter the following:

#4n    

Where n is the new number of digits in the passwords.

Recording Voice Announcements

Voice announcements are intended primarily for the blind, but they do add a nice touch.  Six announcements may be recorded, one for each of the red LED’s, and one for no alerts. 

 

To record the announcements do the following steps:

  • Put the pager in Maintenance mode by applying power while holding the Reset button.  You should hear two beeps.
  • Place the pager in front of you, press the PTT and enter the #5 command.  Each Red LED will come on for 2 seconds, one at a time, from left to right.
  • While each LED is on, speak clearly the label for that LED.
  • After all 5 Alerts have been recorded, all Red LED's will come on together for 2 seconds.  At that time say "No Alerts". 
  • Release the PTT

 

After recording the announcements, you may verify the recording if you:

  • Press and release the Reset button.  It should play back "No Alerts" and sound one beep. 
  • Remove and reapply power to the pager.  This will bring it up in Normal mode, which will disable the configuration commands, but will enable the normal mode commands. 
  • Send each of the five Alerts, which will light all five LED’s. 
  • Press the reset button (Grey) and you should hear all five announcements.

 

You may repeat this procedure until you are satisfied with the quality of the recording.

Pager Coordinator

Pagers are designed to be used by a community of Hams, usually sharing the same repeater.  Since Personal ID’s must be unique within the community, it is usually best if one person assigns or at least coordinates the choice of ID’s and passwords.

 

Trouble Shooting

DTMF Receiver

If you feel that the decoder is not decoding reliably, try turning down the volume control on the receiver.  The input may be overloading the DTMF decoder.

DTMF Transmitter Testing

Some transceivers have been found to send faulty DTMF tones.  This can generally be corrected by an adjustment by a good technician.  If you find that a Pager is not responding reliably then, in Normal mode, turn on Error Messages by sending the following command:

#5

# must be replaced with your current Public password.

 

After turning on the messages, send a 1.  After a 3 second pause, the pager should respond with 1 short beep.  Send a 2 and after a pause, it should respond with 2 short beeps.  The number of short beeps corresponds with the key that was decoded.  There are several exceptions:

Zero     returns 10 beeps,

*          returns 11 beeps,

#          returns 12 beeps. 

 

You may find that only certain digits will fail to return the correct number of beeps. 

 

Sending #5 a second time will turn the messages off.  Leave messages off most of the time as they are quite annoying in normal use.

Error Messages

Errors are indicated by a series of beeps, as listed below. These will explain why a command has been rejected and may also be used to determine if each DTMF tone is being Sent, Received, and Decoded correctly. 

 

The messages are disabled when the Pager enters Normal mode.  They are enabled when the Pager enters Maintenance mode.  They may also be enabled / disabled by entering the following command:

#5

# must be replaced with your current Public password.

 

Error Messages

1 short Beep     - Command completed successfully

2 long Beeps    - Invalid Password

3 long Beeps    - Invalid Command

4 long Beeps    - Invalid ID

5 long Beeps    - ID Table Full

6 long Beeps    - Program Error

 

Volume Adjustment

There are two volume controls that are accessible through the back panel of the pager.  One adjusts the playback volume of the recording.  The other adjusts the volume of the beep.

 

The volume control on the receiver will adjust listening level from the receiver.

 

Tips on usage

Many radios will allow you to store sequences of DTMF codes.  This will make it easier for your more frequent personal calls.

 

Think about it.  There are lots of ways that this pager can be helpful.

 

Coordinators

The Amateur Pager relies on the use of DTMF tones to send its messages.  Other systems, such as a telephone patch, IRLP and repeater controllers, also use DTMF tones and could cause conflict.  There is also the potential for improper use.  Both of these problems may be dealt with through the judicious use of passwords.

 

Coordinators, use the default passwords unless they are conflicting with your repeater environment.  If you must change passwords, choose your passwords carefully.  I chose to start them all with #, because that is generally the termination digit for a phone patch.  An * is the start of a telephone number and could cause the patch to try to dial your pager command.  Conversely, a telephone dialing sequence could trigger your pager.  Also check for IRLP sequences and for conflict with the DTMF commands used for linking or controlling the repeater.Protocol

The on-air protocol for the pager should be similar to the standard use of a phone patch i.e.:

 

"VE3JPR for the pager" then

(Send DTMF tones which connect the speaker in the pager) then

"VE3DEH this is VE3JPR, Please call me when you get home"

 

"VE3JPR for the pager" notifies others listening to the repeater that you are about to send some control tones, and why you are sending them.

"VE3DEH this is VE3JPR" tells the intended receiver who is calling.  It is important because nothing will be heard or recorded at the receiving end until after you send the DTMF tones.

 

Caution:  If the Speaker button is pressed, the green LED will be flashing but you will not hear any traffic on the radio because the speaker is muted.  Do not start talking on the radio until you have released the Speaker button and verified that there is no traffic, and also so you can hear the response to your call.

24/7

Pagers may be left on 24 hours a day with no annoyance because the speaker is generally muted.  If an Alert message is received, you will be notified by five beeps, and the speaker will be connected. This will allow you to hear the on-air Message.  The Message is also recorded for playback later.

 

Playback of the most recent message can be initiated by pressing the reset button.  Holding the reset button will reset the LED's and the Message.

 

“Don’t turn it off! . . . . Mute it!”

 

24 hour Assistance

The simplest command, #0, will get the attention of any pager that is tuned to the frequency.  This can be used if assistance is required on the highway, out skiing etc..  Since it is a public password, this could be made available to any radio amateur by publishing the command in the RAC magazine or on the OARC web site.  This would provide an excellent service to someone who is stranded on the highway.

 

Other Uses

Personal Calls

Personal Call allows an amateur to call someone else without disturbing the other listeners. 

Send #1008 to wake up the pager with Personal ID 008.  You can carry on a conversation, but the speakers on all the other pagers will remain muted.  This can also be helpful if you are mobile, but away from the car when you are called.  When you return to the car the Personal Call LED will be on, alerting you to the fact that someone called you while you were away.  Pressing reset will tell you who called.  The same would be true at a base station if you stepped out of the room for a while. 

When you come back you will know that you have been called, and pressing the reset button will replay the Message.

 

Group Calls

Personal Call supports up to 10 different ID's.  If a particular ID is shared by multiple pagers it becomes the ID for a group of pagers. 

 

Net Alerts

Net Alert is intended to catch the attention of others to remind them that a Net will be beginning shortly.  To initiate the Net Alert, send #2 and then announce the net.

 

ARES and CANWARN

ARES Alert and CANWARN Alert require the use of a restricted password.  It is known only to those who are authorized to declare an ARES or CANWARN Alert.  If you hear that CANWARN is up but the CANWARN Alert has not been sounded, send a Local Alert to get the attention of someone who can issue the CANWARN Alert.

 

Features and Functions

Normal Mode / Maintenance Mode / Factory Reset

Normal Mode              Power on

  • Public& Restricted passwords
  • Maintenance commands disabled
  • Messages disabled

Maintenance Mode       Power on + Reset button < 7 seconds

  • #  Password 
  • Normal commands disabled
  • Messages enabled

Factory Reset               Power on + Reset button > 7 seconds

                                    Configuration is set to:

  • Password Length          1 digit
  • Public Password           #
  • Restricted Password     #
  • Normal Mode
  • Messages Off

Normal Mode Commands

 

 

Public PW        + 0                   - Local Alert

Public PW        + 1 + ID           - Personal Call 

Public PW        + 2                   - Net Alert

Restricted PW  + 3       - ARES Alert

Restricted PW + 4        - CANWARN Alert

Public PW        + 5       - Messages On / Off

 

 

Maintenance Mode Commands

 

 

# + 0                - Reset ID Table

# + 1 + ID        - Set Personal ID         

# + 2                - Set Public PW

# + 3    - Set Restricted PW

# + 4    - Set PW Length

# + 5    - Messages On / Off

 

 

Error Messages

 

 

1 short beep     - Command successful

2 long beeps     - Invalid Password

3 long beeps     - Invalid Command

4 long beeps     - Invalid ID

5 long beeps     - ID Table Full

6 long beeps     - Program Error

 

 

Cable Connections

Input Jack  - Connection to transceiver

Power Jack  - Connection to 8 to 15 volts DC, centre positive

Speaker Jack - Connection to External speaker
               Internal speaker is muted