We us mintor 4 pagers. A fire department not too far uses radios to page. Does anyone use either of these or something different to page out. And how well does it seem to work for you. Our pagers work fairly well but the 4s dont seem to be holding up as well as we would like and are trying to figure out if there is anything better.
Our department Uses a combination of minitor III's and V's. and our line officers also have portables. It works out nicely for our department since its more of a suburban area. It is all dependant on the freq that you are using for dispatch and the terrain in the area. My Minitor V will pickup the tones in just about the entire county wit the exception of a few low and or tight canyons in the area.
We are currently using the minitor pagers for paging calls and use text messages to cell phones for informational purposes. I am also a 911 dispatcher in same area where I am fire fighter so I get both sides and try to look at it from both stand points. Didnt know if anyone had a "better" way. But it appears everyone is in about the same boat.
Our department uses radios to page. You just have to have them set up with your departments tone decodes. You can leave it on the alert and when your tones drop then the frequency opens up, come in handy if people are always talking or like my department we share the frequency with 4 other departments. Some people on our department have 911 send us a text message on our cell phones, just like an alpha pager.
I know a lot of departments are really considering changing over to Vertex Standards. With a charger they run about $225 or so and a Motorola pager costs hundreds more than that and are receive only. With an identifier for every radio you eliminate the people who abuse the radios by making them receive only like a pager. They can br programmed with a alert tone as well. Whats better than that?
We use a lesser known product called "Infostream Xstrem" . It's an alpha-numeric system introduced to replace our aging Motorola alpha-numerics. It's a State-wide system, as we are a State-wide service. Broadcast is over VHF.
The pager has tone and vibrate alert, and gives initial detail about the incident; what it is, where it is, who is supporting. Does it work? Yes, pretty well, but nothing is perfect. The paging system can also be used to send personal messages, by anyone to anyone (they even want us to have our family use the system to conatact us) for the cost of a phone call or from our corporate website. Useful.
We use Minitor 2, 3, and 4 pagers and even have an original Minitor 1. I have a 5 that I own personally. In terms of reliability I would rank them (best to worst):
2 (all of ours are 20+ years old)
3 (very little problems)
5 (a couple of problems)
We bought 30 M4s in 2005 and I think I have sent all of them back for repair at some point due to intermittent receive. I can fix some problems on the 3s and 4s but often have to send them back to M for repair.
For units out of warranty they charge about $80. Usually it's a refurbed unit that comes back.
All in all the 5s are pretty good pagers, especially the ones with stored voice.
My dept uses a county wide radio page. It works well as long as you arent out in the extremes of the county or if the repeater isnt workin right. Each station in the county has its own tone frequency. Although my station & our sister staion to the north share the same tone. My station uses the motorola HT1250, it has a LCD display that allows you to see batt strength & what channel you are on. They seem to work well as long as the repeater works. Some dept use the HT1000 which is a very reliable radio.
We use Minitor 3's and 4's, but having made the switch to 800Mhz, it's a little harder to tone via the pagers, so we use radios for the full time staff to communicate, and page the part-paid via the VHF pagers.
Ok I am a 911 Dispatcher too for the same area I volunteer for. I am wondering how complicated it is to use to dispatch with. Do you have maybe a website I can go to and check specs, cost etc. Like I have said we use pagers/radio to pretty much let people know of calls. One of the problems we face is people not paying attention and have to repeat information. We have learned once someone goes enroute to repeat info especially if its night and waking folks up. I am in unique position that I get to see more than one side of paging.