Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Pagers and Beepers

Now, I am 23 years old, but I remember back to the day when beepers/pagers were the gadgets to have. If you had a company pager, it meant you had some power at your company. People wanted to get a hold of them.  My own father had a pager back in the day. Thinking back, I believe the model I have shown above is the kind my father had.  I also remember when he traded up to a cell phone.  When I was in grade school, kids did not yet have cell phones (they were too darned expensive), but lots of adults had pagers, and I remember kids comparing one parent to another using the basis of whether or not they had a beeper.  When I was a very young kid, I could count all the tech gadgets I was exposed to on one hand. There was the desktop computer, the game console, the telephone, and the beeper.  As of right now the only industry that still uses beepers is the health care industry (doctors and nurses).
I had no idea how beepers worked, which added to their coolness. I recently read up on how they work, and some of this might be a bit technical for some of my readers, but I will do my best to explain it in nontechnical terms.  Most pagers are one way systems, meaning they can only accept information; not send it. They, for the most part, ran on the 900 MHz band spectrum. Lots of other gadgets also use that band, including older cordless house phones. Some early pagers could only display digits, so the message was just the number of the caller.  Most newer pagers could do both numbers and short strings of text.  When a person wanted to send a message to the pager, they could use a computer terminal to send the message.  You could dial a number and then record a message which is transcribed to a message for the pager. 
If anyone has comments about their memories of pagers, please post them below.

1 comment:

  1. When I was a kid, I asked my sister why she was using a pager. She said that she’s uses it to exchange messages with her classmates. As I recall, her beeper had a transparent case and was so small that she could fit it in her pocket. That’s one of the first in wireless messaging, I assume.