I'm looking to program an alphanumeric paging frequency for a fire department. Each rig has its own cap code so I'm looking for a way I can monitor a few different ones at the same time. I've seen pagers that can you can program and change frequencies without software and a cradle.What do you mean by "Hand-programmable?" I dealt almost exclusively with pagers for a couple of years in the 90s and never saw anything that could be changed on the fly. Also, are you looking to monitor the commercial paging frequencies in the VHF band or a proprietary system? There are restrictions on monitoring the commercial frequencies if you're not a customer.
My recommendation would be to just get a pager, programming cradle and the software from: Alpha Pagers | Unication USA
The unication would do it, as I said, I haven't really kept up on the technology but a quick search shows this: Programmable Alphanumeric Pager Alpha Beeper POCSAG Pager Receiver GP2009N | eBay which can take up to 8 CapcodesIt being hand programmable doesn't matter as much the important thing is that it can be programmed for multiple cap codes.
I can speak for the POCSAG pagers, my department had a proprietary paging system up until a few years ago. They worked well, and were just as rugged as the Advisor Elite that we had before Motorola ceased production. Visually, they are identical and as an end user, you couldn't tell them apart.Looks like the unication ones can do up to 16 cap codes you would be in good shape with one of those. I have their G5 p25 pager so I cant speak for the alpha pagers but unication also produces the minitor pagers for M so they are a good company.