Numeric pagers are usually direct-conversion so if you get close
enough, you could scan known pager frequencies for the low-level
leakage. I've tried this, and found one to cycle on/off (sampling
to save power) so get a pulsing sound. It's much too weak to trigger
CloseCall of course.
That is, unless someone else comes up with a definite answer...
I can't speak for my friends north of the border, but in general there are a few reasons for EMS personnel to carry pagers.
#1 Clarity of the call
You can get an exact address and info sent to a alpha pager so you do not have to ask the dispatcher for the address over and over (in case you are in a bad area or the dispatcher sounds like a drunk)
#2 Because they do have radios
Lets say everyone has a radio, if they have to leave it on all the time, then you will be using the battery power of the radio to just monitor all traffic (or just for your tones if you have a QCII enabled radio, but that still is a power draw).
#2.1 Not every person on an EMS crew might have a radio
#3 Extra/personal messages
In my county, they own their own paging network and they are able to also receive personal alphanumeric messages on their pagers. That includes all the volunteers for the local rescue squads as well as paid staff.
#4 EMS people just love hanging more crap on their belts, just ask them
On the radio, you'll hear something like "1309 a Delta call at 123 Anystreet for difficulty breating". Then on the pager, they'd get the address, chief complaint, age/sex of the patient, medical history, etc...
There is still a lot of use for voice paging as well as alpha paging, with the pagers having recording abilities you can play back the dispatch audio and maybe pick up something you missed the first time. That does require you RX the entire call from a good location, while the alpha pagers will pretty much be all or nothing.
My county actually uses a VHF frequency for their alpha network.
Yes and these were on 931.6875. Last I checked (3 months or so ago) everything was paged. I ran POC32 for the last 48 hours and have only seen maybe 20 or so calls. There is no problem with my setup as I'm getting lots of other pages on that frequency that aren't EMS related.
So I'm thinking they have either changed again, or are not using them anymore.
The reason for the personal issue now is because so many went missing.
After see the posts re: EMS paging, I downloaded and ran PDW v2.5 pager decoding software the other night with my PSR500 via soundcard .
Seems there are Niagara EMS pages on 931.6875 as well.
I did see a couple of Tor EMS pages like page for the cyclist P.I. Thurs.? night
There may be others in the 931 to 932Mhz range that are interesting
My friend works for TEMS, he recently sent me a email update with a new pager number (for work) and also instructing me I can now text a 250 character message instead of just leaving a phone number.. If someone needs to me ask some more questions just let me know and I will.