Motorola Minitor 4 pager

Here are a couple shots of the Minitor 4 pagers we purchased.

I decided to do a webpage about the Minitor 4 pagers to pass along some things I found out that aren't readily apparent.

One thing I noticed when reading the programming documentation was that many terms weren't explained. Here are a few definitions:

Monitor - the pager is 'open'...you hear everything on the channel. This is like having a one channel scanner.

Selective call - the pager is quiet until the paging tones 'open' the radio...usually referred to as 'page' mode.

Alert mode - the "beep, beep, beep" the pager makes when it is paged.

Vibrate mode - the pager vibrates instead of beeping.

Notes

We ordered the 2-channel version of this pager so we could use the county fire dispatch or our repeater to page. After reading through the programming manual I was disappointed to find out the scanning functions of this pager are very limited. If you choose the scanning option it only allows monitor mode with alert mode. There are no selective call or vibrate options if the pager is scanning. Additionally, if you set up the pager for priority scan it will not alert (page) on the second channel.

The pager control knob has four different positions...A, B, C, or D. Each position can be programmed differently. For the non-voice storage models we bought here are the 13 different options each position can have:

0 - Monitor F1 tone alert
1 - Monitor F2 tone alert
2 - Selective call F1 tone alert
3 - Selective call F2 tone alert
4 - Monitor F1 vibrate alert
5 - Monitor F2 vibrate alert
6 - Selective call F1 vibrate alert
7 - Selective call F2 vibrate alert
8 - Address off duty F1 tone alert selective call mode
9 - Address off duty F2 tone alert selective call mode
10 - Address off duty F1 vibrate selective call mode
11 - Address off duty F2 vibrate alert selective call mode
12 - Scan with tone alert only (priority or non priority)

Since 2-channel scanning is one of Motorola's selling points for the pager I'm disappointed there is only one option for it. My brother brought up a good point...having a pager in 'monitor' mode defeats the reason for carrying a pager, which is silence until paged. As an engineer, it seems like someone screwed the pooch on this one.

When I purchased the pagers I wanted to set them up as follows:

A - Scan, selective call, alert mode.
B - Scan, selective call, vibrate mode.
C - Scan, monitor mode, alert mode.
D - F1, selective call, alert mode.

However, since I've found out how limited the scanning and priority functions are I'll be setting them up as follows:

A - F1, selective call, alert mode.
B - F1, selective call, vibrate mode.
C - F2, selective call, alert mode.
D - Scan, monitor mode, alert mode. (the only scan mode available...grrrrrr)

Update 10/2003 - After sending a couple emails to Motorola they finally sent me a phone number. The guy I talked to was very courteous and forthcoming, but I didn't like what he had to tell me. According to him, the Minitor 4 designers felt the possibility existed that pages could be missed by having the pager scanning in a selective call mode so they didn't offer this as an option. He said he had received many calls requesting this option, but at this time it wasn't available. I'm disappointed. I feel this choice should be made by the person programming the pager, not by some guy at Motorola. Maybe one day they'll update the software......

Minitor 4 user manual - Courtesy of Michigan Emergency Packet Information Network

For those considering the stored voice option, there are only 2 options for it, and it's only available on F1.

Update - Fall 2004 - The Minitor 4s don't seem to be as sensitive and the older Minitor 2s we had. This seems to be a common complaint from users of the Minitor 3s and 4s. The newer Minitors use synthesized decoding and it just doesn't seem to work as well as the old reed switches.

Update - Fall 2006 - The Minitor 4s have continued to disappoint. In our rural setting many of our guys complain the Minitor 4s aren't receiving very well. The few Minitor 2s we have are highly sought after. My advice to anyone considering purchasing newer Motorola pagers would be to purchase paging portables. It would be more versatile and cost effective.

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