Send Old-Fashioned Pager Messages With New-Fashioned Hardware

In a world of always-connected devices and 24/7 access to email and various social media and messaging platforms, it’s sometimes a good idea to take a step away from the hustle and bustle for peace of mind. But not too big of a step. After all, we sometimes need some limited contact with other humans, so that’s what [EverestX] set out to do with his modern, pocket-sized communication device based on pager technology from days of yore.

The device uses the POCSAG communications protocol, a current standard for pager communications that allows for an SMS-like experience for those still who still need (or want) to use pagers. [EverestX] was able to adapt some preexisting code and port it to an Atmel 32u4 microcontroller. With a custom PCB, small battery, an antenna, and some incredibly refined soldering skills, he was able to put together this build with an incredibly small footprint, slightly larger than a bottle cap.

Once added to a custom case, [EverestX] has an excellent platform for sending pager messages to all of his friends and can avoid any dreaded voice conversations. Pager hacks have been a favorite around these parts for years, and are still a viable option for modern communications needs despite also being a nostalgic relic of decades past. As an added bonus, the 32u4 microcontroller has some interesting non-pager features that you might want to check out as well.

Thanks to [ch0l0man] for the tip!

5 thoughts on “Send Old-Fashioned Pager Messages With New-Fashioned Hardware

    1. Nope. Pagers are just (one way) radio receivers, requiring nothing but a transmitter sending the proper signals. If you transmit the signal on the right frequency with the right pager address, it should pop up on the pager screen.

  1. I am interested in low power POCSAG receiver hardware. I can find several good IC solutions for POCSAG decoding but so far no easy and sensitive IC(preferably in the ~400-450mhz commercial and amateur bands) I can breadboard a prototype for the software side devs which can do what a 90s Motorola belt pager could do, run for a month on a AAA cell.
    This is for an offline phone solution where a Linux Pinephone(has an i2c pogo pin and available ribbon connector add-on interface) is equipped with a POCSAG receiver(obviously requiring amateur radio paging, commercial paging subscription, or local area sub regulation power paging services) to allow a radio silent phone to call-back a paged phone number or display a message in near real time after choosing to power up the modem but until the choice is made existing as a modern connected yet private, anonymous, and radio silent entity.
    If you can help the discussion is here:
    https://forum.pine64.org/showthread.php?tid=11264

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