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Page Notification via Email (old)

*NEW*

This page describes a method that requires an alerting receiver.  To download a program that can accomplish a similar task with a regular scanner or other receiver, click here.

 Disclaimer

The methods described on this page should never be used as a primary alerting method for mission-critical communications.  For professional mission critical alerting, including the ability to route alerts and real-time audio to cellular phones and computers, please see solutions available by companies such as Codespear or SecondSignal.

Also, I have no commercial interest in any of the products mentioned on this page...I'm just passing along some things that I've found useful. 

Purpose

The purpose of this page is to show a technique that can be used to send an mp3 audio email attachement to a list of recipients whenever a voice page is received from an alert receiver or pager such as the popular Motorola Minitor series.  This is useful for notification of incidents when you are out of range of the paging system.  For example, if you work in an area that is out of range of your paging transmitter, you can still keep tabs on what is going on in your district.  You'll get an email with audio of the call every time the pager goes off.

If all you want to do is record audio from a receiver or scanner for later review (without email notification), you can use free programs such as ScanRec or Xcorder

Overview

To implement this system, you'll need a spare voice pager or alert receiver, a computer with sound card and internet connection, and a $15 voice-activated recording program called Snooper.

The audio from the pager is fed into the sound card of the computer.  Snooper starts recording when audio is detected, and when it finishes recording it sends an email with an mp3 attachment of the recording.

This page will describe how both the pager and program should be configured.

Pager Configuration

The pager should be programmed so that it automatically resets a certain amount of time after receiving the page.  If the pager is allowed to stay in "monitor" mode indefinitally after a page is received, all subsequent radio traffic will be recorded and sent via email until the pager is reset.  I would recommend a reset time of thirty seconds to one minute, as this should be more than enough time to capture all of the dispather's audio and possibly the page acknowledgement.

Audio is taken from the pager from the earphone jack or, if available, from the line out pin on the accessory connector of an amplified charger.  This audio is routed to the LINE IN jack of the computer sound card.  Depending on the type of earphone jack or accessory connector that your receiver or pager has, different adapters and cables may be necessary to connect the receiver to the computer.

Snooper Configuration

The picture below shows the main window of the Snooper program.

Note that the "Sound activated" recording mode has been selected, and the "Send Email after recording" option is checked.  The Trigger level is set so that the recording is triggered when the pager or receiver alerts.

The next picture shows the General Settings screen of the program.

In this screen, you can have the program automatically start when Windows starts, and also have the program start recording whenever it is started.  These settings allow the system to automatically start back up in the event of a power failure.  

Another important setting on this screen is the "Split file when length is greater than X minutes" setting.  The program sends an email whenever the file is split, so it is important that this time is equal to the "post trigger" recording time.  Otherwise, the email won't be sent until at least X minutes of audio have been recorded, and that might take two pages' worth of audio if this is set up incorrectly.

The next picture shows the audio settings screen.

In this screen, the important settings are the Before trigger and After trigger time settings.  These dictate the length of the audio recording.  In this case, the program will record 60 seconds of audio after the recording is triggered.  This corresponds to the length of the pager reset and the time before splitting the file from the "General" settings screen.

The final screen shows the email settings.

This screen is where you specify the email SMTP server that you will use to send the emails.  Notice that the "From" email address can be set to something different than the actual email server being used.  In my case, I am using an email account from my local ISP as my SMTP server, but I put my gmail address as the "from address".

Also make sure that the "Send mail with sound attachment" option is selected, or you will get an email with no mp3 file attached.

Note that the program only allows you to put in one "To" email address.  If you want to send the email to more than one person, there are a couple of different options that you may consider, such as setting up a mailing list using Google groups or something similar.
 
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