1. Alpha Pager Troubleshooting

This document will explain how to correct the most common errors that you will encounter while using the Alpha Pager feature of WIN-911.


A. Alphanumeric Paging and TAP

In order to properly set up WIN-911 to use Alpha Paging, its best to have an idea of the basics of TAP and Alphanumeric paging. Tap or Telocator Alphanumeric Protocol is the protocol by which WIN-911 send alphanumeric pages. This is a modem to modem communication. Pager services have modem banks set up to receive pages via TAP. If you were to have, let’s say, 30 or so Alpha Pager connections defined in WIN-911 if they are all on the same pager service then to send a page to any of these pagers you dial the same number, the phone number of the TAP modem bank. When that modem bank is reached, it prompts WIN-911 for a PIN number. Each pager is associated with a PIN number found in the pager's phone number. The pager service uses that PIN number to decide where to send pages. So in a scenario with 30 pagers, each Alpha Pager connection would use the same pager number but each pager would use a different PIN number. 

NOTE: TAPI is the only protocol that WIN-911 uses to send pages directly through a phone line.


B. Diagnostic Logging

The first step to diagnosing and correcting any issue related to alpha paging is to enable Diagnostic Logging. To do this, open the Configurator then go to Tools. Select Diagnostic Logging. Enable Diagnostic Logging for Alpha Paging by selecting the Dial-out Pager option. A checkmark will appear next to the text.


While Diagnostic Logging is a powerful tool for diagnosing problems with your WIN-911 setup, it is just that, a tool for diagnosing problems. It is not advisable to run your day to day operations with Diagnostic Logging on. It increases CPU, memory and disk usage greatly. It is not uncommon for monthly log files to extend into the gigabyte range with Diagnostic Logging on. Use it only for correcting the issues you are experiencing.

Unable to open COM port

This error, while specific can be caused by three things.


Check the following:

  • Your modem is installed properly. Open the Windows Control Panel. Go to System. Click the Hardware tab. Open the Device Manager. Find the Modems branch and expand it. If you do not see your Hayes compatible modem under the Modems branch, then you must install the appropriate drivers for your modem. If there is a red ‘X’ next to your modem’s name then it has been disabled. Right-click it and click Enable. If there is a yellow yield shaped sign with an exclamation mark next to your modem’s name then there is an issue with your modem’s hardware or driver installation. Try reinstalling your driver.

  • You must select the correct COM port in WIN-911. Open the Windows Control Panel. Go to Phone and Modem Options. Click the Modems tab. Your Modem, if properly installed, will appear in this list with its COM port next to it. Open the WIN-911 Configurator and click the Define Pager icon. Select the COM port of your modem from the port drop-down box. Click OK. Save your configuration and restart WIN-911 for the change to take effect.
  • Some other pieces of software may have the COM port. Shut WIN-911 down. Test this by attempting to open the COM port in HyperTerminal. On your Start menu go to Programs, Accessories, Communications, then HyperTerminal.

Enter any name you like in the Connection Name field. In the Connect Using field select the appropriate COM port. See step 3 for finding that out. Do not select the modem driver's name. Click OK. Click OK on the Port Settings dialog. If you receive the message below, then some other application is using your modem. Shut it down and then try to open the same COM port in HyperTerminal again. If successful, then close HyperTerminal and restart WIN-911.


C. No Carrier

This error indicates that WIN-911 was not able to connect to your pager service’s TAP phone number. TAP or Telocator Alphanumeric Protocol is the protocol that WIN-911 uses to send alphanumeric pages. If the modem bank you are dialing does not support TAP or if, more likely, the number you are dialing is not answered by a modem then you will receive this error.


Check the Following

  1. You are dialing the correct number. Open the WIN-911 Configurator. Open your Phone Book and edit the name you are attempting to page. Verify that this is your pager service’s TAP phone number and that you haven’t made a mistake entering it. Call your pager to confirm you have the correct TAP number
  2. You may need to dial 9 or some other number to get out of your phone system. If so, enter a 9 in front of your Alpha Pager phone number followed by a comma. Depending upon your phone system you may need to enter two or even three commas. A comma equals a 2-second pause.
  3. Your phone line may be disconnected or you may have some other line issue. Attach a phone to the line that WIN-911 is dialing from. It is very important that it be the same line and not some other line in the same building. Physically disconnect the phone line from the computer that runs WIN-911 and attach that line to a phone. Listen for a dial tone and dial the alpha pager phone number you have configured WIN-911. Be sure to dial the number exactly how you have it in the Phone Book. If you hear anything other than the screech of a modem, then you’re dialing the wrong number. Call your pager service to confirm you have the correct TAP number and pager pin.


Timeout Waiting for ID= or Timeout Waiting for Ack:

This error indicates that you may have connected to your pager service, but WIN-911 is awaiting a response that it never receives. This would mean that either WIN-911 is not waiting long enough for the response or WIN-911 is not using the proper settings for your pager service.


Check the following:

  1. Increase the time that WIN-911 waits for a response from your pager service. To do this, open the Define Pager dialog by clicking its icon in the WIN-911 Configurator. On the Commands tab, set the Modem Response Time-out to 10 seconds. Click OK. Open the Options dialog. Click the Timing tab. Set the Before Aborting Page option to 20. Click OK. Save your configuration and restart WIN-911 for the changes to take effect.
  2. Your pager settings could be incorrect. Open the pager definition by clicking the Define Pager icon on the WIN-911 Configurator. You will only be concerned with the Dial-out Paging section. If you have gotten this far, then that indicates that your Port selection is correct. The Baud, Parity, and Data Bits are all in question. The settings used most commonly with the TAP is Data Bits = 7, Parity = Even, and Baud = 2400. Click OK, save the configuration and restart WIN-911. If this does not work, then reduce the baud to 1200, 600, maybe 300 . If all of these changes are unsuccessful then your pager service may be using different settings. Call your pager service and ask for the appropriate setting for baud, data bits, and parity.
  3. You may be using the wrong pager PIN number. Call your pager service and ask for the correct pager PIN number for your pager. Once you have it, edit the Alpha Pager connection you’ve defined in your phone book so that WIN-911 uses the correct PIN number. Save your configuration and restart WIN-911.
  4. If you are able to send manual messages, but unable to send alarm messages then disable the Label Fields option in your Pager Definition on the Format tab.
  5. If you’ve tried the appropriate settings and are still seeing the same error then you may have an issue with hardware or your pager service may be slow or unresponsive. If possible, try sending a page from a different phone line, computer, or to a different pager service.

D. Login Not Found

You are using the wrong pager PIN number. Call your pager service to determine the correct pager PIN number for your pager. Edit the connection in your phone book using the WIN-911 Configurator. Save the configuration and restart WIN-911.


Technical Support

To create a support case, you will need either your Maintenance Support number or your CD Tracking number. You can create a Case online or contact the product support line: (512)326-1011.