Bob Otto- Keowee Fire Dept
I’ve been looking to buy a pager of my own, one that would have a better battery life and was louder and easier to hear than the old Motorola units. Last year while attending the FDIC convention in Indianapolis, I got a chance to see all the various brands of pagers and really liked what I saw from a company called Unication.
After a bit of discussion with an engineer who was at the convention, they sent me one to field test for them. I’ve been using their product off and on since then and really like the pager. It has great sound, clear and very loud when you want it to be. It also is “water resistant” – tested to a Mil spec for the ability to work after being submerged for one hour at one meter (I think that’s what the spec is) so it will withstand the occasional water from use in firefighting – and that’s a good thing! The other day, I was on our dock and was trying to get a cover on our jet skis before a storm hit. I was standing at the end of the dock, stretching the cover over the jet ski, and all the sudden I saw my pager drop and bounce off the dock into the lake!! It was surreal….like a train wreck in slow motion….there it went into the lake. I watched in horror as it faded away in a mist of bubbles…….. I quickly undressed to my skivvies and dove in the lake……..man the lake is high! The water by the dock is probably around 15” deep now that the lake is up. Try as I may, each time I dove to the bottom I was just about out of air and didn’t have time to search before I had to surface. I must have dived at least a dozen times till I was exhausted. All I did was stir up the bottom. To say I was frustrated and upset would be an understatement. The next day I went to the station for a run and saw Dan Blakely and told him my sad tale of woe. Dan, being the truly nice guy he is, agreed to come to my home and dive for the pager. He did – and in one dive located it and brought it to the surface – THANK YOU SO MUCH DAN!!! Now mind you, the pager was on the bottom of the lake, in the muck and grime, turned on, for 24-30 hours at a depth of about 15’. I looked at the pager and the screen was blank, a truly bad sign. It was dripping water from the inside. I was quite convinced it was toast…or perhaps a better description would be it was like a dead gold fish, belly up!! I called Unication and they were gracious as could be and immediately sent me a new pager to continue the test evaluation. I took my dead gold fish, errrrrr, pager and opened it up and took the batteries out. I let it sit for 3-4 days, pouring a little water out each day. I also dried the batteries and recharged them. My new pager arrived, I programmed it and it’s in service………I’m a happy camper! Just for the heck of it, I put the batteries back in the old pager and guess what?? The darned thing works!! I’m not kidding, it works!! I ran it all day and we didn’t have a tone drop so I didn’t test that function, but the pager has a proper screen and appears to be working fine. The only thing I’ve noticed is it seemed to use up the batteries quickly but I don’t know if that is a battery problem or the pager. I share this experience with y’all because I think it’s a real testament to the quality and ruggedness of the Unication pager. These things are built like a tank. The accident subjected it to an environment exponentially worse than the Mil spec requirements it’s built to withstand and it came through with flying colors. Yes, I learned my lesson – I’ll leave the pager on dry land next time If you think about buying a pager, or know someone who is interested in a pager, I strongly recommend the Unication pager.