Used to notify patrons that their table is ready, restaurant paging systems are run by a desktop transmitter. When the host or hostess pages a customer, he or she enters the code for the pager into the transmitter. The transmitter broadcasts an identification sequence--called the Channel Access Protocol, or CAP, code--specific to that pager. When the pager picks up the signal, it notifies the user by vibrating, flashing lights or playing a recorded announcement. Since frequencies vary by transmitter, the device's coverage area can range from a few hundred feet to several miles.
This antenna, made from a coil of wire wrapped around a metal core, listens for the transmitter to broadcast its CAP code. Once it receives the signal, the antenna sends it to the microprocessor.
This compares signals from the transmitter against the pager's CAP code. When they match, it activates the pager's motor, speaker or light-emitting diode lights.
A small weight is mounted off-center on the motor's spindle. When the motor spins the weight, the pager vibrates.
When a user receives a page, the device plays a series of tones or a prerecorded voice message.
These flash to alert customers that their table is ready.
Most pagers run on rechargeable batteries.
Researched by CHRISTINE FREY/For The Times