SUMMARY: Email to Text Pagers

From: Dave (
Date: Tue Jul 21 1998 - 12:27:46 CDT

  "Piece of Cake"
  Much easier than I thought it was going to be.
  I wanted a method that would take email, and send it as a text message to
a text pager. It would also send email back to the originator tell them of
the success or failure of their page.

  I used qpage ( It does everything I wanted and was
very easy to setup. And it's free.

  Current setup:
  SunOS 4.1.4 running an old Sun sendmail, acting as the central mail hub
and a POP server.
  DEC UNIX 4.0 acting as an smtp server for PC clients.
  Sol 2.5.1 workstation, not too busy.
  Modem attached to a Digi International Port Server 8 terminal server. A
modem directly connected to the workstation is recommended by qpage, but my
terminal server works.

  I compiled a full blown paging server on the Sol 2.5.1 machine. I
compiled a "client only" for the SunOS POP server and the DEC UNIX smtp
server. These clients "point" at the paging server and do not require a file.

  I contacted Digi International (, and they have a
"Virtual Serial Port" driver for Sol 2.X. It was free (well... it comes
with the Port Server 8). Once installed, it allows up to 16 virtual serial
ports that can all be managed through the admintool. I have a modem
attached to one of my Port Server 8's, and I mapped that as /dev/dty/a008s
on the Sol workstation.

  I created a file that has entries for the modem, the serial
port, the different paging services we have, and PIN numbers for each
pager. For convenience, each pager is identified by a username. This is
remarkably simple and intuitive. There may be some complex features that I
am not using, but what I have works the way I want it to. You also have to
know the Modem number for your Paging Service provider. It is not the same
as the numeric paging phone number.

  I modified my /etc/aliases file on the master NIS / sendmail server to
include a line:
user-pager: "|/usr/local/bin/qpage -s qpage_server -l 0 -m -p user"

  When someone sends an email to, the qpage client
converts it to a format compatible with qpage, sends it to the qpage
server, the server dials the paging service and sends the message. It then
sends email back to the originator tell them about the success or failure
of the message they just sent.
  It will try X number of times before giving up.
  It will take messages that are longer than YYY number of characters and
break then into Z number of pages.
  It is very fast.
  Two thumbs up for qpage. If I can make it work, anyone can make it work.

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