Novatel 8300, 8301, and 8305

Novatel 830X Cellular Transceivers 

Novatel was a a division spun off from Alberta Government Telecom (AGT).

Based in Calgary, Novatel manufactured a series of cellular analogue mobile phones using the AMPS standard, adopted throughout North America, Australia, New Zealand at that time.

Known quirks:

  • There was a batch of PCB mount potentiometers used in the manufacture of the transceivers that were sub-standard, and this generated a major recall / modification of the units.
  • The EEPROM used in the radio for storing configuration and user programming had a limited life expectancy or 7 to 10 years, and had extensive software write / re-write / error checking facilities, all of which expired once the memory size was eventually exhausted.
  • The RJ-45 handset and control interconnects used a 180 degree pin reversal cable, meaning that straight thru RJ-45 LAN interconnect cables would not work (and probably damage the unit).
  • The unit can be configured as a dumb cellular scanner in short order, and was always going to be popular among scanner enthusiasts.
  • With a simple (single) hardware modification, it is possible to configure the radio to be a 'really smart scanner' selectively scan and follow 'other' analogue mobile phone identity from the paging channel to any BTS defined channel. Demonstarted to law enforcement at the time, other means of legal wiretapping cellular systems was eventually agreed.

Further Reading

Novatel 8300 series manual (pdf, 2.8Mb)