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Breaking Down the 3-letter, 4-digit Motorola Product Assembly Numbers
By Mike Morris WA6ILQ
with contributions and editing
by Robert W. Meister WA1MIK
This information was compiled from a reference page in four different vintages of Motorola Buyer's Guides dating from the mid 1960s to the late 70s.
|Letter||Letter||Letter||Number||Number||Number||Number||Letter||Zero, one or two letters or numbers
Examples that follow this scheme:
Other letters have been added or assigned to the first and second letter tables since this list was formulated in the 1960s. Some of the meanings have been ignored, redefined or modified as well. For example, a Genesis portable radio charger is model number NTN4633A; this is clearly not a transmitter. A MaxTrac UHF RF board is model number HLE9310A, clearly not a housing or cabinet. A MaxTrac 900 MHz conventional firmware EPROM is model number FVN4019A; I won't even try to explain that one. If I had to form an opinion, I'd say that the people that assigned the part numbers seem to have lost the "formula".
|1st Letter - Major Category|
|N||Portable product (i.e. Florida manufacturing plants)|
|S||Test Equipment, CCTV, traffic light equipment and other special products|
|T||Two-way radio product (i.e. Illinois manufacturing plants)|
|2nd Letter - Product Type|
|A||Antenna related but not duplexers, filters or feed line|
|B||Boxes or packaging kits (mostly used internally by Motorola)|
|C||Control equipment (control heads, control panels, etc)|
|D||Drop-ship items (i.e. product manufactured outside Motorola, and shipped directly from the original equipment manufacturing plant to the end customer). This category included antenna system parts like duplexers, Heliax™ feedline, etc.|
|E||Service kits and conversion kits|
|F||Filters and duplexers, can be Motorola sourced or drop shipped.|
|G||Panels (mostly metering panels)|
|H||Housings and cabinets|
|L||Miscellaneous non-categorized items|
|P||Power supplies and power supply related equipment|
|R||Receivers and receiver related|
|S||Speakers, earphones, and related|
|T||Transmitters and transmitter related|
|3rd Letter - Frequency Range|
|A||Under 25 MHz|
|B||25-54 MHz (yes, the table in the buyer's guide included 10 meters and 6 meters)|
|C||72-76 MHz (see note 1)|
|D||144-174 MHz (see note 2)|
|E||406-470 MHz (see note 3)|
|N||Not frequency dependent (like an audio-squelch board, or a power supply) (see note 4)|
In the USA, 60-66 MHz is television channel 3, 66-72 MHz is TV channel 4, the 72-76 MHz frequencies are used as "Operational Fixed / Repeater" frequencies (essentially commercial point-to-point links), 76-82 MHz is TV channel 5, 82-88 MHz is TV channel 6, and 88-108 MHz is commercial FM broadcast. One rumor is that as part of the HDTV conversion in the USA the FCC and the military want to eliminate TV channels 4, 5 and 6 then reassign the 66-88 MHz range as a military band that aligns with the rest of the world (i.e. for joint operations and exercises).
: D was redefined downwards to 136 MHz at some point. There are high band equipment models specified as 136-150 MHz, and others that are 150-170 MHz.
: E was redefined downwards to 390 MHz in the early 70s and then to 360 MHz in the early 80s for certain military, government and spook equipment. It was expanded upwards to 490 MHz and later to 512 MHz as the 470-494 MHz then 494-512 MHz frequencies were allocated. A 1990s salesmans order book has the UHF band listed as going from 400 MHz to 520 MHz. There has also been some "interesting" equipment found on frequencies as high as 550 MHz.
: N is still used as a "Not frequency dependent" identifier even when there is some difference between wideband and narrowband equipment (like in the audio recovery circuitry in an IF / discriminator board). Most of the time a variation like that is handled in the final letter suffix (i.e. a TLN9999A1 might be wideband and a TLN9999A2 might be narrowband), but there are exceptions.
The four numbers after the three letters are simply a design sequence number. One or two letters after the numbers are a version, variation or revision identifier (the term used depends on which book you read). Almost all assemblies have one letter after the sequence number (i.e. the first shippable design is dubbed version A), some have two characters, a few have three (i.e. TLN9999A1A).
Acknowledgements and Credits:
As said above, this information came from four different 1960s and early 1970s vintage Motorola Buyer's Guides. I'd like to thank Neil McKie WA6KLA and Don Root WB6UCK (now K6CDO) and as they gave me my first two, and I found the third and fourth at a local ham radio swap meets.
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This page originally posted on Wednesday 29-Aug-2007
Artistic layout and hand-coded HTML © Copyright 2007 and date of last update
by Michael R. Morris WA6ILQ, Robert W. Meister WA1MIK and repeater-builder.com.
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This web page, this web site, the information presented in and on its pages and in these modifications and conversions is © Copyrighted 1995 and (date of last update) by Kevin Custer W3KKC and multiple originating authors. All Rights Reserved, including that of paper and web publication elsewhere.