Alltel USCC Verizon Bag Phone Motorola M800

Verizon Wireless and US Cellular USCC now sell the M800.

Motorola M800 Digital CDMA and ANALOG Bag Phone. The power output is about 500mw Analog and 325mw Digital CDMA. This phone is only 1/2 watt, the old analog phones are 3 full watts, I bought this to use in remote areas, mostly in the Mojave desert. Performs a little bit better than a standard tri-mode handset in analog mode, not nearly as well as a full 3 watt phone. Some of the cell coverage in the Death, Panamint Valley and parts of rural Nevada are still Analog only.

Verizon Wireless will no longer activate the Alltel M800, caution when buying a second hand phone!

The M800 CDMA, M900 GSM are about the only phones available that support a direct connect external antenna in 2011

If you are a current Alltel customer using the M800 and you will transition to ATT and need a new phone,
please take a look at

Check out some of my rural phone setups.
M800 Real World Test Report and Setup
My Burning Man Phone Camp 2009 Super Rural iden Phone Setup
M900 GSM Demo Video Here (same basic functions at m800, all gsm phones are 2 watts cellular band.
Don't be fooled that the m800/900 has more power than a standard phone, it doesn't. Just a better antenna)

New! Photos of the inside of the M800 bag phone car install phone

Upgrading?? You need This adapter to connect the M800/900 to your existing antenna.

Motorola m800 digital bag phone

The Motorola bag phones hardware and software are almost identical to the V60c flip phone.

27 dBm = .5 watts, 30 dBm = 1 watt

Radio Performance:

  • Bands: CDMA 1X 800/1900MHz; AMPS 800MHz
  • Output Power: CDMA 1X 800/1900: 0.25W*; AMPS 800: 0.4W
  • Motorola M800 FAQ Page

Approximate weight - 10lbs

Motorola says they offer a optional booster, Makes it 3 watts in Analog ONLY.
Alltel carries a booster (2 watt)- UMISM00 $199.99
Part number for the cable kit - MMISM16 $9.99

Display is black and white with blue back light.

Can be ordered from Alltel customer service. 800-alltel1

Alltel has the best coverage of rural areas in the USA.

*.25watts digital Is easily usable over 40 miles form the tower, if tower is configured for extended range.

A note on digital performance with the m800 or any digital phone. Most all digital tower have hard distance limits, power, antenna or phone cannot get around this. If the towers limit is 20 miles and your rural home is 22 miles from the tower, the phone will not register on and will not be usable. This is noted when the phone cannot complete a call in digital and defaults to analog. This is an issue that has been popping up more often. If you run into this, give Nextel/Boost a try. iden has much greater range.

*Tip- If you currently are using a 3 watt analog only bag phone, don't upgrade until analog service is turned off in your area. The m800s specs and performance are about the same as most Motorola handsets like the W315 tri-mode. In my area analog service will continue through the 3rd quarter of 08 and maybe longer depending on usage.
The m800 WILL NOT perform as well as a full 3 watt phone in a rural analog only environment.

FCC Test Results (measures a little higher than Motos specs)

Frequency (MHz) Power (dBm)
824.04 - 27.80
836.52 - 27.82
848.97 - 27.78

CDMA 800
Frequency (MHz) Power (dBm)
824.7 - 25.03
836.52 - 25.00
848.37 - 25.01

CDMA 1900
Frequency (MHz) Power (dBm)
1851.25 - 25.06
1880.0 - 25.06
1908.75 - 24.99

(The M900 is a GSM version of this phone)

Direct connect external mag mount antenna. This antenna stuck to roof of vehicle yields 9-12db (3-4x) more signal strength than phone on passenger seat with stock antenna.

External antennas drastically improved the performance of this phone, and it gets the rf radiation outside.

Antenna has tnc connector, just unscrew stock antenna and connect.

Get it Here

Motorola bag phone

External Microphone Input   The M800 Bag Phone offers an external microphone for use in the car environment. This is for a condenser mic, phone applies a phantom power to this mic input.

Mini usb connector to connect to PC: Packet data MAX BR support 153.6 kbps

12 volt input, cigarette lighter or power supply

Privacy handset. The button activates voice name and number dialing. Very good sound quality, almost land line good. I cant say enough about the audio quality. Has a huge speaker and high quality mic for speaker phone. Just pick up the handset press the button and say the number. This is a no gimmicks flat out telephone. Does have a web browser. Has TNC connector for external antenna. (the m800 car install kit has a female mini uhf just as the 3 watt bag phones do)

External antenna provided with phone is poor quality and sounds tinny.


If phone is going to be out of service for more than a few days disconnect battery to prevent deep discharge!

2.3 amp 12 volt lead acid battery.

  • Hands-free mode: 105 minutes
  • Handset mode: 240 minutes
  • Standby time: 10 hours
  • Dimming back light increases runtime. Back light now automatically turns off, standby time should be much greater on newer models. Newer models have auto backlight timeout.
m800 bag phone 1x data

Tethering/Data connection info. PC or MAC (I don't know if it works with MAC) The only easy to tether a Motorola phone to a MAC is using bluetooth. The M800 does not support bluetooth.

The M800 works great as a remote internet connection. (digital signal required)

The M800 IS NOT an EVDO high speed data capable phone. 1x (dial up speed) data only. This phone is NOT '3G'

Because it can be powered by 12 volts, has a solid TNC antenna connector and mini usb port it make a perfect field service internet connection.

Directional Yagi antenna and LMR-400 low loss coax significantly improve reception

Enlarge Picture

Check out some of my rural phone setups.


To enter Test Mod: (for antenna aiming)

## DEBUG(33284)

If it works the 4 won't show and the screen usually dims slightly very briefly.

Then menu then left soft key should toggle the FTS screen on and off.

Inputting the code again will disable test mode

For a good description of test mode see:

Click Here

Use (FFF) Current RF RSSI in dBm for antenna aiming. The lower the number the better.

Pattern Problems

The current M800 privacy handset just doesn't hold up as well as we had hoped. Given that we're on the fifth revision of the handset, it would seem they're not holding up as well as Motorola would like either.

A bad Handset can cause a variety of problems, but no matter how much of a phone issue it might seem, a Handset swap usually fixes it.

M800 Real World Test Report and Setup

Some examples:

Phone refuses to turn on until old Handset is un+re plugged,
Phone power cycles itself at random intervals,
When PH used earpiece audio is transferred to it, but HF mic is kept active instead,
No audio at all when PH used, etc.


I have an Alltel Motorola M800 bag phone on AlltelU are I can't seem to get the batteries to hold a charge. How do you charge your battery-in the phone or external battery hookup? How long do you charge the battery? Where do you buy your batteries?


The battery charges whenever the 12 volt supply is plugged in. The led in the phone flashes red/green when its charging and stays solid green when charged or damaged.

Its a lead acid battery and is a little different from regular handsets. The main thing is you cant run the battery all the way down and leave it. If you do, it will never fully recharge.

Its very important that you disconnect the battery if your not going to be using the phone for a while. The phone uses a small amount of power when its off, and will kill the battery in about a week to the point its damaged. Also constantly charging it isn't good, let it charge till the light stops flashing then disconnect it. I usually just pull the fuse out on mine.
Also, when you use the battery, charge it back up asap. Don't leave it discharged for more than 24 hours.

Even though the phone has a fancy charging circuit lead acid batteries still have their flaws.

I have gotten them off ebay before but its risky because they require attention to keep them healthy. Even sitting on the shelf unattended they will self discharge in about 6 months. You want new with a fresh date. I'm sure you can also order it from Alltel or Motorola for a price.


Reviewed and updated 11/2012