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Orion NJE-4000   HGO-4000
Non-linear junction detector

Orion NJE-4000, nicknamed The Hunter, is a non-linear junction detector (NLJD), developed around 1999 by Research Electronics International (REI) in Cookeville (Tennissee, USA). Part of the ORION family of TSCM devices, it is capable of finding covert listening devices (bugs) and other electronics hidden inside walls or furniture. A high-power version was available as HGO-4000.

The device consists of three parts: (1) a highly directional circular polarised antenna with a readout (display), (2) an extendible telescopic boom, and (3) a main unit, mounted together as a single device. The main unit contains a 1 GHz transmitter an two receivers (for the 2nd and 3rd harmonics respectively), separated by a diplexer.

The physical design is unique in that the device can be folded in such a way that it can be stowed inside the transit case with­out disconnecting any parts. The coaxial cable that connects the main unit to the antenna, is rolled up automatically.
  
Orion NJE-4000 ready for use

A non-linear junction detector (NLJD) can be used to find electronic circuits, even when they are not switched on. The principle is based on the non-linear properties of electronic seminductors — typically transistors, diodes and integrated circuits — that are present in virtually every covert listening device (bug). When illuminating a semiconductor with a high frequency (approx. 1 GHz here), it will re-radiate harmonics of that frequency, in particular the 2nd and 3rd harmonic. The same effect can be observed with corroded materials, such as a rusty nail hidden inside a wall.

The NJE-4000 is based on the same principle as the British Broom, invented by Charles Bovill in the UK. He developed the principle during WWII as a method for finding corrosion on the body of an airplane. Like the Broom's successor — the SuperBroom — the NJE-4000 listens to both the second and the third harmonic of the illumination frequency, so that true electronic devices can be discriminated from (corroded) metals. The NJE-4000 was available in 2011 for a list price of USD 18,579 [1]. It was succeeded in 2015 by Orion 2.4 which offers spread spectrum at 2.4 GHz.

  1. NJE = Non-linear Junction Evaluator.
  2. HGO = High-Gain Orion.[Subheading]

Inside the transit case
Orion NJE-4000 in storage position
Orion NJE-4000 ready for use
Orion NJE-4000 ready for use
Controls
Antenna head with tilted display
Infrared receiver with batteries
Dispay showing that a bug has been detected
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Inside the transit case
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Orion NJE-4000 in storage position
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Orion NJE-4000 ready for use
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Orion NJE-4000 ready for use
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Controls
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Antenna head with tilted display
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Infrared receiver with batteries
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Dispay showing that a bug has been detected

Features
The image below provides an overview of the features of the Orion NJE-4000. At the left is the main unit which contains the transmitter, the receivers, a diplexer and a microprocessor-based controller. Powered by a standard Ni-MH camera battery, it can be recharged within an hour.

Click to see more

At the top right is the circular antenna, which consists of a patented circular polarised spiral slot antenna and a hinged display that shows the current mode and the strength of the signals. The main unit is connected to the antenna by means of a high-quality coaxial cable that is guided through the telescopic boom. A unique feature of the device is that this cable also carries power and data for the display unit. The surplus of the coaxial cable is held on a spring-loaded reel that is integrated with the antenna. When the boom is extended, the cable is automatically taken from the reel. When the boom is retracted, the cable is automatically rolled up by a spring-mechanism.

When using the device, the display shows three vertical bars: a green one, a red one and a yellow one. The green bar shows the strength of the transmitted signal, whilst the red and yellows bars show the strength of the returned 2nd and 3rd harmonics. By observing the ratio between the red and yellow bars, electronic devices (which return a stronger 2nd harmonic) can be discriminated from corroded materials (which return a stronger 3rd harmonic). Suitable test tags are provided.

Versions
The device was available in two basic versions:

  • NJE-4000
    Basic version of the device, sold on the international market and nicknamed The Hunter. NJE means Non-linear Junction Evaluator, which is REI's name for a Non-Linear Junction Detector (NLJD). Complies with FCC regulations and has a power output of 1.4W ERP.

  • HGO-4000
    High-Gain government-only version. HGO means High-Gain Orion. It is the same device as above, but has a higher output of 3 W ERP and is capable of finding smaller bugs.
In addition there is a US national variant and an international variant, with the latter having a wider frequency range. The international variant does not comply with American FCC regulations.


Block diagram
Below is the block diagram of the Orion NJE-4000. At the left is the microprocessor controlled transceiver. It is connected to the antenna assembly via a single coaxial cable that carries the RF signals as well as the digital signals for the display. Note that additional filtering is present (not shown here) to separate the digital signals from the RF signal, as otherwise the antenna would detect the display electronics and eroneously identify it as a possible listening device (bug).


Apart from the visual feedback in the form of the display that is mounted on the antenna, the device provides acoustic feedback by providing the demodulated output from its receiver, directly to the provided headphones. The headphones can be connected directly to the main unit, but may also be carried wirelessly by using the provided infrared (IR) receiver.


Parts
Transit case
NJE-4000 Non-linear Junction Detector
Rechargeable batteries
Battery charger
Headphones
Infrared receiver
IR
Test tags
Transit case
When unused, the Orion NJE-4000 can be stowed in the plastic transit case shown in the image on the right. The case is very similar to the one of the OSCOR 5000 bug finder.

The case has a hard-foam interior with customised cut-outs, so that each part is properly protected during transport. The case offers space for the NLJD plus all of its accessories and documentation.
  
Inside the transit case

NLJD   NJE-4000
The actual NLJD is stowed in the rear section of the transit case. Its patented design allows the unit to be folded in such a way that it occupies minimum space, as shown in the image on the right. All the user has to do, is fold-out the antenna and the main unit, extend the boom to the desired length, and tilt the display.

The unit is powered by a standard Ni-MH camera battery that is fitted behind a hinged door at the main unit. Spare batteries are supplied as well.
  
Orion NJE-4000 in storage position

Batteries   NBP-4000
The unit is powered by a common 7.2V Ni-MH camera battery, which was freely available from various suppliers at the time.

7.2V Ni-MH, 90 x 53 x 19 mm, 214 g

Four batteries were supplied with the device. Please note that in most cases the existing batteries will have lost (most of) their capacity, as they are now more than 10 years old.
  
NBP-4000 7.2V Ni-MH battery

Dual fast charger   DFC-4000MH
The 7.2V Ni-MH could be charged with the fast battery charger shown in the image on the right. It has two independent bays, and can be used to charge two batteries simultaneously. A battery should be recharged in approx. 1 hour.

The charger itself is powered by the 90-250V AC mains for which a suitable mains cable was supplied.
  
Battery charger

Headphones
For acoustic feedback the demodulated audio from the receiver can be monitored on this pair of low-leakage headphones that is provided as part of the kit. It has a 3 mm jack at the end of its cable, allowing it to be connected to the socket at the control panel on the main unit.

Alternatively, the headphones could be connected to the supplied infrared receiver (see below).
  
Low-leakage headphones

Infrared receiver
Instead of connecting the headphones directly to the main unit, it was possible to use the provided infrared receiver shown in the image on the right. It is powered by two batteries, and allows the operator(s) to move more freely.

The matching infrared transmitter is already present in the main unit.
  
Infrared receiver with batteries

Test tags
In order to test the device, and also for training the operator, two tags are supplied as part of the kit. One tag (green) is a real semiconductor (diode) that returns a stronger 2nd harmonic when illuminated by the device.

The other tag (white) contains steel wool and returns a stronger 3rd harmonic when illuminated.
  
Test tags for 2nd and 3rd harmonics

Transit case
Inside the transit case
Orion NJE-4000 in storage position
Orion NJE-4000 ready for use
Battery charger
Battery charger and battery
NBP-4000 7.2V Ni-MH battery
Rechargeable battery
Low-leakage headphones
Infrared receiver with batteries
Test tags for 2nd and 3rd harmonics
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Transit case
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Inside the transit case
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Orion NJE-4000 in storage position
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Orion NJE-4000 ready for use
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Battery charger
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Battery charger and battery
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NBP-4000 7.2V Ni-MH battery
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Rechargeable battery
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Low-leakage headphones
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Infrared receiver with batteries
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Test tags for 2nd and 3rd harmonics

Video
REI presentation
In this presentation Lee Jones, sales and marketing director at Research Electronics International, gives a brief introduction of the Orion NJE-4000 at the 2011 National Safety Conference held in California (USA).

The device is presented in this video as a method for detecting and locating contraband electronic equipment such as cell phones, WiFi devices and BlueTooth accessories, in prisons.
  



Specifications
NJE-4000
  • Device
    Non-Linear Junction Detector
  • Purpose
    Detection and location of electronic devices
  • Family
    Orion
  • Model
    NJE-4000
  • Manufacturer
    Research Electronics International
  • NSN
    6625-01-493-9785
  • Frequency
    880 - 1005 MHz (US: 902.2 - 927.8 MHz)
  • Output
    14 mW - 1.4 W ERP
  • Spectrum
    3 kHz (CW)
  • Harmonics
    2nd: 1760 - 2010 MHz, 3rd: 2640 - 3015 MHz
  • Detection
    AM, FM, 20 kHz Pulse
  • Power
    7.2V (NiMH camera battery)
  • Sensitivity
    -133 dBm
  • Weight
    1540 g
HGO-4000
  • Output
    30 mW - 3 W ERP
Related patents
Documentation
  1. NJE-4000 brochure
    Research Electronics International, 2012.

  2. HGO-4000 brochure
    Research Electronics International, 2012.

  3. NJE-4000/HGO-4000 manual
    Research Electronics International, 2012.
References
  1. The Covert Eye, Orion non-linear junction evaluator
    Retrieved March 2023.
Further information
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Crypto Museum. Created: Thursday 16 March 2023. Last changed: Monday, 20 March 2023 - 17:29 CET.
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