Author Topic: Portable Satellite Phones  (Read 6125 times)

GroundPounder

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Portable Satellite Phones
« on: November 09, 2008, 08:36:29 PM »
I though perhaps some of you all might be interested in seeing some of the comm gear I carry.  While these are probably out of the price range of most individuals, many businesses have one of these (or should have one).  The pricing is getting more affordable and the technology much better.  In about 2 years Mobile Satellite Ventures will have a bird in place that will allow your cell phone to roam over to in areas where there is not cell coverage.  Of course this will require a new type of cell phone with the SAT chipset in it but it wont have the big antennas these guys do.



Starting from left to right:

NERA WorldPro 1000
.  This is called a BGAN system. The provider is Inmarsat.  It allows simultaneous voice and data up to 384K.  Cost is very high at almost $7.50 per megabyte transferred.   It is even higher for dedicated bandwidth.  When you see news reporters in a war somewhere with what looks like a high end webcam doing news shots, this is the type of system they are using.  Most have ISDN interfaces you can attach video equipment to.

Iridium Phone.  This is my primary sat phone.  It works anywhere on the planet and the network is very robust.  Uses GSM technology similar to ATT or T-mobile.  Switching is actually done on the bird so a call between two iridium phones does not need a ground station.  You can do low speed data at about 2400 baud.  Not very useful but you can get text based messages through if necessary

Globalstar Smallest and lightest hand held satellite phone available.  The best quality sound.  Data rates of around 9600 baud.  Uses CDMA technology similar to Verizon & Sprint.  The Globalstar satellite constellation is experiencing problems and their satellites are deteriorating.  This is causing frequent outages to the network which makes the phones unreliable at this time.  They are working on fixing the problem but I believe they will run out of money before they can remedy the problem with more satellites.  Incidentally these are the same birds that those new SPOT devices a lot of people are talking about use.

I also have some systems by MSV (Mobile Satellite ventures) that are suitcase sized.  Their big benefit is a two way radio capability similar  to Nextel Direct Connect.

If you all have more interest in other comm gear I am using let me know and I will post some pics and info.





Offline JPH

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Re: Portable Satellite Phones
« Reply #1 on: January 08, 2009, 08:14:13 PM »
Thank-you for taking the time to make this post.  I am very interested in advanced comm information you are willing to post.  If you would rather awnser direct questions, please give me a bit of an overview of your area of expertise and I will narrow my questions down.

Again Thank-you for your time

GroundPounder

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Re: Portable Satellite Phones
« Reply #2 on: January 09, 2009, 07:49:18 AM »
JPH - I am pretty well versed in radio, satellite, and data communications.  Any questions you have please ask.  If I cant answer them I probably know someone who can.

Offline JPH

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Re: Portable Satellite Phones
« Reply #3 on: January 12, 2009, 03:40:42 PM »
I would like to better understand my options for prepaid satellite access in the lower 48... I would want both backup voice and data communication.  After I have a better understanding of both the cost and limitations of such a system I have some more advanced problems I would like to address like remote access to a home server.  Is there a way to dial in to a data modem where all the switching takes place on the bird in case land based coms are not accessable. 

Rock2Fox

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Re: Portable Satellite Phones
« Reply #4 on: January 12, 2009, 03:56:10 PM »
That is some pretty fancy gear.  I know it is none of the internet population's business, but is your work that requires such capabilities government or civilian in nature?

GroundPounder

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Re: Portable Satellite Phones
« Reply #5 on: January 14, 2009, 08:44:32 PM »
JPH - Would your situation call for a fixed solution, portable solution, or mobile solution?  Each could have greatly different equipment and costs (I listed them highest to lowest).  There are ways to connect back to your PC without using land based infrastructure but as with any satellite solution it is fairly expensive. 

What are you wanting to access on your home system?  If it is just data there are ways to keep copies off site that would be accessible from anywhere.

Give me a little more info on your requirements and I'll be able to narrow down some choices.

GroundPounder

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Re: Portable Satellite Phones
« Reply #6 on: January 14, 2009, 08:48:02 PM »
That is some pretty fancy gear.  I know it is none of the internet population's business, but is your work that requires such capabilities government or civilian in nature?

Mostly .gov although I do use some at my civilian job too (I work for .gov and .com)  This stuff is too pricey to afford personally.  The data on some of these devices is around $7.50 per megabyte.  Not worth paying the $30 it would take just to send one digital camera picture. 

Offline JPH

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Re: Portable Satellite Phones
« Reply #7 on: January 15, 2009, 11:09:26 AM »
PM inbound with some details, then we can bring this topic back in to the open forum if thats ok with you.  I am off to work for now but have a long weekend this weekend so I will get my ducks in a row and PM you ASAP.

Thanks for the help,
James

Offline JPH

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Re: Portable Satellite Phones
« Reply #8 on: January 19, 2009, 01:12:50 PM »
Ok change of planes I would rather keep as much information in the open forum so that all can benefit. 

The only reason that I want to keep some of the information off a public forum is because of the interest of my employer, due to competition and client confidentiality, he has asked me to simply not discuses all aspects of this business until he goes public with his capabilities with a new marketing campaign (in about 3-6 months).

Therefore, I will speak in general terms and let us all learn from this.

Additionally, I have decided that I would like to incorporate some of this technology in to my preps, although on a smaller scale due to financial constraints, so I don’t want to limit my questions or you advice to top of the line expensive solutions.

With all that said I would like to start with handheld satellite phones that can also be used to access the internet like a cellular broadband card would be used. I would like to understand who has the best coverage in the US and abroad.  Also I would want to look in to payment options such as prepaid (for my preps) and group plans (for my employer who would start off with about 5 phones)

For both applications the sat phone would be the back up for when land line and cellular access is limited or nonexistent.

Thank-you for your time.