Survivalism & Self Sufficiency Topics > Communications

Portable Satellite Phones

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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.

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

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.

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. 

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?


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