Introduction

Iridium satellite phones are some of the most technologically advanced consumer satellite phones available today. With global coverage and built-in SOS capabilities, as well as voice, SMS, or data connectivity, the two flagship Iridium satellite phones – the Iridium Extreme® and Iridium 9555 – are game-changers when it comes to reliable communication from any off-grid or under-served area. These top tips will enable you to optimise your phone usage for when it matters most, and help you prepare for your next off-grid adventure.

Familiarise Yourself with the Device

You never know when you might need to make a call or trigger an SOS with your satellite phone. It could be in the heat of an emergency or under the threat of imminent danger. So, before you embark on your next trip, adventure, or excursion, we highly recommend playing with the device in a safe, familiar environment. For maximum effect, any practice must done with clear lines of sight to the sky otherwise your Iridium Extreme phone will not be able to pick up a satellite signal.

Charge Regularly

Battery conversation is tactically important when it comes to trips that involve a lot of travelling across every day. You will obviously need to make sure your device’s battery is as full as it can be each morning before setting off, so regular charging is important. It is critical to consider aspects like battery life when it comes to satellite communication, otherwise there will be no means of communication should the device run out of charge. Both Iridium satellite phones have the same batter lives: up to four hours of talk-time and up to 30 hours of standby.

Antenna Positioning

The Iridium Extreme and Iridium 9555 rely on an efficient antenna system to ensure seamless connectivity in remote and challenging environments. The antenna's positioning plays a pivotal role in optimising signal strength, enhancing call quality, and ensuring data transmission integrity. Whether navigating remote landscapes, conducting critical operations, or responding to emergencies, users depend on the Iridium Extreme for dependable communication. Therefore, strategic antenna placement is essential for unlocking the full potential of these powerful devices, ensuring that users can stay connected even in the most unforgiving conditions.

Stay Outdoors for a Clear Signal

The Iridium satellite network is unique in that it is a mesh of 66 Low-Earth Orbit (LEO) satellites that all move in unison, blanketing the earth in reliable coverage. Connecting to one of these satellites means being outside in an open area, with no obstructions such as trees or tall buildings that would block the view. The Iridium constellation is designed for seamless satellite handovers. As your device moves or the satellite orbits, the connection is handed off from one satellite to the next without interruption. This process ensures continuous coverage, especially in remote areas where maintaining a signal is challenging.

Preprogramme Emergency Contacts

Just like you might do on your personal phone, it is highly recommended that you preprogramme emergency contacts before setting off. This not only makes it easier for you to dial their numbers, but in the event of an emergency where someone else needs to dial for you, they will be able to if they can see your stored contacts already in the device.

Use Text Messaging Wisely

This particular tip is underrated and hugely important to be wary of. If neglected it could stealthily drain your sat phone’s airtime or rack up a large bill at the end of the month if you’re using a rolling monthly contract – something you don’t need on top of the initial Iridium satellite phone price! What a lot of our customers do is schedule in a time where they will send one SMS a day to check-in with loved ones or key contacts. It can be short and pre-written so all you do is hit send in order to best preserve battery life.

Update Firmware and Software

Firmware and software updates are more than mere technical enhancements; they can be critical for improving the device's functionality, enhancing security, and ensuring compatibility with evolving networks. Iridium frequently releases updates to address bugs, introduce new features, and adapt to changes in satellite networks. Neglecting these updates may lead to degraded performance, increased vulnerability to security threats, and a potential loss of compatibility with essential services.

Plan for Global Coverage

An Iridium satellite phone is arguably the best satellite phone on the market, so meticulous planning for global coverage becomes a paramount consideration before going on a trip. The beauty of the Iridium satellite constellation lies in its ability to deliver communication services across the entire globe, including the most remote and isolated regions. However, to fully harness the potential of this technology, users must proactively plan for their communication needs in diverse geographical landscapes. Strategic consideration of the satellite's position, elevation angles, and potential obstructions ensures optimal connectivity. Whether traversing desolate terrains, navigating open seas, or engaging in critical operations worldwide, thoughtful planning guarantees that the Iridium satellite phone remains a reliable lifeline, facilitating communication without boundaries.

Practice Responsible Communication

To optimise your device’s battery life and airtime, always be mindful of the limited bandwidth and prioritise the transmission of essential information. Avoid unnecessary data usage or prolonged calls that may strain the satellite network. Furthermore, respect privacy and security by avoiding the transmission of sensitive information over unsecured channels. Finally, familiarise yourself with local regulations governing satellite communication to ensure compliance. We sometimes have to remind customers that in countries like India, for example, you need to provide documentation to use a satellite phone as it is illegal to carry a one unless you have permission.

Carry a Backup Communication Device

Something else that might pass users by is bringing a secondary form of communication in case their primary form fails, gets lost, or is damaged. We would recommend any of our satellite trackers as a very suitable back-up form of communication, or simply another Iridium phone so you don’t have to learn how to use two different devices.

Conclusion

A lot of the things mentioned above may sound like common sense, and you probably will have considered all of them already. However, it is often the basic elements that catch people out so it is best to be well-versed in the fundamentals of satellite phone usage and carry etiquette. From strategic call times and text amounts to simplifying your contact list by saving emergency contacts, these top tips should be enough to get you ready to go on your next far-flung, remote excursion with confidence and global communication at your fingertips.

As always, our team of experts is here to help. So, if you need any advice about Iridium satellite phones, contact us via:

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