Satellite Phone Spotlight: Iridium 9575 Extreme

Satellite Phone Spotlight: Iridium 9575 Extreme

Satellite Phone Spotlight: Iridium 9575 Extreme


Sometimes you need to be absolutely sure you have the top-of-the-line, toughest equipment out there, and when it comes to satellite phones, the Iridium 9575 Extreme fits the bill admirably. Not only does it utilize the truly global, full-coverage Iridium satellite network, it's built with rugged construction that will survive the harshest conditions. This is truly the satellite phone to rely on in a life-or-death situation anywhere on Earth.

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Are Satellite Communications Possible Indoors?

Are Satellite Communications Possible Indoors?

Are Satellite Communications Possible Indoors?


You may hear that satellite phones cannot be used indoors. It is true that satellite phones rely on a clear view of the sky, as they require line-of-sight to a satellite on their network in order to have a signal. Not even using one next to a window will be effective. So, what if you can't necessarily be outside? Maybe you need to use a satellite phone while inside your car, boat, or aircraft. For the purposes of satellite phone functionality, these all count as "indoors" and have a negative effect on your ability to get a signal. So what do you do? Are you out of luck?

The simple answer is no. You can get around the need to use the satellite phone strictly outdoors by installing an antenna on the outside of your vehicle or building. Outfitter Satellite carries the equipment you need for this purpose.

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Why You Should Bring a Satellite Phone Out to Sea

Why You Should Bring a Satellite Phone Out to Sea

Why You Should Bring a Satellite Phone Out to Sea 

It takes only a passing familiarity with boats to know about radar and marine radios, and we've all seen both in television and movies. They've become constant in people's minds when they think of traveling over water.  However, because of these assumptions, people underestimate the utility of satellite phones on a seafaring voyage. Having a satellite phone can save your life, even when your vessel is equipped with other electronics, and at the very least it can help you keep in touch much more easily while away from land.


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Satellite Phone Choice - Which One?

When leaving on your next trek into the outer reaches, satellite phone choice is as important as bringing the right footwear or clothing. Depending on where your trip will take you, Iridium and Inmarsat possess definite strengths and a few challenges that will make the choice relatively painless.

A World of Difference

Iridium carries the distinction of being a truly “global” phone. An Iridium phone will function at any location on the planet. Use of their low-earth orbit constellation of 66 satellites makes this possible. Those satellites are in constant motion overhead, completing an orbit around the earth in about 90 minutes. For end users, that means that a satellite passes overhead from horizon to horizon rather quickly. And while it passes overhead, a satellite phone can lock on to place a call. This has the advantage of being able to be used even in partial obstruction.

Inmarsat utilizes 3 geostationary satellites in high equatorial orbit. Their essentially motionless satellites afford the end user long connection times without dropped calls. The Isatphone 2, Inmarsat’s primary handset, also registers to the network very quickly. The geostationary system, however, necessitates a line-of-site to the satellite to be used. This means, you must be below (in the north) or above (in the south) the 50 latitude line or the curvature of the earth will obstruct the signal.

Location, Location, Location

Where you will be traveling heavily influences satellite phone choice. Consider the following factors:

  • Tall mountains or deep canyons: large, natural obstructions can block equatorial views; choose Iridium
  • Canada, Alaska, northern Europe or Asia, Polls: above or below the 50 latitude line causes curvature of the earth obstruction; choose Iridium.
  • Open ocean: clear, unobstructed views; choose Inmarsat.
  • Geographic location close to the equator: angle to satellite nearly directly overhead; choose Inmarsat.

Pros and Cons

Basic functionality of both Iridium handsets and Inmarsat’s Isatphones are the same. All Iridium handsets from the 9505A to the current 9575 Extreme as well as the Isatphone Pro and Isatphone 2 have SMS texting abilities and low speed data transfer. The 9575 Extreme and Isatphone 2 also have GPS tracking abilities with programable emergency buttons. However, the similarities end here.

The Isatphone 2 offers superior call quality and call length to the Iridium. So if long, clear connection times are needed, the Isatphone 2 is the obvious choice. Also, airtime options for the Isatphone 2 are more economical than their Iridium counterparts. If, however, there is concern for possible terrestrial obstruction for an emergency situation, then the Iridium, with its ability to register and make calls even with partial obstruction, is the choice to make. Iridium also offers the GO! wi-fi hotspot which allows the pairing of a smart device as the conduit for a satellite device. This enables calls, easier SMS texting and even text-based email.

Outfitter Satellite provides new and used purchase options for the Iridium 9505A, 9555, GO!, 9575 Extreme (with service) as well as the Isatphone Pro, and Isatphone 2 (with service).  If your trip is shorter in duration, or if you don’t want to have to maintain equipment, rental options for the Iridium 9555, GO! and Isatphone 2 present an attractive alternative to purchase.

Satellite phone choice, either purchasing new or used, or renting, is easy when making an informed decision.  Knowing your terrain, location, and how you want to use the device are all factors in making the right pick.

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Wildfire Preparation

With the recent fires in East Tennessee, wildfire preparation is always a prudent decision.  Here are some simple things that can be done to maximize safety in a wildfire situation.

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7 of the World’s Most Majestic Hiking Trails You Need to Visit

7 of the World’s Most Majestic Hiking Trails You Need to Visit

An increasing number of people are hitting the outdoors, bravely seeking the highest peaks, the deepest caverns, and the most remote locations on Earth. Enthusiastic hikers, professional mountaineers, and everyday adventurous thrill-seekers are boldly exploring the dangerous beauty of snow-capped mountains, lush forests, and vast yet deadly canyons – with and without trail guides and trusty satellite phones.

Whether you’re a novice hiker planning your first trip or an experienced trail runner researching your next big adventure, check out the following seven majestic locations that will provide a lifetime of enchanting memories.

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GEOS: Are you ready for a crisis while traveling abroad?

What is GEOS?

Imagine that an Iridium 9575 EXTREME satellite phone user is traveling in a foreign country.  Unexpectedly a medical emergency occurs.  Our Iridium user is prepared.  By simply pressing the S.O.S. button on his Iridium phone, emergency personnel half way around the world receive an emergency alert containing his current GPS position.*

The Iridium user is also immediately connected with a highly trained professional at GEOS that gives him critical guidance for the emergency situation.  If needed, Search and Rescue (SAR) authorities near the Iridium user are contacted to provide additional assistance.

All this is done through the GEOS International Emergency Response Coordination Center (IERCC) in Houston Texas.  The IERCC is equipped with translation capabilities for up to 200 languages and is staffed with qualified first responders including police, firefighters, paramedics and former military personnel.  These are highly qualified professionals who have handled emergencies first hand.  During the crisis, GEOS provides a critical liaison function between family members, first responders and if necessary the Iridium user’s embassy so that all parties are kept up to date with location, medical and other pertinent information.  The liaison service remains in place until the SAR mission is resolved.

GEOS is able to respond worldwide and render aid in the rescue of savable lives on land, in the air, or at sea.  Thousands of responses in over 100 countries have been coordinated since the company was founded in 2007.

How much does it cost?

The Iridium GO! and Iridium 9575 EXTREME were specifically designed with an S.O.S. button that the Iridium user can push to quickly communicate their emergency and their GPS position.  This S.O.S. button function is programmable so that the Iridium user can define a list of people who would receive the emergency notification, either by text or email.  Also, one emergency contact can be programmed to receive a phone call.  All of this happens at the touch of a button.

Sending the S.O.S. alert notification to your friends and associates is one choice.  If you want reliable 24/7 monitoring from trained emergency response professionals, it is a better idea to configure your Iridium S.O.S. button for GEOS.

Basic service is free to all Iridium 9575 EXTREME and Iridium GO! users with a valid active Iridium SIM card.  The only cost would be standard Iridium usage charges for phone calls or SMS messages used by the S.O.S. function in communicating with GEOS.  To register for the basic service online go to:

After registering successfully, the S.O.S. button function on your Iridium phone becomes integrated into the GEOS emergency response service.

Are medivac and repatriation services included?

The basic service plan relies on local authorities and emergency response services and does not include enhanced paid SAR, medical evacuation or repatriation services.  Customers can opt for these optional GEOS services for additional fees.  

What if you need non-emergency customer support?

Occasionally Outfitter Satellite's customers need assistance with configuration of the S.O.S. button on their Iridium phones.  The GEOS services discussed here are not offered through Outfitter Satellite so we cannot offer direct assistance. If you are in the US, you can call GEOS at 1-888-460-4554 (US only).   International callers can call GEOS at +44-203-397-2448 (London, UK).  GEOS assures a 24-hour response time on this type of customer service inquiry.


*The GEOS services discussed in this article are offered and provided exclusively through GEOS and not by Iridium or Outfitter Satellite which are separate unrelated companies. The benefits described in this article (and the linked pages) require that the Iridium user register and contract separately with GEOS.  Other terms and conditions and limitations of liability are found in the Iridium 9575 EXTREME User Manual and Iridium GO! User Manual.  Outfitter Satellite cannot guarantee any Iridium user that an S.O.S. call to GEOS will succeed every time that is attempted because it is possible to have Iridium network and other technical difficulties.  The prices, terms and conditions mentioned in this article are correct as of September 15, 2015 but are subject to change without notice.

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Iridium iPad Internet Access Made Easy

Outfitter Satellite offers a lot of choices for computing over satellite.  Whether you have a PC, a Mac or tablet device like an iPad we know how to get an internet connection for you.  This article focuses on narrowband internet connections for the iPad.

The Optimizer Hotspot is an agnostic Wi-Fi hotspot that can be used to give iOS devices like an iPad access to the internet through an Iridium 9555 or 9575 satellite phone.  The Optimizer also supports Macintosh computers, most Windows platforms, and Android devices.

The main complaint against the Optimizer is that it does not have its own built-in battery.  This means you need external AC power. To resolve this drawback, Outfitter Satellite rents and sells a  Battery Pack and Solar Charger that can be used to power the Optimizer and recharge most satellite phones, smartphones and tablet devices.

Computing over satellite: Iridium Ipad internet connections require power. Outfitter Satellite offers solar chargers and external battery packs that can recharge your Iridium phone, iPad, and can directly power the Optimizer.

Iridium iPad internet data speeds are roughly 2400-2800 bps which is too slow for web browsing.  Light email communications with attachments no larger than about 100 KB work well with Iridium iPad internet.  Photo-sharing is another good application. By default, XGate compresses any photo to 300 pixels wide making it small enough for effective transmission over the Iridium network.  The XGate app allows you to control the amount of compression that is used so you can send higher resolution photos if necessary.

Physical Setup of the Optimizer and the Iridium 9555

This article assumes that you have an active Iridium SIM card through Outfitter Satellite, and that you have already downloaded the XGate email app onto your iPad.  Please call Outfitter Satellite at 615-889-8833 for a free XGate username and password.

Before you install the XGate email app on your iPad, make sure the satellite phone and Optimizer are powered up. Your Iridium satellite phone should be registered on the Iridium network and have at least 4 to 5 bars of signal. To reliably get a good signal, you should be outside in an open space well away from buildings and trees.

Connect the Optimizer to the Iridium satellite phone via Micro-USB data cable that came with the Iridium satellite phone kit.

Plug the Optimizer’s AC power adapter into a 100-240 VAC outlet and connect to the Optimizer’s  PWR port. If you have our optional Solar Charging System, select 12V on the slider switch and then connect the DC-to-DC barrel plug output cable to the Optimizer’s PWR port.

Connect your iPad via Wi-FI to the Optimizer. The Optimizer’s SSID is  wxa-102-XXXX where XXXX is the last 4 digits of the MAC address found on the bottom of the Optimizer.

Installation of XGate on an iPad :

  1. Download the XGate app from the Apple Store.

  2. Go to your iPhone or iPad’s SETTINGS and select Wi-Fi. Connect to the Optimizer’s Wi-Fi SSID which will have the form  wxa-102-XXXX.

  3. Run the XGate app. The Registration screen will ask for the SpeedMail Account Details which Outfitter Satellite provided. Remember that the password is case sensitive.

  4. Tap Save.

  5. You will be asked for additional configuration information. For Connection, use the scrolling selector to select Optimizer Iridium Handset.

  6. Tap the blue <XGate link to return to the XGate home screen.

  7. You should now be ready to send and receive email via Iridium iPad Internet.

How Iridium iPad Internet Users Use the XGate app to Send Email:

  1. Starting from the XGate Home Screen, you will see Mail, Web, Send Photo, Social Media, Weather, and Connection Control. There is also an extensive Help file.

  2. Tap Mail.

  3. For each email that you wish to send, do the following:

  1. From left to right, the iPad symbols  needed by Iridium iPad internet users are: Send/Receive Email Icon;  Create Additional Folders; Compose Email; and Attach a Photo.In the bottom right there is an icon of a box with a pen in.Tap it. Giving XGate access to your contact list is not necessary but can make sending emails easier.

  2. Enter the destination email address(es) into the To: field.

  3. Enter the subject and body text.

  4. To send an optional photo attachment, tap the Camera icon on the subject line. Select a photo from your camera roll. The high quality images in your Camera Roll will be automatically compressed by XGate to reduce transmission time. A compressed 300 pixel width image can be as small as 37KB and may typically transmit over the Iridium network in around 4-5 minutes if signal conditions are good. To send higher quality images, you can go to the XGate home screen and click Settings : Images.

In the upper right you will see Send to Outbox. Click it.

  1. Tap the blue <XGate link in the upper left corner to return to the XGate home screen. Tap on Mail again when you are ready to send/receive email.

  2. In the bottom left corner of the Mail screen, there is an icon of a box with an up arrow. Tap it. Then tap Send/Receive Mail.

  3. When the mail transfer is finished, a blue DONE link will appear at the bottom of the screen. Tap it.


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