How to Use Twitter from Your Iridium Satellite Phone

How to Use Twitter from Your Iridium Satellite Phone

Twitter supports Iridium, Thuraya*, and Inmarsat* as mobile carriers. Users of these satellite phones can send Tweets to all of their followers using the SMS messaging capability of their satellite phones. They, in turn, will receive your Tweets moments later on their cell phones, (if they have set up text notification).  You can also integrate your Twitter feed into a blog (like we have done in this blog). Either way you are providing your followers a current timeline of your activities using only a handheld satellite phone. This is a great tool for people operating in remote locations.

Associate your Iridium Phone with your Twitter Account:  The first step is to associate your satellite phone with your Twitter account.  To do this login to your Twitter account using a web browser. Go to your Twitter account settings.   If you are not familiar with Twitter, there is a drop down list identified by a  "gear" symbol in the full version of Twitter that lets you access the account settings.  If you are using, "Settings" is a hyperlink at the bottom of the main page.

  1. Select “Mobile” settings.  If you already have your cell phone attached to the Twitter account you will need to delete it before associating your satellite phone to the account.

  2. Under “Country/region” list  select “Iridium

  3. Below that next to "Phone number" enter your Iridium phone number starting with 8816.

  4. Click the “Activate phone” button.

  5. Keep the Twitter webpage open because you will need it again. Take your Iridium satellite phone outside and register with the Iridium network.   Send an SMS message to short code 40404 with "Go" as the message content.   Notes:  If you have a Thuraya, the short code is 1888.  The short code for Inmarsat is 898.

  6. Now go back inside and return to your Twitter webpage and confirm that Twitter has verified your Iridium SMS settings.   Once registration is successful, you will see a message on your Twitter page that states “Your phone is verified”. Select your mobile notifications on the screen to complete your enrollment.

Use your Iridium Phonebook:   Outfitter Satellite suggests you create a stored Phonebook entry on your Iridium phone for “Twitter” and program the 40404 messaging address.   Once this is programmed, Tweets sent to your Iridium Phonebook’s Twitter entry will automatically post on your Twitter account. Your Iridium phone will store a maximum of  30 messages sent and received. Once you reach that limit, additional messages will need to be deleted to accept or send new SMS messages. You will be notified when you have reached full capacity.  Standard SMS rates apply to outbound tweets.

Cool GPS stuff with your Iridium 9575 Extreme:   If you have the new Iridium 9575 EXTREME, you can send your GPS information as a Tweet.   This would allow your Twitter followers to click a link and see your GPS position as a function of time.    You can even set the Iridium 9575 EXTREME to send the GPS tweets automatically at even time intervals, as you walk along.

If this article helped you, please let us know by giving us a comment.

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How to Upgrade your Firmware on your Iridium 9555 Satellite Phone

The 9555 continues to be a workhorse phone for Iridium. Despite its longevity, the 9555 is still a robust, well-performing device that costs a little less than new equipment. Firmware upgrades help to keep these phones up-to-date with bug fixes and network improvements.

Do I Need a Firmware Upgrade?

First, determine what firmware version you are currently on. To do this, click the "Menu" button on the phone. Then select "Setup". Then select "Phone information". This page will show the current firmware on the phone. As of April 2017, the current firmware version is HT15002.

If you need to upgrade your firmware, you can download the Iridium 9555 firmware upgrade tool by clicking here. The firmware upgrades are towards the bottom of the page.

Upgrade Procedure

You will need a USB data cable to perform the upgrade. The upgrade process can take 20-30 minutes so make sure your computer and the Iridium 9555 are connected to external power during the upgrade so that the upgrade process is NOT interrupted once it begins. Carefully follow the instructions on the PDF included with the upgrade tool.

An important note for this upgrade: You will need to format the address book once the update has been completed. Enter the code *#323# and then the green call button. This will erase any entries in your phonebook and the phone will reboot. If the code is not entered the address book will not function. See the instructions that are included in the firmware file for more info on this.

We Can Do It For You

Outfitter Satellite can perform the firmware upgrade for you for an $89 inspection charge plus shipping costs. Go to the RMA request form here to send us your phone for inspection and upgrade.


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Changing the SIM in your Iridium 9505A or 9505

Changing the SIM in your Iridium 9505A or 9505

Removing the SIM Card from an Iridium 9505A: The first step is to remove the antenna and the battery. The SIM holder is underneath the battery. If you are looking at the SIM holder with the top of the phone pointed up, the SIM holder can be "gently" slid back and forth from the left to right. Use your thumb to "gently" slide the SIM holder to the left which is the "unlocked" position. Then simply use gravity to let the SIM holder swing out so that the SIM itself can be pulled out of the SIM holder.

Inserting the SIM Card: Putting in the new SIM is the reverse process. Put the SIM in the holder and "gently" push it flush so that the "gold contacts" point down. Then use your thumb to "gently" slide it to the right "locked" position. You should feel a subtle click. You are done.

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Troubleshooting Power Problems on the Thrane & Thrane EXPLORER 700

Troubleshooting Power Problems on the Thrane & Thrane EXPLORER 700

When you power on the EXPLORER 700  terminal, is the display blank? This does not necessarily mean the terminal is not working.   The EXPLORER 700 may be in Stealth Mode. Stealth Mode turns off all the displays, indicators and sounds on the terminal and is  typically used for night-time military applications. Press C+OK on the display keypad to toggle the Stealth Mode on and off.

There are a few other easy things you can check before deciding your EXPLORER 700 needs to be returned for repairs.

  1. Can you see the EXPLORER 700 Web Interface? To do this connect an Ethernet cable between your computer and the EXPLORER 700 LAN #1 port. Open a web browser on your computer and in the address field enter  and if the EXPLORER 700 web interfaces comes up, then you know the terminal is not completely dead. It is possible that the contrast setting on the LCD screen is set too low.   You can adjust the contrast setting directly from the EXPLORER 700 Web Interface. Click on SETTINGS and under CONTRAST, we suggest setting AUTOMATIC to YES.

  2. Verify that the  AC/DC adapter is connected to a wall outlet that has power.

  3. There is a GREEN POWER INDICATOR LIGHT next to the EXPLORER 700 LCD display.  A short flash every 2 seconds means the terminal is on, a steady green light means the battery is charging, a rapidly flashing green light indicates a charging error, and OFF means no power or Stealth mode. If you have power connected to the terminal, you should either see a short flash every 2 seconds or a steady green light.   If the Green Power Indicator is flashing rapidly, you have a charging problem which could be caused by problems with the external power, problems with the AC/DC adapter, or a defective battery. If you are using a DC Car Charger, it may mean that the voltage input to the DC Car Charger is below 9 Volts.

  4. Remove the battery and check it for damage.  Are the contacts dirty or bent? If the battery appears OK, re-insert it into the terminal and make sure it is firmly in place and not loose.   Can you start the terminal now? If not, try step 3 again.

You can find additional guidance on the use of the EXPLORER 700 Web Interface on pg 82 of the User Manual.  There is a valuable Troubleshooting Guide on page 163 of the User Manual. If you are still not up and running,  it is advised to call for technical support.

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Connecting your iPhone over an HNS-9201 Inmarsat BGAN terminal

Connecting your iPhone over an HNS-9201 Inmarsat BGAN terminal

Many of our customers have asked if it is possible to use their iPhone or iPad with their BGAN.   If you have a Macintosh computer connected to a BGAN, normally you can share the connection with your iPhone or iPad.   It is possible to connect an iPhone directly to some BGAN terminals. Outfitter Satellite tested the iPhone (software version 5.1.1.) over the HNS-9201 (firmware version and were able to browse the web and send and receive email. Hint: If you are in an area with cellular coverage, remember to turn off the cellular data on your iPhone so you know you are running over the BGAN.   Here are the steps:

1) Enable WLAN feature on the HNS-9201 using LaunchPad:  Under the “Terminal” menu select “WLAN interface” and enable wireless access.  Set the Network Name to “BGAN”. Set Region to “Rest of World”. Set channel to “11”.  Select 128-bit encryption and use a network password with at least 13 characters. We used: Outfitter123#.   Click “Apply” and “OK”. The WLAN LED on the terminal will now be GREEN. A WiFi capable computer will now see “BGAN” as one of the available wireless networks.  Notes: The WLAN LED blinks if the terminal is on battery power and turns RED if no devices are accessing the HNS-9201 using the WLAN.

2) Connect the iPhone to the HNS-9201 via Wi-Fi: In your iPhone 5.1.1 go to “Settings” and click “Wi-Fi”.  If Wi-Fi is off, turn Wi-Fi on using the slider switch. Under “Choose a Network”, you will see a network called “BGAN”.  Select it and enter the password Outfitter123# and press the “Join” button. You should see a check mark next to the “BGAN” network.

3) Use the HNS-9201 web interface to start an internet session:

  1. Use the iPhone’s Safari browser to go to the HNS-9201’s web interface by entering

  2. Initially you are on the “Properties” page of the web interface.   On the mobile version of the HNS-9201 web interface, you will find a green bar at the bottom of the page under which are the various pages that are available.

  3. On the Properties page, if you are not already registered, you can click the “Register with Network” button.  After it registers you will see “Registration Status: Registered with Home network”.

  4. On the “PDP Contexts” page, select a unique CID value between 1 and 11 for each device that will be using the BGAN. Make sure the APN is set correctly, e.g. XANTIC.BGAN.INMARSAT.COM for Stratos SIMs or VIZADA-USA.BGAN.INMARSAT.COM for Vizada SIMs.  Requested QoS should be set to “Background” which is best effort Standard IP data. No username or password are needed for the APN. Press the “Create Context” button. The page will refresh. Press the “Activate” button. The page will refresh and show the Local IP address, Global IP address, and DNS server addresses. There may or may not be error messages displayed in red above this, but if you hit the “Update” button the error messages will clear off.

  5. OPTIONAL: ACA refers to Automatic Context Activation. On the ACA page  under “ACA Settings for TEs Using DHCP Assigned IP Addresses” you may want to enable ACA by selecting the “On” radio button.

4) When you are finished using the internet, remember to disconnect:  When using a BGAN, you need to be mindful of the cost and be careful to avoid unexpected usage, e.g. automatically downloading emails coming in on your iPhone.  It is a good practice to power down the BGAN when not using it. Another approach would be to deactivate the iPhone’s PDP context which can be done by going to the HNS-9201 web interface on the “PDP Contexts” page and pressing “Deactivate”.

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