About Iridium Handsets
General Questions about Iridium Handsets:
1. How do I make calls from my Iridium phone?
On most plans, you should dial 00 plus the country code and the number.
The exception to this is that if your 12-digit Iridium mobile number starts with 8816318... then you should dial 698 plus the country code and the number. The rest of this FAQ assumes you should use the 00 dialing prefix.
The country code of the U.S. and Canada is 1. So, for example, to call Outfitter Satellite dial 00 1 615 889 8833. If you are dialing another Iridium phone dial 00 8816xxxxxxxx (where 8816 is the country code of the Iridium network and xxxxxxxx is the balance of the 12-digit Iridium mobile number you are calling).
An Iridium 9555 can be configured to automatically insert the 00 prefix. To do this, press the "Menu" button, select "Setup", and then select "Number Entry". If you select "Do Not Prefix" then the dialing instructions provided here will apply. However, you can also select "Prefix with 00" automatically.
2. How do I access my Iridium voicemail?
From your Iridium, dial your own 12-digit Iridium phone number. Be patient since it can take up to 30 seconds to connect the call. You will be prompted for your Iridium voicemail password. By default, your password is the the last 7 digits of your Iridium mobile number. Undefaulting your Iridium voicemail password is a good idea. If at some point you forget your voicemail password, it can be reset by Outfitter Satellite technical support.
3. How do I leave a voice mail message?
The easiest way to call your Iridium satellite is the Two-Stage Dialing method (see below). When you call the Iridium satellite phone, if no one answers, the call will be forwarded to the Iridium voicemail system. The caller simply needs to follow the voice prompts and leave a message. Note: If you do not want voicemail service, Outfitter Satellite can disable your voice mail account.
4. How do I call an Iridium phone from a landline?
There are three methods:
- 2-Stage Dialing: The most economical way to call an Iridium phone is to use two-stage dialing. To do this from a U.S. landline, dial 1 480 768 2500 and enter the 12-digit Iridium mobile number. The caller will hear "YOUR CALL IS BEING FORWARDED, PLEASE DO NOT HANG UP". Be patient as it can take 20 to 30 seconds to connect the call. The inbound call to your Iridium is charged to your Iridium account.
- +1 Access: This is an optional service that assigns a dedicated U.S. phone number to your Iridium mobile phone. Calls made to that number are automatically forwarded to the Iridium phone and billed to the Iridium phone's account at a rate found in your service agreement.
- Direct Dialing From a Landing: You can dial an Iridium directly. From a U.S. landline this is done by dialing 011 (to make an international call) followed by the 12-digit Iridium mobile number. The caller will be billed by their long distance carrier -- usually at a VERY high per minute rate.
5. How do I check my prepaid SIM card balance?
If you have a prepaid Iridium SIM card you can dial 2888 or send an SMS (short message service) message to 2888. If you dial the 2888 shortcode, you will hear an auto-attendant provide the remaining minutes on the account, the number of days until the account expires, and the date and time (GMT) of expiration in English. If you use the SMS method, you will receive the same information by reply SMS to your phone. There is no charge for checking your Iridium balance using either of these methods.
6. How do I install Windows USB drivers for the Iridium 9555 or Iridium 9575 EXTREME?
- You can download the USB drivers for the Iridium 9555 and Iridium 9575 EXTREME by clicking here. Please be sure to save this file somewhere sensible that you can locate again. This file is in a compressed format, you will need to right click on the file and select Extract All. You will be presented with a screen telling you were the extracted files will be saved. Click Extract.
- Once the files have been extracted it will show you the containing folder and if the folder name VCOMPORT is green, this means that the file is encrypted and if we try to use device manager to install this file it will not be able to read it. You need to right click on the file and select Properties. This will present you with the VCOMPORT Properties window where you can click Advanced. If the File name VCOMPORT is not green then you can skip steps 3 and 4.
- Within the advanced window you need to make sure that the option Encrypt contents to secure date is NOT selected and select OK. You will be returned to the VCOMPORT Properties where you need to select OK.
- At this point it will present you with a dialogue box, make sure that the option Apply changes to folders, Subfolders and Files IS selected and press OK.
- Plug the supplied USB lead into the side of the 95x5 handset. Make sure the phone is switched on and then plug the other end of the USB lead into your computer. The computer should recognize that a new piece of hardware has been plugged into your computer and begin the installation process.
- After a couple of seconds a dialogue box should pop up titled Found New Hardware Wizard. Select Yes, this time only, and then continue with Next.
- On the next screen select Install from a list of specific location (Advanced). Click Next.
- In the next screen make sure that the two option Search for drivers in specific location and Include this location in the search, are ticked and then use the browse button to find the extracted folder and select the folder within that called VCOMPORT. Click OK and then NEXT and then continue anyway.
- If your computer does not recognise that a new piece of hardware has been plugged in then you need to go to the device manager which can be found in the control panel. If you have the Iridium 9555 plugged in then you should be able to see a yellow exclamation mark next to it in the list. If you double click and then click on update driver you should be able to select the location of the folder VCOMPORT and complete the installation of the Iridium driver.
7. Can I connect my iPad or Android to the internet over the Iridium phone?
Yes you can connect an iPad, iPhone, or Android tablet to the internet. The best way to do this is with our Optimizer hotspot. It does require external power but we sell and rent back-pack mountable solar chargers with built in battery packs that can recharge the Iridium, the tablet, and power the Optimizer.
8. I am getting a lot of call drops. Can I do anything about that?
There are 66 Iridium satellites in Low Earth polar orbits. If you are on a calm sea or on perfectly flat land with no trees or mountains or buildings, your Iridium phone probably will see two to four of these satellites at any given time. Unfortunately, usually there will be vertical obstructions around you. You need a direct line of sight between your Iridium phone's antenna and an Iridium satellite in order to make a call. To reduce the likelihood of a vertical obstruction blocking your Iridium satellite signal, move to an open area without nearby buildings or trees.
Many people attempt to use the satellite phone from inside a building near a window. Though this can work, the roof of the building is probably blocking signal from some of the satellites. Metallic solar treatments on windows can also block the signal. You will have less call drops if you exit the building and find a clearing nearby. If you need to use the satellite phone from within a building (other than a cloth tent), you can purchase
Another way to reduce the number of call drops is to wait until you have at least 4 or 5 bars of signal before initiating a call.
9. How do I send an SMS, text or short 160-character email message to my Iridium satellite phone? The Iridium 9555 supports sending and receiving 160 character text messages directly from the Iridium phone. Inbound SMS messages are free of charge. An easy way to send a free text message to an Iridium is to go to the Iridium SMS Message Center; you will need the Iridium phone's 8816 number. The message typically takes from 1 to 5 minutes to arrive at the Iridium phone. Troubleshooting: If a very high volume of SMS messages are being sent, you may see a longer delay. In this case, the Iridium SMS Message Center may come back with a message such as: "Delay in Sending Message. Your message has been queued. Our system is currently experiencing a high level of message requests. Your message has been added to the send queue and will be transmitted as soon as possible." If you are seeing this message, usually the message will arrive within 15 to 30 minutes.
Iridium 9575 Extreme:
1. How do I share my GPS position?
There are several different ways to use your Iridium 9575 Extreme to send your GPS position to friends so that they are aware of your location as you travel.
The Iridium 9575 offers an LBS (location based tracking) service that can be used in conjunction with a private password-protected web portal to track Iridium 9575 Extreme phones and retain history of your positions. LBS does have additional monthly fee costs but if you intend to transmit your position thousands of times a year this may be a good choice for you.
Users that only need personal GPS tracking services on an occasional basis usually choose SMS tracking services. There are no additional monthly fees other than your Iridium service contract. The phone automatically transmits its position an SMS message at equal time spacings and you pay only for the SMS messaging services that are used. If you set the time spacing to be 15 minutes, this would provide 32 position reports during an 8 hour hike. The cost is very economical as it would be only 32 SMS messages. The information below is for the basic user:
- METHOD #1: Manual GPS Sharing
Use the left soft key and up/down scroll keys to select Menu : Setup : Location Options : GPS Options. Then under GPS On/Off make sure GPS is enabled. Then, click the right soft key once to back up one level. Under GPS Update Options we recommend that you select 10 or 15 minutes. Then, click the right soft key twice to back up two levels.
At this point, you should be at the Location Options level. Scroll down and select Message Options. Scroll to and select Quick GPS List. You can put up to 5 SMS or email recipients into the Quick GPS List. Remember you will be paying separately for each recipient address. To add one, scroll to an (empty) recipient and click on Options and then click on Edit. To create a text recipient, select Enter Number. As an example, if you have a U.S. phone number such as 615-482-1987 you would put in +16154821987 for the number. If you decide to enter an email address, please note that the * key gives you access to special characters.
You are setup to share your GPS position. To do so, press the convenience button on the right side of the phone. You lat/long will be displayed. If it is not displayed, you have to wait for the GPS to get a fix. Remember the GPS antenna is on the upper right side of the phone, so don't cover that with your thumb. It can take a minute or so to get a GPS fix. Once you have a GPS fix, you can share it by using the left soft key to select Share and again to select Quick GPS. Your position will go out to everyone that is a recipient on your Quick GPS List.
- METHOD #2: Creating an Automatic Breadcrumb Trail
Go to Menu : Setup : Location Options : Message Options : Regular Update : Update Frequency. You can choose 5, 10, or 30 minutes. Remember that you will pay for an outbound SMS to each recipient each time the Iridium sends out a position report, so we generally recommend that you select 30 minutes. Doing this means with a recipient list of only one SMS address would probably mean you would send about 16 SMS messages during an 8 hour hike which on most plans would be under $10.
Click the right soft key to backup one level and scroll to and select Update Recipient. Select Options and then Edit and Enter Number as before to put in the cell phone number of the person that you want to receive the breadcrumb trail report.
You are setup. If you keep your phone powered on and have used our recommendations, it will automatically transmit your GPS position every 30 minutes. The recipient can click the hyperlink to see your position on a map.
2. How do I use the Emergency S.0.S. button on the 9575?
Since this normally is used for an emergency declaration, we recommend that you carefully read your user manual. This paragraph is a quick overview of the setup. In a manner very similar to the above GPS sharing features, you go into Menu : Setup : Location Options : Emergency Options. Under Emergency Actions we recommend you select Message & Call. Under Emergency Recipient define one or more SMS or email addresses to receive your emergency declaration. Under Call Recipient define a phone number to call. In order to make sure you have entered valid text, email, and phone numbers, be sure to TEST that each recipient receives your communication successfully before you are actually in an emergency condition. Remove the protective shield cap and press the red S.O.S. button to initiate an emergency communication.
1. The Iridium 9555 won't charge. What is wrong?
At room temperature, the standard battery should charge from 0% to 100% in about 4 hours. The fully charged battery provides sufficient power for about 4 hours of talk time or 30 hours of standby (under normal operating conditions).
The phone comes with an AC charger and an international plug set. If the AC charger is getting power, the LED on the AC charger itself will light up. After you plug the AC charger into the Iridium 9555 using the power jack on the bottom left side of the phone, the screen should display Charging Battery. If this does not occur, here are some things to look at:
- Check the electrical contacts on the battery and make sure there is no dirt or corrosion.
- Never attempt to pickup the Iridium phone using the cable of the AC charger. Doing so puts stress on the charging port. If the phone no longer will charge, look carefully to see if the charging port has been damaged.
- At room temperature, the standard battery should charge from 0% to 100% in about 4 hours. However, if the phone is hot it will take longer to charge. One common situation, is attempting to charge the phone while it is sitting in direct sunlight. Direct sunlight can cause the phone to be quite hot to the touch. Try charging the phone in a shady location.
- If the battery still does not charge, it may need to be replaced.
- HIGH CAPACITY IRIDIUM 9555 BATTERY: In late 2011, Iridium developed a high capacity Iridium battery that provides up to 6.5 hours of talk time. If you are using this battery, be sure to upgrade the firmware to HT11001 or later so that the battery charge level will display correctly.
2. How do I check for new text messages on my Iridium 9555 phone?Text messages are referred to as SMS for Short Message Service. Inbound text messages are free. Outbound messages are charged according to your contractual rate. The maximum length of a text message is 160 characters. Press the Menu softkey, then scroll down using the arrow keys until "Messages" is highlighted on the screen. Then press "Select". Scroll down to "Inbox"then press "Select". You can now scroll through your messages. Press "Read"to read a highlighted message. Use the down arrow to scroll through the contents of the message. Once you have reached the bottom of the message, pressing the down arrow again will continue on to the next message. At any time, you can return to the previous screen by pressing the "Back" button. To reply to the text message, press "Options" while reading the message and scroll down to "Reply" and press "Select".
Once the Iridium network receives an SMS message for your Iridium phone, it will immediately attempt to deliver it to your phone. If your Iridium phone is not available at that time, the network will make additional delivery attempts after 2 minutes, 4 minutes, 9 minutes, 14 minutes, 24 minutes, 34 minutes, 44 minutes, 54 minutes, 64 minutes and 74 minutes. Twelve more retries will occur at 4 hour intervals. The total time span for delivery attempts is 2 days 1 hour and 14 minutes. If after 8 days the message has not been delivered to the recipient, it will expire and be deleted from the message box. Until the SMS message is deleted from the message box, the Iridium phone user can initiate "re-send" of SMS messages by manually registering the Iridium phone, or by placing a call.
3. How do I send a (SMS) text message from my 9555 Iridium phone? You must be registered on the network and have a good signal before sending the text message. To send a text message from the Iridium 9555 phone, press "Menu". Using the arrow keys scroll to "Messages", then press "Select". "Create Message"should be highlighted, press "Select". Enter your message text, then press "Options". The "Send" option should be highlighted, press "Select". A "Send To" screen will now appear and "New Recipient" will be highlighted, press the "Add" softkey. "Enter Number" should be highlighted, press "Select". Enter the recipient's phone number, including country code after the "+" sign. Press "OK". Press "Send" to send the message.
4. How do I send an e-mail from my 9555 Iridium phone?
Outfitter Satellite recommends the use of the Optimizer Hotspot with the SpeedMail app. SpeedMail can be used on iOS, Android, Windows, and Macintosh. Some older SIM cards do not support SpeedMail. If you are interested in SpeedMail please contact us. Note: The free-to-use "classic" SkyFile Mail software is being phased out and will no longer be available after April 1, 2017.
5. Can you track an Iridium 9555's GPS position?
Since the Iridium 9555 does not have a built-in GPS receiver, precise location information is not available from the phone itself. You can get a separate GPS receiver and manually send SMS messages or voice messages through the Iridium 9555 to relate your GPS position to others. If you have a BEAM PotsDOCK for your Iridium 9555, you can use the LeoTRAK service that is built into the docking station.
6. How do you disable SIM PIN protection on the Iridium 9555?
Your factory default SIM PIN is 1111. Of course, you may have changed it. If your Iridium 9555 displays SIM PIN: at start up it means SIM PIN Protection is enabled on your phone to prevent unauthorized use. While some customers prefer this protection, you should be aware that if the SIM PIN is entered incorrectly 3 times in a row, the phone will display PIN Blocked, at which point you will need a PUK code (which can be acquired from Outfitter Satellite) to unblock the phone. Furthermore, if you attempt to incorrectly enter the PUK code 3 times in a row, the SIM will become permanently invalidated. Consequently, Outfitter Satellite recommends that SIM PIN Protection be disabled. Here is the procedure to disable SIM PIN Protection:
- Press the Menu key.
- Use the down arrow to select Security and press Select.
- Use the down arrow to select SIM Lock and press Select.
- Select Disable SIM Lock and press Select.
- Enter the SIM PIN (which by factory default is 1111) and press OK.
- Press the Back button repeatedly to return to the Main Screen. You are finished.
7. My Iridium 9555 says "PIN Blocked:" when I power it up. What do I do?
This means that SIM PIN Protection is enabled to prevent unauthorized use. If you enter the SIM PIN incorrectly 3 times in a row, the phone will display PIN Blocked. If you see PIN Blocked, the below procedure will unblock the phone.
- Enter **05*
- Press the GREEN button.
- The PUK box will now be highlighted.
- Enter the PUK1 code but do NOT hit the GREEN button or the OK. Instead use the up down arrows to scroll to the New PIN. Enter 1111 (which is the default). Then scroll down again to Verify New PIN and re-enter 1111 and now hit the OK button.
- You are ready to go.
WARNING: First, you will need to get the 8-digit PUK code from Outfitter Satellite. When you enter the PUK code (see steps above) enter it slowly, firmly and carefully. Entering the PUK code incorrectly 3 times will PERMANENTLY INVALIDATE THE SIM CARD so that a new SIM card must be physically sent to the user. If the first attempt fails, please call Outfitter Satellite before continuing to try again!
8. How do I upgrade the Iridium 9555 Firmware?
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".
For details on doing the firmware upgrade yourself, click here. If you are not comfortable doing the firmware upgrade, Outfitter Satellite can do it for you for an $89 inspection charge plus shipping costs. To do the upgrade, you will need a USB data cable. The upgrade process typically takes 20 or 30 minutes so make sure your computer and the Iridium 9555 are connected to external power so that the upgrade process is not interrupted once it begins.
9. My Iridium phone has a lot of dropped calls. What should I do?
The Iridium satellite network is made up of a large number of low earth orbiting satellites. As these satellite move, the direct line of sight between the satellite you are using and the phone can get obstructed by objects such as buildings, trees, and mountains. It is also possible that the satellite moved over the horizon. When this happens, the Iridium phone attempts to continue the call over a new satellite. However, sometimes this fails and the call is dropped. Make sure you have a clear line of sight that is not blocked by nearby vertical obstructions and when you get a strong signal on your phone, try the call again.
Iridium 9505A and 9505:
1. Why won't my Iridium 9505A battery charge?
The phone comes with an AC charger and an international plug set. If the AC charger is getting power, the LED on the AC charger will light up. The AC charger has a jack that plugs into the bottom left side of the phone. When the charger is connected to the phone the screen will show Charging Battery. Check the electrical contacts on the battery and make sure there is no dirt or corrosion on them. If the battery still does not charge, it may need to be replaced.
2. How do I check for new text messages on my Iridium 9505A phone? Text messages are referred to as SMS for Short Message Service. Inbound text messages are free. Outbound messages are charged according to your contractual rate. The maximum length of a text message is 160 characters. Press the "envelope" key followed by the "down arrow" key until you see "Received Messages" on the screen. Then press "OK" to display your first message. Use the "down arrow" to scroll through the contents of the message. Once you have reached the bottom of the message, pressing the "down arrow" again will continue on to the next message. At any time, you can return to the Iridium screen by pressing the red "C" twice. To reply to the text message, press "OK" and scroll down to "Reply to Sender" and press "OK".
3. How do I send a text message from my Iridium phone?
From the Iridium 9505/9505A phone, select "Message Editor". Start the SMS with the email address followed by a space, e.g. [email protected] Hello, Fred. Then, select "Send Message" and enter +*2, or 00*2, or *2 followed by the command "Send Message". To send a text message to another Iridium phone from your Iridium 9505/9505A do the following. Select "Message Editor". Enter the message and select "OK". Select menu option "Send Message". Enter either; 00
The very first firmware versions of the Iridium 9505 did not support outbound SMS texting, though later firmware upgrades supported outbound SMS messaging on the 9505. To check your firmware version, type in *#91# and it will return the version. The most current version of the firmware for the Iridium 9505A is ISO9002. Outfitter Satellite can upgrade your firmware for you. If you want to do it yourself, you do need to have the RS-232 serial adapter for the phone and a Windows PC with a RS-232 serial port or USB-to-serial adapter.