Emergency Management Newsletter – 4th Edition

Emergency Management Newsletter – 4th Edition

Digicom Global, Inc. is your emergency management communication specialists. We specialize in satellite, paging and radio communications devices.

October 23rd was a very exciting day for emergency management folks in Michigan. The MPSCS eliminated subscriber fees for Michigan radios. A onetime, $250.00 per fee per new radio will replace the semi-annual charges.

The same day the state approved the new Unication G4 800 MHz pager. Michigan is the first state in the US to pioneer this 800 MHz P25 technology. It works on the MPSCS system, but instead of using 2 tone sequential, it uses the radio talk group IDs. This will be a game changer for a lot of public safety organizations, particularly for those who have experienced reduced range from VHF/UHF pagers due to narrow banding.

The G4 works much like a P25 radio does except that it can’t transmit. You can page it and also monitor your radio traffic. It’s ideal for mutual aid as it can receive anywhere your 800 MHz radio has reception.

The new Unication G4 will be available first in 700/800 MHz, followed shortly thereafter by dual band VHF and UHF units. They are IP67, submersible and dustproof and have a ruggedized housing. It also features:

  • P25 trunking & Conventional
  • 2800 mAh LiIon battery
  • Text messaging capability
  • 32 minutes memo & Voice storage
  • Out of range alert
  • Bluetooth
  • 2 year warranty / 3 year Addition Available


The new Unication dual band pagers will be available in April 2016!

Unication also manufactures a G1 Pager in VHF/ UHF that is IP 67, submersible, dustproof and have a ruggedized housing, plus:

  • Has the most sensitive receiver in the market
  • Has rechargeable batteries & takes disposable batteries
  • 16 minutes Memo & Voice storage
  • Bluetooth
  • 2 year warranty/ 3 year Addition Available
  • $100.00 Trade in on Minitor Pagers or BUY 10 get 1 FREE until 12/31/2015


Last, but not least, Kenwood announced a new high end 800 MHz radio that exceeds the specifications of anything else on the market. The new Kenwood TK-5430 features:

  • FIRST SOFTWARE DEFINED radio on the market, meaning you can add in feature or future feature at anytime.
  • 65,000 COLOR transflective display, that you can see in bright sunlight
  • 32 GB MICRO SD CARD lets you record and playback all conversations right from the radio.
  • LOUD 1 WATT audio and a GRAPHIC EQUALYZER that lets you adjust TX & RX in loud environments.
  • BLUETOOTH
  • SMART BATTERIES and chargers
  • UP TO 4000 channels
  • 3 YEAR WARRANTY


And much more for as little as $1300.00 after MiDEAL state contract pricing. If you want pricing or demos of any of these products contact us at 248-866-6000 or email sales@digicomglobal911.com.

Digicom Global was founded in 1994 as a Kenwood & EF Johnson dealer, a satellite phone supplier and a specialist in audio accessories for SWAT and public safety. You can buy public safety radios from Harris, Motorola and others, but for quality and price Kenwood and EFJ are unmatched. In case you didn’t know, Kenwood bought EF Johnson this year and moved all the manufacturing to Japan.

Available Now: Unication G1, first submersible, vhf/uhf/low band pager
G1 Pager view brochure.
Available Now: Unication G4, first of its kind, 700/800 MHz P25 pager
G4 Pager view brochure.


Email: sales@digicomglobal911.com
Phone: 248-866-6000
Facebook: Digicom Global Facebook
Twitter: Digicom Global Twitter
LinkedIn: Digicom Global LinkedIn

© 2013 Digicom Global
All Rights Reserved
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Spotlight: The Iridium 9575 Extreme

Why buy the Iridium 9575 Extreme satellite phone?

Iridium unveils a new ruggedized satellite phone, the 9575 Iridium Extreme. This is the first satellite phone to come to market with integrated tracking and emergency SOS notification. Satellite phones are the phone of last resort. Whether you’re backpacking, hunting, snowmobiling, boating or travelling to remote areas, this phone could save your life.

For first responders this can be a great asset for tracking critical assets and personnel. Tracking can be disabled for undercover operations.

The Iridium 9575 utilizes Google maps for online tracking. Through social network sites your friends and family can track your progress. Businesses can track remote personnel. You can even send text messages from almost anywhere on the planet. Should you or your people get into trouble, with one touch of a button, you can send out an SOS call for help with your exact GPS enabled coordinates.

Living up to its name, its not only built for safety, it’s also built to handle extremes. The Iridium 9575 is built to military specification F and is designed to handle dust, shock and rain. It comes with a leather case, charger, car charger and a USB cable. It can even be used as a wi-fi hotspot.

If you just need a good basic satellite phone the Iridium 9555 portable is also available. It comes with a charger, car charger, and magnetic mount antenna for in vehicle use.

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Emergency Management Newsletter – Third Edition

Emergency Management Newsletter – Third Edition

Digicom Global, Inc. is your emergency management communication specialists. We specialize in satellite and radio communications devices.

For satellite communications we represent Globalstar and Iridium for voice and data solutions and Spot for GPS tracking and communications. Our radio division offers Kenwood two way radios, Raytheon interoperability solutions, and CON-SPACE, OTTO Communications, 3M Peltor, and Impact Communications brands for two way radio accessories.

For our third edition of this newsletter we are addressing a brand new product category, satellite wi-fi devices. Globalstar released its Sat-Fi device on 6/23/14 and Iridium released their Iridium GO! in July 2015.

Both of these products promise to allow you to do something you’ve never done before. Use your smart phone to make and receive satellite phone calls and send and receive emails and text messages with NO cellular infrastructure; it’s like having your own personal cell tower. They are available for Android, Apple iOS, Mac and Windows. You can also use multiple other smart phones, tablets or laptops to send emails off the wi-fi modems. Range is up to 100 feet from the devices.

There are numerous applications for these products especially for people who work beyond the range of cellular or in situations where cellular is taken out by manmade or natural disasters.

Some of the industries that will benefit are:

  • Energy/Oil & Gas
  • Commercial/Coast Guard/Recreational Marine
  • Emergency Management
  • Military operations
  • Construction
  • Natural Resources
  • Transportation

What’s the difference in these products?

The Globalstar Sat-Fi markets itself as the world’s most powerful satellite hotspot. It’s certainly the fastest at about 4 times the data speed of Iridium’s product. Click here for Globalstar Sat-Fi Brochure. This is still only 9600 baud, but can be considerably faster with compressed data. The Sat-Fi modem supports up to eight concurrent devices. Browsing the web will be pretty slow, but sending emails etc. can be done easily and coming second quarter of this year, the next generation Sat-Fi will be capable of 256k. The Sat-Fi comes with an AC/DC power supply and a wi-fi antenna, mounting accessories, plus your choice of 3 different antennas. The patch antenna is a low profile, hockey puck type antenna for mobile use, the mini stick helix antenna for mobile command vehicles or fixed locations or a marine antenna. 32-86 feet cables are optional for in building applications.

The device itself is only 6.3 x 6.3 x 2.4 in. and it can operate in extreme environments from -67 to 185 degrees F.

The Iridium GO! does much the same thing as the Globalstar Sat-Fi, but at lower, 2400 baud, data speed and can run just five concurrent devices off the modem. It’s key advantage is portability. It has an internal battery so can be used away from a vehicle. The battery standby lasts up to 16 hours OR 7 hours of talktime. It also win’s in the sexy category. It has a sleeker design and measures just 4.5 x 3.25 x 1.25, weighs 10.4 oz and comes with a pop up antenna. It’s manufactured to military spec 810 F and IP 65 for driven rain.

Which one should you buy?

If you’re in forestry, a back packer or in any situations where you need portability the Iridium Go! Is the way to go as you can fit the device in your jacket pocket. Also Iridium covers some areas that Globalstar does not, including both poles, China, India and southern Africa. For most public safety customers and most customers not needing portability, Globalstar’s faster data speeds and included external antennas will give you better performance. Their airtime rates are also more reasonable than Iridium’s and start at $40.00 per month for 40 minutes of use or $480.00 annual plans offer 480 anytime minutes. Plans go from there to $150.00 for unlimited use. The Sat-Fi lists for $995.00 and the GO! Lists for $895.00, but without the external antennas. If you can wait, hold out for the next generation Sat-Fi. It will have the size and portability of Iridium’s GO! but its 256k data speed will be 100 times faster.

On the system side, Globalstar just replaced their entire satellite constellation with next generation satellites. Iridium’s satellite’s are scheduled to be replaced sometime in 2015-2016. Traditionally Globalstar phones sound a bit better than Iridium’s due to their lower earth orbit satellites.

Will these replace traditional satellite phones? They could in some situations, but basic satellite phones will always have their place. If you don’t need the data capability and you want a simple solution to grab and go a satellite phone may be the best choice. We have satellite phones available for as little as FREE depending on the rate plan. New prepaid Crew Calling plans are available too for people who want multiple users to use the same phone without cost to the device owner. Feel free to contact us about any of these products. These are NEW products and if not yet up on our website, will be very soon.


Email: sales@digicomglobal911.com
Phone: 248-866-6000
Facebook: Digicom Global Facebook
Twitter: Digicom Global Twitter
LinkedIn: Digicom Global LinkedIn

© 2013 Digicom Global
All Rights Reserved

Emergency Management Newsletter – Second Edition

Digicom Global, Inc. is your emergency management communication specialists. We specialize in satellite and radio communications devices.

Emergency Management Newsletter – Second edition.
P25 Phase 2. Are you ready?

Many first responders in the country are now using P25 two way radios, but many don’t know what P25 is. (If you’re not using VHF/UHF or 800 MHZ P25 radios feel free to forward to others who are. You may also want to read our REVISED Inaugural Edition regarding satellite phones.) P25 stands for Project 25 which was created jointly by the National Association of State Telecommunications Directors (NASTD), the Association of Public Safety Communications Officials International (APCO), and the Telecommunications Industry Association (TIA). Project 25 was designed to create communications standards in voice and data communications to facilitate interoperability across cities, states and around the country. It was also designed to have open architecture so that any manufacturer that could meet the standards could compete in the market, allowing innovation and competition.

It was especially designed to meet the needs of public safety personnel. The best document we’ve seen for P25 is from Daniels Electronics LTD and tells you all you want to know about P25.

P25 was primarily designed as a digital system, but is also designed to be backwards compatible, communicating with legacy analog radios. Digital generally talks about 20% farther than analog and penetrates buildings better. We are currently in Phase 1 of P25, which operates in 12.5 KHz bands for analog, digital or mixed mode radios. You are probably aware there was a mandate from the FCC for all radios to be “narrow banded: to 12.5 KHz by 12/31/2013. Phase 2 is going to take that a step further to the “very narrow band” spectrum–6 1/4 KHz to maximize channel space. Other roaming and interoperability requirements may also be required. No firm date has been scheduled yet for Phase 2, but newer radios are becoming available prepared with the technology to support the phase 2 transition, narrow banding, and future P25 benefits. Phase 2 radios will be backwards compatible with Phase 1 radios.

There is also new P25 standard in vocoders, (the device that converts your voice from analog to digital). The old standard was called IMBE (Improved Multi Band Excitation) and is still included in all Motorola XTS radios and in most other P25 radios designed 5 or more years ago. The new standard is called AMBE + 2. It reduces background noise and increases clarity over the old standard. The new vocoders also excel at filtering out unwanted background noise like sirens and gun shots.

Digicom Global, Inc. was founded in 1994 as a Kenwood dealer, a satellite phone supplier and a specialist in audio accessories for SWAT and public safety. You can purchase radios from TAIT, Motorola or other manufacturers, but in terms of quality and price, Kenwood is unmatched. For a very limited time we have a $100 rebate available on our new TK-5430 portable and TK-5930 800 MHz mobile. These P25 radios are the most full featured and rugged portables and mobiles available on the market. After state contract pricing these radios will be approximately $1300 each. Contact us for a personalized quote or a demonstration. Standard features include:

  • 65,000 color transflective display visibile under direct light and bright sunlight.
  • IP68 military spec, submersible to 2 meters for 30 minutes.
  • Loud 1 watt speaker portable and 4-40 watt available for mobile.
  • Bluetooth and GPS.
  • DES encryption.
  • 3 year warranty standard.
  • Optional Kenwood exclusive, 32 GB Micro SD playback feature–allowing users to record and playback all conversations at any time.


Email: sales@digicomglobal911.com
Phone: 248-866-6000
Facebook: Digicom Global Facebook
Twitter: Digicom Global Twitter
LinkedIn: Digicom Global LinkedIn

© 2013 Digicom Global
All Rights Reserved
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Unication G1 and New G4 Fire and Rescue Pagers

In so many firehouses across the nation, above the chief’s desk, the wall is covered with awards honoring the bravery of the men and women that serve their communities, the men and women that go above and beyond the call of duty, the men and women that accidentally dropped a nine hundred dollar fire pager into a port-a-tank. Above the chief’s desk, up the wall and to the left is a plaque with a shelf honoring the thousands of dollars of taxpayer money blown on waterlogged pagers and equipment.

Seeing pictures of firemen at work and the capricious adversity they face on a daily basis it’s a miracle more pieces of equipment aren’t damaged in the process.  Firefighters depend on hundreds of gallons of water every day to do their job, is it any wonder that someone goes bobbing for a missing pager in a water tank once in a while? Moreover, this begs the question; shouldn’t the fire pagers be durable enough to handle this kind of treatment?

Five minutes of pager bobbing later the shorted out piece of radio equipment was retrieved never to receive a broadcast again. Instead it rests up and to the left above the chief’s desk as a reminder to all rookie firefighters that they too have the opportunity to be honored for both bravery and equipment damages.

The answer to all these instances of pager grief is Unication’s G-series pagers. The Unication G1 is becoming more and more popular among fire departments for good reason and not just because you’ll never see one resting above the chief’s desk after a swim. The G1 is designed top to bottom with a rugged waterproof housing to face down any adversity. In addition to surviving drastic temperature changes the G1 was the first fully submersible fire pager (submersible up to 1 meter for 30mins).

Unication just introduced the G4 pager to the market in Michigan. The G4 is the first P25 700/800 MHz pager available on the market. Michigan’s P25 radio network is a fully digital emergency communications network managed by Michigan’s Public Safety Communications System (MPSCS). MPSCS is pioneering a lot of exciting new technologies in public safety radio communications based on the P25 emergency standards allowing for more interoperability between state radios at the local and regional level. Local and regional digital talk groups are created from public safety departments’ radio IDs. This means a department can configure their two way radio or pager to instantly switch modes of operation from local digital talk groups [or local analog] to a regional talk group to listen in on neighboring departments for mutual aid situations.

The G1 and G4 both come with a record and playback feature which is great for mutual aid situations when you can just play back the calls as many times as you need to get an unfamiliar address instead of having to ask over the air for repeat directions. In fact, what sets the G1 and G4 apart from other fire pagers are the plethora of features that come standard to be configured at the hands of the end user. This is a major advantage for departments thinking of switching pagers as the G1 and G4 can be customized to virtually mirror the settings of your old system for as smooth a transition as possible and then offer your personnel as much flexibility as you want to further customize them.

Several notorious features really set the G1 and G4 apart from the rest of the fire pager market pushing them to the forefront of the competition.

The Backlit Front Screen Display is big and makes the selected channel easily visible for firefighters working in dark environments. The screens can be programmed to display the department’s and fireman’s information, if the pager gets lost it can easily be identified and returned to it’s owner.

Voice Recording and Replay Options make life infinitely easier. The pagers switch into record mode as soon as the two tone page goes out, they automatically mute the squelch you’d normally have to listen to if the dispatcher takes a while to start talking. The page is recorded so you can replay the page as much as you want if you miss a critical piece of information. You can set the pager to require a press and hold on the replay button so you don’t have to worry about accidentally bumping the playback button on the job.

Pagers Come with 2 Year and Optional 3 Year Extended Warranty for $79 bumping you up to an exceptional 5 year warranty for equipment that has to suffer some of the harshest working conditions of any job.

Extra Sensitive Antenna extends your paging range noticeably and has better coverage in buildings and structures that typically pose a problem for pager reception.

Rugged Submersible Rubber Housing lets these pagers take a beating in the field. Shock resistance, scratch resistant screen, dustproof and you can wash the thing off under the tap after spending hours tearing through soot, ash and drywall.

G1 Uses Rechargeable AAA Batteries making them quick and easy to replace and significantly cheaper than having to order and wait on a proprietary battery. It can use disposable AAAs in a pinch as well.

Scan mode allows users to listen to analog transmission on the frequency band the G1 is configured for. Personnel can configure this to listen in on public frequencies like a radio, even if they are away from their home area they will still know what’s going on.

The P25 G4 works similarly, allowing the user to listen to different emergency talk groups even if they’re away from their home area. The talk groups in this case are programmed into the radio via the MPSCS. The G4 is also designed to support all options for MPSCS talk group configurations like P25 Trunking where the transmission bands are dynamically assigned and broadcast to a specific talk group instead of monopolizing a single band. The G4 is also future proofed to a large degree by its software defined design. As more features like Trunking become available they can be added to the G4 via a software download so you don’t have to worry about your pagers becoming immediately obsolete as new communications standards become available.

 

 

Spot GPS Messenger-Headcount when the phones go out.

Spot GPS Messenger

 

The recent events in the Mid-East reminded me of a conversation I had two years ago with the Worldwide Director of Security for a major consulting company. He had returned my call on a relatively unimportant matter and noted that he had been working sixteen hour days for the past week. He was having a major challenge locating the dependants of the company’s employees in Haiti after the devastating earthquake. My question to him was “Why are you returning my call?”

The Director of Security simply said “You need to hear this.” He went on to say that all the landline and cell services in Haiti were not working. “If all our people had a SPOT I could have determined the status and location of all of our people in an hour”. I already knew that. I had spent the past week shipping SPOTs to military and relief agencies to help them keep track of their people going to Haiti.

The SPOT Satellite GPS Messenger is about the size of a pager. SPOT allows the user to send their OK, Help or SOS message along with lat/long and a google map by satellite with a press of a button. At $99 per unit and $99 per year for unlimited service it is an inexpensive solution to a critical problem.

With the increase in social networking foreign governments shut off cell services at the first hint of civil unrest. Because SPOT is satellite based it continues to work when the cell service is disabled.

I have been having more and more conversations like the one two years ago.

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Emergency Management Newsletter – Inaugural Edition

emergency management - fire Digicom Global, Inc. is your emergency management communication specialists. We specialize in satellite and radio communications devices.

For satellite communications we represent Globalstar, Iridium, Spacenet for voice and data solutions and Spot and Numerex for GPS tracking and communications. Our radio division offers Kenwood two way radios, Raytheon interoperability solutions, and CON-SPACE, OTTO Communications, 3M Peltor, and Impact Communications brands for two way radio accessories.

digicom global products

katrinaFor our inaugural edition of this newsletter we are addressing satellite phones, their benefits and challenges. For this issue we’re just addressing portable devices. Satellite phones are the phones of last resort and were critical devices during 911, Katrina and other disasters. 25,000 Globalstar phones were deployed in the first two months at Katrina. We haven’t been effected by hurricanes in the Midwest, but of the 10 most deadly tornados in history the worst effected 3 states, Illinois, Indiana and Missouri with 695 dead and the 10th worst was in Flint Michigan in 1953. For the top 25 see: http://www.spc.noaa.gov/faq/tornado/killers.html

In a discussion with the senate FCC chairman Kevin Martin said “if we learned anything from hurricane Katrina, it is that we cannot rely solely on terrestrial communications.” See PDF. When radio towers are knocked down satellite communications may be the best communications tool you have.

Globalstar and Iridium have been the 2 major players for satellite communications over the last decade. For communications in the US Globalstar was initially the best per a Frost and Sullivan report. It sounded better as the satellites were lower earth orbit than Iridium and the data rate was faster. Then came 2007 when the voice portion of the satellites started failing prematurely. 8 first generation satellites were launched to patch the system temporarily while monies were raised for the new next generation constellation. Today the money has been raised. 18 new satellites were launched in 2011, with the last 6 just launched December 28th, 2011. The final 6 should be launched by April 2012 and we should have complete coverage by late summer. The price of the new GSP-1700 has been reduced to $499.00 and rate plans currently include unlimited airtime to US and Canada for 12 months. Next generation products will offer data speeds up to 256K and a host of new features.

Iridium was the first satellite manufacturer to carry handheld phones for commercial use. Iridium satellite phones deliver 99% coverage today. Shortly after Globalstar started having the problems mentioned above, many first responders switched to Iridium for more reliability. Iridium offers more coverage than Globalstar, particularly noticeable in the polar regions, in China and Southern Africa. Iridium is raising funds for it’s next generation constellation, Iridium Next, which is expected to launch in 2015.

globalstar satellite phonesiridium satellite phonesBoth systems have base stations available for in building use as well. For more information visit our website. We have a more in depth comparison of the 2 carriers in our blog post or at the bottom of the section on airtime.

 

 

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Iridium Phone: How to Setup Your Satellite Phone

Iridium Phone Setup

Iridium PhoneThere are 2 types of Iridium phones, base stations for in building use and portable phones. Iridium  models are the RST-100 and a 9555 portable handheld satellite phone.  During emergency situations, there are possible scenarios that could render the hospitals phone system and cell phone systems inoperable.  In situations when all other phone services are down, satellite phones could be the only voice communication available.

When to use the Iridium phone

The Iridium phone is designated for situations when all other forms of voice communication are not working.  For example, during hurricane Katrina, the only voice communication into or out of New Orleans was by satellite phone.

Where to place the Iridium phone

The Iridium  phones are completely portable, much like a cell phone.  They come as a handheld or in a case for protection and should be kept in a designated secure location. There are also base stations available where an antenna is placed on the roof and the base is wired to a standard analog telephone for in building use.

Iridium phone functionality

For a Iridium phone to work, it must be used outside. The antenna must be able to see the unobstructed sky.   You can not use the phone in a car  because of this limitation without the (included) adaptor and magnetic mount antenna..  The phone will not work through a window.  The antenna folds and may also extend…fold it to point upward and extend it to full length.

Servicing Iridium Satellite Phone

Iridium is the service provider for the satellite phone service and provides the warranty on the phone itself.  The phone has a 1-year warranty.  After the warranty you will be responsible to repair or replace the phone.

Testing the Iridium Phone

Testing the phone should be done on a regular schedule.  By using the phone you are not only assured the phone is operational but you also become more comfortable in the phone’s use and service.  Most problems encountered with the service is a result of operators that are unfamiliar with its use.  Regular practice for everyone who might use the phone would be appropriate on a monthly or at least quarterly basis.

Special Instructions

While a Iridium phone is very similar to a cell phone there are some things that are very different.  You have to be outside and in an unobstructed view of the sky to connect with the satellite.  You also must fully extend the antenna, and rotate the antenna so that it is pointing straight up for the phone to call out or to receive a call.  There is also a slightly longer delay when placing a call.

When you receive the Iridium phone, you must allow the phone to register on the network.  This is done by turning the phone on, extending the antenna in an outdoor setting, and allowing approximately 2 minutes for the phone to register.  When completed, the phone says registered on the display and when 4 to 5 bars appear on the screen you will be ready to process a call.

To place a call with a portable Iridium phone

  1. You must be outside with an unobstructed view of the sky.  You may have to move a distance away from your building.
  2. Wait until you are outside before you turn on the phone….this is because the phone will start searching once turned on and you want to avoid this searching prematurely because it will give up and stop searching to save the batteries.
  3. Rotate and extend the antenna. The antenna must be pointing straight up to maintain the signal while you are talking.

To Place a call in the vehicle, in the event that you must drive somewhere. Attach the plastic holster assembly to the back of the phone… Attach the (included) magnetic mount antenna cable by screwing the male and female TNC connectors together and place the mag mount  on the roof of the vehicle. Be careful not to cut the cable as you close the door on it.

Once you get a signal.

To make a call from your phone:
00 + 1 + Area Code + Phone Number.

From the Iridium phone base

Iridium phone baseSimply  pick up the analog headset and follow the dialing pattern above.

To make a call to the phone:
Dial:  480-768-2500 (wait for the message) then dial the Iridium phone without the 00+1.or if you have paid extra for 1 plus dialing, simply dial 1 plus the standard US  mobile telephone number

When receiving a call, the same basic rules apply. You must have unobstructed view of the sky. The antenna must be pointing up. You have to wait until the globe and 4-5 bars appear. Then simply hit send when the phone rings.

At least once a month you need to:

  1. Make a test call using the satellite phone
  2. Charge the battery.

Remember – Iridium phones need a clear signal to the sky so if you are in the vehicle making a call, your signal could be interrupted.  If you have a moon roof, make sure the antenna extends above the roof line. For best results…be outside of the vehicle or use the magnetic mount antenna while in the vehicle.

Iridium Phone Trouble Shooting

If anyone has questions, please contact Tim Hoerner 248-866-6000
Tim Hoerner – Digicom Global, Inc.

For more information regarding our Iridium Phone products, please view our Iridium phone section of the site.

Find the best 2 Way Radio Batteries

Digicom Global carries OEM 2 way radio batteries for both Kenwood Radios and Motorola 2-Way radios and we also private label our own brand of batteries. We use only the best Japanese cells in our batteries, and offer the same 1 year warranty at the OEM counterparts, but usually have more mAh’s in them for longer talk time and at significantly better pricing.

Types of 2 Way Radio Batteries

Nickel Cadmium (Nicad) batteries are being fazed out due to environmental issues and are being replaced with Nickel Metal Hydride (NiMH) batteries which will be the new low cost alternative. They weigh about as much as a Nicad,  have longer run times, but don’t have the memory problems of their predecessor.  The only downside is shelf life. They drain much faster than Nicad’s when not in use so should be charged every day or two for maximum talk time. They can be charged in either trickle or rapid chargers, but will wear out faster when rapid charged.

Lithium Ion (LiIon) batteries weigh less than half of a NiMH battery, hold their charge longer and have better cold and high temperature performance than NiMH batteries. These batteries must be rapid charged for full effectiveness.  Lithium Polymer (LiPo) batteries are the newest technology. Seemingly the most expensive batteries of the 3, however;  they get roughly 200 more charge cycles than LiIon’s. A LiIon battery gets about 300 charge cycles before it starts to degrade, where a LiPo battery gets about 500 so in the long run may actually be less expensive. Additionally, LiPo batteries are even lighter than LiIon batteries so we can often pack more cells in the same size housing for maximum battery life. These batteries require rapid charging as well.

For our 2 way radio batteries pricing, please see the catalog on our Radio Accessories page.

How to select the best satellite phone plan

You have decided to purchase a satellite phone for travel to remote areas or as an emergency backup  in case of natural or man-made disasters.

How do you pick a rate plan?

First you have to pick a satellite phone provider and select a Satellite Phone plan.

(You can also read our  article on Comparing Globalstar Phones and Iridium Phones)

Satellite Phone Plans

There are two types of satellite phone plans, prepaid and postpaid and are very similar to their cellular counterparts. For Prepaid there is no contract. You buy a SIM card and have it loaded with a certain amount of minutes and when you use them up the phone ceases to work until you ‘reload’ it with more minutes. This is a simple process taking only a few minutes by email or phone to our order department.  Prepaid packages are good for varying time frames. Usually the larger the plan the longer the term until expiration, IE a 75 minute plan is only good for 30 days, whereas; a 500 minute plan is good for a year and a 1000 minute plan is good for 2 years. Phone numbers are only saved for 90 days, so if you don’t “reload” it within 90 days after your minutes expire, you’ll have to get a new number.
Post paid plans have a 1 year contract and are a little different by carrier, so we will break them down separately.

Globalstar Satellite Phone Plans

Globalstar does not have prepaid plans currently. Their postpaid plans are much like cellular. You pay a monthly fee for a plan which includes a bundle of minutes and voice mail and it comes with free incoming text messages. Local usage is considered anywhere in the US or Canada including the US Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico. Roaming charges apply in other areas.  During the next generation satellite launch period there are some very aggressively priced airtime bundles.

Iridium Satellite Phone Plans

Iridium has both prepaid and postpaid plans. Prepaid is the same as above, but their postpaid plans come with a flat rate of $36.95 per month and $1.39 per minute almost anywhere in the world.  There is free incoming, but the calling party pays from $1.39 to $11.00 per minute to call you. A Plus 1 or Two Stage dialing option is best to keep these charges to a minimum. See our post on Comparing Globalstar Phones and Iridium Phones for more details on these options.