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.

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