Mount Everest technology special: last minute check-list

Posted: Mar 10, 2010 01:30 am EST

Everest climbers are packing their final gear before flying off to Kathmandu. Tech items usually end up last on the to-do list. Here goes a useful checklist with the most frequent questions posed to HumanEdgeTech in the past month.

Q: I have a laptop, will it work up there?

A: You need a solid state computer. It has to run XP; neither Thuraya, Iridium or Inmarsat have drivers for Windows 7 and most often not for Mac. (Thuraya BT supports Mac and W7 in some cases.)

Q: I plan to use an Iridium 9555 handset. Will Iridium software 2.0 work for data?

A: No (according to a phone call with Iridium only last week). You need to do a direct data connection.

Q: Will the Iridium 9555 connect to a PDA?

A: No. You need a Thuraya 2520 for PDA or the previous Iridium 9505A.

Q: I have an Inmarsat high speed modem. Which browsers does it support?

A: Mac and XP. Not yet Windows 7.

Q: The best computer for Everest this season?

A: A solid state Netbook running XP (or a solid state Mac in some cases). Dell and HP carry no computers with those requirements, the best computer for Everest this year is therefore ASUS convertible T91 ($550-600 incl shipping).

Q: How can I get it ready for all my expedition needs?

Moderately savvy tech individuals can prep the computer in 6-8 hours. HumanEdgeTech delivers the Netbook already loaded for emails, dispatching, video, image editing etc for $795. If you wish to buy the computer yourself, HET can install it for $250.

Q: Can I power my laptop straight from solar panel?

A: No, you MUST have a battery in between (check HumanEdgeTech proudly presents: P50 - the missing link). HET carries a lightweight smart P50 battery for this purpose, other options are truck/MC batteries. Mac users will also need a special car charger (not all will work). We recommend "HyperMac".

Q: What are my overall tech options on Everest, in terms of budget?

A: Low to high:

1. Cheapest (voice and text messaging only): Thuraya 2510 handset phone $595, ECO sim card $49 + refills. (Note: ECO sim won't work on the summit of Everest, you'll need a Pre-paid sim $109 for that. Phone call cost is $0.75/min for ECO and $1.49/min for Pre-paid. Charge: SolarBlazt Feather 5-10 W ($153-$296). Total approx cost: $800 plus minutes.

2. Middle (voice, dispatches, images, video, social media): Thuraya 2520 handset phone $1050, PDA (close to Netbook in functionality but can go in your pocket all the way to summit) + charger $650. Charge: Feather 10 W $296, Contact 5.0 software (optional, save on cheaper satellite transmissions) $296. ECO sim or Pre-paid. Total approx cost: $2400 plus minutes.

3. Middle plus (for laptop use in BC): Thuraya 2520 handset phone $1050, Netbook $550 (+installation $250 optional), P50 battery $296, Feather 20 $550, Contact 5.0 software $296 (optional), ECO sim or Pre-paid. Total approx cost: $3000 plus minutes.

4. High Speed (video-conferencing etc): WideEye satellite modem with (free) handset $1395 + entry plan $400 (60 MB incl). Call cost $1/min. Netbook, P50, Feather 20-30, Contact 5.0. Total approx cost: $4000 plus extra data/minutes.

5. The Works: Combine 3 and 4 for a high-speed package in BC with the Thuraya and PDA for high up. Total cost around $6000. is a unique, no-nonsense virtual expedition tech warehouse for satellite communications and edge technology. Created by explorers for explorers, the store is user-friendly with no-hassle pricing, expedition-tested gear, expedition-ready hardware, fast delivery and payments. accepts most international credit cards, and delivers worldwide within 72 hours.

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World's lightest solar chargers; P50 smart battery, a BGAN, a netbook and CONTACT 5 - high speed comms all in one box from HET.
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