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Expedition Tech Week: New in Satellite Hardware

Posted: Jan 22, 2013 08:11 pm EST

(HumanEdgeTech) Previous entries of the current tech week covered the smartphone revolution and solar power. Today's entry revisits tried and true expedition comms: satellite phones.

Thuraya and Iridium will once again dominate handheld satphones among explorers in 2013.

Thuraya for Asia and Africa; Iridium for the Americas, polar regions or if you need a phone with true global coverage.

Cool on the Lhotse wall

Thuraya advantage: Lower hardware price, mostly lower minute cost and much faster data speeds if you want to hook up to your smartphone or computer.

A sexy setup for Everest this spring would be to get a Thuraya XT Rugged for $795 and hook it up with the new Thuraya XT hotspot connected to your iPhone or Android.

This should get you gmail, fb, twitter, CONTACT with images and small videos from a small and sweet package.

Note that this is the Thuraya XT and not the newer XT Dual that actually can't connect to the XT hotspot.


Going across Greenland, climbing Denali or a South American Volcano? Go Iridium.

Pick up Iridium 9575 for $1395 or 9555 for $1145. Hook up with an Optimizer or Iridium AxcessPoint and bring your smartphone for email.

At 2.4 kb/s Iridium is slow (don't believe ANY other claims) so expect less from it than from the Thuraya.

For a more solid solution, bring a netbook and connect to the Iridium with a USB cable.

High Speed

At 400 kb/s Inmarsat BGAN is next step up from Iridium (2.4kb/s) and Thuraya (40kb/s).

Small and solid (1.6 kg/3.5 lb) for years Wideye Sabre has been a great deal at $1700 but 2013 favorite is without doubt the new Hughes 9202.

It does have a $3,000 price tag but the modem is really small (1.4 kg) and has a simple interface. Switch it on, aim at the satellite, and there's your WiFi multi unit.

You could easily bring this baby to the summit of Everest and do a live Skype video from your Galaxy S3.


Satellite tracking is blowing up these days. SPOT is still favorite where it has coverage (almost global) but a bunch of Iridium based trackers - Solara, deLorme and Nal Nano Shout among them - will do the job in polar regions and other areas outside SPOT reach.

Some units allow you to send emails (but not pictures) over a bluetooth connection to your smartphone but the value is limited if you carry a satellite phone since they have text messaging options.

Rent or Buy?

If you plan one expedition only and are unsure about your future adventure plans, renting is a great option.

HumanEdgeTech rent satellite phones, high speed modems, solar panels and batteries.

HumanEdgeTech 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. HumanEdgeTech.com accepts most international credit cards, and delivers worldwide within 72 hours. Contact the team at +1 212 966 1928 or by email team@humanedgetech.com


Tech Week: World’s largest solar power shop

Expedition Tech Week - Smartphone Revolution


Tech week: Rugged Thuraya and Iridium, handhelds overview

Summits on Everest? Be there with Pythom, the world's first Adventure News Aggregator App

Iridium global recall of all 9575 extreme satellite phones

#Tech #Trek #Oceans #Polar #Mountaineering #topstory

Cool this year: Thuraya XT hotspot, Hughes 9202, Iridium based trackers, tailored solar and battery solutions. Rent or buy at HumanEdgeTech.
Image by Tom Sjogren courtesy HumanEdgeTech, SOURCE
Iridium satellite phones and Iridium trackers have true global coverage.
Spot tracker coverage.
courtesy Spot, SOURCE
Inmarsat BGAN and iSatphone coverage.
Thuraya footprint.