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Iridium costs



Hi,

Someone used Iridium as an analog to the "fleet of FM picosats
(toasters?)", and asked how much the Iridium units cost.

Last I checked, there were three different Iridium handsets available, all
roughly A$5000 (US$3300) each.  Call costs started at $2 per minute.

Another alternative is what Telstra Australia market as a "minisat"
terminal (Inmarsat-M, I believe).  These units are the size of a modern
laptop PC, with a patch antenna in the lid.  Cost is also around the A$5000
mark, call costs also ~$2/minute.  This service is provided via multiple
spotbeams onto selected parts of the Earth's service from Geostationary
earth orbit (eg Australia has coverage, but New Zealand doesn't).

I have seen Iridium phones actually work....  I've seen them fail too (no
good for fending off headhunters in jungles).  The "Minisat" terminal
requires deliberate pointing by the user (although there is probably a
vehicle antenna available?), and seems to have about a 2dB fade margin
(don't stand in front of the antenna!).

I think the only relevance these commercial systems have to the amateur
satellite community is to serve as a demonstration of the limitations
inherent in even billion dollar systems, using high transmit power and
deployable gain antennas.

Food for thought.



73 Chris VK6KCH




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