Mobile Satellite Phone Terminals

1. The Maritime Satellite Phone and Data Package is a satellite Wi-Fi hotspot (SatFi) device that allows customers to use their existing Wi-Fi-enabled devices to make and receive calls, send E-mail and send SMS text messages over the newest Globalstar satellite network. Whether at sea or on land or in the air, up to eight Globalstar SatFi users can maintain reliable connectivity when beyond cellular with one SatFi device providing voice quality and fast data speeds. The modem is VoIP, allowing users to send and receive satellite calls through a smartphone on both cellular and Globalstar communication networks.

Once users are registered and connected to the SatFi, they are immediately able to make outbound calls. Additional users, passengers and guests are able to register their smartphones on SatFi and make calls or data connections through the SatFi app, which must be downloaded on a customer Android or iOS device to connect to the Globalstar network.

In Figure 9a is a new generation of the Globalstar SatFi maritime terminal, which contains: Globalstar SatFi unit, Globalstar SatFi power supplies (20-240VAC/12VDC), a Globalstar marine helix antenna (GAT-17MR) and a Wi-Fi antenna for connecting to existing Wi-Fi-enabled devices. Users can easily connect Wi-Fi-enabled devices to the SatFi device with the custom SatFi and SatFi Voice apps available for Android, Apple iOS, Mac and Windows. Using smartphones, the SatFi device can make voice calls, send E-mails and SMS, post information to social media and transfer incoming calls and send text messages between connected users. In addition, it can provide SOS alerts with GPS location data sent to emergency responders.

2. The Vehicular SatFi Satellite Phone and Data Package is the same as for maritime applications, however, it is designed for the vehicle-based application as well (see Figure 9b). Vehicle-based examples include cars, trucks, buses, recreational vehicles, all-terrain vehicles, locomotives (rails) as well as transportable boats. In addition, this device can be used for fixed location solutions, which may include remote and rural areas where there is no cellular coverage and satellite communication is desired or needed. The SatFi vehicular terminal can use a special antenna for land mobile applications known as the magnetic patch antenna (GAT-17MP).

Figure 9

Figure 9 New generations of Globalstar SatFi maritime (a) and vehicular satellite (b) terminals.

3. The Aviation SatFi Satellite Phone and Data Package is a dual voltage aviation voice and data package with reliable satellite technology for providing affordable voice and data services in the cockpit, including to passengers. Like maritime and vehicular solutions, the aviation SatFi solution allows up to eight smart devices to connect to the Globalstar satellite network through Wi-Fi.

As shown in Figure 10a, an aviation SatFi terminal containing a supplemental type certificate (STC) antenna for Part 23 Non-Pressurized Aircraft connects directly to a Globalstar STC phone cradle or a SatFi wireless hotspot, including a SPOT TRACE global tracking device unit connected via smartphone or tablet. Using this equipment, pilots and passengers can make and receive clear voice calls, send and receive e-mail messages, transfer data files, post on social media, track the aircraft’s position, use specialty apps and even check the latest weather reports with speeds that are up to 4x faster than existing alternatives. In fact, it gives the aircraft in flight reliable voice and data communications that are completely independent of cellular and radio coverage.

4. The Building SatFi Satellite Phone and Data Package is designed for building or fixed applications. It contains a fixed roof or mast mounted helix antenna (GAT-17HX) and the same SatFi modem previously described (see Figure 10b). The SatFi modem is connected to smartphones or tablets via a Wi-Fi antenna.2,4,11,12

Figure 10

Figure 10 New generations of Globalstar SatFi aeronautical (a) and building (b) terminals.

Mobile and Personal Satellite Trackers

1. The Simplex SmartOne C Tracker is a GPS Rx/Globalstar Tx unit designed for intelligent tracking and management of powered and non-powered fixed and movable assets, such as intermediate bulk containers, vehicles and boats and it is a practical solution to improve operating efficiency and security (see Figure 11a). The design allows it to be easily installed and field managed without the need for harnesses, antennas and external power. With an independent power supply, it can work and send position data even if an aircraft is grounded in an emergency with no power sources. The SmartOne is powered by 4 AA 1.5 V lithium batteries providing three+ years of battery life and eliminates the need to purchase expensive proprietary batteries for replacement.

It uses motion sensors, comparative GPS positioning and custom configured sensors to gather and transmit asset status information. Each unit is custom configured to track its asset’s specific needs and provide intermediate and emergency alerts by e-mail and/or text/cellular. SmartOne C is a satellite-managed asset-ready tracker designed for the intelligent management of fixed and mobile assets.

It includes up to 12 different reporting times, interval or 24-hour operational modes and alternate reporting schedules. The device can be line-powered, or in the absence or interruption of external power, it will automatically switch to battery backup. When using line-power, the user has maximum flexibility in messaging frequency allowing for regular monitoring of asset location.

2. The SPOT X 2-Way Satellite Messenger is handheld personal locator that provides transmission and reception of satellite messages so users can be connected when outside of cellular range, including direct communication with SAR services in case of life-threatening emergencies, (see Figure 11b).

Figure 11

Figure 11 Simplex SmartOne C tracker (a) and SPOT X 2-Way satellite messenger (b).

It provides users with their own cellular numbers, so others can message the user directly from their cell phones or other SMS devices at any time. It requires an active service subscription. It can be easily connected to the SPOT X app and provides satellite connectivity transforming a phone into a satellite messenger providing the following features:

  • It can exchange messages with any cell phone number or E-mail address from virtually anywhere in the world. This requires a clear view of the sky with no obstructions. A user’s SPOT account comes loaded with 14 predefined messages that can be customized and synchronized to a SPOT X device
  • It can send an SOS to a 24/7 search & rescue center, message back and forth about the nature of the emergency and receive confirmation when help is on the way
  • It can select from 2½, 5, 10, 30 or 60 minute tracking intervals, and let interested parties know that a user is OK and follow the user’s progress with SPOT’s Google Maps™ interface
  • It can be easily connected to the SPOT X application via Bluetooth and provides a satellite connection at a user’s fingertips.4,13-15

3. The SPOT Satellite Personal Tracker (SPOT 1) was introduced to the market by Axonn in early 2008 (see Figure 12a). With the SPOT Tracker, people in emergencies and their families have peace of mind knowing help is always within reach. It is the only device of its kind that uses the GPS receiver to acquire its coordinates and send its location with a link to Google maps, including a pre-programmed message via a commercial satellite network. This unit does more than just call for help and check emergency progress. Non-emergency assistance is also available at the push of a button. SPOT 1 features four key functions:

  • ALERT 9-1-1 MODE dispatches emergency responders to the exact location. SPOT sends one message every 5 minutes until power is depleted or 911 is cancelled
  • ASK FOR HELP is a request for help from friends and family with an exact emergency location. SPOT sends one message every 5 minutes for one hour or until help is cancelled
  • CHECK-IN lets contacts know where an emergency is and that survivors are OK. SPOT sends three identical messages to the SPOT service for redundancy. The first of those three messages is delivered
  • TRACK PROGRESS sends and saves the emergency location and allows contacts to track progress using Google maps. SPOT sends one message every 10 minutes for 24 hours or until SPOT is powered off.

4. The SPOT Satellite Emergency Messenger (SPOT 2) – The SPOT Satellite Messenger or SPOT 2 is a Satellite Emergency Notification Device. It was introduced in October 2009 as an improvement to SPOT 1 (see Figure 12b). It is designed to be carried into remote locations where the user may require emergency assistance. It has five working modes (see Figure 12b):

•HELP/SPOT ASSIST requests help every 5 minutes for 1 hour from friends/family of a distressed person at any emergency GPS location or asks for help from assistance groups.

•CHECK-IN/OK transmits a message to let predefined contact(s) know where the distress location is and that persons are okay. It attempts to send three messages to help ensure successful transmission.

•CUSTOM MESSAGE creates custom non-urgent pre-programmed message and sends it to friends and family with the GPS location.

•RACK PROGRESS acquires the GPS location of a distressed person every 10 minutes for 24 hours and sends each location one time, allowing all helping contacts to track the distressed person’s progress using Google maps.

•SOS sends emergency assistance the location of a distressed person to the local GEOS IERCC every 5 minutes until batteries die or until the distress is cancelled.4, 16-18

Figure 12

Figure 12 Globalstar Duplex SPOT satellite trackers: SPOT 1 (a) and SPOT 2 (b).


Satellite backhaul via the LEO satellite constellation is being used extensively today supporting cellular operators’ efforts to extend their network coverage in fixed and mobile environments. Urban and semi-urban areas enjoy congestion relief and seamless connectivity by using satellite backhaul, but rural coverage worldwide remains poor with the necessity for a more reliable satellite backbone.

The Globalstar satellite system is primarily designed for phone, data and tracking at sea, on land for roads and railways and in the air. Its basic modulation scheme is CDMA spread spectrum using diversity for signal quality, as well as power control via complex antennas for L-Band (1.6 GHz) and S-Band (2.5) GHz) communication with personal handheld, fixed and mobile equipment onboard ships, land vehicles and aircraft.

Given the technological and business options available and recent innovations in geostationary Earth orbit (GEO) satellites and non-GEO (LEO) high throughput satellite constellations, there is good reason for cellular operators to use Globalstar satellite services for backhaul. In addition to the socio-economic impact, greater use of cellular backhaul via the Globalstar LEO satellite constellation significantly increases the subscriber base and promotes greater reach in rural, remote and mobile environments.


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