Iridium help Benegas Brothers Reach Remote Villages in Nepal

Nepal011Guillermo (Willie) and Damian Benegas are twin brothers from Patagonia who run Benegas Brothers Expeditions and take groups on expeditions and adventures all over the world. They were guiding a group on Everest earlier this year when disaster struck – the first earthquake hit Nepal and they quickly set up a rescue project called “Nepal Relief: Building a Path to Recovery”. The project was established to provide aid to remote villages all over Nepal through a system of local porters who delivered food and supplies to some of the worst affected areas. They needed a reliable form of communication to provide logistical support and chose the Iridium Pilot Satellite Terminal. The terminal also provided a hugely appreciated form of communication for locals who were desperate to hear from loved ones for the first time since the earthquake. Willie explains just how vital the terminal was:

“One of the key elements of this project, ‘Nepal Relief: Building a Path to Recovery,’ that has enabled us to succeed is access to a reliable communication system. During our planning and organization, Iridium provided us with the Iridium Pilot Land Station, which allowed us to set up quickly for deployment in a remote location. Powered by the Iridium® global satellite network, the equipment gave us the ability to communicate worldwide with our logistics partners, enabling real-time updates on weather conditions and ETA of supplies. But beyond the technical aspects of our project, and even more importantly, the Iridium Pilot Land Station provided the village of Laprak with a means to communicate with loved ones who had been separated since the first earthquake on April 25th.

I have been using satellite modems and telephones for years in my job as an Everest mountain guide. I have to say that this unit far exceeded my expectations. We have three Iridium Extreme satellite phones with us as well, which have allowed us to create an invaluable network with access to communication 24/7. To get the project off the ground, we were sending guides on remote, exploratory missions to other villages where we are trying to provide relief in the most extreme terrain. Knowing that they were equipped with these reliable tools gave us an incredible peace of mind. We knew that if anything went wrong they could contact us immediately in an emergency situation, and we would be able to respond with help. As of today, we’ve moved 20 metric tons of relief supplies to remote areas of Nepal through our system of hired porters and are continually working to move supplies to all the villages above Laprak. This project will take at least one more month, with a goal to provide enough supplies to last local communities three months.

Nepal022In the end, I am the most grateful for one particular moment that will stay with me forever: seeing the smile of a mother who was finally able to talk to her son who had been air-lifted to Kathmandu. For 20 days, she had no form of communication with him and, as a result, no idea if he was even alive. To see her smile and her eyes shining when she heard his voice again for the first time was amazing. I am so grateful to Iridium for the support they’ve provided to us through equipment and connectivity, but the locals in Laprak must be the most thankful. In so many ways, Iridium has provided a truly critical lifeline to the people of Nepal.” – Guillermo (Willie) Benegas, Benegas Brothers Expeditions

We offer satellite broadband terminal rentals and also have a wide variety of terminal options available to buy. If you are interested in purchasing or renting a satellite terminal please take a look at our website or give us a call to discuss your requirements on 0800 112 3919.

Product Update: Iridium Push-to-Talk

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Iridium Extreme PTT Handset

Iridium Extreme PTT Handset

What is Iridium Push-to-Talk (PTT)?

Iridium Push-to-Talk (PTT) solution is the world’s first global, satellite-based push-to-talk service. It enables fast, simple, and global group communications at the push of a button, enabling instant communication between participants located anywhere on earth.

Iridium can deliver push-to-talk the way it was meant to be, without the expense and limitations of traditional ground-based towers and repeaters.

What does the Iridium Push-to-Talk system comprise of?

The solution includes the Iridium PTT service; the Iridium Command Center, the cloud-based management system where radios and talk groups are managed; and the Iridium PTT radios, including the Iridium Extreme® PTT (MSRP $1,599) and other devices powered by the Iridium PTT 9523 Core transceiver, which enables manufacturing partners to further expand the enterprise applications for Iridium PTT.

When using PTT , the handheld device gives your team access to unparalleled situation awareness and control features, including:

  • Automatic registration
  • Over-the-air talkgroup programming
  • PTT service status
  • Dynamic talkgroup selection and monitoring
  • Device talker ID
  • Device talker distance and bearing
  • Visual and audio talkgroup scan

PTTWho would use Iridium Push-to-Talk?

Iridium PTT is applicable in every corner of the globe in every industry. It goes above and beyond current satellite and terrestrial offerings, working globally, utilizing small and portable devices, through instant connections.

Globalstar and Global Telesat Communications Celebrate 5,000th SPOT Device Sales Milestone

Orbital Tracking Corp., (OTCQB:TRKK) announced today that its wholly-owned subsidiary Global Telesat Communications Ltd. (GTCL) and Globalstar Europe Satellite Services Ltd (NYSE MKT:GSAT) reached a major sales milestone with the shipment of its 5,000th SPOT tracking device, making GTCL one of the largest SPOT distributors in Europe and one of the UK’s leading suppliers of Mobile Satellite Solutions (MSS) including satellite mobile voice, data and tracking services.

Since forming its initial Distributor Agreement with Globalstar in early 2013, GTCL has significantly expanded its global sales and distribution efforts to include Globalstar’s unique line-up of high quality satellite voice and duplex data solutions, satellite phones, airtime plans and accessories. GTCL has seen considerable SPOT sales growth across a number of recreational consumer verticals including outdoor enthusiasts and adventurers, competitive sports including runners and cyclists and in commercial use for remote field worker scenarios providing increased worker safety and communications capabilities.

SPOT products offer users worldwide peace of mind, by allowing them to track their assets, use location-based messaging and emergency notification technology and to make calls beyond the reach of mobile signals. Over the past seven years, lone-workers and outdoor enthusiasts have come to depend on SPOT’s life-saving capabilities. SPOT products have been used to initiate over 3,500 rescues globally and are currently at an average of a rescue every day. In 2014, there were 27 rescues in Europe alone.

“Our partnership with Globalstar has never been stronger and we are pleased to have reached this notable sales milestone in such a short timeframe. Thanks to Globalstar’s ongoing commitment to building one of the most advanced and capable second-generation satellite constellations, along with its expansion into new markets, such as in Africa with the launch of its Botswana gateway, we are seeing a great many new, untapped sales opportunities for our portfolio of cost-effective and reliable MSS products,” said David Phipps, Managing Director of Global Telesat Communications.

SPOT Top 10 Country Rescues

SPOT Top 10 Country Rescues

Globalstar recently completed a constellation-wide upgrade programme including the launch of 24 low-earth-orbit (LEO) satellites. In addition to upgrading its satellite fleet, it is also modernising its ground station network such as in Gaborone, Botswana which has extended Globalstar’s reach into Sub-Saharan Africa.

“We wish to commend GTCL for this sales achievement and for its work as a valuable Globalstar partner. Supported by the industry’s most modern and robust satellite communications platform, GTCL plays a critical role in ensuring that SPOT is the clear choice for customers around the globe who require reliable connectivity and accurate GPS tracking solutions,” said Mark O’Connell, Director of European Sales & Business Operations at Globalstar Europe Satellite Services Ltd.

 

Just some of the awards that SPOT devices have won:

Iridium improve GO! Plans to include voice calls

Good news for Iridium GO! customers – Iridium has announced improvements to the existing Iridium GO! Post-Paid Bundle plans.

Iridium GO!

Iridium GO! Hotspot allows you to use your smartphone to make phone calls via satellite

Customers on the 75 and 150 minute bundle plans can now also use voice minutes as part of those inclusive bundles.  Also customers on the Unlimited Plan can now take advantage of an additional 150 minutes of voice calls at no additional charge.  Voice calls included on these plans are to fixed and mobile numbers anywhere in the world.

These changes are effective for existing and new activations and will come into effect on 1 August.

Check out our Iridium GO! plans

Globalstar now offering Pan-African Satellite Coverage

Globalstar announced last week that its gateway in Gaborone, Botswana has gone live, enabling Globalstar to deliver affordable simplex coverage over the African continent. This new gateway provides Globalstar’s full line of simplex services, including its SPOT Gen3 and SPOT Trace devices which offer affordable personal tracking.

Updated Globalstar Simplex Coverage

Updated Globalstar Simplex Coverage

Much of the African continent has limited terrestrial and/or cellular infrastructure. In these regions in particular, Globalstar’s satellite services, which leverage the industry’s only complete next generation satellite constellation in orbit, provide a compelling must-have solution for seamless tracking of people and assets. The Globalstar network enables professional, corporate and government users to monitor vital infrastructure and can also enhance the effectiveness of life-saving emergency first responder services.

“Expanding our service throughout Africa demonstrates Globalstar’s ongoing commitment to making our technology globally accessible,” said Jay Monroe, Chairman and CEO of Globalstar. “We see this region as a significant growth opportunity for our low cost satellite solutions. For the first time, people and industries in this burgeoning region will have access to affordable satellite solutions for personal and asset tracking and we look forward to working with BBi to make our technology available to more people and businesses across Africa.”

Globalstar Announces Integration of SPOT With Lockheed Martin Flight Service

General Aviation Pilots Can Now Fly Safer When Their SPOT Products Are Linked to Aircraft Alerting and Surveillance Services

Globalstar have announced that Lockheed Martin Flight Service (LMFS) will integrate and provide automated position monitoring for VFR (Visual Flight Rules) flights.

Using a SPOT Gen3 or a SPOT Trace, GPS tracking reports are generated and forwarded to LMFS. The system keeps track of the aircraft and if the aircraft stops moving or stops sending position reports, an alarm is triggered immediately at LMFS. The aircraft’s most recent GPS coordinates are available to be forwarded to Search and Rescue (SAR) authorities, significantly narrowing the search radius and providing faster SAR response.

SPOT Gen3 is the latest personal tracker available from SPOT

SPOT Gen3 is the latest personal tracker available from SPOT

The SPOT Gen3 also features an SOS button that can send an instant distress message along with GPS position information to GEOS International Emergency Response Coordination Center, immediately initiating SAR operations.

“We are pleased that SPOT devices are now integrated into our Surveillance-Enhanced Search-and-Rescue services,” said Jim Derr, Director, Lockheed Martin Flight Service. “Pilots now will be able to leverage additional tracking and rescue services that are crucial to their flight planning.”

“We are excited to work with Lockheed Martin, as together their services and our products will become even more powerful emergency notification and tracking devices,” said Jake Rembert, VP of Sales. “Our units have helped initiate over 3,500 rescues worldwide, which has included aviation rescue operations. Being able to get help fast in the event of an emergency is critical and we offer friends and family on the ground peace of mind by knowing where you are.”

 

Test Your Satellite Phone: Iridium SatPhone Saves Arctic Worker’s Life!

TestIridium

Many of our customers use their satellite phones in remote and often dangerous locations making them essential lifelines if an emergency situation were to happen. It is vital to test your satellite phone regularly to ensure that you can reach out for help if you need to. It is so quick and easy to do and it really can save your life- Fredrik Granath can vouch for that!

Fredrik Granath is a leading expert on fieldwork and production of photography and film in the Polar Regions and he fully understands that proper preparation can be key to survival as he spends a lot of time in some of the most extreme conditions on the planet.

In May 2005 Fredrik was driving his snowmobile up a hill in Svalbard when the ground disappeared beneath him and he plunged into a 20 foot crevasse. He was left with a broken back and his left arm was crushed.

“I always keep the Iridium phone close, so I was able to call for help,” he explains. After a helicopter rescue operation, extensive surgery, and half a year of rehabilitation, Fredrik was able to return to the field. “In our work,” Fredrik concludes, ”having the life line of being able to call for help is absolutely necessary.”

Fredrik’s story is not unique and any of us could find ourselves in an emergency situation of some sort and so it is critical that you test your satellite phone regularly. Iridium have set up ‘Test Your Satellite Phone’ week to help ensure your satellite phones are in proper working order. For testing tips visit www.testyoursatellitephone.com or simply dial 00-1-480-752-5105 to get started. No data rates will apply.

‘Lap The Planet’ with a SPOT Gen 3 Satellite Tracker

Lap the PlanetGTC customer Peter Adam Smith is embarking on an incredible challenge on the 25th July – he hopes to ‘LAP THE PLANET’ on his bike in less than 100 days! His aim is to break the current Guinness record for cycling round the world and also become the oldest holder of the record.

I believe that, by achieving my goals, not only will I be making history but I will also inspire others to find their own dreams and go in search of the limits of their own capabilities…regardless of anything that might otherwise have held them back. Peter Adam Smith

Peter purchased a SPOT Gen 3 from us to track his journey. The SPOT Gen 3 provides a critical, life-saving line of communication when you travel into remote areas where regular forms of communication are unavailable and so it will be perfect for Peter as he will undoubtedly be cycling through some challenging terrains.

If you are interested in satellite tracking devices please give us a call on 0800 112 3919 to discuss your requirements or visit our website for more information.

 

A New Way to Connect: Rent the Explorer 510 BGAN Terminal

If you have a short-term need for a satellite terminal why not take a look at our terminalExplorer_510 rental range? The Explorer 510 BGAN terminal is now available to rent for just £7 per day!

The lightweight Thrane & Thrane Explorer 510 is ultra-portable and easy to use, offering users high quality voice and broadband access at speeds up to 464 kbps all over the globe excluding the poles.

Why rent an Explorer 510 Terminal from GTC?

  • Portable: it’s smaller than a standard laptop and weighs less than 1.4 kg
  • Easy to set up and operate: you can be online in minutes and we offer full technical support if needed
  • Fast Data Speeds: 464 kbps offers the performance you need to stay connected
  • Wireless Connectivity: EXPLORER Connect App turns your smartphone or tablet into powerful satellite communications tools
  • Reliable Connectivity: keep connected across the entire globe excluding the poles
  • Rugged: IP66 rating and Magnesium casing
  • Easy to Rent: you can book your rental online or give us a call

If you’d like to find out more or place your rental order today please click here or give us a call on 0800 112 3919.

SPOT Gen 3 helps German mountaineer communicate in Everest avalanche

Young German mountaineer and climber Jost Kobusch

Young German mountaineer and climber Jost Kobusch

When the earthquake struck Nepal on 25th April, the young German mountaineer and climber Jost Kobusch (22) was on an expedition to Lhotse, the fourth highest mountain in the world. His video of the avalanche hitting the Everest Base Camp has already been watched by more than 22 million people.

In the run-up to this expedition, Jost prepared carefully, conducted physical training and put a lot of thought into the choice of his equipment. He bought a SPOT Gen3 device based on a friend’s recommendation.

Jost-Kobusch-3SPOT Gen3 is a satellite messenger that allows users to send messages to friends and family, to share their current GPS location in almost real time via its tracking function and send a SOS signal to emergency responders. Thanks to its use of satellite technology, SPOT Gen3 works where there is no mobile phone service.

Jost’s video on YouTube was proof that he had survived the avalanche unharmed. But within seconds of the avalanche, with a single press of the ‘check in’ button, Jost had sent a text message including his current GPS location to his parents, saying “I’m fine. Everything is alright.”  They received the text even before they knew what had happened.


“From now on, the SPOT will always be a fixed part of my equipment. I think of it as a replacement for a mobile phone in extreme environments,” he said. The great advantage Jost sees is that by pressing a single button he can reach many people or can call for help, without having to actually type a message and send it to every person individually.

Since he was young, Jost has loved the mountains. His plan to climb Lhotse solo andJost-Kobusch-1 without additional oxygen would have been another milestone in his career as a mountaineer, but due to the earthquake his expedition came to a sudden end.

Jost has now returned to Nepal where he is supporting rebuilding activities and fundraising campaigns. Afterwards he will fly to Kirgizstan as part of the team establishing the “Climb for life” project.  They want to establish the small village Arslandbob as a destination for climbers and mountaineers. By developing training routes,  training guides and providing climbing equipment they hope to sustainably create additional income sources for the local people.

Find out more about SPOT Gen 3