Phones get cold test

Phones get cold test

A civilian expedition that trekked to the North Pole on skis used a pair of Navy Iridium satellite telephones to stay in contact with the rest of the world.

The phones were leftovers'two of about 20 first-generation 9500 model handsets from Motorola Inc. of Schaumburg, Ill., acquired by the Space and Naval Warfare Systems Command for use with the original Iridium global satellite communications service that went bankrupt last year.

The Navy has a two-year contract with the new Iridium Satellite LLC for unlimited airtime and is testing newer 9505 model satellite phones for use with the system. The Polar Trek 2001 expedition gave the older phones a workout under Arctic conditions, collecting data about the effects of cold on battery life, solar rechargers and the ability to make connections from remote locations.

'There is enough commonality between the two models that we can gain some insight into limitations and capabilities of the system and equipment in Arctic conditions without having to go there ourselves,' said John Hurthere, SPAWAR's commercial satellite communications projects manager.

'W. Jackson

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