Insomnia (insomnia) wrote,

Long distance calling made simple!

Staying in touch in Iraq has never been easier, thanks to Inmarsat, who have moved an extra satellite into position to handle increased traffic during the war in Iraq.

In the last gulf war, photographers lugged their own makeshift darkrooms, including equipment, chemicals, film scanners, etc. They then used 4' tall, 60 pound satellite phones that cost $50,000 to send in their pictures.

This time around, however, things are much easier. All you need is a satellite phone not much bigger than a standard cellphone, a laptop, and a digital camera... edit right on your laptop and transmit via Inmarsat at speeds up to twice as fast as ISDN. FTP over your photos or just surf the web!

Or, if you want to be really swank, you can use one of these TH-1 "Talking Head" videophones made by 7e Communications and do your editing right on the videophone. It's also been used by reporters as the ultimate "CUseeMe" device, allowing reporters to let soldiers talk to and see their families back home. Can be plugged in or charged from a cigarette lighter. Its durable, shockproof equipment is housed in a waterproof container. Comes with remote control. Two AA batteries required.

If you are broadcasting, you want a good signal -- that means using an external antenna. However, instead of hooking up to a big, bulky, expensive antenna, you now hook your device up to a small, lightweight external antenna pointed in the general direction of the satellite.

In Iraq, this has led to two problems so far:
1> Antennas blowing away in sandstorms. Reporters have started bringing sandbags with them to keep their antennas in place.

2> US military warnings not to use these devices during air assaults, as they may be targetted. Reporters have worked around this problem the best that they can, however, so that they can still broadcast while minimizing the risk of getting attacked. Their solution? Really, really long antenna cables...

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