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I am writing to share feedback on the satellite gear provided by your firm during my recent trip to Africa.As you recall, I am contracted to help establish a mining operation at a location deep within the jungle of Liberia, West Africa. The operational environment for the equipment was sub-Saharan tropical ( 90+ F / 90+% H ) with early season monsoonal rains. Think hot, humid, wet and dirty. Given the remote location and the challenge of actually getting to the site, an effective, durable satcom package was essential to both the job and safety.For this trip ARS provided an Iridium 9505A satellite phone along with an Explorer 500 BGAN terminal. From the start, dealing with your company was relaxed and simple. The gear arrived when promised, as promised. Everything was fully charged, in working order, and tested 5×5. This was a nice combination of gear and was selected in order to meet the needs of the job, but also provide a measure of redundancy in the event of an emergency. The sat phone can also be used to pass simple emails and the BGAN terminal can also be used to place phone calls. During the entire length of the trip both systems were highly useful. The Iridium handset was used for calls in Brussels, Amsterdam, Monrovia, as well as deep in the interior of Liberia. Aside from occasional difficulties finding a spot with a clear shot at the satellite, the system operated quite well. Twice I encountered dropped calls. Both were at night and due to active thunderheads overhead. Lightning. Once was with the boss, the other with the girlfriend. For the particular application, the BGAN terminal proved to be a powerful, impressive piece of technology. As advertised, the unit sets up in seconds and connects to a ToughBook notebook computer with a single cable. The BGAN software app was straight forward and simple to use. The combination of a well designed user interface with visual indicators as well as the audio beeping made finding the optimum azimuth and elevation a snap. In this case as well, the BGAN terminal operated exceptionally well.Overall I would give both units high marks across the board. In terms of the quality of service provided by your firm, the fact that we will be return customers should speak volumes.
- Steven Aukstakalnis