Iridium outage on July 21st effected calls, & SMS, on satellite phones. What to know about iridium 9505A that produces similar effects

Posted by NorthernAxcess Satellite Communications on 22nd Jul 2014

Iridium had an undetermined outage on Monday july 21st which not only caused confusion with Iridium as to the nature of the problem, but it also made for more than normal calls coming into iridium, and all of its direct providers, and vendors as to what might be happening.

The outage, which caused spastic network availability, spanned throughout the course of the day, and throughout different times. So for some, one minute you could make a call, and the next you couldn't even get the satellite phone to register on iridium's network. This effected both new iridium satellite phones, and equipment, as well as used, or older iridium satellite phones, and systems, causing errors that said "Busy Please Try Later", or just " Please Try Later". These particular errors are not very good on older model iridium satellite phones, specifically the iridium 9505A. 

Eventually said to have been corrected by the end of the day on July 21st, it has still made for certain iridium satellite phone users to have certain questions, that at the time of the outage many customers started calling in. At the beginning with the first couple calls into us here at NorthernAxcess we immediately started to troubleshoot with them. Because the first group of customers had older model iridium 9505A satellite phones, the error messages that they were telling us of "Please Try Later" is generally not a good sign when it comes to that particular model in general due to specific other reasons with the 9505A satellite phone. However after testing a group of newer phones, and one after the other having the same error messages, we realized it might be something else, and put a call in, only to find out that it was on Iridium's side, which was a breath of fresh air at least for our clients with these models.

The reason the error message of "Please Try Later" can be a very bad thing with the iridium 9505A satellite phones is that this can be a sign that the satphone is deteriorating in a way that the phone would need to be replaced. 

Basically iridium took over manufacturing of the satellite phones, instead of Motorola right at the 9505, so rightfully so they called it the iridium 9505A. This phone has been, and still is the backbone of military satellite phone usage, government, corporate, and private use, which is still why it's manufactured as a USA made edition, and we sell it quite a bit in combo kit, and as just the phone. So the iridium 9505A model satellite phone is unquestionably one of the more rugged, and efficient satellite phones out there! Except for one little thing,,,,,

In the Tech world of Satellite Phone Repair, the above mentioned error message is usually the result of what is know as the "Fluctuating Signal Effect". You can probably imagine what it means, but basically the 9505A has a certain signaling processor inside of it that when it goes through extreme heat, cold, a hard hit, bump, or drop, or just simply age itself, this signaling processor can get out of alignment so to speak, due to certain inward parts of the processor. So when the signaling processor becomes 'out of alignment', then it starts performing in a way that when you turn the phone on outside, it will register with the iridium network quite quickly, and everything seems great with 3-5 bars of signal, but then once you start a call, then the signal immediately starts bouncing from 4 down to 2 bars, and back up to 4, then 3 bars, until it just drops to zero (0) and the call stops and the phone gives the error message "Please Try Later". Once this has starts happening to the phone, generally the entire PCI Board (Main Board) needs replacement. (this is a good reason not to buy 9505A's off of eBay, especially when they say they're not tested, or that they turn on. allot of ones on eBay know they don't work, and say things to get it sold, and sell it as is by saying that it has minor scratches and so be weary of that model on ebay).

Iridium years ago, actually had a machine/device that would supposedly put the signaling processor back in to alignment, and would charge there providers a large $200-$250 to perform the task, and they would warn you right at the beginning that it was a 50/50 chance of fixing the issue. Well from experience of being a satellite equipment repair technician, I can say that it was something that I tried, by sending in quite a few many years back, and not one of them actually got fixed, but instead they recommended to replace the main board...after performing the other task first that is.

So whenever I see one of the Iridium 9505A's that repeatedly show these signs, and error messages, it's something that I usually right away recommend a replacement board. 

So if this is something that you have experienced, you can feel free to call, or email us, and we can help troubleshoot it, as we are extending our $5 Bench testing for the rest of the summer for anyone that needs us to just test it for them and give our diagnostic opinion.

We do also have a nice assortment of quality tested Iridium 9505A Kits on sale for the summer at a price of $599 without airtime, and $549 with airtime, plus you can add our 2 year protection Shield Plan that gives you 2 years of part replacements, servicing, maintenance, and repairs for free,..and as a bonus when you do buy the Shield Protection for the 9505A, we are giving you 2 additional batteries to you free, which is over a $200 value itself.