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Iridium Antenna Combiner
How to connect an ADL device and an Iridium phone to the same antenna


Some users asked if it is possible to use a single Iridium antenna for an ADL data link weather device and a traditional Iridium telephone.

Therefore I tested the NAL Research SYN-SLC-ALBT Iridium combiner. This small device allows connecting two Iridium devices to one common antenna. At first I was not convinced this would work well but a test run has shown this setup works in fact rather well.

The devices have to be interconnected as shown in the picture below. For this test I used an Iridium GO! But any other Iridium phone should also work.



For test calls one can use the free Iridium test number +1 480-752-5105.

Cables

You will need some special cables. The connectors on the combiner are all SMA female like at ADL110B, ADL120, ADL130 and ADL150 So you need:

1) SMA male to SMA male (combiner - ADL device)
2) SMA male to TNC male (conmbiner - cable supplied with Iridium Go!)
3) SMA male to the antenna (same cable needed to connect an ADL device directly)

Operation

Once everything is set up you can operate the ADL device and the Iridium phone normally. As both will share the same antenna there is minimal interference but as the ADL device transmits only in very short data packets even during transmission you will barely notice during a voice call

Antenna requirements

Please note that Iridium voice communication requires a better antenna setup than an ADL device. If your current antenna is sufficient for the operation of the ADL device, this does not mean it will work reliably for voice. Usually an external Iridium antenna on the hull will work best.

Cable and combiner order

If you would like to purchase a SYN-SLC-ALBT combiner and the required cables please email me as I am evaluating a one off order/production run.

Outlook

Iridium voice communication is not the core business and the monthly base charges just to keep the voice connection available are significant starting at around 50 Euro /month. But I am looking into a solution which only activates the Iridium voice connection through the ADL device on demand. So the base charge would only occur if you really want to make a call. If you are interested in such a solution please email me.

Fly safe!
Sebastian



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