After several days on the icy Arctic Ocean, and the northern most point of land in the United States (Point Barrow at 71 degrees north latitude), the OAL team made the 2-hour flight from Utqiagvik to Anchorage, followed by a scenic 6-hour drive to Fairbanks through heavy rain, fog and the occasional moose, polar bear and black bear sightings.

 

 

After getting settled, the team headed “onto the ice” to begin communications threads from 71 degrees north latitude to locations all over the world.  This included HD 1080p real-time video sessions between Point Barrow (71 degrees N Lat), CFS Alert (82 degrees N Lat), Fort Bragg (35 degrees N Lat), Tyler, Texas (32 degrees N Lat), and Chandler, Arizona (33 degrees N Lat.). The clarity of picture and voice over Iridium Certus® using the Thales MissionLINK™ 700 terminal was an impressive example of the capabilities enabled by the upgraded Iridium® satellite constellation.  

 

 

This is where being an L-band spectrum-based network is so important. When weather conditions go from clear, to fog, to light rain, to downpour, or a combination of them all, Iridium’s L-band connectivity continues to shine through. It’s well understood that Ka/Ku band networks are ideal for big-data broadband pipes, but it is also just as well understood by the industry that inclement weather causes problems and losses of connectivity. This is why it is usually paired with an L-band companion as a failover system. 

Being able to prove out such a high-quality of L-band connectivity in some of the most remote and challenging environments once again reinforced the unique attributes of the Iridium network and all its features including truly global coverage, weather-resilient connectivity, highly mobile and weather-tested equipment, and more.

 

 

A wide variety of Iridium and Iridium Connected® devices are a part of OAL, including Iridium partner collaborative adaptations. For example, the Thales MissionLINK 700 terminal has been turned into both an airborne “jump kit” by Comsat, and a portable all-in-one communications kit by 4K Solutions. The two solutions provide the same capability, but are packaged for different customer use-cases.   

In addition to pushing threads through Iridium Certus, Iridium narrowband capabilities were further exercised using Iridium Extreme® 9575 satellite phones, AssetLink’s AssetPack tracking device, ICOM’s IC-SAT100 PTT handset, NAL’s Shout communicator from Trailblazer and personal smartphones connecting via WiFi to Iridium Certus. The McQ Ranger Sat was also deployed to test its remote sensor capabilities in the frigid terrain.

 

 

Over the course of a week, the team ran countless voice and data threads. Below is an included snapshot of a few of the activities that took place, including in Utqiagvik, Point Barrow, Fairbanks (Fort Wainwright), Anchorage (JBER) and the associated locations both north and south of each of these locations. 

Among the most impressive threads was a 70mph comms-on-the-move real-time consistent Iridium Certus connectivity session during the drive through Alaska’s mountainous terrain between Anchorage and Fairbanks. Select imagery and video has also been included for added insight to the events that took place. Additional imagery and videos can be found in the multimedia section of the OAL webpage.

 

 

Real-Time Threads Established

Utqiagvik to

  • Oslo, Norway – Imagery over Iridium Certus using AnsuR Asign application
  • Melbourne, FL – Full motion video over Iridium Certus and received in Colorado Springs, CO using AnsuR Asmira application
  • Arizona, Virginia, Maryland, Connecticut, Texas, Indonesia – Iridium 9575 PSTN calls
  • Colorado Springs, CO – Smartphones via MissionLINK wifi to execute Microsoft TEAMS and Facetime audio/video over Iridium Certus 
  • Manassas, VA – Facetime via smartphone over Iridium Certus
  • Chandler, AZ – SAT100 PTT connectivity
  • Various locations – Email/texts over smartphones wifi’d to MissionLINK 
  • Arizona, Virginia, Texas, Connecticut – MissionLINK POTS 

Point Barrow to

  • Nunavut, Canada – Full motion video over Iridium Certus via Melbourne, Florida server and received by Canadian Forces Station – Alert and Peoria, Arizona using AnsuR Asmira application
  • Oslo, Norway Imagery over Iridium Certus using AnsuR Asign application
  • Melbourne, FL – Full motion video over Iridium Certus received in Peoria, Arizona using AnsuR Asmira application
  • Melbourne, FL – On-the-Move HD full motion video over Iridium Certus received and recorded via LTE in Tyler, Texas
  • Melbourne, FL – On-the-Move HD full motion video sent over GSCK Certus and received and recorded over Iridium Certus Jump Kit (intra-Utqiagvik event) 
  • Colorado Springs, CO – Facetime via smartphone over Iridium Certus 
  • Manassas, VA – Facetime via smartphone over Iridium Certus
  • Kent Island, MD – Facetime via smartphone over Iridium Certus
  • Fort Belvoir, VA – Facetime via smartphone over Iridium Certus
  • Virginia Beach, VA – Facetime via smartphone over Iridium Certus
  • Tempe, AZ – Facetime via smartphone over Iridium Certus
  • Peoria, AZ – SAT100 PTT connectivity
  • Indonesia, Fort Bragg, multiple Virginia locations, and Maryland – Iridium Extreme 9575 PSTN calls
  • Virginia – Iridium Extreme 9575 to Iridium Extreme 9575 call 
  • Various locations – Email/texts over smartphones wifi’d to MissionLINK 700’s 
  • Kent Island, MD – Iridium Extreme 9575 to PSTN call 
  • Madison, CT – Iridium Extreme 9575 to PSTN call
  • Virginia, Maryland and Texas – Facetime via smartphone over Iridium Certus
  • Arlington, VA – Facetime via smartphone over Iridium Certus
  • Virginia, Maryland, Arizona and Connecticut – POTS voice over Iridium Certus Jump Kit
  • Fort Hood, TX – Icom SAT100 PTT connectivity
  • Connecticut and Maryland – Iridium Extreme 9575 PSTN calls 
  • Fredericksburg, VA – McQ Ranger to McQ Owl 
  • Team Alaska McQ Ranger Confirmed on OAL COP
  • Fredericksburg, VA – Successfully downloaded the McQ Mission Pack files allowing in OWL image visibility over Iridium Certus

Driving Parks Highway: Wasilla to Fairbanks (2000-0200)

  • OTM: NB autodialer 
  • OTM: AssetPack tracking COP
  • OTM: HD full motion video over GoPro of the drive – pulled down HD in Arizona via house broadband
  • OTM: HD full motion video sending and receiving both from same terminal
  • OTM: AssetPack geofence referenced in logs (Wasilla/Healy) 
  • OTM: Multiple Iridium Extreme 9575 calls between the two cars 
  • OTM: Iridium Extreme 9575 call to PSTN Arizona 
  • OTM: Iridium Extreme 9575 call to my OTM smart phone (LTE)
  • OTM: Smartphone over Iridium Certus Microsoft TEAMS with Arizona 
  • OTM: Watched S1, E1 of Manifest, 15 minutes

To learn more about Operation Arctic Lynx, visit: www.operationarcticlynx.com and stay tuned for the week 2 update next week!

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