Iridium is the official safety and communications partner for the Rebelle Rally, the first women’s off-road navigation rally raid in the United States. Over the 10-day event in the remote California and Nevada desert, participants compete through hidden checkpoints, distance, and time, navigating through it all with only maps, a compass, and a road book. Although cell phones and GPS are prohibited, connectivity for emergencies and staff logistics remain essential. Learn more about the critical role Iridium partner Icom plays in supporting the Rebelle Rally in this Q&A:
This is Icom’s second year supporting the Rebelle Rally with the IC-SAT 100 satellite Push-to-Talk (PTT) handset. What drew you back in for a second straight year?
We were more than happy to come back and support such an awesome event for the second year. The Rebelle Rally has such a welcoming, family-oriented atmosphere that draws everyone from contestants, staff, and sponsors back year after year!
An event like the Rebelle Rally has a lot of moving parts. Why is the IC-SAT100 so well suited to support this event?
From the Twin Springs Ranch in rural Nevada to the Glamis Sand Dunes in Southern California and everywhere in between, the IC-SAT100 is able to provide consistent, reliable communications for the Rebelle Rally without any additional infrastructure.
The Rebelle Rally is also a tough competition as it stretches across the Mojave Desert, so any communications device Rally staff use needs to be able to withstand everything the desert throws at it. The IP67 waterproofing and dust-tight protection, makes it the ideal solution for the Rebelle Rally.
In previous competitions, the Rally staff used different satellite and GPS phones with VHF ‘race radios’ installed in staff vehicles. Can you share how the IC-SAT100 differs from those devices and share any feedback you’ve received from staff on the differences they’ve experienced?
The IC-SAT100 differs from traditional satellite and GPS phones as it’s a one-to-many communications device whereas traditional satellite and GPS phones are not. In the past, the Rebelle Rally staff would have to dial out to a specific number and hope someone was there to pick up the call. With the IC-SAT100 and its one-to-many talk group call functionality, safety staff can talk to everyone involved with managing safety for the event at the same time.
The VHF radios that the staff used to use would work well when within range of one another or a repeater. In contrast, the IC-SAT100 utilizes the global Iridium® satellite network, ensuring reliable connectivity anywhere on the planet. With the scope of ground that the Rebelle Rally covers, being able to communicate with safety staff 60, 70, to even 100 miles away allowed for staff to go wherever they wanted, without a worry.
We had Chris and Chad with the safety team, and both let us know how much of a gamechanger the IC-SAT100 has been from previous years’ communications, as anywhere in the Rebelle’s 2,250-kilometer Rally area that they needed to communicate, they were able to.
What would you like readers to know about the IC-SAT100 specifically? Are there any features or unique capabilities that standout in the remote desert environment?
Rebelle Rally staff found the IC-SAT100’s ability to display which direction and how many kilometers away another transmitting IC-SAT100 user is, to be a unique aspect of the device. Wherever the desert took them, they were able to locate one another with the IC-SAT100 devices.
It’s important to also touch again on the IP67 rating of the IC-SAT100. The ability for the device to be able to 100% withstand the dust, sand and whatever else that the desert throws at it, is something that cannot be overlooked.
Can you share more information on how the Icom team trained the Rebelle staff to use the devices and supported with setting up talk groups, emergency overrides, and more?
From top to bottom our Icom Network team was able to provide tremendous support for the Rebelle Rally. Starting with our Mobile Network Administrator Courtney Boddy, who was able to do the unit provisioning, talk group setup, and ensuring that the priority talk group functionality was setup within the PTT-Command Center Portal. To our Network Division Manager Rodney Grim, who attended tech inspection at the West Inn in Las Vegas. Providing valuable best practice training on how to properly use the IC-SAT100 devices, we were able to ensure that everyone on the Rebelle Rally’s staff knew exactly how to use the IC-SAT100 to the best of its and their ability.
Do you have anything else you’d like to share with our readers?
We were happy the Rebelle Rally chose Icom for the second year in a row and hopefully reading about our participation and success in the event will make you choose us, too!
To learn more about Icom and the IC-SAT100, please visit: www.icomamerica.com/en/products/network/satellite/sat100
To learn more about the Rebelle Rally, please visit: www.rebellerally.com