Tag Archives: iridium

SailMail via Iridium Handsets

While the Iridium GO! provides somewhat cheaper cost for transferring data, Iridium handsets can also be used to transfer data and have the advantage that they are  simpler to use for voice calls in an emergency, not requiring an additional iPhone via Bluetooth.  The Iridium Extreme phone is water resistant, incorporates a GPS, and has an “SOS” button that allow it to be used to summon help, as does the GO!.  Some cruisers buy a “dock” like the one in the photo below from Beam.  When in the dock the Extreme phone is connected to the external antenna, power, and to the computer/USB, and is kept charged.  It can be quickly removed for manual use.  Note that the Iridium GO! and Iridium handsets transfer data at the same speed, but the Iridium GO! has cheaper data rates and connects more quickly.

DriveDOCKExtreme_medIridium offers a “PPP Data Service” for their handsets, which is simpler and quicker than using the Iridium “Direct Internet Service” or a “Dialup” connection.  This is a direct-to-internet connection through the Iridium internet gateway. The advantages are simplicity (no fancy compression or proxy-servers), no other internet service-provider required, and faster setup. This service is perfect for checking mail with SailMail’s direct internet access (aka “Telnet”). This document describes how to set up an Iridium PPP connection.

NOTE: The previous USB drivers for the 9555/9575 handsets were not compatible with Windows-10. Iridium has released new drivers, if you are using Win-10 then do the following:

  1. Click here to download the driver-installer: http://siriuscyber.net/sailmail/Iridium Handset USB Driver Installer 6.3.9600.9520.exe
  2. Then run (open) that file with the handset disconnected from the computer.
  3. If you want to read the Iridium release notes click here: http://siriuscyber.net/sailmail/IRDM-1023-SRN-007 v1.3 – Iridium Handset USB Driver Installer – 6.3.9600.9520.pdf

That’s it, follow the instructions below.  If you have already done our work-around, then this still works– no need to un-do that.  If you installed ver 3.5.041 of our Airmail software and used the driver-checker then again this works fine, but you can re-open  Airmail’s “Check Iridium Driver” (under Tools menu) and click “Reset Driver-Test Mode”.  Also, if you disabled the UEFI “Secure Boot Mode” then you can re-enable that if you want:  From the Windows button click Power, Shift-Restart, Troubleshoot, Advanced Options, UEFI Firmware settings, Restart, “Secure Boot Control”.  Whew!

If you already did the setup below then no need to redo it, but do check it.

Prior to using your Iridium phone for a PPP internet connection for the first time, you need to set up a “Standard 19200 bps” modem driver on your computer, and then set up a dial-up networking connection for the Iridium-PPP service.  These steps are both described in detail below for Windows 7, 8 and 10:

First step: Install a Modem-Driver:

1. Close all applications (at least any that use internet).
2. Open Windows Control Panel (Windows search-box is your friend here).
3. Set “View by” to large or small icons, then double-click on “Phone and Modem Options”.
4. Select the “Modems” tab and click “Add”…
5. Check “Don’t detect my modem; I will select it from a list” and then click “Next”.
6. Select “Standard Modem Types”, then “Standard 19200 bps Modem” and then click “Next”.
7. Click the “Selected ports” button and highlight the COM Port that you will use with the Iridium phone (e.g., COM3). Click Next, then Finish.
8. Now go back to Control Panel, open “Device Manager”, find “Modems” and expand that, and find the “Standard 19200 bps Modem” that you just created. Double-click that to open “Properties”, and select the “Advanced” tab.
9. In the “Extra initialization commands” box, enter: AT+CBST=71,0,1
10. Double-check that, then click OK, then close Device manager.

(Note: You can also access the modem properties box via “Phone and Modems”, but the “Extra initialization commands” box is disabled. Go through Device Manager instead).

Second step: Configure a Dial-Up Networking connection

1. Open Windows Control Panel and select “Network and Sharing Center”.
2. Click “Set up a new connection or network” and then click Next.
3. Select “Connect to the Internet” and click Next.
4. If you see “You are already connected to the internet”, click on “Set up a new connection anyway”.
5. If you see “No, Create a new connection” select that, unless you are checking settings of an existing connection.
6. Click on “Dial-up”, and (if prompted) select “Standard 19200 bps Modem”.
7. In the “Dial-up phone number” box enter 008816000025 (see “troubleshooting” below)
For User name and Password enter “none” (type that in, without the quotes),
Check the “remember password” box.
For “Connection Name” enter “IridiumPPP”
8. Then click “Connect”, Windows will try to connect– click “Skip” to continue.
9. Click Close and return to Network Center.
10. Click “Change Adapter Settings” on the left, find “IridiumPPP” and right-click and select “Properties”. (Or, open the connection and then click the “Properties” button).
11. On the first tab make sure “Use dialing rules” is not checked, and click “Configure”
12. Then click “Configure”, and check all three hardware features, then click OK.
13. On the “Networking” tab, un-check all items except “Internet Protocol Version 4 (TCP/IPv4)”. (If any items won’t un-check, that is OK).
14. Click OK to close.

To connect manually, click on the Networks icon in the system-tray (lower-right corner of the screen), select “IridiumPPP” and select “Connect”. Repeat to disconnect. You can also get to the connections properties from this window.

The following details are important:

  1. Don’t forget the “Extra initialization string” in the first section, this is critical.
  2. Under Network Connections (second step), only “TCP/IP” should be checked.
  3. You need the COM-port number associated with the phone. (The 9555 phone installs as a COM port, use the driver CD supplied with the phone).
  4. You must be logged into Windows with Administrator privileges.

Once all that is done, open Airmail’s “Telnet” window (click the “Internet” button on the toolbar or open the Modules menu then Telnet-client). Check the “dial first” box in the Telnet window, and select the “Iridium PPP” connection, and make sure that the “hang up” box is also checked. In recent versions of Airmail the Telnet-window is already set up, just select “Server1”. Also be sure to select “Set up dedicated route”, this will block other programs from trying to “hijack” your Iridium connection.

To check mail, click Airmail’s “Internet” button (or go to Modules menu, Telnet-client), make sure “Server1” is selected and click the green “connect” button. Airmail will dial the phone, contact the server, and exchange mail. Watch the connection and make sure it disconnects when finished. (in the rare case that the primary server is unavailable, there are also two backup servers available).


Remember that the Iridium antenna must be outdoors, with a clear view of the sky. The best antenna is a proper fixed-mount Iridium marine antenna, not cheap but strongly recommended if you are serious about it working reliably. The next-best is the small “hockey-puck” car-style antenna, IF it is stuck to a piece of metal (e.g. a car, or a metal pie-tin 8″/20cm or larger). It is meant to work on a car roof, and needs the metal ground-plane. The phone’s antenna also works (as a third choice), IF it is above-decks with a clear view and oriented vertically.

Also remember that Iridium connections (voice or data) are relayed from satellite-to-satellite to reach an earth station. Your phone shows the signal strength to the first satellite only. If the next satellite is too far, or congested, then the connection will stall or be dropped. Unlike radio, this uncertainty is unpredictable and can be frustrating.

If the phone doesn’t connect at all, check the signal and then check the modem and connection settings above.
If the phone connects but you cannot connect to SailMail then check the Telnet settings below. You must be using port-50.
If you do not have an Internet/Telnet window at all then go to Airmail’s Tools menu, Options window, Modules tab, and check the box to the left of “Telnet Client”. Click OK.

To check your Telnet settings first open the Telnet window (click the “Internet” button or go to Airmail’s Modules menu and select Internet or Telnet Client). Make sure “SailMail” is selected if you have also configured Airmail for ham use. Select “Server1” and click “Settings”. (From Airmail 3.5 these settings are part of the system settings, earlier versions may need to be entered manually).
Check the following settings:
remote callsign: Server1 (or WRD719)
remote host: (see ** note)
Port: 50
TImeout: (blank)
Local callsign: (your SailMail/marine callsign)
Password: (your SailMail internet password, Case-Sensitive!).
Click OK to save settings.

** Note: For quickest access via Iridium, use “Server1” (WRD719), make sure the port is “50”, and enter the numeric IP-address “” instead of “pop3.sailmail.com”– this saves a few seconds. But remember that this address may change if we need to shift servers– so if you cannot connect then enter the “pop3.sailmail.com” and note the address which is shown when you connect. (Don’t include the quotes shown here). The backup servers are (Backup1, WHV382) and (Backup2, WQAB964), all using port 50.

If you want to initiate a PPP Data call manually, open the Dial-Up Networking window and open the “Iridium PPP” dial-up connection and click “dial”. And don’t forget to disconnect when you are finished!

Cheers, Jim
(revised 2017-11-16)

SailMail via Iridium GO! Mobile Hotspot

The Iridium GO! is a portable satellite terminal that provides Iridium voice and data access via Wifi connections to smart-phones, tablets and computers. Specialized apps or software are required, and while marketed primarily for phones and tablets the GO! works perfectly with SailMail from a PC using an updated version of Airmail for SailMail.

SailMail is now a certified application for the Iridium GO!. The updated software is available from the SailMail website at http://sailmail.com.

To connect to SailMail via the Iridium GO!, first update Airmail to version 3.5 if needed. Be sure the GO! is powered on and has a clear view of the sky, and connect the computer’s Wifi networking to “Iridium-xxxx” where “xxxx” is the serial# associated with your GO! device.

Start Airmail, open the Internet window (lightning-bolt icon on the toolbar), check the “First connect to” box and select “Iridium GO!” from the available networks.

If the login name and password for the GO! have been changed (see below) then click the “Iridium GO! Setup” button and enter the correct User Name and Password (default is “guest” and “guest”).

To connect, check that Airmail is communicating with the GO! and shows a 5-bar signal (“5/5” on the status display). Then click the green “Connect” button, Airmail will first connect the GO! to the internet and then to the SailMail server and proceed the same as with a direct internet connection. Airmail automatically disconnects when finished, verify the “Disconnect” status on the internet-window status bar.

If you have internet access, here is a short video that shows the steps to install Airmail and connect via the GO!: http://youtu.be/rLB8X7GdoaI

Voice calls are made from a Wifi-connected smart-phone using the “Iridium GO!” app for iPhone and Android, see the respective app store. Multiple devices can be connected via Wifi, but only one device can be active at a time with a satellite connection (voice or data). Airmail will show “GO Busy” and disables the connect button if another device is using the satellite link.

The Iridium-GO! settings can be accessed from the Iridium-GO! phone or tablet app, or via a web browser to The various features such as “SOS” mode, tracking, etc. can all be set up there. There are also default firewall settings, these are not used for SailMail. In a marina or other environment where others may be within Wifi range of your GO! device, consider changing the login name and password (under “User management”, in Advanced settings for the Iridium app). Don’t forget to also change it in Airmail’s settings (Internet window, “Iridium GO settings” button when connect-first is checked and Iridium-GO! is selected).

Airtime plans are available from the usual providers. The GO! plans are different from the traditional Iridium handset plans, and data is priced at half the traditional cost, or less. Two basic types of plans are available: Prepaid, such as the popular 500 minute/12-month plan, the GO! version provides 1000 data min’s or some combination. The other option is a post-paid or contract plan including an unlimited-data plan for $125/month (12-month contract) which would be attractive for heavy users. Some plans include bundled software or internet access, but there is no need for anything else in order to access SailMail- an airtime plan is all that is needed.

At this time the same message size and attachment limits apply to radio and internet connections, to protect radio usage. (“Internet” connections here also include satellite connections, including the GO!). Usage via internet is unlimited but of course any satellite airtime charges apply. Message size and attachment limits are higher for internet-only users, and we are working towards being able to deliver larger messages and attachments via internet and satellite links while continuing to protect radio connections.

For more info contact us at: support@sailmail.com

Revised 2015-1-18 jec

Using Iridium’s AxcessPoint with Sailmail

The Iridium AxcessPoint is a hardware device available from Iridium that connects to an Iridium handset and creates a wifi hotspot.

The Iridium AxcessPoint WiFi device comes from the factory programmed with a firewall to limit internet access, but port 50 (used for Sailmail access) is not open. The following setup will allow the AxcessPoint to be used with Sailmail, but for most applications it is simpler to connect directly to the Iridum phone and use the Iridium PPP setup (http://saildocs.com/iridiumPPP or send a blank email to: iridiumPPP@saildocs.com).

To use the AxcessPoint with Sailmail some initial setup is needed:

1. Connect to the AxcessPoint via WiFi using Windows wireless networking.
2. Open a browser and go to
3. Login with the last 6 digits of the mac address. The mac address is on
the box and in the battery compartment.

Note that the Admin password can be changed Under Tools->Admin. However, there is no way to reset the unit so if the password is lost then unit must be returned to Iridium for service.

4. Go to advanced->Outbound Filter

Once there you need to add a rule which opens port 50. Then save settings, the device will reboot.

Other ports can be closed if no other use is planned. This will avoid competition for the Iridium Connection and may speed things up. You might also disable DNS on port 53 if Airmail’s remote-server address is set to rather than “pop3.sailmail.com”.

Don’t forget to save the settings and wait for the unit to reboot.

5. Log back into the unit then go to modem settings.
6. Change the mode to manual. This is especially important if the firewall is left open. Otherwise the unit will make a data call as soon as the user wifi connects to it.

Note that DNS is what brings up the connection so if you have blocked all the ports then “on demand” does not work. If you leave DNS open then any DNS activity on the users computer will cause the unit to start a PPP connection. So… it is best if you set this to manual.

Once in manual mode you will need to log in to the web page to bring up the connection and take it down.

Connecting to Sailmail:

Once the above setup has been done, connect to Sailmail as follows:

1. Connect to the AxcessPoint via WiFi.
2. Open a browser and login to (see above for password).
3. Go to status and hit the connect button wait for the unit to go online.
4. Back on the PC run AirMail and do your terminal session.
5. when done, go back to the browser and disconnect.

That should do it, please let us know of any problems or questions.

Cheers, Jim


Iridium 9555 and 9575 (Extreme) phones and Windows 10 Driver Problem

Important note to users of Iridium 9555 and 9575 handsets:
We are getting reports of Iridium USB driver incompatibility with Windows 10 systems.

We have confirmed that a PC upgraded to Windows 10 will not work with an USB connected Iridium handset. Open the port to connect to the phone results in an instant BSOD crash.

We have not confirmed if this also happens with PCs originally shipped with Windows 10. If you have more information, please let us know.

Iridium is aware of the problem and is working on a solution. They have not, however, given a date when a fix or updated driver will be available.

Iridium GO! overview

SailMail is now a certified application for the new Iridium GO!

The GO! is a small Wi-Fi “hotspot” that provides voice telephone service via a Wi-Fi connected smart-phone, and data access to certified apps including SailMail with less expensive data rates. This expands SailMail’s seamless service via radio, satellite and land-based internet to theGo

Iridium GO!, with no setup required. The Iridium GO! is supported by the new Airmail 3.5 release, available at http://siriuscyber.net/sailmail/#iridiumgo  For more information see the Post at IridiumGo  and see the videos at:  https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCS4ogX03LnIRN7T6zq3q_8w/videos