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Iridium 9505A Review

The Iridium 9505A is a self-contained sat phone designed to operate in rugged remote areas. Coverage exists worldwide so no matter where you and your boat might be you’ll still be connected to home.

From the factory this Iridium satellite telephone ships with the handset, two batteries, AC and DC chargers, an international plug kit, headset, auxiliary antenna, antenna adaptor, and a leather handset carry case.

iridium 9505a satellite telephone

Here is the Iridium 9505A with its antenna fully extended.

The sat phone case measures approximately 6.3-inches tall, 2.5-inches wide, and 1.6-inches thick.

The antenna connects on the case back and adds about ¾ of an inch to the overall phone depth.

The antenna rotates and locks in at 45 degrees either side of vertically up for use and vertically down for storage.

At full extension, the antenna reaches to about 9 inches in overall length.

The handset with antenna attached and battery installed weighed in at 13.4 ounces.

The 9505A satellite telephone has a pushbutton to facilitate antenna removal and a status light, both of which are located in the top of the case.

Up/down volume control keys are on the left side. All other controls are on the unit face, they include the on/off button, alphanumeric keypad, scroll arrows, menu, message, OK, and call buttons.

A DC power connector and headset jack are located on the case side. The data connector is on the bottom. Battery access is on the case back, the battery needs to access the SIM card slot.

Since most of us are not used to the international dialing format I found it easiest to make calls by storing my phone numbers in memory and then recalling as needed using menu prompts. The phone will store up to 100 entries with names and numbers.

Performance

The 9505A performed well in our testing. We made voice calls and sent several text messages to see how well the phone worked. Voice calls were clear and crisp every time with no noticeable delay.

When you receive a text message the phone sounds an aural alarm and asks if you wish to read the message now. Pressing OK, and then scrolling as needed, will let you see the text message onscreen. Voice calls worked well when using the accompanying headset too.

The external antenna has a magnetic base and about five feet of cable. You’ll need to place the phone in the antenna adapter to connect the external antenna. Again the phone worked well for voice and text messages when connected to the external antenna.

The accompanying AC and DC chargers both fully charged a depleted battery in only a couple of hours. During our testing the 2230 mAH lithium-ion battery had no problem keeping the phone useable all day long.

I gave the 1.6-inch monochrome display on the Iridium 9505A a good rating. It was easy to see in direct sunlight. Even donning a pair of polarized sunglasses did not adversely affect screen readability.

Along the top line of the display you’ll find a signal strength meter to the left, then a digital clock, and a battery charge icon to the right. More icons on the bottom line of the display indicate when a message has been received and the current system status. Pressing any key turns on the display screen and pushbutton backlighting.

Iridium says this sat phone is not specifically rated for waterproofness. However they claim it is weather resistent and can sustain a few drops of rain with no ill effects. Should you operate this phone in rain or spray it would be wise to check the battery compartment is free of moisture. The phone passed our drop test from a height of 1 meter onto a hard surface with no problems noted.

Final Thoughts

Today, even though the Iridium 9505A is one generation behind the latest release sat phones from Iridium, many users opt for this phone whenever it is available for purchase on the used market or as a rental simply because it is supplied with two batteries. This satellite telephone, like others on the market, offers one real advantage to boaters—the ability to call anyone with a landline phone from anywhere in the world.

Buy this Iridium satellite phone here.