Causes of Dropped Calls on Satellite Phones

Satellite phones have made it even more possible and practical to leave home and go places. Since signals may be obtained from virtually anywhere on the planet, satellite phones are being viewed as the next best super gadget for travelers and adventure seekers. But even this gadget has its weaknesses, one of which is its dependence on clear line-of-sight to receive and make calls. This very dependence often results to dropped calls, which can become a problem or simply a nuisance.

What causes dropped calls on satellite phones?
Satellite phones depend on an unobstructed line of sight to send and receive signals from a satellite. This means that for an average satellite phone to be reliable, there has to be a clear view of the sky from where the user will be standing or calling from.

If there are obstructions such as tall buildings, trees or heavy clouds, the signal will be affected, which means voice quality may not be up to par and call durations are shorter. The appearance of any object that will obstruct the line of sight of the satellite phone or the antenna will result to a lower signal strength, which in turn can result to dropped calls.

Electromagnetic interference caused by proximity to very powerful transmitters can also affect the strength of the signal or the quality of the call. As for less-than-ideal weather conditions, however, some providers have satellite telephone units that can function quite competently. The use of more powerful antennae or bigger satellite phone units can also prevent the frequency of dropped calls.

The handoff
Some satellite phone systems also use different kinds of handoff. The handoff refers to the transfer of a signal from one satellite to the next. Since a satellite can only stay in view for a limited number of minutes, the signal it receives has to be ‘handed off’ to another satellite. In the Iridium system, the handoff usually happens every 50 seconds. If the satellite cannot pass on the signal because there is no satellite within view or is blocked, the user may also experience a dropped call.