Saturday, November 14, 2015

Setting up my Iridium GO! @IridiumComm

Update Dec 2015:  Twitter Following & Private Messages, email blog to Blogger
(I am not an expert on the GO!. This was my attempt to combine eight different sources of info into one document, for my own reference. Might as well share it on the world wide web.  I will update as I learn more, so feel free to send corrections/additions.  Note to family & friends:  We only turn the Iridium on when we're on the ocean or other extended periods without wifi/cell service. It is not our primary source of communication.  For more info on the functionality available, check sv Totem's blog post:

Iridium GO Cheat Sheet
The Iridium GO! is a satellite communicator that allows people "off the grid" (out of cell phone range ie. from hiking to sailing) to text and email, in addition to making phone calls.  Anyone who has ever used a sat phone knows they can be expensive and aren't easy to hold a conversation on.  The idea of being able to text or email makes the cost more reasonable (and easier for both ends to understand.).  It is also excellent for keeping family members informed of your location, and in a pinch, can send an SOS to the Coast Guard.  Cruisers use it for everything from Twitter to emailing back-and-forth to troubleshoot mechanical problems.  It is only for the tech-savvy and you still may need help from another cruiser or tech support.  (PredictWind recommends 1-3 days setup.)

Who you purchase it from, determines who your service provider/sim card is through and which plans are available.  You seldom see the GO! on sale, but the plans available vary.

Reference material (, then click on “Resources”):
User Manual (came in box.  I recommend also downloading an electronic copy)
Quick Start Guide:  GO! App  
(Also recommend 1PredictWind, “How-to-Set-Up-Unit-Make-Voice-Calls-and-Send-SMS-Messages”)
User Guide: (iOS or Android) Iridium Mail & Web App
& 2Mail & Web app bulletin dated Sept 26, 2014.  Especially “strongly advise iOS users to disable various apps” list  (No longer available on, superceded by firmware 1.4.1)
(Also recommend:  1PredictWind, “How to use the iPhone/iPad email & web app”)
Advanced Portal Quick Start Guide

Record the following for your records (back of User Manual):
Serial number: (APM) (under battery or “Information”)
SSID:  IRIDIUM-(under battery then name of your wifi network or “Information”)
IMEI:  (300325)-(under battery or “Information”)
Iridium Wifi password (range 100 ft):  (default NONE) Add @ GO app, "Advanced"
GO App/Administrator password:  (default guest/guest)  Changing causes Web&Mail error?
My Iridium phone number: 8816-###-##### (all Iridium phone numbers start with 8816)
Iridium email app registration:  (register at
My Iridium email:  (username)
Service Provider (______________) phone #:__________________
Service Provider email address: ___________________________
SIM card number:  ####-###-###-####-#####
My service provider account number: ____________________________
My Service Plan:________________________________________

1.     User manual:  This will help you get the unit powered up, sim card installed, and download apps.  From there, you will mostly be using the GO app on your smartphone.
2.     Firmware update:  As of this writing, it should be 1.4.1, which supposedly has some helpful upgrades.  You will need “Quick Start Guide:  Iridium GO Advanced Portal” and a laptop with internet access to download the update (  THEN connect laptop to GO via the Iridium’s wifi.  Open browser & go to (Administrator log in is the same as GO App)

NOTE!:  Don’t follow the Quick Start/User Manual directions in order.  I was able to set up the Go app, but had trouble with the Mail app.  I was advised to do a factory reset of the Iridium, set iPad/iPhone to “airplane mode”, then turn wifi back on, bluetooth off. Log into Iridium wifi, THEN GO TO THE MAIL APP FIRST before changing any settings and see if “send/receive mail” is working (*see below).  “Changing a lot of settings causes problems…”  It turns out that, for me, changing the username/password to the GO app means I get a “Connection status:  ERROR” in the Web and Email app.

GO! App
3.  GO App:
  •  Track: 2 kinds.  Set “Interval” (designated float plan family member), and “Quick GPS” to one-time to predefined group.  Works great.  CHARGED AS OUTGOING TEXT
  • SOS/GOES:  This took me at least 3 tries to get set up.  Registration didn’t “take” or something.
  • Text:  Set up relatively easy.  People text you by going to or emailing  (It costs us $0.10-0.35 to respond).  To text out, enter mobile number or email address
  • Phone call:  To call out 00 or +[Country code] [phone number] (update contacts with country code) or use country code dropdown menu.  Iridium-to-Iridium:  dial “+” 8816 ### ##### (Change voicemail to “send a text”.  $1.25/minute to retrieve?)
  • Twitter:  Set up by changing your Twitter account settings to your Iridium phone number, then logging onto the GO! app with your smartphone to complete verification. ( AS OUTGOING TEXT!  You can post, but won't see your "feed."  (Hint:  To see your fellow sailors while underway, text/message FOLLOW @username to 40404 (your Iridium short code) & UNFOLLOW @username to stop.  Also private message M @username?)
  • (Link Twitter to Facebook):  Facebook functionality doesn’t currently work (for the last year!  They blame FB).  There is a work-around by posting to Twitter and forwarding to Facebook.  (I have a personal page and a “boat” page so I completed “Connect to FB profile”, then continue to “Connect to Facebook page”.)

4.  Mail and Web App: connection speed 2.4kbps.  Uses your data plan (except Twitter)
  • See 2bulletin (Apple devices) and 3“Slow Internet/Using less Data”:  Opera “Data Savings”, disable iCloud, Dropbox, etc.  Turn off “Automatic downloads” for all apps, iTunes Match, “Find my iPhone”, disable PhotoStream, Skype, Facetime, “Location services”.  Email manual fetching only.
  • Facebook:  NEW MARCH 2016!  While on regular wifi, open Settings, Social Media then enter FB login in.  See PredictWind for full setup:
  • Email button: Register for Iridium email: (username is email address or “fetch” another (non-Iridium) email address ie. yahoo/gmail—be ready with POP or IMAP settings: 
  • Email settings

  • *Mail & Web settings:  “Your Account, User Name, Password” (from registering)
  • (Add non-Iridium email address:  Remote servers configuration, (click “+” to add another email address), “User name(, password—select Account Type to see if anything auto-populates—server address, etc {, 995, Use SSL ON.  Go to your email providers support page for settings}).
  • (Non-Iridium recommended.  See Mail & Web User Guide:  Remote Fetch Settings, Remote fetch ENABLED, Fetch asynchronously ON, Fetch # per cycle (max # emails you want per transfer).  Then “Text when mail is available” ON {enter Iridium phone number})
  • *To Receive:  “Mail”, then “Send/Receive Mail” (bottom left).  To compose: open “Mail”, “New mail” (bottom right), then “To Outbox” (top right).  (Connect to Iridium wifi), “Send/receive (bottom left)”
NOTE!:  There is no way to clear the email queue on the Iridium.  If you set up daily Chris Parker weather emails & don’t turn the Iridium on for a few months, they will all download at once (data plan limit!).  Iridium is “currently working on a solution”.  The only workaround is to create a new Iridium email account (SailMail is another possible solution.  You can log in on a laptop & clean out queue.)
BLOGGER:  Use email to post:  Go to settings, mobile & email.  Set up your unique email ( & choose “publish” or “save as draft.”  To post:  Subject is post title, body of email is post with #end, attach photo (RESIZE!)
  • Web button:  Opera Mini  (Apple devices per bulletin).  BE CAREFUL.  Use mobile sites or “Iridium partner” apps. gives text version of any website. To set up Apple device, go to iPhone "settings", "wifi", select Iridium network, then HTTP Proxy "Auto".  In app, select "Web" then follow instructions for config (says Safari?). PredictWind:  "If having trouble, close all background apps (settings, general, background refresh OFF), do not have multiple tabs open in browser, kill everything (double click home button)."
  • Weather button: generic weather from NOAA GFS model.  Set location:  settings, weather, location
NOTE!:  My service provider says they calculate data used at invoicing. There is no way to "track" my data usage :-(

5.   Partner Products:  (set up to work with limited bandwidth)

  • Weather: PredictWind app (requires laptop), GRIB Explorer Plus (Chris Parker recommend)(Additional weather options): (grib) compressed email  or Chris Parker email subscription (
  • Email:  SailMail app "AirMail"

Complaints.  Since there is no way to contact @IridiumComm support through their website, here are my gripes:

  1. Why two separate apps?
  2. Why can’t I have ONE manual?  I don’t care if I need to download it.  Just one.  (But preferably a printed manual, because we are OFF THE GRID, thus buying a SAT COMMUNICATOR!)
  3. Why so many passwords/logins?
  4. Take the Facebook functionality out of your ad.  It doesn’t work.
  5. Why only portrait mode?  Mildly annoying, but I’m not the only one.

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