Transatlantic Rowers use Two-Way Satellite Messaging

A new two-way satellite messaging service is now available from, the Internet position-reporting service. Sending and receiving e-mails is now possible using the small JRC Inmarsat D+ satellite pager, a hand-held PDA (personal digital assistant), such as the Compaq iPAQ, and the messaging server.

The system has been specially developed by and software developers Geodesys, to expand the capabilities of the Inmarsat D+ satellite pager. The first application of the new system will be for position reporting and communications with 36 two-person teams of rowing boats in the Ward Evans Atlantic Rowing Challenge which starts from Tenerife this October and finishes in Barbados.

For the rowing teams, equipment weight and electrical power consumption are critical issues. By using the Inmarsat D+ system, not only will their positions automatically be relayed to the event website, but also the teams friends ashore.

Specially developed software runs on the PDA which is connected to the JRC Inmarsat D+ terminal using a standard RS232 interface. Users can retrieve incoming e-mails, and send short text messages to an e-mail address using the Inmarsat D+ messaging function. Messages are sent via the Inmarsat satellite network to a land earth station, from where they are collected by the messaging server and transmitted to the Internet.

To use the service, subscribers must be operating an Inmarsat D+ terminal registered with and a suitable PDA device. The service also enables subscribers to automatically report their boat’s position to the Internet, using their Inmarsat D+ terminal, Inmarsat C, or e-mail. Contact, visit, or telephone James Hall at +44 1983 296060, e-mail, for more information.