Iridium Interception SystemReference Manual

Iridium system overviewThe Iridium satellite constellation is a system of 66 active communication satellites with spares in orbitand on the ground. It allows worldwide voice and data communications using handheld satellite phones.The Iridium network is unique in that it covers the whole earth, including poles, oceans and airways.The company, based in Bethesda, MD, derives its name from the chemical element known as Iridium;the size of the satellite constellation projected in the early stages of planning was 77 – which isequivalent to the atomic number for Iridium.The satellites are frequently visible in the night sky as satellite flares – a phenomenon typically observedas short-lived bright flashes of light.Iridium Satellite LLC claims to have 225,000 subscribers as of October 31, 2007, an 11% increase fromthe total by the end of the second quarter 2007.The system is being used extensively by the U.S. Department of Defense for its communication purposesthrough the DoD gateway in Hawaii, USA. The commercial gateway in Tempe, Arizona, USA providesvoice, data and paging services for commercial customers on a global basis. Typical customers includemaritime, aviation, government, the petroleum industry, scientists, and frequent world travelers.Besides, it is often used by individuals and organizations which attempt to avoid eavesdropping of theircommunication.Iridium and other satellite phones may be identifiable to the listener because of the particular "clipping"effect of the data compression and the latency (experienced as a noticeable lag or time delay) due tothe electronic equipment used and the distances the signal must travel. Iridium operates at 2200 to3800 baud, which requires very aggressive voice compression and decompression algorithms. The voicecodec used is called Advanced Multi-Band Excitation. Iridium claims data rates up to 10 kilobits persecond for their "direct Internet" service. Phones can be connected to computers using a RS-232connection, as can the 9522A, which is just a transceiver module. These can be used for data-loggingapplications in remote areas. This is a common practical use for Iridium's services, and the new tsunamiwarning system uses Iridium satellites to communicate with their base. The remote device must beprogrammed to call the base at specified intervals, or it can be set to accept calls in order for it tooffload its collected data. Despite the bandwidth limitations, transparent TCP/IP is supported. Latency isaround 1500 milliseconds.The former Iridium provided phones from two vendors, Kyocera and Motorola. Neither stillmanufactures these handsets. Kyocera phone models SS-66K and SD-66K are no longer in productionbut still available in the second-hand and surplus market. The Motorola phone 9500 is a design from thefirst commercial phase of Iridium, whereas the current 9505A model is the most current version of thehandset and the 9522A is the most current version of the OEM L-Band Transceiver module designed forintegration into specific applications. The 9505A phone is functionally identical to the 9505 but is nolonger manufactured by Motorola and contains a slightly different set of components.Calls to Iridium phones are notoriously expensive, ranging from US 3 to US 14 per minute. It is possibleto call with charges reversed by first dialing a number in Arizona; the call is charged to the receiver atthe standard rate for satellite to landline calls, but the caller only pays for the call to Arizona, USA.Since Iridium will not sell prepaid cards or even its subscription call service directly, it is hard to obtainthe exact price of making a call. There are numerous distributors that will activate Iridium phones andsell pre-paid vouchers and SIM cards. Regardless of the price, each pre-paid card or monthly plan comeswith a number of minutes. These minutes are the "basic rate" to landlines. For a 500 minute annual planthe cost of the "basic rates" fluctuates around US 1.50/min depending on a distributor. There are alsoregional plans that offer slightly cheaper rates than the normal, but these minutes can only be used in aspecified geographic location (such as Africa, North America, Canada and Alaska).Calls to landlines worldwide: 1.00. basic rateCalls to other Iridium phones or voice mail: 0.50.Sending SMS messages: 0.33.Calls to other satellite phones: 5–13.50.Data calls: 1.00.Prepaid SIM cards are available from a variety of different outlets and sometimes appear on auctionsites such as eBay. Their values range from 50 to 5,000 minutes; the 50 minute cards have no validityand the 75 minute vouchers are valid for only a month, but the 5,000 minute cards stay valid for twoyears. Since Iridium charges quite a bit for merely accessing their network without making calls it ispossible to extend the validity of such an account by a month for around US 45. It is also possible torefill such an account without purchasing a new SIM card.The most common card is the 500 minute one, which remains valid for one year and can usually bebought for US 600–750, while the 75 minute card can cost up to US 200 and the 5,000 minute cardcosts around US 4,000.Iridium controls the virtual country codes 8816 and 8817, part of the 881 range designated by the ITUfor the Global Mobile Satellite System. Each subscriber is given an 8-digit number prefixed by one ofthese country codes. However many regional telephone service operators such as Meteor have no

interconnect agreement with Iridium or other satellite networks and users on these networks will needto call reversed charge to a U.S.-based number.Since spring 2007, postpaid Iridium subscribers have an option to associate their Iridium numbers with adirect U.S.-based number (the so-called 1 Access service).The Iridium system requires 66 activesatellites in orbit to complete itsconstellation, with sparesatellites in orbit to fill in case offailure. Satellites are in low Earth orbitat a height of approximately485 miles (780 km) and inclination of86.4 . Satellites communicate withneighboring satellites via Kabandintersatellite links. Each satellite canhave four intersatellite links: two toneighbors fore and aft inthe same orbital plane, and two tosatellites in neighboring planes toeither side. The satellites orbitfrom pole to pole with an orbit ofroughly 100 minutes. This designmeans that there is excellentsatellite visibility and service coverageat the North and South poles, wherethere are few customers.Because satellites use an over-the-poleorbital constellation design there is a"seam" where satellites incounter-rotating planes next to oneanother are travelling in oppositedirections. Cross-seamintersatellite-link handoffs would haveto happen very rapidly and cope withlarge Doppler shifts;Iridium only supports intersatellite links between satellites orbiting in the same direction.The cellular lookdown antenna has 48 spot beams arranged as 16 beams in three sectors. The fourintersatellite cross links on each satellite operate at 10 Mbit/s. The inventors of the system hadpreviously worked on a government study in the late 1980s that showed that microwave cross linkswere simpler and had fewer risks than optical crosslinks, although the optical links could have supporteda much greater bandwidth and a more aggressive growth path. The microwave crosslinks were favoredbecause the bandwidth was more than sufficient for the desired system. Nevertheless, a parallel opticalcrosslink option was carried through a critical design review, and only ended when the microwavecrosslinks were shown to support the size, weight and power requirements allocated within theindividual satellite's budget. Future satellites may be equipped with optical links, but in recent pressreleases Iridium Satellite LLC has stated that their second generation satellites would also usemicrowave, not optical, intersatellite communications links. Such cross-links are unique in the satellitetelephone industry as other providers such as Globalstar depend on local base stations and do not relaydata between satellites. Iridium's use of cross-links means that calls between satellite phones arecheaper, as many such calls never get passed through a ground-based repeater station.The existing constellation of 66 satellites is expected to remain operational until at least 2014, withmany satellites expected to remain in service until the 2020s. Iridium is planning a new generation ofsatellites with improved bandwidth to be operational by 2016. This system will be backward compatiblewith the current system.Communication between satellites and handsets is done using a TDMA and FDMA based system using L-bandspectrum between 1616 and 1626.5 MHz, however Iridium exclusively controls 7.775 MHz of thisand shares a further 0.95 MHz. In 1999 Iridium agreed to timeshare a portion of spectrum allowing radioastronomers to observe hydroxyl emissions but the amount of shared spectrum was recently reducedfrom 2.625 MHz.[8][9]The type of modulation used is QPSK[10] and each timeslot is 8.28 ms long and sits in a 90 ms frame.Within each FDMA channel there are four TDMA timeslots in each direction. The TDMA frame starts offwith a 20.32 ms period used for simplex messaging to devices such as pagers and to alert Iridium phonesof an incoming call, followed by the four upstream slots and four downstream slots. Small guard periods

are used in between timeslots.Channels are spaced at 41.666kHz and each channeloccupies abandwidth of 31.5 kHz—thisallows space for dopplershifts.[11]Iridium routes phone callsthrough space. There are fourearth stations and the spacebased backhaulroutes phone call packetsthrough space to one of thedownlinks ("feeder links").Station-to-station callscan be routed directly throughspace with no downlink. Assatellites leave the area of anEarth basestation the routing tableschange and frames areforwarded to the next satellitejust coming into view ofthe Earth base station.Like other satellite networks, Iridium terminals need open line-of-sight to open sky in order to function.For instance, units will not work consistently indoors, or under forest cover. Unlike Globalstar, however, Iridium has a verypowerful paging channel that can ring the phone indoors (however, the customer mayhave to walk outdoors to take the call.)There is a Web/E-mail to SMS gateway which enables messages to be sent from the internet or an Emailaccount to Iridium handsets for free. There is also a voice mail service.Iridium does not have roaming agreements with terrestrial/cellular operators, except for Telstra inAustralia which allows postpay GSM subscribers to use their SIM card. However, both incoming andoutgoing calls are charged to this account and the call rate is around US 4 per minute; the incomingcalls are via the GSM phone number of the account with country code etc. prefixed. In order to use thenetwork, it is necessary to have not only appropriate equipment, such as a handset or the optionalcellular cassette for the Motorola 9505 phone, but also a pay-as-you-go or contract Iridium SIM card.

Monitoring System overviewIridium Monitoring System is intended to intercept information (voice, SMS, data) in IRIDIUMcommunication channels. The system is completely passive, does not interfere with satellitecommunication and therefore absolutely undetectable.System consists of three functional modules:- Signal Receiving and Processing Unit- Iridium Server- Iridium Information Database

Signal Receiving and Processing UnitIridium SettingsThe Iridium Options starts the active call monitoring and allows the user to alter key parameters. When launched theOptions window appears:Fig. 1The settings available in the Options window are:DSP Settings – options linked to the DSP (digital signal processing) boards: Clock frequency (kHz) – frequency of the clock generator (default: 93600 kHz) Number of devices – the quantity of DSP boards in the PC (1 or 2) UpLink direction enabled – whether collection of data from the Uplink channel is enabled or disabled (1 enabled, 0 disabled)RRU Settings – parameters for the radio-receiving unit: Central frequency of the receiver (MHz) – the frequency of adjustment of the receiver (default: 1621 Mhz) Inversion of a spectrum – the inversion of the spectrum of the receiver (1 enabled, 0 disabled) RRU gain level – the level of amplification of the receiver signal (range: 0 – 4095, default: 4095) Internal RRU – management of the radio receiver, this may be controlled by the program or by other third partyapplications (1 receiver controlled by program, 0 other applications)DDC Settings – Digital Down converter parameters: DMA mode – the operating mode for the input device (default: 1) FPGA file name – the name of the file to use for the FPGA (Field-Programmable Gate Array) this depends onthe device used (default: gd416s43.h22) Downlink gain level – the level of signal amplification in the Downlink channels (range: 0-16383, recommended:8192) Uplink gain level – the level of signal amplification in the Uplink channels (range: 0-16383, recommended: 1024)Location settings – the geographical parameters: Distance – the maximum distance (in kilometres) for the reception of signals. A value of zero will pick up allbeams within range (recommended: 3000) Latitude – the current latitudinal position of the Iridium Monitoring System (example: 55.77) Longitude – the current longitudinal position of the Iridium Monitoring System (example: 37.49)

Map Settings – parameters for remote interaction with the map program: IP address – the network address of a computer on which the Map Unit (map.exe) is held allowing the display ofgeographic informationData Save Settings – parameters for saving data Data save path – the network path to where the data is saved. The format should be:\\[computer name or IP address]\[shared folder]\This directory should exist before the Iridium System is started. The attributes of the folder should allow sharedgeneral access and the computer where the folder is held should also have the program Complex.exe located onit.Example: \\\dem\ or \\SPU1\dem\ Remote IP address – the IP address or the share name of a computer on the connected systemExample: the Data is to be saved locally, the default value is used. Remote Port –the port receiving information from the connected system (example: 7007)The Launch window also includes the following buttons: Start – Activate the main processing mode Cancel – Exit the program Save – Save the current parameter set Load – Load a previously saved parameter set Help – show the built-in help.Main Processing Mode WindowThe Main window represents the program state. The processing parameters are presented in a table.Fig. 2The information represented in the Main window table is: # – the processing numberDV – the DSP board device numberCH – the physical channel numberSV – the number of the satelliteBEAM – the beam numberSubb. – the sub-band numberT.Slot – the time slot numberFreq. – the frequency number inside the sub-bandHandoff – the handoff counterType – the channel typeDnCnt – the Downlink received burst counter, followed by the number of frame errors encountered inparenthesesUpCnt – the Uplink received burst counter, followed by the number of frame errors encountered in parenthesesHold – the channel hold timeLevel – the receiving signal strengthOnce started the program functions autonomously and requires no further user intervention. The only parameters that theoperator can change are the downlink and uplink signal receiving gain.

To change the signal gain, select Gain Level Control from the Work menu. The receiver values can be adjusted usingthe slider controls (below).Fig. 3

Iridium ServerThe Iridium Server gathers the decoded call information and organizes the information in the Database. The modulealso manages the automatic archiving of records.Operating Iridium ServerIn order to use Iridium Server the MySQL service should be started and operating. Once running, a traffic light symbol willappear in the Windows system tray near the clock on the taskbar (see image 1 below)Fig. 41MySQL should run automatically when Windows boots.Main WindowWhen the Iridium Server starts the following window will be displayed:13245678Fig. 5The window has the following buttons:1. Start button – initiates the transfer of data to the database2. Stop button – stops the automatic addition of data to the database3. Options button – opens the Option window, please note this is only available when the Iridium Server hasbeen stopped.The window also displays the following information:4. Date and time – the current date and time5. Elapsed time – the time since the Iridium Server was started6. Active records – the number of records in the Active table of the database7. Archived records – the number of records in the Archived table of the database8. Added records – the number of records added for this session

Options WindowThe Options window can be opened by pressing the Options button on the main window. The button is only accessiblewhen the Iridium Server has been stopped using the Stop button (see Item 2 above).1234Fig. 6The Options available in the General Options (SRV) tab are: for adding records to the database. The options are All Records or With files. When All Records isselected; all Call data is recorded in the database. When With files is selected; only those Calls where theassociated data (voice, SMS or data) are added to the database.Directory for saved data files – the folder where the data files for each Call are to be stored. Click theBrowse button to select the folder locationRefresh – sets whether the Iridium Server updates automatically and the interval it updates the database.Maximum records in Active Database – the maximum quantity of records held in the active table. When thenumber of records in the Active table exceeds this number, Iridium Server will automatically move out-of-daterecords into the Archive table. The operator can change this automatic option in the Iridium SystemMonitoring and manually move records to the Archive.The options in the Log Tab are:5Fig. 75.Log File Location – add or remove locations where daily logs are stored. Use the Add ( ) andRemove (-) buttons to add or remove new log file locations.

Iridium Information DatabaseThe Iridium Monitoring System is intended to allow the operator to access information from the database of callinformation. In order for the module to function it requires the database server and network connection modules to berun.The Main Window12345678Fig. 8The main window interface:1. Data List: The list of recordings. Each item is colour coded to indicate the type of recording. Green indicates aVoice call, Blue indicates a Data call and Pink indicates an SMS message. A White item indicates a recordingwith no attached files. The current selection is marked Red.2. Select: A simple filter to display items in the data list:a. With Files: Displays all recordings (Voice, Data, SMS) where the relevant call content is attached.b. Without Files: Displays all recordings where the call content is not available.c. All Files: Displays all items both with and without files.3. Filter by date and time: Filters the Data List to show items recorded in a specified interval of time.4. Archive: Switches the Data List between the current Data List and the archived Data List5. Protect: Sets the current selection's protection attribute. When checked the item will not be automaticallyarchived by the Iridium Server module.6. Refresh: Updates the Data List with new data from the server7. Map: Shows the current selection on the Map module based on the recorded item's co-ordinates.8. Navigation Panel: Buttons to move through and edit items in the Data List:a. Move to the First itemb. Move back one itemc. Move forward one itemd. Move to the Last iteme. Delete selected itemf. Update current item after editingg. Cancel editing of current itemh. Refresh data

The Main MenuFig. 9File MenuOptions – Opens the Options window to change program options (see below)Refresh – Updates the Data List with new data from the serverExit – Ends the applicationRecord MenuView current record – displays the current record in the Record window (see below)Filter – Displays the Filter window allowing advanced filtering of the Data List (see below)Find – Search the Data List for items matching specific search criteriaReplace to archive – Moves records to the archive. This can be the current record or checked itemsDelete – removes records from the Data List. This can be the current record, checked items, items with noattached files or all the items listed.Restore – Restores items previously deleted from the Data List.Save As – Saves the audio recording from a Voice call.Show map – Displays the location of the selected record in the map programCheck all records – Marks all the currently displayed records in the Data ListUncheck all records – Removes all checkmarks against records in the Data ListReport MenuCreate report in XLS – Creates a spreadsheet of the current records and displays it in Microsoft ExcelHelp MenuIridium help – Displays this help fileAbout – Displays information about this programOptions WindowThere are three sections in the option windows accessible by tabs:Options – general program and database optionsHidden Columns – display options for the Data ListViewers – paths to external programs used to access the content of calls

General Options123456Fig. 1071. Path to Map – the path of the program 'map.exe' for displaying the location of calls.2. Maximum records in the active database – the maximum number should correspond to the value in the IridiumServer module.3. Fixed Columns – the number of fixed columns to display. These columns will remain visible on the left-hand sideof the window when the Data List is scrolled to the right. For example, setting the Fixed Columns to 4 will ensurethe following columns are always visible: checked, ID, Date and Time.4. View Filters – displays or hides the basic filter information on the top part of the window.5. View Navigation – displays or hides the navigation toolbar at the bottom of the window.6. View Deleted Records – displays or hides records that have been marked for deletion from the database.7. AutoRefresh – activates the automatic addition of new data from the Iridium Server module.Hidden Columns Options8Fig. 118. Hide Column – each column in the Data List can be hidden. Check the box next to a column to hide it.

Viewers OptionsFig. 12Set the paths to the software used to decode each type of call.Voice – the path to Play.exe – this program must be used for Voice decoding.SMS – the path to a suitable text editor – the default is Windows notebook.exeData – the path to Data I.exe – this program must be used for Data decoding.Record WindowTo open the Record window, select View Current Record from the Record menu. This will display details of thecurrently selected record in the Data List.Fig. 13

Filter WindowFig. 14To access the Filter window select Filter from the Record Menu.In the Filter window it is possible to create advanced filters for the Data List. You can Save filters or Load previouslysaved filters.The options available to Filter on are: By IMEI, TMSI, IMSI values The number Called and the number Calling from. The Type of call (Voice, Data, SMS or Free Geographic information Point (nearest City), Region and Country Coordinate range created between two Longitude and Latitude valuesYou can Load a saved Filter using the Load button and Save a filter using the Save As button.Find WindowFig. 15To access the Find window select Find from the Record Menu.Enter the text in the Text to find box and select the columns you want to search by checking the relevant checkboxes.Click the OK button to activate the search.

Call InformationIt is possible to view or listen to the content of a call by double clicking on the record in the Data List. Depending on thetype of call an appropriate program module will be displayed allowing access to the call information.Voice CallsFig. 16SMS MessagesFig. 17Data CallsFig. 18

Show Location MapThe location of a call can be displayed on a map using the coordinates of the call. Press the Map button (Item 8 on theMain Window). Alternatively select Show map on the Record menu.Fig. 19Report CreationTo create an Excel spreadsheet report, select Create report to XLS from the Report menu. The Report window willopen:Fig. 20Select the fields required to be displayed in the Report. The audio files from Voice calls can be saved in the folder withthe report by checking the Report with files checkbox.

Press OK to create the report. Microsoft Excel* will automatically open with the chosen data displayed.*Requires Microsoft Excel to be installed on the PC.Working with the Data ListManual or Automatic UpdatingThe system has two operating modes, automatic or manual. You can select which mode to use by selecting Optionsfrom the File menu and checking or un-checking the AutoRefresh checkbox. In Automatic mode data is automaticallyadded to the Data List table as soon as it is added to the database. In Manual mode the data can be added by selectingRefresh from the File menu, or by clicking the Refresh Data button on the toolbar.Sorting the Data ListYou can sort the List order by clicking on the Column Header of data you want to sort by. For example clicking on theDate column header will sort the records in date order. Clicking on the Column Header a second time will reverse thecurrent sort order.Viewing a RecordA record can be viewed in a separate window by clicking on the record in the list and selecting View current record fromthe Record menu.Editing a RecordA record can be editing in the list by clicking on a field to select it, then after a short pause, clicking on the same fieldagain. Save the edited information by clicking the Update edit button in the Navigation toolbar. Alternatively you candiscard changes by clicking the Cancel changes button in the Navigation toolbar. The Name field and Comment fieldcan also be edited in the Record window (see Viewing a Record above).Selecting Records for ProcessingTo set a check mark against all the currently displayed records, select Check all records from the Record menu.Alternatively to un-check all records select Uncheck all records. This operation can also be performed by clicking theCheck column header.Once selected, the checked records can be Archived or Deleted using the Delete option in the Record menu.Archiving RecordsRecordings are archived automatically by the Iridium Server module when the number of active recordings is greaterthan the value of the Maximum records in the active DB option in the Options window.Records can also be archived manually by selecting Remove to Archive from the Record menu and choosing eitherCurrent Record or Checked Items. Alternatively the same options are available from the context menu by right-clickingon a record in the Data List.Deleting RecordsRecordings can be deleted from the Data List by selecting Delete from the Record menu and then choosing one of thefollowing options; Current record, Checked records, Records without files or All records. Alternatively the sameoptions are available from the context menu by right-clicking on a record in the Data List.Restore RecordsTo restore records that have been deleted from the Data List, you must check View deleted records in the Optionwindow. The deleted items will then be visible in the Data List, select Restore from the Record menu. Alternativelyright-click on a record and select Restore.Protecting RecordsThe operator can protect items in the list by clicking the Protect option on the main toolbar (see Item 6 under MainWindow). Protected items will not be archived or deleted in group operations.

Iridium system overview The Iridium satellite constellation is a system of 66 active communication satellites with spares in orbit and on the ground. It allows worldwide voice and data communications using handheld satellite phones. The Iridium network is unique in that it cov