I'm doing some research on a company called ASTS who claims to be able to connect to regular smartphones from a satellite. Initially I wrote off their claims, but after looking into it a bit more (along with some link budget calculations), it actually seemed... surprisingly possible.
To my surprise, this wasn't even actually the first time this has been done. Apparently a company called TerreStar was able to connect to a smartphone back in 2010, from GEO! I've always imagined satellite phones to be big, bulky, power-hungry devices.
Out of curiosity I bought a used TerreStar Genus to take apart, just to see how big the antenna is - especially since it's talking to a GEO satellite. I'm having trouble locating it though, can anyone help?
So far I found some rf amplifiers, but not the actual antennas themselves...
SKY65124-21 - RF Amplifier 1930-1990MHz 2W 5Volt -40C +85C
SKY77340-21 - The SKY77340 Power Amplifier Module (PAM) is designed in a compact form factor for quad-band cellular handsets comprising GSM850/900, DCS1800, PCS1900, supporting GMSK and linear EDGE modulation.
More pictures here (and also available upon request): https://i.stack.imgur.com/PJ1cv.jpg
Wait, I think I found them! Are these it? Wow, I'm honestly shocked these tiny things are able to transmit to GEO. Is the antenna that's connecting to the satellite the
E000118 REV F one since that's the only one that's above the line?
Going by the 2 rf amplifiers I found, does this mean that the antenna had a max output of 2W?