I have designed many radio connected devices using various technologies such as Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, GSM GPRS/3G, sub 1-GHz with my own proprietary protocols so far. Even though I have utilized GPS receivers in some of these designs, two way communication with satellites is a new thing for me.
The first thing to do is diving into the documentation made by Iridium whichs seems pretty decent and informative.
I have prepared Altium Designer schematic symbols and footprints accoring to the modem datasheets. Unfortunately I couldn’t find 3D models for these models, I have designed 3D bodies using Solidworks and matched them with PCB footprints.
This is how the footprints look like in 2D mode:
I have also made the schematic symbols for both Iridium 9602 and Iridium 9603. Iridium 9603 is of course more convenient from the perspective of RF design since it has an U.FL connector on board.
With Iridium 9602, it might require some on board routing depending on the enclosure design. I plan to export the PCB as Ansoft Neutral file and simulate it in Ansoft HFSS.