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I'm using GSM(SIM908) in the machine. I need to know whether there is an altitude limit for gsm to operate. Does GSM just stops working after reaching certain height? I will use SIM908 or SIM808.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ You have to be in range of a base station. That includes in the vertical direction. \$\endgroup\$
    – pjc50
    Dec 4, 2015 at 10:22
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    \$\begingroup\$ Yes, think if you go on the Moon the signal will be lost, but I am not 100% sure on that. \$\endgroup\$ Dec 4, 2015 at 10:56
  • \$\begingroup\$ "Does GSM just stops working after reaching certain height?" Nope, if you were in deep space and there would be a basestation within range the connection would work. GSM uses radiowaves and there generally don't care about altitudes. Lucky for NASA otherwise they would not be able to communicate with a probe on Mars for example. \$\endgroup\$ Dec 4, 2015 at 13:28
  • \$\begingroup\$ @FakeMoustache Base station antennas are not designed to serve clients on high altitudes, they radiate in horizontal direction around. While it doesn't mean GSM use in the skies is impossible, it has it's implications that should be taken into consideration. \$\endgroup\$
    – olegst
    Apr 26, 2017 at 12:33

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I often have cell service at 25,000 feet. I have also launched a weather balloon with a GSM tracker and depending on your antenna, you could have service as high as 30k-40k feet. Maybe much higher depending on many variables such as humidity, antenna shape and type, cell tower position and power, local transceiver power, and your circuitry that interprets the signal. I would say 30,000 feet is very doable based on my experiences.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Please could you tell a bit more about your rig? I'm very curious as I'm thinking on doing a similar thing. \$\endgroup\$
    – olegst
    Apr 26, 2017 at 11:37

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