Is That An Earth Station In Your Pocket?

FOR GLOBE-TROTTING EXECS, it'll soon be easier to stay in touch--even from the Sahara. This summer, Mobile Satellite Products Corp. in Hauppauge, N.Y., will unveil the Mini-Lynxx. The "anywhere" phone crams a satellite-communications earth station into a package little bigger than a laptop PC. At 10 pounds and 12 x 10 x 3 inches, it's half the heft of competing phones, MobileSat claims.

The $13,000 Mini-Lynxx stems from a collaboration between MobileSat and Israel's Rafael Development Corp., a government-industry venture formed to spin off defense secrets. Rafael adapted previously classified military antenna technology that can pick up extremely faint signals. As a result, the foldout antenna has shrunk to only two panels, each slightly larger than a sheet of stationery. Rafael is working on a much smaller pole-type antenna that will make possible satellite phones the size of today's cellular models.