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Qwiic Iridium 9603N

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With a clear view of the sky, the Qwiic Iridium 9603 allows you to send and receive short messages. It works anywhere in the world, far beyond the reach of WiFi and GSM networks. Maybe you want to transmit weather information from a weather station on top of a mountain? Or use it to send data from a travelling balloon sat? Perhaps you need to communicate in an emergency, when other networks might not be available?

At the heart of our product is an Iridium 9603 modem. The Qwiic module hosts the 9603 and provides it with an antenna, and its power supply requirements. The modem’s serial interface is translated into I2C commands by the ATtiny841 microcontroller.

Sending and receiving messages to the Iridium network is as easy as sending I2C commands from your RedBoard over a Qwiic connector. The Arduino library walks you through sending messages to the Iridium network using your Qwiic Iridium 9603. An online portal allows you to send messages from the Iridium satellite network to your modem. The Qwiic Iridium was designed by Paul Clark who wanted to be able to use the 9603N Short Burst Data modem on Qwiic projects.

We learned a lot from version 1. This version is much improved with a variety of DFM changes including a reinforced and glued connector. The modem is now included, comes pre-installed and ready to transmit! We recommend adding the Maxtena Iridium antenna for a full transceiver system.

Note: The Iridium modem does require a monthly rental service to exchange information with the Iridium satellite network. You only pay for months in which you wish to use the modem. No annual contract is required. Line rental costs £12GBP (about $15USD) per month and includes access to the RockBLOCK management system for managing your devices. The billing system is built-in, and allows you to pay for only what you use. Airtime for Iridium modems must be purchased from Rock Seven via the admin portal once the units are registered. You cannot use the devices with another Iridium airtime provider by default. If you would like to use it with another provider, you will need to pay an unlock fee of $60USD per modem.

Experimental Product: SparkX products are rapidly produced to bring you the most cutting edge technology as it becomes available. These products are tested but come with no guarantees. Live technical support is not available for SparkX products. Head on over to our forum for support or to ask a question.

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  • "Perhaps you need to communicate in an emergency, when other networks might not be available?"

    Will the payment/rental billing system still function if other networks aren't available? Seems like that's what "built-in" should mean, but I'm curious about this use case.

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