Qwiic Iridium 9603N

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. Paul has also adapted the Iridium SBD library for I2C. For now, we don’t have the licensing to sell this board along with the modem. So you need to buy a RockBLOCK 9603 to get the Iridium modem and 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.

NOTE: The I2C address of the 9603N is 0x62 and is hardware defined. A multiplexer/Mux is required to communicate to multiple 9603N sensors on a single bus. If you need to use more than one 9603N sensor consider using the Qwiic Mux Breakout.

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.


Looking for answers to technical questions?

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  • Member #487541 / about 4 years ago / 1

    Is there any way to still order this product? PLEASE?

    I have an Iridium 9603N from the Artemis Global Tracker. I'm having trouble with the power management on the Global Tracker, and this would be exactly the right way to work around those problems. I'd love to just order the board and not pay for ANOTHER Iridium module.

  • adam.g / about 4 years ago / 1

    Really happy to see Paul Clark's design manufactured as a SparkX product! I picked up a couple of these guys and have really enjoyed working with them. Complete control over power and communications using only a Qwiic cable. No more Molex connectors to worry about. When placed in low power mode, the Qwiic Iridium 9603N only draws 1 uA (0.001 mA)!

    Also, a quick note to potential users that you can purchase an Iridium 9603N directly from Rock Seven for $135 USD instead of having to pay $249 USD for a RockBLOCK 9603 only to cannibalize the transceiver.


    Cheers, Adam

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