ARGOS Satellite Transceiver Shield - ARTIC R2

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Is your project linked to environmental protection, awareness or study, or to protecting human life? Perhaps you are developing a wildlife tracker, ocean buoy, environmental monitoring system or need to transfer emergency medical information? Do you need to be able to transmit and receive data anywhere? If so, this is the product for you! Our ARGOS Satellite Transceiver Shield allows you to send and receive short bursts of data via the ARGOS satellite network, anywhere on Earth including the Polar regions.

The ARGOS system has been around for quite a while. It was created in 1978 by the French Space Agency (CNES), the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), originally as a scientific tool for collecting and relaying meteorological and oceanographic data around the world. Today, ARGOS is revolutionising satellite communication, adding a constellation of 25 nanosatellites to complement the 7 traditional satellites carrying ARGOS instrumentation. The first of these, ANGELS, is already in operation and SparkFun were among the first users to transmit data to ANGELS in October 2020. When the constellation is complete, there will be a maximum of 10-15 minutes between satellite passes.

Our transceiver shield has been tested and certified by Kinéis for ARGOS 2, 3 and 4 communication. Compared to other satellite communication systems, our shield has a much lower current draw and will work with a very simple, very lightweight quarter-wave wire antenna. The ARTIC R2 chipset on our shield operates from 3.3V and the on-board flash memory enables fast boot times. If you don’t need the full transmit power, or want to conserve your battery life, you can transmit at reduced power too thanks to the opto-isolated gain pin. Our shield is designed to be used with our SparkFun Thing Plus - Artemis but will work with any of our Thing Plus boards. Want to solder on header pins so you can attach hook-up wires or plug it into a breadboard? You can do that too. The interface is 3.3V SPI and will work with a huge range of microcontrollers.

Our Arduino Library makes it really easy to get up and running with ARGOS. We’ve provided a full set of examples which will let you: configure the ARTIC R2 chipset; predict the next satellite pass; receive allcast and individually-coded messages; transmit messages using ARGOS 2, 3 and 4 encoding.

Incorrect Platform ID: We learned recently that some ARTIC R2 boards had been incorrectly programmed with the wrong Platform ID. Each board has two IDs: a decimal one which you use to access your data on ArgosWeb; and a hexadecimal one which is embedded in each satellite uplink message. These boards had been incorrectly programmed with the decimal ID instead of the hexadecimal one. You can tell if your board is affected by calling readPlatformID(). If the true hexadecimal ID is returned, all is well. If the value is the decimal ID - expressed in hexadecimal - then your board requires reprogramming as your messages will not be delivered. Please return your board. We will reprogram it and return it to you quickly. If your project is time-critical, please contact us via the SparkX forum and we will provide a software work-around. We apologise for the error and the inconvenience.

The ARGOS satellite system is currently restricted to specific programs and applications. Please check that your project meets these requirements before buying hardware. CLS (France) and the Woods Hole Group (America) will be able to advise if your project meets the requirements. "To meet system use requirements, all programs using Argos have to be related in some way or other to environmental protection, awareness or study, or to protecting human life." Please see our ARGOS ARTIC R2 Communication Guide for more details.

Thanks! The ARTIC R2 circuit is a remix of the reference design kindly provided by the Arribada Initiative and Icoteq Ltd.

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.
  • ARTIC-R2 Chipset
    • Serial interface (SPI) for communication with MCU
    • Programmable DSP core on board to ensure flexibility
    • RX frequency : 466MHz
    • TX frequency: 400MHz
    • Fractional N frequency synthesis
    • Supported TX standards:
    • QPSK: PTT-A3, PTT-ZE (ARGOS 3)
    • Supported RX standards:
    • BPSK: PMT-A3 (ARGOS 3)
    • DSSS OQPSK: PMT-A4 (ARGOS 4) not available
    • Supports COSPAS-SARSAT standard
  • RFPA0133 Power Amplifier
    • Boosts the 0dBm (1mW) output from the ARTIC by up to 26dB
    • Typical maximum transmit power level: 400mW
    • Programmable gain via the G8 breakout pin
  • TCXO
    • 26MHz temperature-compensated crystal oscillator for maximum stability
  • SST25VF020B Flash memory
    • Stores the ARTIC firmware, allowing fast boot times
  • Power requirements:
    • VUSB: typically 5VDC. 6.5VDC maximum.
    • VBATT: typically 3.6 - 4.2VDC. 6.5VDC maximum.
    • Typical VUSB current draw:
    • Sleep: 51µA
    • Idle: 7.2mA
    • Receive: 32.8mA
    • Transmit (G8 pin high): 220mA
    • Transmit (G8 pin low): 170mA
  • Weight: 3g (0.1oz)

ARGOS Satellite Transceiver Shield - ARTIC R2 Product Help and Resources

ARGOS (ARTIC R2) Satellite Communication Guide

November 18, 2021

A guide describing the ARGOS satellite network - as used by our ARTIC R2 satellite communication products

ARGOS ARTIC R2 Satellite Transceiver Shield Hookup Guide

November 18, 2021

A hookup guide for the ARGOS Satellite Transceiver Shield - ARTIC R2 (SPX-17236)


Looking for answers to technical questions?

We welcome your comments and suggestions below. However, if you are looking for solutions to technical questions please see our Technical Assistance page.

  • Member #619100 / about 3 years ago / 1

    Hi, I need some informations about this item. I'm already an argos user since 1987, so I have some ARGOS ID of the old type (= 20 bits ID). Is this item compatible with that kind of ID or it runs only with the new 28 bits ones? thank you

  • Member #1531765 / about 3 years ago / 1

    Hi Sparkfun, I recently bought this and the ESP32 board to test satellite comms. I'm having trouble getting any examples from the 'Sparkfun ARGOS Artic R2' to run. I've narrowed down the issue to the line '#include "SparkFun_ARGOS_ARTIC_R2_Arduino_Library.h".' There seems to be an issue when trying to incorporate the library and I can't figure out what it is. I appreciate any help. Thank you.

    • Member #767295 / about 3 years ago * / 2

      Hi there, Can you please post this on the SparkX forum? Let's discuss it over there, the product page is not the right place for tech support issues. Thanks! Paul

      • Member #767295 / about 3 years ago / 2

        Just for info - there was an issue when compiling the library for the ESP32. This should be resolved in version 1.0.7 of the library - released today. Please give it a try! Paul

        • Member #1531765 / about 3 years ago / 1

          Thanks! I'll try it out, and i'll post this to the forum if I need more help.

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