The RockBLOCK 9603 allows you to send and receive short messages from anywhere on Earth with a clear view of the sky. It works far beyond the reach of WiFi and GSM networks. Maybe you want to transmit weather information from mid-ocean? Or use it to control your robot in the middle of the desert? Perhaps you need to communicate in an emergency, when other networks might not be available? RockBLOCK can help.
RockBLOCK 9603 is the smaller version of the standard RockBLOCK Mk2. It has the same capabilities, but is specifically designed to be as small and light as possible. The RockBLOCK 9603 is targeted primarily at systems integrators and product developers, where space inside your enclosure is at a premium.
It has a small form factor Molex connector to link the serial, power and signaling lines to your controller. This may be marginally harder to use for hobbyists than the 0.1" dot pitch header used on the standard RockBLOCK product.
At the heart of RockBLOCK 9603 is an Iridium 9603 modem. The RockBLOCK hosts the 9603 and provides it with an antenna and power supply requirements. It exposes the modem’s serial interface via a breakout connector over serial, and offers an SMA connector for external antenna usage. Please be aware that even though the RockBLOCK 9603 is a fantastic SatComm module, it isn’t a GPS device. You will need to use your own GPS if you need accurate positioning data.
Note: The RockBLOCK 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 RockBLOCK. No annual contract is required. Line rental costs £10GBP (about $13USD) 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.