RockBLOCK Mk2 is built around the Iridium 9602 satellite modem. It comes with an antenna and a 2.54mm header for power and data connections. The header also features an FTDI-compatible serial interface, which can be connected directly to almost any microcontroller. Powering the RockBLOCK is simple, requiring a 5V supply that can provide 470mA during startup and 100mA continuously. Sleep mode can reduce this to just 20uA. Alternatively, a 3.7V Lipo battery that can supply up to 1500mA can be used to power the RockBLOCK.
What sets RockBLOCK apart is its truly global coverage. Unlike other networks, Iridium allows transmission of information from any point on Earth, including the polar regions. With 66 satellites orbiting the Earth, Iridium ensures coverage 24/7. Messages sent via Iridium reach you in just seconds, either via email or directly to your web service.
However, airtime for Rockblock units must be purchased from Rock Seven via the admin portal once the units are registered. The use of devices with another Iridium airtime provider is not permitted by default. If you wish to use it with another provider, an unlock fee of $60USD per modem is required.
Please note that RockBLOCK requires a monthly rental service to exchange information with the Iridium satellite network. You only pay for the months in which you wish to use the RockBLOCK. No annual contract is required. The rental costs £12GBP per month and includes access to the Cloudloop management system for managing your devices.
Key features of the RockBLOCK Mk2 include plug-and-play satellite communication, full 2-way communication system, integrated antenna and power conditioning, truly global operation using the Iridium satellite network, and data arrival via email or directly to your web service.
For more information and guidance on how to use the RockBLOCK Mk2, refer to the Datasheet, the RockBLOCK Documentation Page, the Makersnake Tutorial, and the AT Command Reference. You can also check out the Cloudloop, FTDI Drivers, Node.js Library, and IridiumSBD I2C Arduino Library links provided.