Global tracking and communication
The handheld unit is waterproof, ruggedised, and built to withstand the most challenging environments. It’s an ideal safety device for adventurers, field workers, science expeditions, remote racing events, and anyone travelling outside mobile phone range frequently, or for an extended period of time.
The tracker will wake up on a regular basis, obtain a position using the GPS satellite network, and then transmit that position back to Ground Control HQ in seconds using the Iridium satellite network. The message is relayed to us from Iridium and then we visualise the positions on an easy-to-use web-based viewer.
The RockSTAR also allows short messages (like SMS, social media updates, and short emails) to be sent using a paired Bluetooth device, such as a smartphone, and the Messenger app. This allows for full two-way communication wherever you are, even when out of mobile network range.
Ideal for multiple users
Whether you have one device or 1,000 devices, with Ground Control’s ‘CORE’ web-based platform, managing them is easy. You can sub-divide devices into groups to suit your needs, and set up multiple users with different permissions. For instance, some staff could be set up to simply ‘view’ positions, whereas others could be given permissions to send commands and configure devices in the field.
- Track all of your field workers’ position from a single screen
- Set up and track against waypoints
- Monitor alerts from devices
- Set up geo-fences to provide early warning if a device has gone inside / outside a certain area
- Add line rental and credits to your devices
- Web-based, for access anywhere
- Full support from experienced staff.
- 5-button keypad plus specific ‘alert’ button
- Bright OLED screen for information display
- Full two-way communication system
- Over-the-air reconfiguration of key parameters
- USB connection for charging and for data transfer
- Truly global operation using the Iridium satellite network
- Long battery life (over 2500 transmissions on a single charge)
- Bluetooth LE for advanced messaging (requires Bluetooth LE-compatible phone/tablet)
- Powered By: Internal battery, rechargeable via USB
- Battery Life: Up to three weeks transmitting every 15 mins, up to three months transmitting once per hour, up to 12 months transmitting once per day
- Tracking Options: Various tracking options from every five seconds to 12 hours
- Alert Options: Red button alert, timer alert, dead man’s switch, Temperature (high/low) alert, External power loss
- Transmits Using: Iridium
- Size: 144 x 76 x 36mm (plus antenna)
- Weight: 303 grams
- Waterproofing: IP-67 (submersion up to 1m for 30 mins)
- Other Certifications: FCC and CE MIL-810 F/G (ruggedness)
- Ideal For: Handheld use, personnel etc. Temporary vehicle/yacht mounting using Soft Pouch, Permanent vehicle/yacht mounting using Quick Release Mount
Ground Control offers Iridium SBD airtime both as a prepaid tariff, and as an annual contract for companies planning a larger deployment of devices. Full pricing plans can be found on our Short Burst Data Pricing page.
If you choose our prepaid, or pay as you go option, line rental is paid in blocks of 1 month, and allows the RockSTAR to exchange information with the Iridium satellite network. You only pay for months in which you wish to use the RockSTAR. No annual contract is required. Line rental costs £18.00 per month.
Credits are used each time you transmit. 1 credit is used per 50 bytes (or part thereof) of message sent or received. 1 credit is also used if you check your mailbox and there are no messages waiting (A mailbox check). Credits do not expire, even if you are paying no line rental. Credits are shared/pooled between all of the devices on your account
Please note, while our pay-as-you-go tariffs offer great flexibility for development purposes, we know they are not suitable for everyone. If you are planning a large deployment of devices and are willing to commit to airtime contracts of 12 months or more, please get in touch. We have access to various tariffs which may suit you better.
*For full details of our Short Burst Data service plans, including annual contracts, please visit our SBD pricing page.
With each RockSTAR unit you will receive:
- The RockSTAR unit
- A USB charger
- A 0.3m USB cable
- A Quick Start Card.
Frequently Asked Questions
RockSTAR uses the Iridium satellite network. Specifically, it uses an Iridium service called ‘short burst data’ (SBD). You can see the SBD service plans here. At the heart of RockSTAR is an Iridium 9602 modem.
Yes, you can use the device to send/receive short messages – either using the device itself, with preset messages, or by linking with an iPhone/iPad/Android device to send custom messages
Messages sent from the device itself are always sent to the group of people you nominate in the management system – i.e. any message will be sent to all configured responders; you can’t choose a specific person.
Messages sent via the Bluetooth link (using the Messenger app) can be sent to any destination, via either email address or cell/mobile phone number
In all cases, people can reply to those messages, via e-mail or SMS, and the messages will come back to either the device or the Messenger app respectively.
As with all satellite-based devices, the better view of the sky the unit has, the better it will perform.
RockSTAR units use two sets of satellites: GPS satellites in order to get a position fix, and Iridium satellites to transmit that position back to base. The GPS signal is weaker than the Iridium signal.
Typically, if the RockSTAR is near to a window inside then it may be able to obtain a GPS fix and transmit, although it will take longer than normal, and will therefore use more battery power.
If the unit is deep inside a building then it’s unlikely to get a fix or transmit very well, and will therefore use up a lot of battery quite quickly. However, we have had devices transmit successfully from inside caves, fridges, under the seats of cars, and so on – so it is possible, just not guaranteed, and not as reliable as usual.
As a rule, the better view of the sky you can provide for the RockSTAR, the better it will perform and the longer the battery will last.
Lithium Ion batteries should not be kept permanently at 100%, and so when the RockSTAR is fully charged, a battery protection circuit will start working, and will allow the battery to run down to 95% and then top it up again.
If you have the unit on charge for a long period, you may find it is showing something like 96% rather than 100%. Do not worry about this, it is perfectly normal, and it is the battery protection system doing a good job.
The RockSTAR has a huge battery capacity, so you should not worry about a few % difference. It is better that the battery will last for many years of service, and so this system protects against this.
Updating your firmware is a relatively simple process. If you have a Mk3 tracker (sold from October 2014 onwards) then you can do this via the YB Connect app. Go to Advanced, Firmware Update, and follow the instructions to ensure you have the latest firmware.
If you have a Mk2 tracker or earlier (bought before October 2014) then please email us for instructions.
Unless advised otherwise, please don’t do this when you are in mid-expedition, or just about to get on a plane to Peru… as with all firmware update processes, there is a very very minor risk that the process will fail.
RockSTAR units and YB units are both manufactured by Ground Control, and they are identical in terms of hardware.
The difference is in the CORE management system access, which you get as part of the RockSTAR package, and which makes it ideal for multiple users.
Some ways RockSTAR units are used
Hyper-accurate tracking and messaging for snowmobile clubs
Snowmobiling is one of Canada’s favourite winter pastimes, and grooming the trails is essential. Here’s how volunteers are accurately tracked, and compensated, for their efforts.
RockSTAR Provides Vital Tracking Telemetry for Soldiers and Ultra Runners
How JCSys customised the RockSTAR to provide end-to-end, real-time, global tracking capabilities for our Armed Forces & ultra-marathon events.
Aviation Trackers for Search and Rescue
Aviation is considered one of the safest methods of travel, but with technical or human error, mistakes and accidents can still happen, leaving pilots and passengers in need of rescue.
Horticultural – Faraway Fieldwork
Various horticultural organisations have approached us over the last few years to provide remote worker tracking for their field workers.
Remote Worker Security: Journalism
Journalists travel to dangerous areas, with both known and unknown dangers. You can’t rely on communication facilities on the ground such as mobile phone (GSM) networks as these can be easily turned off by authorities with little or no notice.
Promoting Marine Security
We provide RockSTAR units to a large number of marine security and anti-piracy firms worldwide. They provide accurate tracking, allowing the position of your teams/vessels to be monitored while in transit. They also give a secure and private means of communication for onboard team leaders.
RockSTAR Used in Iridium Certus Demo
British search and rescue charity SARAID hosted an immersive, natural disaster search and rescue live demonstration day in association with Wireless Innovation and Iridium.
RockSTAR supporting catching of poachers
In the Irkutsk region of Russia (Lake Baikal), there are a lot of national parks and reserves. These are very remote and difficult-to-reach locations where hunting is usually prohibited – but there are a lot of poachers. There are no mobile phone masts or means of terrestrial communication.
How RockSTARs are being used to keep remote personnel safe
Ground Control’s handheld, rugged satellite device is helping keep remote personnel safer with truly global tracking and two-way communications. The device has literally saved two lives – learn more.
Want to know more?
Simply complete the form or reach out to us via phone or email to find out whether the RockSTAR is the right fit for your organisation. With our 20 years of expertise, we'll guide you in making the optimal choices for your critical communication requirements.