Base Block Iridium is used to control the icebreaker

Specialists have developed a monitoring system for the icebreaker. The solution works on the basis of the Galileosky device with the Iridium satellite communication module and can transmit data about the object from anywhere in the world.

Project background

The maritime market for the small fleet experiences a great demand of satellite trackers and beacons, which allow to control equipment anywhere in the world. At the same time, a device with an affordable price and a sufficient volume of monthly traffic must comply with the rules for transferring data in border zones to border authorities.

And the most important quality for such systems is reliability, a guarantee of stable monitoring with a minimum number of gaps. Moreover, potential customers need to transmit accurate data regardless of the distance from the coast and the coastal infrastructure.

Another fact that must be taken into account when choosing a solution is that a small boat often does not have an on-board network. Therefore, an autonomous device is required. It should support the dual power function. This means that it should be able to operate both from the ship's network and from built-in batteries.

In addition, space for radio equipment is limited on small boats. In this case, small-sized devices based on the Iridium satellite communication system, or rather, based on the Iridium SBD and Iridium LBS services, are ideal. The advantage of the selected short message services is their fault tolerance. The standard message size of 340 bytes for the Iridium SBD 9602 modem is sufficient not only for transmitting positional information, but also for two-way exchange of short messages.


  • Monitor the position, route and speed of the vessel
  • Monitor the frequency of reports transmission
  • Mark the time of passing checkpoints


Experts the integrator company together with Galileosky implemented a solution called Galileosky Base Block Iridium Marine Kit. Due to the fact that in winter small boats are disabled, the system has been successfully tested for two months in the harshest conditions in the Arctic on the icebreaking vessel Monchegorsk. The solution perfectly suites for monitoring small vessels and meets all industry requirements. This is how it is implemented.

In the basic configuration, the Galileosky Base Block Iridium device has an IP54 enclosure protection degree, comes with three external antennas and a 3m cable. Specialists of the integrator company have adapted the equipment for use in extreme conditions. They created a system where the device is located in a hermetic box with a degree of protection IP 67, and is connected with a cable to the control unit. The block is presented in two versions: as a box with a button, or a box with a button and a three-position key. The key position corresponds to the statuses: 1 - the equipment is turned off, 2 - the equipment operates from the on-board network and internal batteries, 3 - from internal batteries only.

In both versions, the control unit is equipped with a 2 A fuse, a momentary button with illumination, an onboard power input of 9-39V DC and an output to the device. The cable length from the device to the control unit is up to 30 m, which makes it possible to install a hermetic box with a device on the deck, and a unit with a button on the captain's cabin or in any other place.

The control unit has a USB output for connecting a computer and controlling the tracker through the Configurator program. This is a program that allows to configure, diagnose and make changes to the GPS device performance.

The integrator has created an algorithm for the monitoring system using the Easy Logic technology. Here's how it works:

1. The control unit constantly automatically diagnoses the status of the tracker. If there is no indication on the control unit, then the device is turned off. If the indicator blinks at a frequency of 1 time per second, then there is no GPS signal or no Iridium signal, blinking indicates either the setup process or an error. It takes 1 minute to set up, but it is important to remember that the unit must be placed outdoors with open visibility of the sky. For stable operation of the equipment, ¼ hemisphere of the open sky is sufficient.

2. By pressing the button for more than 3 seconds, you can send an extraordinary message via the GSM and Iridium SBD channel. If sending is successful, the indicator in the button will blink twice. The device is currently operating online, i.e. location reports are transmitted immediately with minimal delays.

3.If there are three unsuccessful transmission attempts within 10 minutes, the position report will not be captured. In the near future, the integrator specialists will add the function of transferring deferred reports.

It is recommended to install the tracking device on board of the vessel on a special stainless steel mount, which is fastened with clamps to a horizontal or vertical pipe.


Base Block Iridium

Data transmission via Iridium satellite communication with 100% worldwide coverage.


The monitoring system in northern latitudes allowed the owners of the icebreaker to keep track of the location, speed and course. The high degree of equipment protection, the ability to install the control unit in a place convenient for the crew, and stable operation in the harshest conditions tells of the reliability of the solution based on the Galileosky tracker.

The percentage of missed reports was 0.5% (23 reports out of 4237 were lost). The monitoring stability of the Galileosky Base Block Iridium Marine Kit is close to 100%, the equipment operated at temperatures of -39 C, when other standard equipment failed. The declared range of -45 C ... +85 of Galileosky equipment operation has passed one more test in extreme conditions.

In two months, the vessel made 6 voyages.

The cost of monitoring per month for the transmission of reports every 20 minutes was: 31 days * 72 reports per day * 13 bytes (the length of one report) = 29016 bytes, which fits into the standard SBD-30 tariff plan, like equipment from other manufacturers. The position report contains coordinates, course, speed and time stamp and is 13 bytes long.

Now the integrator company specialists control the device remotely, via the GSM channel at special telematic rates of 150 2$ / month. This slightly increases the cost of monitoring, but allows to diagnose, maintain and update the device software remotely. As CEO at the integrator company notes, the possibility of remote control in the modern world is an incomparable advantage.

You can use similar solutions in your projects. The potential of the devices is great; they are used anywhere on Earth. Galileosky devices control water transport, sports cars, seismic all-terrain vehicles and even weather stations.

Would you like to tell about your own interesting project? Send us your story and we will share it with the professional commun.

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