Recent Changes - Search:

Past operations & data

Scientific equipment

Communications / Navigation / Tracking


Ship contact info

VHF Radio Call Sign:
Iridium phone cockpit:
00 - 88 1677 72 7018
Iridium spare 1:
00 - 88 1621 41 8079
Iridium spare 2:
00 - 88 1621 44 3804
Emergency Beacon:
ID: ADE90 05931 C34D
Handheld Emergency Beacon:
ID: LC 4652
Hovercraft registered in Delaware, US:
DL 1519 AB


edit SideBar

Last update: June 26, 2020, at 08:55 PM
Version: pmwiki-2.2.145



This brief report documents evaluation of the NAL Research Mod. 9601-DGS-LP Iridium/GPS Tracking device.

Figures and information from NAL Research General Description of Model 9601-DGS-LP - Technical Note

The NAL mod. 9601-DGS-LP tracking device.

Firmware version

Firmware version is 1.2.2.

Antenna, dual Iridium + GPS

  • NAL Research mod. SAF7352-IG


Manufacturer recommends the following documentation reading order. They are available from manufacturers ftp server.

  1. Getting Started with Model 9601-DGS-LP (TN2008-850-V1.0)
  2. General Description of Model 9601-DGS-LP (TN2008-849-V1.1.1)
  3. AT Commands for Model 9601-DGS-LP (TN2008-851-V1.1.1)
  4. SatTerm Software Manual (TN2008-852-V5.1)
  5. Utility Software for Trackers Manual (TN2008-853-V.6.1)
  6. Server for Trackers Manual (TN2008-854-V.6.1)

We currently use the tracker in stand-alone, automatic mode (we do not feed it with custom information through the units RS232 interface), so item 3 can be skipped for now. As we receive SBD telegrams as emails, the last two items can also be omitted.


We have ordered a SBD (Short Burst Data) service for the 9601-DGS-LP. Each SBD telegram will be forwarded as email to mail accounts we specify.

It is a fixed-cost plan under these terms:

  • Monthly fee: USD 16 per IMEI number and first 12,000 bytes are free
  • Minimum billable message size: 10 bytes
  • After 12,000 bytes: USD 0.0015 per byte
  • Mail box check: USD 0.02/message
  • Activation fee: USD 40
  • Monthly fee while IMEI is suspended: USD 16
  • No setup fee for e-mail

We have to clarify what is meant by "Mail box check: $0.02/message" as we do not POP (read) emails from an Iridium mailserver - instead emails are sent to accounts we specify. They probably mean cost per email sent.

Each SBD message - sending Latitude, Longitude and CEP (Circular Error Probability) radius - will use approx. 25 bytes, like this example shows:

60.364306 005.299438 4

Cost of hourly report

Assuming we send 25 bytes per SBD telegram, hourly position report will will amount to:

25bytes/message * 24messages/day * 30days = 18,000 bytes per month

Subtracting 12,000 free bytes cost will be:

6,000 bytes * USD 0.0015 per byte = USD 9 per month, in addition to USD 16 fixed cost, in total USD 25/month

Cost of report every 30 minute

Recalculating for report every 30 minutes yields:

"Byte cost" USD 36. Adding fixed cost USD 16 gives USD 52/month


Interface is through a Hirose 12-pin connector model HR30-7R-12P with corresponding mating connector model HR30-7P-12S.

Hirose HR30-7P-12S cable connector
Hirose HR30-7P-12S cable connector.

Pin-out is as follows:

Pin-out on multi-interface connector, mod. 9601-DGS-LP

The cable connector has this pin numbering - viewed from the wiring side:

Pin numbering, seen from wiring side, of cable connector Hirose HR30-7P-12SC.

Interface cable:

   Pin 1  --  RED     --  EXT_PWR     --  External power input (+2.7VDC to +5.5VDC)
   Pin 2  --  BLACK   --  EXT_GND     --  External power input (GND)
   Pin 3  --  YELLOW  --  Tx          --  RS232 Tx (data to mod. 9601-DGS-LP) 
   Pin 4  --  BLUE    --  Rx          --  RS232 Rx (data from mod. 9601-DGS-LP)
   Pin 5  --  GREEN   --  Signal_GND  --  Signal Ground, 0V signal reference and return
   Pin 6  --  WHITE   --  EMERGENCY   --  Operates under Emergency mode when pulled to GND



    Main Input Voltage Range: +2.7VDC to +5.5VDC
    Main Input Voltage Nominal: +4.0VDC
    Main Input Voltage Ripple: 40mV peak-to-peak
    Peak Current: 1.5A @ 4.0VDC
    Power consumption during standby: Less than 20 uA
    Power Input Type: External DC power or internal battery

Quoting from p. 2 of Getting Started with Model 9601-DGS-LP (TN2008-850-V1.0):

... input ranging from 2.7VDC and 5.5VDC to the Hirose connector via pins 1 (+) and 2 (GND). The cable should be kept as short as possible to prevent significant voltage drop, which can cause the 9601-DGS-LP to malfunction during an SBD session. Power reset by the 9601-DGS-LP during an SBD transmission is an indicative of the DC power source unable to sustain voltage above 2.7VDC at peak current demand.

We used a thin multiconductor cable for the Hirose multi-interface connector; each conductor wire was 0.055 mm2.
1.7 meter of this cable caused the unit to reset during SBD transmission attempts.
After reducing the power supply wire lengths to 20 cm the power supply resets disappeared.


12 Vdc is available on the hovercraft. Nominal supply for the NAL Iridium tracker is 4.0 Vdc. So we need a voltage regulator that satisfies the stringent requirements of the tracker.

We first made a LM317 type linear regulator, but were still plagued by power reset when the Iridium transmitted started to send SBD telegrams. So we decided to purchase the DC/DC-converter that NAL Research manufacturers - Model SYN-DC-936UK.

NAL Research Model SYN-DC-936UK DC/DC converter
NAL Research Model SYN-DC-936UK DC/DC converter.

Input Connector

  • Type: Male 9-Pin D-SUB
  • Mating connector: Female 9-pin D-SUB

Output Connector

  • Type: Hirose HR30-6R-6P
  • Mating cable connector

[Note - there seems to be a mismatch between power supply requirements of the tracker, in particular maximum input voltage ripple allowed (40 mV peak-to-peak {no bandwidth specified}), and corresponding specification of the DC/DC converter (ref output specifications p.2 in General Description, noise {bandwidth: 0.01 - 1 MHz} 100 mV peak-to-peak, and {bandwidth: 0 - 20 MHz} 150 mV peak-to-peak.]

Cable assemblies

The Hirose connecters are miniature. It was very difficult to solder wires of a multi-conductor cable. Instead, we used individual 0.22 mm2 wires and inserted them into outer sheathing (grey on image). Also used 1.5/0.5 heat-shrink tubing over solder terminals.

On 9-pin D-sub (solder type) we used a sturdy metal shell (supplier ELFA P/N: 44-110-13). Car-12Vdc connector supplier: Farnell, P/N: 658364.


Using the SatTerm software provided by the manufacturer, the unit is configured from this window:

18 August 2009: Configuration of Mod. 9601-DGS-LP using SatTerm program.
18 August 2009: Configuration of Mod. 9601-DGS-LP using manufacturer's SatTerm program.

Dump of SBD session:

AT+SBDWT=Test 18 aug 2009

+SBDIX: 18, 7, 2, 0, 0, 0


+SBDIX: 0, 7, 0, 0, 0, 0

AT+SBDWT=Test #2 18 Aug 2009

+SBDIX: 32, 8, 2, 0, 0, 0


AT+SBDWT=Test #3 18 Aug 2009

+SBDIX: 0, 8, 0, 0, 0, 0



    Antennas: SYN7391 Series, SAF2040 Series, SAF5340 Series, SAF5350 Series, SAF7352-IG and SAF5270-G
    AC Power Adapter: LA-3098 (100 - 240VAC, 47 - 60Hz input)
    Car Adapter: LA-7021 (12VDC car battery input)
    DC-DC Converter: SYN-DC-936UK (9 - 36VDC input)
    Power Cable: HRC-24-9, HRC-24-9A, HRC-24-10 and HRC-24-10A
    Battery Pack: SYN-LI-2AH, SYN-nLI-2AH
Edit - History - Print - Recent Changes - Search
Page last modified on October 24, 2011, at 09:20 AM
Department of Earth Science
University of Bergen