GOES, for all it’s no-cost, reliable virtues, has some drawbacks. First, it’s a one-way transmission—there’s no way of sending any data to your station. This means there’s no way to reprogram a data logger or reboot a stuck data logger or purge a bubbler without (an unplanned) visit to the site. The Stevens SatCom GOES transmitter provides built in capability of supporting dual telemetry.
Secondly, data is sent on a regular, but infrequent and non-adjustable schedule—once an hour (only). What if you want to get a measurement right now? What if you need 5-minute updates temporarily while the storm is happening?
GOES also lets you send only small amounts of data. This is fine for most situations, but won’t allow sending photos—wouldn’t it be great to be able to see a photo of a site to confirm that your battery is no longer charging because the solar panel is disconnected or covered? Or get a visual confirmation of the river level that your sensors are are saying is abnormally high? Finally, and this is not a drawback of GOES itself, but a drawback of only having GOES—when GOES stops “GOing” due to an issue somewhere at the down the line or because of the transmitter or the datalogger, your data won’t arrive. It may only be delayed and not lost for good, but if you count on having that data in a timely manner, GOES can fail you.
The answer? Add a secondary, 2-way telemetry method to your existing or new GOES stations, either cellular, landline, or satellite-based (Inmarsat, Orbcomm, Iridium, etc.)
Is this difficult to do? Not if your GOES transmitter is a Stevens SatComm! It has a built-in RS-232 port for connecting a secondary telemetry option. It’s compatible with virtually every modem and data logger, so if you’re happy with GOES as a main communications method but would like the freedom to break free of the its limitations, Stevens SatComm is your solution.