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Sep 14

Truth Be Told About Alpha

Q1: Why buying Alpha single frequency RTK receiver? 

A1: It offers a least cost approach of getting RTK related jobs done. 10 years ago, back in the days of ProMark 3 RTK / 100 / 120, EPOCH 10 …etc., surveyors used single frequency RTK receivers. Alpha offers similar L1 RTK technology with improved performance using dual satellite constellation of GPS/GLONASS or GPS/Beidou at very affordable price. In addition, Alpha UPM-Std Kit comes with a very good quality L1/L2 survey antenna, providing a cost-saving migration to L1/L2 RTK when the low-cost L1/L2 RTK receivers are introduced in the near future. 

Q2: What's limitation of using Alpha?

A2: Alpha, being a L1 RTK receiver, offers (1) 1cm + 1ppm accuracy at < 10Km baseline under open sky noise free environment, (2) typical 15sec ~ 60sec RTK initialization time for Asian customers, (3) typical 30sec ~ 3 minutes RTK initialization for non-Asian customers. It cannot compete with L1/L2 or L1/L2/L5 RTK receivers currently priced at thousands of dollars that offer (1) 1cm + 1ppm accuracy at < 40Km baseline, (2) typical RTK initialization time < 10sec, (3) operation under more harsh signal environment such as L1 jammer interference, urban canyon, under foliage …etc.

Q3: I plan to use Alpha with public base station service. Why do I need to purchase Usage Plan? 

A3: The $40 one month usage plan offers an economical way for customers who only have a short-term need of using RTK. It also lowers the entry barrier for customers who would like to first test the performance of single frequency RTK. Long-term usage customers can order the $190 unlimited usage plan when buying the UPM Kit or after receiving the UPM Kit.

Q4: What risk do I have if I'd like to try and see whether the performance of single frequency RTK is good enough for my application?

A4: With Alpha UPM-Std Kit, there is almost no risk. The $135 Kit comes with a very good quality L1/L2 survey antenna. Adding $40 one month usage plan initially, the total cost is still below that of an L1/L2 survey antenna. If customers later consider a L1/L2 RTK receiver is needed, the L1/L2 survey antenna from the UPM-Std Kit remains usable. 

Added by catalin_bm

To set up a local RTK base, do I have to buy the $ 190 or $ 40 plan? Or just UPM Kit Lite + UPM STD Kit is enough?
Added by Polaris GNSS

One Usage Plan is needed to activate and use with one UPM-Lite Kit or UPM-Std Kit as Q&A #3 explains. When setting up base and rover and ordering two UPM Kits, then two Usage Plans are needed.
Added by TOPO1

A potential user from Barranquilla, Colombia.
Within the constellation of tracked satellites I do not see SBAS.
It is important therefore if, due to technical problems, there is no connection to NTRIP, it would be good to have DGPS precision provided by SBAS satellites.
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