Question about the signal type that I need

Hi, I’m just starting the process to add GPS and auto-steer to a seeding tractor, combine, and swather.

I read that I can either use a radio signal or the internet to improve to rtk accuracy.

I do not have line of sight from my buildings to my tractor (it’s less that 6km to the farthest point but there are many trees blocking the path to different fields). Does this mean I’ll need to use the internet through ntrip?

I looked at rkt2go and the nearest station they list is approximately 60km from me (Central Alberta, Canada). Would that be too far to use as my base? I don’t need exact year-to-year repeatablility but I’d like to get in the 2-4" range during the day. Will I need to set up my own base station to get that to work?

Thanks for any help,

I am also from central Alberta.

The absolute simplest method is get a Emlid M2 or RS2 as base, then feed to the free caster service from your home internet. If using the M2 as base get a patch or survey antenna for it. For base its a hard product to beat in simplicity.

If you want to build your own base the esp32 ntrip caster project.

If you have decent cell coverage, Ntrip sure beats radios for being convenient.

still use generic F9P boards for rovers.


Also from Central AB, we have an rtk2go up most of the time. If you want the base for just Aog can build a pretty simple setup and shoot to rtk2go for your own base or if you want to use some Trimble rovers then use the esprtk base setup.

I just realized central AB probably covers a large area, we are between Drumheller and Stettler

Thanks for the replies and great insight.

I’m looking at the Elmid site right now and comparing the M2 with the RS2. The M2 plus their GNSS antenna is around $650 while the RS2 is around $2100. The RS2 talks about battery capacity, blue tooth, and a modem. If I’m using this for a base station on a building is there a reason I’d want the more expensive RS2?

I’m not sure what features I’d regret not having for this project and what features are no use to me.

Thanks for any help.

I’m looking into the esp32 project to see what it’s all about, too. It looks more complicated for a beginner.

A second M2 or RS2 wouldn’t be of use on the rover, correct? Since it needs the F9P board?

To me even the M2 sounds expensive compared to many F9P kits, like the one from Ardusimple.

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RS2 mainly has convenience, you have a ups (uninterruptible power supply) built right into it.

The Emlid is all about user interface, you can have the base up and running very fast. If you want to Precise Point Position your base that functionality is as easy as pressing record. You pay a bit more than a generic F9P board but you are up and running on Ntrip in a matter of minutes.

It has legacy messages built in for trimble rovers to connect. Built in Wifi to directly connect to your home router, and Emlid has a free caster service with a 50ms ping. Its a very easy system to configure, and since it is geared towards survey fits the base position very well.

Here is my M2 base,

I use an Ali express survey antenna for the top. A generic F9P board is $400, so for $250 more there is zero messing around setting up the base.

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Whole kit is 230$ vs
Reach M2 with GNSS Antenna 650$ kit
That is almost 3:1 ratio I would rather get 3 F9P that is 3 tractor or 2 + base u-center is not that hard and you can find instructions and videos for F9P setup on this forum and on rest of the internet. 3 times price is not worth it for interface.

Battery backup will work only if you use radios or for NTRIP you have alternative way of connecting to internet when you home network go out.

Thats 230 Euro, plus shipping extra, we are talking Canadian dollars. F9P from digikey shipped is $400CDN.

You still need to connect that ardusimple to your network by some means $$, and get Ntrip functionality somehow $$ and burn all the time to put it all together and hope it works the first time $$$$$ How much is your time worth per hour?

So already $250 extra is a bargain, I’m driving in the field with working NTRIP an hour after delivery, you would still be building for hours and hoping it works. Building is fun but here I do not think here its worth the extra hassle.

Both home internet and base are on UPS, if the power goes out I am still in the field with a fix.


211€ 230$ (USD) + taxes & shipping.

So that price is in USD + taxes & shipping.

I work for 350€ a month :sob: not much so I rather take time to do stuff then pay extra $$. Yes from your perspective with western salaries of 30-40$h Petroleum Technologist / PLC Programmer would value my time more then doing it all DIY my opinions are from lower income perspective.

I guess another way of looking at it is for the OP, moving to RTK will save multiples more just in fertilizer / seed / Fuel input savings on the first 160 acres he uses it on. With farm diesel at $1.70/l, saving 2% of fuel on a 4WD with air seeder is $30/day. (deere 9rx 12hrs) 880L x 1.70/l x 2% = $30, 10 days of seeding you have the difference emlid base station just in fuel efficiency.

If crop inputs were $350/ac (pre shortages), 160acres x $350/ac X 2% = $1120 / quarter savings

The commercial systems charge $40k plus per tractor for AOG’s functionality. So I am thinking the Op’s has a small amount of wiggle room on his build. You will make that number back in efficiency, but with AOG you get to keep 90% or more of it :grin:

Costs are nuts no matter how much you make, but AOG really pays off big time on the first unit you install it on, and multiplies for every after that…

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Economy of scale bigger farm faster return even 30 40k commercial system is cheap for 1k+ HA farm for 20HA (50 acres) I find direct savings minimal for autosteer jobs Cultivator 12L, Seeding 8L, Spreyer 2x2L in between row work 2x 8L. Even entire year of 2% fuel saving for autosteer jobs is 800L x1.8$ x2% or 30$ of saving, fertilizer if I want to spread 200kg I will fill it with 200kg and run till its empty no saving there only big saving is posible at spreyer where cost are 10$ 20$ 30$ L and there is overlap up to 15%(no calculation for now). Seeds if 300€x20HAx0.02 = 120€. I remember now that when I calculated it all I couldn’t pay back commercial RTK signal cost. :joy:

Direct savings ware not on my mind main purpose of system was to work agro at night after job and save time.

Other way of looking at it is AOG saves one monthly salary.

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You got that right, that’s farming today.

With precision machine size does not matter quite as much, no overlap no waste. On small machines RTK actually pays out faster because there are just more runs to do, and much higher operator fatigue. I think if you calculated the savings all out you would be grinning too. Enough at least to cover something else.

Harrowing this year was getting done in record time with RTK compared to previous years, zero “fix it trips”, using all of the implement and constant machine speed. The machine previously had simple RTK guided steering, but AOG’s uturn really saves time over that era of guidance.

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Thanks for all the replies so far.

So looking at the emlid options, my internet is not on an uninterruptible power supply (I’d say it’s much more likely that my internet is down than I’m without power) so the main benifit of the rs2 would be that I could just mount it on the roof and it would communicate wirelessly with my router? While with the M2 I’d place the antenna on the roof and then need to run cable to the M2 box that would then plug into my router?

Is there any limit on how far I can run the cable from the antenna? Or is the cable crazy expensive?

Thanks for the information.

10m or less for antenna and they are a lot more expensive then ethernet cable so its better to run ethernet to box then box to ruter and ethernet can be 100m.

With any wifi reliant device its good to test if there is signal in that place where it will be mounted.

Most parts/cable/components for any of these projects can be obtained dirt cheap off of Aliexpress. If you do not like waiting on shipping Digikey / Mouser have parts and cable too.

@Radmuffins is right on length, connections should always be a short as practical.

Both RS2/M2 will communicate wireless with your router. The Rs2 is meant to live outside but is costly, the M2 needs at least the rain kept off it. I think the M2 is the better bet as the cheaper antenna takes the punishment of being outside.

If your internet is down you will cease to obtain NTRIP corrections regardless of any of the available mentioned setups.

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Keeping the box dry won’t be an issue. I’ll just need to figure out the shortest path to the antenna to get a clear enough view of the sky. It’s clear to the horizon for 1/2-2/3 of the sky but there is a wind break blocking some view to the west. It might be far enough from all of the roofs to not matter.

Price-wise, the Outback dealer in Penhold said it would cost $10k per vehicle and John Deere Olds quoted $16k. Plus the yearly subscription. So a few dollars more with Emlid for improved ease of use would still save me an enormous amount.

Check out any of the youtubes created by AOG users, you will not be missing any functionality. That per vehicle pricing makes AOG worth figuring out in full. Also AOG does many tricks that are yet more to unlock on top of the quoted pricing.

Yeah, and those yearly subscriptions too…

So what we’ve talked about here should get my base station portion set?

I’ll start making notes from videos/posts to figure out what is needed on the rover end for auto-steering an old 4WD and a 9660sts.

Thanks so much to everyone.

Yes, though for the base antenna use something like this.

So TNC on the antenna to sma, then sma to mcx to M2.

Then you can use the HC871 that comes with the M2 on the tractor where its better suited. Parts for this system are much more affordable than the Ag Dealer. Your whole base will cost less than one trimble antenna.