RipEX on Glacier, Chile



  • RipEX2, with Cellular module
  • 400 MHz, 25 kHz, D8PSK – 256QAM
  • Modbus TCP
  • Flexible protocol, up to 6 repeaters
  • Report by exception
  • Sleep mode
  • Solar powering

RACOM radio modems can be used in many different ways. One of the less typical ones is data transfer from remote, tectonically active places.

Laguna del Maule, a glacial lake of volcanic origin located in the Andes Mountains on the border between Chile and Argentina at an altitude of 2,165 m, is an important water reservoir in the area. Its water level was raised by a dam in 1957.

Tectonic plates are shifting in these area and the land surface is uplifting at a rate of up to 25 cm per year, with a total increase of 1.8 m between 2016 and 2020. This uplift is one of the largest of all volcanoes that are not actively erupting. It is therefore not surprising that the area is under permanent monitoring and continuous measurements are carried out.

RipEX2 radio modems were chosen for the data transfer from the measurement sites after a careful selection and testing process. Radio coverage of the extensive and hilly area was not easy and the most remote sites are connected via 6 repeaters, which is only possible with Flexible protocol from RACOM.

There is no infrastructure in the mountains, so the radio modems are powered by solar panels and batteries. To minimize power consumption, Sleep mode is used, another of our unique features.

Most of the sites where the modems are installed are only accessible by helicopter, so great attention has also been focused on their reliability. This year 4.5m of snow was in the area, so access is really complicated.

Surprisingly, there is LTE coverage in some places, so we deployed RipEX2 with mPCIe Cellular module and used the LTE network as a backup route, taking advantage of another one of the unique features of our modem.

Thanks to the collaboration with our local partner MT Ingeniería y Construcción, the end user Management of Hydraulic Works, Maule Region is very satisfied with our network and data transfer went smoothly even during this year’s very tough winter.

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