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#TechTips | Choosing a Correction Signal

GPS technology has evolved a crazy amount over the last decade or two.  What’s even crazier is that many farmers are still utilizing the same GPS receiver and correction signal today as they did 12-15 years ago.  The phrase ‘don’t fix what ain’t broken’ may apply to lots of things in life, but GPS correction signal isn’t one of them.  Not only could using the incorrect signal for your fieldwork be costing you money in over- or underapplied product, but could also be costing you time each year recreating guidance lines for simple operations.  Read below for our recommendations on how to choose the right correction signal!

John Deere StarFire SF1 Correction Signal

All John Deere StarFireTM receivers come with SF1 signal in base from the factory. This is the free signal that requires no additional activations or yearly subscriptions to function, and enables you to use documentation, AutoTracTM, Section Control, and other guidance-related features. While the free portion of SF1 is hard to pass up, don’t forget that it may not be a fit for every operation. On StarFireTM 6000 receivers, the pass-to-pass accuracy of SF1 is +/- 6″ – meaning your passes could be up to 6 inches apart and still be considered acceptable. Ideally, SF1 should only be used for low-accuracy fieldwork, such as tillage.

John Deere StarFire SF2 Correction Signal

Only available on StarFireTM 3000 receivers, SF2 is a bump up from SF1 signal. Requiring an initial activation purchase and annual subscriptions, SF2 provides more pass-to-pass accuracy with no repeatability. With a margin of +/- 2″, SF2 provides a much more reliable correction signal for operations that require some degree of accuracy – such as planting, spraying, or nutrient application. However, keep in mind that the guidance lines you create using SF2 will not be able to be reused next year.

John Deere StarFire SF3 Correction Signal

The latest introduction to the correction signal family is SF3, only available on StarFireTM 6000 receivers. SF3 provides pass-to-pass accuracy of +/- 1.2″ with in-season repeatability. Essentially, it’s another way to get RTK-like accuracy for guidance lines that you know you won’t reuse year after year. Similar to SF2, SF3 requires an activation and annual subscription, and is great for operations that require moderate to high levels of accuracy – such as planting, spraying, nutrient application, or even strip tilling.

John Deere StarFire RTK Correction Signal

The cream of the crop when it comes to correction signal, RTK combines sub-inch accuracy with year-over-year repeatability. Network towers that are placed throughout our territory on tall structures (like grain legs) allow the signal to be stronger and more reliable than using just GPS receivers in space. RTK is the only correction signal we recommend if you want to utilize boundaries for things like Section Control on your operation, because it’s the only signal that guarantees no drift over time. Because RTK is so accurate and so reliable, it does require a radio that connects to your GPS receiver and an additional subscription to our tower network.

At the end of the day, the best way to choose your correction signal is to ask yourself how accurate your field operations require you to be. Have questions about your current hardware or want to learn more about upgrading? Contact our Precision Ag Support Team today for assistance!


  1. Patrick R. Toohey

    I have a star fire 3000 receiver with sf1 signal. I was told that I could plant accurately with this system and I clearly cannot. I was wondering how much it would cost to update to a sf2 signal?
    Thank you !

    1. April Pelzer

      Thanks for reaching out, Patrick! To upgrade your StarFire 3000 receiver to SF2 correction signal, you would need to purchase a one-time activation for $4,000, then choose your length of subscription. Subscriptions can be purchased in 3 month, 6 month, 1 year, 2 year, or 3 year lengths. A 1-year subscription is most common, and can be purchased for $1,050. So for your first year, you would be looking at a ballpark of $5,050 to upgrade to SF2.

  2. Patrick R. Toohey

    Thank you for the reply back! another question if I could. If I went with a StarFire 6000 on sf3 or RTK, how much would it cost. Can I trade in the Starfire 3000 and what would it be worth?
    Thank you!

    1. April Pelzer

      Patrick, the list price for a StarFire 6000 receiver with SF3 correction signal is $7,895, which includes the one-time SF3 activation fee, but does not include the annual subscription. List price for a StarFire 6000 receiver with RTK signal is $11,395, and does not include an annual dealer subscription. We would recommend reaching out to your nearest Van Wall sales professional or precision ag specialist for details on trade-in valuation and StarFire 6000 receiver availability. Thank you!

  3. Patrick R. Toohey

    thank you very much

  4. We have a tractor with a Starfire 6000 receiver. We want to have RTK corrections and we have SCRTN corrections information available for NTRIP protocol. I’m not able to find any info on how to setup. Please provide some information about it.

    1. April Pelzer

      Thanks for reaching out! We would recommend contacting your local dealer in the South Carolina area to assist with this question, as we do not utilize the SCRTN correction signal in Iowa. You can find a John Deere Dealer near you here. 👉

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