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The Altech Netstar Operation
& Service
01. The Tracking Unit   
02. The Control Centers 
03. The Networks
04. The Recovery Crews
  Altech Netstar Tracking Units        
  01. Altech Netstar Sleuth 
  02. Altech Netstar Early-Warning 


1. Introduction

Congratulations on having purchased a most effective vehicle tracking and recovery system. This manual will explain how Altech Netstar operates, provide you with information on your particular Altech Netstar system, and answer some questions you may have. Should you require any further information, please do not hesitate to contact your nearest Customer Service office.

2. The Altech Netstar Operation And Service

There are four key elements in the Altech Netstar Operation, being the tracking unit, the control centres, the networks, and the recovery crews.

2.1 The Tracking Unit

Depending on the model you have chosen, it may be automatically activated during a theft or may require you to phone one of the control centres for remote activation. Further details are provided in the “Altech Netstar Tracking Units” section.

2.2 The Control Centres

These operate 24 hours a day, and are responsible for activating stolen vehicles and co-ordinating the recovery process. There are a number of these situated throughout Southern Africa - for the most recent list of locations, please refer to your Welcome Pack, or to our website at www.netstar.altech.co.za.

2.3 The Networks

Altech Netstar operates a land-based radio system, consisting of many networks. An Altech Netstar network is a unique combination of radio communication equipment, which is designed to transmit signals to tracking units in vehicles, and to relay signals from these tracking units to the nearest control centre.

These networks cover all cities and major towns, a number of secondary towns, and some major routes throughout South Africa. Some cities in Southern Africa are also covered.

Note that as with any radio system, complete coverage of all areas is not possible. For example, physical obstacles may obstruct signals and hence there may be instances when a signal transmitted within a network will not be relayed to a control centre.

To maximise the ability to receive signals directly into the control centre, Altech Netstar has extensive receiver sites that in many instances have overlapping footprints. Furthermore, Altech Netstar has developed mobile tracking equipment that replicates a network. The air and ground recovery crews all have this equipment as standard issue to assist in the recovery process.

If a vehicle is outside of our network, then any signals it transmits will not be relayed to a control centre. However this does not prevent Altech Netstar from tracking and recovering vehicles outside of a network, because the tracking crews are equipped with mobile tracking equipment which replicates a network. This enables Altech Netstar to track and recover your vehicle wherever it may be.

2.4 The Recovery Crews

Altech Netstar uses dedicated helicopter, fixed-wing, and ground based recovery crews to track and recover vehicles. When necessary, assistance is requested from the SAPS. However the Altech Netstar recovery crews are fully independent, and ready to respond at immediate notice.

These crews are equipped with mobile tracking equipment, and have communication links with the control centre responsible for co-ordinating the recovery.

Once a vehicle has been recovered, the ground crew will always attempt to hand it over directly to the owner.

3. Altech Netstar Tracking Units

There are two types of tracking units available in Botswana

3.1 Altech Netstar Sleuth

Sleuth provides tracking and recovery throughout South Africa and in Southern African states in which Altech Netstar has a presence.

Sleuth can only be activated by Altech Netstar, either from a control centre, or from a helicopter or fixed-wing aircraft. Once activated, the unit transmits a silent signal, which can be intercepted by our networks or by our mobile tracking equipment.

In the event of your vehicle being stolen or hijacked, and it is fitted with a Sleuth, immediately telephone your nearest control centre to report the theft. You have been provided with the emergency telephone numbers on the back of your User Manual, as well as on separate stickers - these should be kept in a handy place, but not in your vehicle! Once the control centre operator has all the details of the incident, activation signals will be transmitted to your Sleuth, and recovery crews dispatched as required. The control centre operator will keep you updated with the recovery progress.

3.2 Altech Netstar Early-Warning

This top-of-the range system can be activated in four different ways.

3.2.1 Activation by Altech Netstar

Here you would be required to notify Altech Netstar of a theft of hijacking, following which the control centre would activate the unit as in the case of a Sleuth or Advanced Phone-In system.

3.2.2 Activation by Panic Button

The system has a hidden panic button in most vehicles. The unique signal informs the control centre that the vehicle is in panic mode. On receipt of this signal, the appropriate response is initiated by the control centre.

3.2.3 Activation by Theft-Entry

For this feature to operate, the unit must be in an armed state.

How to arm and disarm the system
Firstly make sure that all of the doors are securely closed.

If the unit is linked to Central Locking
If the unit has been linked to your central locking, you will have the manufacturer's remote central locking activator. Press the activator button. The alarm, hooter or buzzer will bleep once. This indicates that the unit is armed.

You have to disarm the unit before opening the vehicle. To do this, press the activator button and the alarm, hooter or buzzer will bleep twice. This indicates that the unit is disarmed.

If the unit is NOT linked to Central Locking
If the unit has not been linked to your central locking, then you will have been provided with an Altech Netstar remote activator. Press the activator button. The alarm, hooter or buzzer will bleep once. This indicates that the unit is armed.

You have to disarm the unit before opening the vehicle. To do this, press the activator button and the alarm, hooter or buzzer will bleep twice. This indicates that the unit is disarmed.

Should any unauthorised entry occur a silent signal will be transmitted to the Altech Netstar control centre.

3.2.4 Activation by Tow-away

The unit has a tow-away sensor. If the unit is in an armed state, and it is towed or transported by trailer within the Altech Netstar RF network area, the unit will detect the movement and start to transmit a silent tow-away signal. On receipt of this signal, the control centre operator will initiate the appropriate action.

4. Maintenance

4.1 Warranty

Your unit and installation has a 12-month warranty. It excludes any damage due to accidents and severe operating conditions such as immersion in water. Once installed, the unit should not require any maintenance, with the exception of the replacement of the back-up battery. This should be replaced every two years, at your fitment centre. NOTE: That all new Sleuths have integrated batteries that will last up to seven years and cannot be replaced.

4.2 Early-Warning System Checks

The Altech Netstar remote activator is powered by batteries, which need to be replaced from time to time. Low battery power will result in difficulty in arming/disarming your Early-Warning System.

4.3 Testing

As the Altech Netstar system provides an emergency service, for your own peace of mind you should test the system periodically. You are entitled to two free tests per year . Please do this every six months, or after a major service or panel beating repairs.

4.3.1 To test a Sleuth or Advanced Phone-In System

You have to be within the Altech Netstar network area in order to test your unit. Telephone your nearest control centre, identify yourself and the town or city you are in, and request a test. This can normally be done immediately, unless the control centre is busy with a recovery operation. Due to the nature of the radio communication infrastructure (described in "The Altech Netstar Operation and Service: The Networks") it is preferable for your vehicle to be mobile when undergoing remote testing.

The operator will send an activation signal to the unit in your vehicle. The unit will transmit a signal to the control centre, following which the operator will contact you to inform you that the test was successful. If the test did not succeed, then you are to book your vehicle in at your fitment centre for a system check. Should you have a Sleuth System, please note that this does not provide street positioning information, and the operator will not be able to give you a street location.

4.3.2 To test an Early-Warning System

Here the procedure is identical to that set out in the section "Testing".

There is a second type of test you may wish to undertake, namely activation via your panic button. Here you are to first inform the operator that you wish to test your panic button. Drive around for 15 minutes or so, during which period you must press your panic button and simultaneously press the foot brake. The operator will telephone you to inform you of whether or not the test was successful.

5. A Few Questions Answered

5.1 Why Can't I Arm My Early-Warning System?

You may be standing too far away from your vehicle. - The batteries in your remote activator may need replacing. - Check that all of the doors are properly closed. - There may be some other form of radio interference in the area in which you are parked. - Your remote activator may be faulty. Test this by using your spare remote activator.

5.2 Will You Recover My Vehicle Outside Of Your Networks?

Yes. Altech Netstar recovery crews transport a mobile network on every recovery operation, no matter where your vehicle was stolen. This enables us to track and recover vehicles outside of our networks. If your vehicle is stolen or hijacked outside of our networks, telephone your nearest control centre without delay, and we will send an air recovery service to the area in which your vehicle was stolen, and commence the search. If your unit is in transmission mode, and it enters into one of our networks, we will intercept the signal and initiate a response.

5.3 What Happens After You Recover My Vehicle?

The control centre will keep you updated during the recovery process, and every effort will be made to hand the vehicle to you once it has been recovered.

5.4 What Happens If You Do Not Recover My Vehicle?

Even though we have a very good recovery rate (up to 9 out of 10) and a very quick average recovery time (around 48 minutes), we are not always successful. In such cases we keep looking for the vehicle, both within and outside of South Africa. There have been cases when a vehicle is recovered some time after the theft.

One of the main reasons for not recovering the vehicle is the delay in reporting the vehicle stolen. It is thus very important to immediately notify Altech Netstar once you are aware that your vehicle has been stolen.

5.5 My Early-Warning System Alarm Went Off, And You Did Not Telephone Me. Why Not?

There are three possible reasons for this:

Firstly, if you de-activated your alarm shortly after the alarm sounded, then the unit would not have started transmitting as it has a short delay between the time of the alarm going off and the time of it starting to transmit a distress signal.

Secondly, the control centre may not have received a signal. If we do not receive signals from your vehicle whilst it is stationary, then it is probably due to some form of interference, as explained in "The Networks" section. However, once the thief starts the vehicle and drives off, then the cause of the interference should be eliminated, and the control centre will be able to receive the signals and respond accordingly. Please note that the Early-Warning system is not designed to protect the contents of your vehicle, but rather to inform Altech Netstar that your vehicle has been stolen.

A third reason is that the control centre may not have your latest contact details. It is very important for you to always inform Altech Netstar the moment you change any of your contact details.

5.6 Are There Any Additional Costs To The Altech Netstar Service?

No. Your monthly subscription covers free tracking and recovery within South Africa, and within other countries in which we offer a service. However, should your vehicle be recovered in another country, there may be costs involved in transporting it back to you. These costs will be negotiated with you and your insurer in the event of your vehicle being recovered outside of South Africa.

5.7 What Happens If I Sell My Vehicle?

You can have your unit removed, and installed into your new vehicle. Alternatively you may elect to sell your unit with your old vehicle, and purchase a new unit for your replacement vehicle. This option depends on your contractual arrangement with Altech Netstar.
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