Feb 082010


Fellow blogista Denis Bryant  has often expressed concern about the US abandonment of Loran-C in favour of a total dependency on GPS. After all, what can go wrong? Denis answers that question in a current blog:

“By now, almost everyone is aware that, in accordance with a Congressional directive and as a budget measure, the Loran-C signal from most US transmission sites is being terminated as of 2000Z, 8 February 2010. The United States is now relying almost exclusively on the Global Positioning System (GPS) as its sole method of electronic navigation. I have been opposed to putting all of our eggs into one basket and have mentioned previous problems with GPS. The GPS Operations Center reported a significant GPS outage

in the San Diego area on January 22, 2007 that forced the Coast Guard to operate its vessels in restricted status. Medical paging in the area was shut down for approximately two hours and two cell phone towers were out of service. The 2007 event in San Diego is not unique; rather it is just one of many localized GPS service outages. This newsletter has always relied on open sources for its information. Today, I am making an exception. A recent, and disturbing, report has come to my attention stating that a similar, but possibly more severe, disruption occurred on February 6, 2010, again in the San Diego area, affecting airlines and cell phone service, among others. I do not know the cause and it is not particularly relevant. The point is that GPS is highly susceptible to disruption; Loran-C is not. Loran-C is admittedly old technology, but it is proven. It is not too late for the Loran-C shutdown decision to be re-examined.”

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