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post #19 of Old 02-14-2010
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Mea Culpa, sorta

Originally Posted by Boasun View Post
The USCG was upgrading Loran C to eLoran when it got shut down.
OK, I just started lurking around sailnet again and I got myself in trouble already. Poking around and talking with Dad, retired CG Aux Officer, I find that the Coasties had been defending Loran. The trouble begins in the 1970's when the rest of the military dropped Loran.

Interesting tidbits from the Commandants Corner: "One Sixth of the Loran stations, TODAY, are running on vacuum tube technology!!"

"Since the early 1970s OMB and the Office of Telecommunications Policy in the Executive Office of the President had recognized that the combined cost of overlapping navigational systems was simply too high."

USCG: Commandant's Corner - Journal

Further, the Coast Guard Commandant formally stated in Nov '09 that Loran was no longer needed for Maritime Navigation in view of other technologies.

LORAN-C General Information - USCG Navigation Center

So, the Loran system has been in decline, from a public policy standpoint, for 30 or 40 years. The Coasties, until last year, defended Loran with regard to their particular constituencies. That, however, doesn't make it good policy or a wise investment in general. The system is 52 years old!

So, Obama was brave enough to kill it. Good Riddance. You can probably buy a handheld GPS for the cost of a half dozen vacuum tubes. Neither system is perfectly reliable in any broad sense, neither is CN. Prudent seamanship would include more than one option for navigation info. We just happen to have lost one expensive option.

Eat When You're Hungry,
Work When You're Broke.
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