Coast Guard seeks opinion on scrapping LORAN system - Page 3 - SailNet Community

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  #21  
Old 02-05-2007
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Well, they haven’t scrapped lighthouses or buoys as of yet but the GPS system, its accuracy and dependability and all of the innovations for it these days sure make for a good argument that way. I suppose I’d vote for putting the system into standby and holding on to my old Ray-Jeff just in case (right next to my Davis sextant). 10 more years, when they’ve found the way to make GPS wipe yer butts, then we can trash out our lorans.
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  #22  
Old 02-06-2007
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I guess if you have a LORAN receiver and live in an area of coverage, then having the government keep LORAN transmitting is a good deal. For those without a receiver, and unable to buy one, or at a competitive price and who live outside LORANs coverage - the government need not spend the money.

The US Navy quit supporting the system and cleverly sold the European chain to the Europeans. The Europeans discovered it needed upgrading to keep working and did so for a few years. Then the enthusiam wained as they discovered how few users there were. The Irish had the EC pay for a new station, but they did not switch it on, as the locals complained about the effect on their potatoes. The Germans put their station on offer to anyone who wanted to take over its expense. France wants to keep it for their military, just in case the US do something clever with GPS in the Bay of Biscay. The British never had a LORAN station, but they found an old BBC radio tower at Rugby, which might make a handy start, so Trinity House is now strongly supporting it - because GPS is soooooo vulnerable (one sneeze and its gone). I hear the Japanese have a bit of a chain too, plus the Russians have a slightly incompatible copy. I hear the US LORAN lobbyists say that the Europeans have an enhanced system operational, but try buying a non-experimental receiver for it - still none on sale. On this side of the pond, the lobbyists point to the great progress the FAA is making on adopting LORAN for aviation. More smoke and mirrors. If LORAN was not a system past its time, the US Navy would have kept it.

PS: Around here, lighthouses are being disused and virtual bouys introduced as AIS messages.
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Old 02-06-2007
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You know, I would hate to see light houses dissapear - though I could give a crap about Loran. For me, it is always wierdly reassuring to come in from sea or be making a passage at night and see the light (visually, not on some chart screen or paper map with a plotted course). I don't use it for navigation, per se, but when I have made a passage at night and am coming in, to see that light is always reassuring to know my chart plotter has not been lying!!! Weird, I know. Maybe it is just me.
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Old 02-06-2007
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Besides, lighthouses are such icons for photography... can you imagine a coastal photo without any lighthouses? Sad day indeed.
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  #25  
Old 02-06-2007
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So, sailingdog, I take it then, that the little pixel sticking up to port of amidships on yer avatar is indeed a light house???
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Old 02-06-2007
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Fortunately a lot of coastal light houses are regarded a desirable residences with an interesting historical and/or architectural feature in the (rock) garden. So at least their daylight value will be kept.
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Old 02-06-2007
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Originally Posted by pirateofcapeann
So, sailingdog, I take it then, that the little pixel sticking up to port of amidships on yer avatar is indeed a light house???
Not actually a lighthouse IIRC, I believe it is the Butler Flats light though... looks like a miniature lighthouse...but no one lives there.
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Old 02-07-2007
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Thumbs down Loran stuff

I was once one of those that did the maintenance on loran xmitters. I was in Carolina beach and St paul Is ak. I have a loran somewhere on the boat but always use the gps since i can use it on my laptop. Do we really need to save it? The electricity costs are incredible. and the accuracy is 10 time worse than gps. I think it is time to get rid of loran. The safety issues on the people working on it are a big concern of mine.
Saving anything just for the sake of saving it is bad judgement. Let it die
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Old 02-08-2007
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Weighing in late on the Loran issue here. Been working on the boat.

Fact is, there are an awful lot of commercial fishermen still using Loran.
Also, I believe most professional navigators would tell you its an important backup for coastal navigation. Sextants, while valuable offshore, are just not much good for coastal navigation.

Consider too, for the paranoid types, the Chinese are playing around with shooting down satellites. Not to mention, the US Gov can very easily encode or shut down gps signals in times of emergency.
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Old 02-08-2007
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Weighing in late on the Loran issue here. Been working on the boat.

Fact is, there are an awful lot of commercial fishermen still using Loran.
Also, I believe most professional navigators would tell you its an important backup for coastal navigation. Sextants, while valuable offshore, are just not much good for coastal navigation.

Consider too, for the paranoid types, the Chinese are playing around with shooting down satellites. Not to mention, the US Gov can very easily encode or shut down gps signals in times of emergency.
While I understand that many commercial fisherman still use LORAN as their primary navigation reference, the number of people using it has been declining for a while now... ever since GPS became affordable. Many newer boats don't have LORAN on them, and getting a LORAN receiver is very expensive compared to getting a low-end GPS chartplotter.

I don't think that China is willing to shoot down GPS satellites as that would be considered an act of war... Also, as for the government shutting down GPS, I doubt they would in the case of anything less than a global shooting war. The economic costs to shutting down GPS, especially here in the United States would be too high. Many companies now rely upon it to aid them in doing business. Many trucking firms use GPS to help with truck routing and logistics, as do most of the big delivery firms, like UPS, FedEx, and such.

It is far cheaper for the US to launch a few extra satellites to give GPS extra redundancy of coverage, than it would be to build LORAN stations. Also of importance is the fact that LORAN is primarily a nautical solution, where GPS is applicable to nautical, terrestrial and aviation markets.
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You know what the first rule of sailing is? ...Love. You can learn all the math in the 'verse, but you take
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—Cpt. Mal Reynolds, Serenity (edited)

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