Coast Guard seeks opinion on scrapping LORAN system - SailNet Community

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Old 02-02-2007
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Coast Guard seeks opinion on scrapping LORAN system

Just caught a news update that the LORAN system may again be in jeopardy. The Coast Guard needs to receive opinions no later than 7 Feb 2007. To voice your opinion go to https://dms.dot.gov/submit/, register, then enter docket number 24685.
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Old 02-02-2007
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How many of you are LORAN users? I have a portable Ray Jeff receiver, circa 1991. I tested it about a year ago using a power supply. The rechargeable batteries don't work anymore.

I think the system will survive a few more years. In the overall scheme of things it doesn't cost much to operate it. There are lots of legacy users but nobody I know has bought a receiver lately. There aren't many being offered for sale so I think there is near zero growth in the user base.

--- CHAS
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Old 02-03-2007
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Note that if the CG goes for enhancing LORAN, the old receivers will not benefit (or maybe even work). Buying a LORAN receiver in Europe seems to fairly difficult, there's second hand and big ship stuff but nothing recreational.
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Old 02-03-2007
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It's hard to let something go that is ground based like that. Sure makes a good backup. I would think the cost of transmitting the LORAN signals and maintaining the transmitters would be down in the noise to other expenditures.
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Old 02-04-2007
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If they upgrade? It's my understanding it's already been done, and the projected use at this point is through 2015, or is that in error?
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Well, a quick search shows that the upgrades I was thinking of were completed in 2005, but that there are other efforts in the works.
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Old 02-04-2007
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It ain't a matter of how much it costs to maintain. It is money that could be better spent elsewhere or returned to the taxpayer. Another government program with few beneficieries and a life of its own. Hell...give the coasties a pay raise and get rid of the loran.
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Old 02-05-2007
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Funny the paradox. Sat. radio doesn't get nearly the endorsement that GPS seems to get (both are space-based), but a proven, land-based, very hardy system gets tossed like day-old bread? Never mind that new Loran stations can be set up without the need for extremely expensive space shots, etc. We, as individuals, spend a small fortune on insurance policies (health, auto, home---what a joke--hurricane issues, boat, etc), but no navigation backup (fallback insurance) because of cost? It continues to prove to be virtually un-jammable, and obviously very accurate. The cost is not even a drop in the ocean in the bigger picture. Yeah, that makes sense. I'm sure this way of thinking will prevail, and Loran will be shut down. Maybe we should just fund sat. radio/television with tax money and shut down all the land-based AM/FM and tv stations too.
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Old 02-05-2007
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Seabreeze...last time i checked radio and tv were commercial enterprises and stations either make $$ or shut down. Nothing run by the government ever shuts down! Exactly how is Loran a backup system when 99% of vessels have no working loran. There's probably more boats out there with sextants!
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Old 02-05-2007
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Seabreeze-

Another thing I'd point out is that satellite radio, XM and Sirius, are both subscription based, where the broadcast television, both ATSC-HD and NTSC-SD, as well as radio, AM/FM, are free. The companies that run broadcast television and radio stations are using public airwaves and provide a service which they are paid for via advertising revenues. This really isn't a valid comparison in any sense. LORAN and GPS are both paid for out of our taxes, and GPS is far more cost-effective.

Also, LORAN has its own share of issues, the first and foremost being a lack of receivers that are reasonably priced for non-commercial use. Another is a lack of training in using LORAN, which is not "off-the-shelf" user friendly, as GPS is. While setting up LORAN land stations doesn't require the costs of a space shot, they do require building a LORAN station, and that is just as expensive, if not more so than a satellite and space shot, given the number of people it serves. A GPS satellite is relatively far more cost-effective. Thirty satellites serve the entire world... which is far more efficient and wider coverage than building the same amount of LORAN stations—either in quantity or dollars.
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