[amsat-bb] Good Night, Loran

Clint BRADFORD clintbradford at mac.com
Tue Feb 9 03:36:58 PST 2010

In a series of small ceremonies, the U.S. Coast Guard on Monday shut down Loran-C, a navigation and timing system that has guided mariners and aviators since World War II. 

The death blow came last May when President Obama called the system obsolete, saying it is no longer needed in an age in which Global Positioning System devices are nearly ubiquitous in cars, planes and boats. 

Killing Loran-C will save the government $190 million over five years, Obama said. But supporters of Loran -- including the man known as "the father of GPS" -- say the nation's increasing reliance on GPS paradoxically has increased the importance of maintaining Loran as a backup.

At 3 p.m. Monday, the U.S. Coast Guard turned off Loran signals at 19 of the 24 Loran stations. Signals remain at five stations because of agreements with Russia and Canada, but the Coast Guard expects those stations to be decommissioned by June after the United States receives verification that those countries have been notified of the change.

The five stations that temporarily remain on line are at Attu, in Alaska's Aleutian Islands, and Caribou, Maine; Nantucket, Massachusetts; Shoal Cove, Alaska; and George, Washington.

- from CNN/Reuters

Clint Bradford, K6LCS

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