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KODIAK - The Coast Guard has announced that Alaska's six Long Range Aids to Navigation stations (Loran-C) will stop broadcasting a signal this year. The U.S. Global Positioning System and other technological advancements have meant the stations are no longer needed.

Loran-C stations in Alaska include Attu, Shoal Cove in Ketchikan, Tok, Narrow Cape in Kodiak, Port Clarence (near Kotzebue) and St. Paul Island. All of the stations will be closed, and the 100 or so employees at those stations relocated.

The North American Loran-C signal will cease broadcasting Feb. 8, with the exception of stations Attu and Shoal Cove which are bound by bi-lateral agreements with other nations. Attu and Shoal Cove are expected to stop broadcasting later in the year.

"Coast Guard men and women, working largely with antiquated systems and little fanfare, have stood a steadfast watch for more than 50 years in some of America's most isolated regions," said Admiral Christopher Colvin, Commander, 17th Coast Guard District, "I am proud of their professionalism and hard work."

Loran-C is no longer required by the armed forces, the transportation sector or the nation's security interests, and is used by only a small segment of the population. The Coast Guard is urging users of Loran-C to make the transition to GPS navigation and plotting systems immediately.

The decision to terminate transmission of the Loran-C signal reflects the President Obama's pledge to eliminate unnecessary federal programs. The president did not seek funding for the Loran-C system in fiscal year 2010. Termination was also supported through the enactment of the 2010 Homeland Security Appropriations Bill.

The Coast Guard release said the Loran-C system was not established as, nor was it intended to be, a viable systemic backup for GPS. "If a single, domestic national system to back up GPS is identified as being necessary, the Department of Homeland Security will complete an analysis of potential backups to GPS. The continued active operation of Loran-C is not necessary to advance this evaluation," the release stated.

The notice of termination may be viewed online at www.regulations.gov, docket number: USCG-2009-0299. for more information on terminations, reductions and savings contained in the fiscal year 2010 budget, including Loran-C, visit www.whitehouse.gov/omb/budget/TRS/.

For Loran history visit: http://www.uscg.mil/history/stations/loran...ume_1_index.asp
 

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Blame Osamabama on this one.

Boat US had a good article about this recently. Loran is still a good, viable technology, and until recently there were plans to expand it. GPS is a very low-power system and is susceptible to solar flares and whatnot - it can be jammed pretty easily, apparently. Loran C is a bit more robust, even if it is somewhat antiquated. There WERE going to be updates to the system, and manufacturers were starting to develop GPS / Loran combos that use both systems to get an accurate fix and maintain a location in the event of an outage of one or the other. This was to be done because what that article said is wrong - Loran is a valuable backup to GPS for the military AND recreational boaters.

But I guess if you're going to pass out billions to wall street big wigs, might as well take it from boaters and the military.
 
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