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ContinuousWave: Small Boat Electrical
posted 03-01-2009 05:05 PM ET (US)
The term "eLORAN" refers to an enhanced LORAN position finding system. I found that a recently published Ph.D thesis contained a great deal of very good information about the history of radio-navigation systems, LORAN in particular, and about application of modern techniques which permit a low-frequency high-power system like the existing LORAN-C service in North America to have the potential for greater accuracy.
New Potential of
While the entire several hundred page published dissertation may make reading too dry for the typical boater, it contains a great deal of interesting historical information, including recent changes to LORAN-C which may otherwise have escaped notice.
Once thought to be headed for oblivion as a stone-age technology, the existing LORAN-C service is slowly being revamped to provide improved performance to its users. The impetus behind this funding is to allow LORAN-C to improve to the point where it could be a reliable and accurate alternative to the Global Positioning System. In particular, Chapter 2, LORAN System Description, is a great collection of information.
One change in the system is a switch to more accurate and consistent frequency and timing control of all transmitted signals. Boaters who have historical LORAN time delay locator data should be aware that a shift in the LORAN system of timing to Time of Transmission (TOT) control from System Area Monitor (SAM) control has caused position information based on signals received in the past to become inaccurate.
As the transmitted signals in the LORAN-C system become more precise, this will allow receivers to more accurately deduce their geographic position. Modern signal processing and the amazing capabilities of modern electronic circuitry have the potential to bring new accuracy to LORAN-C.
posted 03-02-2009 02:01 PM ET (US)
There is a bit of irony in my sentence above where I wrote, "The term "eLORAN" refers to an enhanced LORAN position finding system." While LORAN began as a position finding system and primarily one for use at sea, the new eLORAN is not particularly targeted at only that application. eLORAN seems more likely to find new users who are, not at sea, but rather inside buildings or other places where the point-to-point and line-of-sight signals from orbiting GPS satellites don't reach well. eLORAN will offer precision time information, allowing synchronization to the precision UTC clock which will become the basis of the eLORAN transmitted signals.
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