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Author Topic:   Lowrance POINT-1: Some surprises
jimh posted 01-25-2015 01:18 PM ET (US)   Profile for jimh   Send Email to jimh  
The Lowrance POINT-1 "GPS antenna" (well, really a NMEA-2000 GNSS receiver, but Lowrance incorrectly calls it an antenna) has been out for several years now. I just ran across some interesting information about the POINT-1 that I had not seen before. It's from a Lowrance document available at 5_ADD_EN_988-10668-001_w.pdf

The document describes new features in the HDS GEN-2 devices, but it also reveals quite a bit of interesting new information about the POINT-1.

Most surprising for me, the POINT-1 is capable of using the Russian GLONASS global navigation satellite system, in addition to just the usual Air Force NAVSTAR global positioning system. The POINT-1 is really a GNSS receiver, not just a GPS receiver. That is news to me. GLONASS must be enabled to be used. If enabled, it can provide more satellites to provide more calculations for position fixing, and can generally help maintain a very low dilution of precision, thus increasing accuracy. I also just noticed that the production description page for the POINT-1 says it may be able to work with GALILEO satellites, if a future software update is available. Right now that there's not much concern for GALILEO as there are just a couple of satellites in its constellation. Maybe in five years GALILEO will have more satellites, and adding use of it would be more significant.

Almost as surprising, the HDS software now provides a control interface that permits the user to set the position update data rate from the POINT-1. The data rate can be set to as high as 10-Hz, or to a lower value if desired. This is a complete contradiction of what Lowrance Technical Support told me about a year ago. They insisted there was no setting to adjust and the POINT-1 set its own rate automatically. That seemed like nonsense to me, and, apparently, it was. The POINT-1's update rate can be set by the user.

Turning to the POINT-1's magnetic heading sensor, the software also provides a means to adjust a compass offset to correct for an error in orientation of the POINT-1 away from true keel centerline. I had not heard that mentioned before. Without this electronic offset, you'd have to mount the POINT-1 in perfect alignment with the keep centerline to get accurate heading readings.

In summary, there is more to like about the POINT-1 than I thought.

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