Originally Posted by Cuttyhunk
History lesson: GPS
started as a military thing and the U.S. Military would degrade the signal on purpose just to remind everyone they could. During the first Gulf War, they did it from time to time. I happened to be doing a night crossing of the Mona Passage
in 1992 when the GPS
went down. Minor issue compared to the failure of the transmission oil
cooler and running out of diesel
just outside of Mayaguez as a squall line came through. What a night! There was no such thing as a chartplotter
. Your big hunk of a GPS gave you a lat lon which you marked on your paper chart. Yes, I, too, carry and use paper charts
in addition to the chartplotter
. To each his own.
I agree heartily that "to each his own". But, and a big but, there is no need to frighten people unnecessarily.
A. Even when degraded, the GPS location is accurate enough to navigate, and certainly more accurate than sextant
B. The SA was cancelled by Clinton long ago. The degradation in the future is highly improbable as today, as opposed to 1991, (and we live today, not in 1991) most of the western economy depends on GPS on proper functioning. Even the USA would not cause its train and aviation to stop for the sake of the next Gulf war.
C. Your smartphone locates you using Russian Glonass system.
D. Galileo system is in process. The Chinese are putting up a system.
D. Proper sextant
cost is similar to several GPS units (pc antenna
costs about $30-50). If you are afraid of pirates, hide a handheld unit in the same place where you hide your passport or emergency
Given the above - it is more likely that your sextant will malfunction
or will be lost
at sea or there will be an overcast sky for a week than that you will not be able to use satellite
system for location.
However, it is a nice pastime to use paper charts
, sextant and almanac (there are electronic star almanacs though...). As you said, to each his own! Its just the fearsome prophecies that are not in place.