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Sunday, February 14, 2010
Has Loran-C Been Saved by Hams? Uh, No!
Recently it was reported on the UDXF group that the Loran-C service had been saved by amateur radio operators volunteering to man up the Loran sites. Nothing could be further from the truth and the whole story was a spoof that originated on the K3NG blog (http://thek3ngreport.blogspot.com/2010/02/radio-amateur-volunteers-to-save-loran.html).
As I first reported on this blog back on January 11 (http://mt-milcom.blogspot.com/2010/01/coast-guard-announces-decision-to-end.html), the Loran service was deemed no longer needed as a backup to GPS.
So here is the official story from the US Coast Guard website to counter the spoof published on the K3NG website. We have verified through monitoring here that the Loran signals went off the air on the appointed day mentioned below.
*** Special Notice Regarding LORAN Closure: ***
In accordance with the 2010 DHS Appropriations Act, the U.S. Coast Guard terminated the transmission of all U.S. LORAN-C signals on 08 Feb 2010. This termination does not affect U.S. participation in the Russian American or Canadian LORAN-C chains. U.S. participation in these chains will continue temporarily in accordance with international agreements.
LORAN-C Termination Information
The Coast Guard published a Federal Register notice on Jan. 7, 2010, regarding its intention to terminate transmission of the LORAN-C signal Feb. 8, 2010. A LORAN Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement Record of Decision stating that the environmentally preferred alternative is to decommission the LORAN-C Program and terminate the North American LORAN-C signal was published in the Federal Register on Jan. 7, 2010.
The Homeland Security Appropriations Act for Fiscal Year 2010 allowed for termination of the LORAN-C signal on January 4, 2010, after certification from the Commandant of the Coast Guard that it was not needed for maritime navigation and from the Secretary of DHS that it is not needed as a backup for GPS. Full details are contained in Section 559 of this act which can be found at the Government Printing Office website (clicking on the link will open a new window).
In accordance with the DHS Appropriations Act, the U.S. Coast Guard will terminate the transmission of all U.S. LORAN-C signals effective 2000Z 08 Feb 2010. At that time, the U.S. LORAN-C signal will be unusable and permanently discontinued. This termination does not affect U.S. participation in the Russian American or Canadian LORAN-C chains. U.S. participation in these chains will continue in accordance with international agreements. The Canadian Coast Guard has also issued a statement, which is shown on their website.
You may view the estimated remaining LORAN-C signal coverage areas of these international chains in Appendix B, pages B-6 through B-9 of the Specification of the LORAN-C Transmitted Signal, COMDTINST M16562.4A. The entire Specification may be downloaded also.
The Coast Guard strongly urges mariners currently using LORAN-C for navigation to shift to a GPS navigation system and become familiar with its operation as soon as possible. Mariners will not be able to rely upon LORAN-C for navigation as of Feb. 8, 2010.
LORAN-C has, as a result of technological advancements in the last 20 years, became an antiquated system no longer required by the armed forces, the transportation sector or the nation’s security interests and is used only by a small percentage of the population. The Coast Guard understands that LORAN-C is still used by a small segment of the public and that those users will have to shift to GPS or other systems; however, continued use of limited resources to operate LORAN-C is no longer prudent use of taxpayer funds and is not allowed under the 2010 DHS Appropriation Act.
The Coast Guard has enjoyed a long and close relationship with the many communities located near LORAN-C facilities and we value those relationships. The Coast Guard will continue to honor those relationships by working to minimize any adverse impacts to communities caused by site closures.
The decision to cease transmission of the LORAN-C signal reflects the president’s pledge to eliminate unnecessary federal programs.