Wednesday, January 11, 2012

CG to Study Alternatives to GPS Timing

Today the Coast Guard published a notice in the Federal Register (77 FR 1708-1710) of their intent to enter into a “Cooperative Research and Development Agreement (CRADA) with UrsaNav, Inc., to research, evaluate, and document at least one alternative to  Global Positioning Systems (GPS) as a means of providing precise time” (77 FR 1708).

One would assume that this is in response to the studies that indicate that the LightSquared broadband system deployment may cause significant interference with GPS signals; signals that are used in some control system applications to link physically separated timing events. I’m not sure what the Coast Guard’s interest is in these timing services and it is surely not discussed in this notice.

This CRADA envisions the testing of timing signal transmissions on four separate frequency ranges:

• LORAN frequencies (90-110 kHz);

• dGPS frequencies (283.5-325 kHz);

• HA-dGPS frequencies (435-490 kHz); and

• Former international calling and distress frequency (500 kHz).

On-air testing will be conducted with transmissions from former Long Range Navigation (LORAN) sites and “other sites as deemed necessary” (77 FR 1709). Reception will be evaluated at both off-shore and on-shore sites.

Public comment on this CRADA notice is being solicited. Comments may be submitted via the Federal eRulemaking Portal (; Docket # USCG-2011-1167). Comments should be submitted by February 10th, 2012. Notice of interest in participating in a separate CRADA addressing the same issue may be submitted to the same place with the same time limit; detailed CRADA proposals would be submitted separately to LT Helen Y. Millward (, U.S. Coast Guard Research and Development Center.

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