For more than a half-century, LORAN-C signals have guided mariners along North America's coasts. Working in tandem, the US and Canadian LORAN-C stations have provided navigational aid to users with an accuracy of a quarter-mile.
But all good things must come to an end. In the past 20 years, advancements in other technologies have essentially deemed the LORAN-C signals obsolete, the Global Positioning System being one. At a staggering $35 million operational costs per year, the LORAN-C system was destined to become a misuse of tax-payer dollars, and has been bid a fond farewell.
February 8th, 2010, will see the first wave of stations sign off, continuing throughout the year until October 1st, 2010, when the last of all the LORAN-C transmissions will cease.
At this time the Coast Guard is recommending the purchase of GPS navigation devices for all LORAN-C users. The GPS devices will provide better accuracy, optional detailed mapping and can be used with transducers to offer depth, temperature and speed data.
The information users have saved from the LORAN-C signal, such as time differences (TDs), can be converted to latitude/longitude coordinates to be used in their new GPS unit. The conversion program is available at no charge at the Navigation Center.