Sunday, March 18, 2012

Government Looking for Comment on eLoran System

These WWII Loran receivers might soon be getting an upgrade for use as a GPS backup

These WWII Loran receivers might soon be getting an upgrade for use as a GPS backup

I came across a very official-sounding notice yesterday that the United States government is looking for public comment about the possible revamping and reuse of the WWII Loran system as a backup for GPS and I wanted to share it with you. You might recall that last year the UK began this process as a failsafe should the worst occur to the satellite navigation technology everything seems to rely upon.

Of course, before you get your hopes up, this doesn’t mean that the government has quite given up on the idea of simply dismantling the Loran system, but rather that it has occurred to someone that only having one navigational aid is probably not the best idea. The eLoran (enhanced Long Range Navigation) system will be used as a complimentary and backup PNT system.

You can read the full docket here, but it looks like the government is looking on public comment on the following topics:

  1. How you use PNT services
  2. What sort of backup you would need/want for these services should GPS be out for more than a day
  3. Availability and coverage area required for a GPS backup
  4. Willingness to use an eLoran receiver
  5. Other ideas on GPS alternatives

If you’re interested in weighing in on this rather important topic, you can submit a comment until May 22, 2015 in one of three ways:

  1. Submit your comment online either via the comment box or an attached word document
  2. Fax your comments to: 202-493-2251
  3. Send your comments via snail mail to the following address:

Docket Management Facility (M-30),
U.S. Department of Transportation,
West Building Ground Floor, Room W12-140, 1200
New Jersey Avenue SE., Washington, DC 20590-0001.

If you fax or mail your comments, be sure to label the comments with the docket number: DOT-OST-2015-0053 so it ends up in the right department, because we all know it’ll probably get lost otherwise.

Personally, I am not very familiar with the Loran system, but I can’t help but think that having any kind of backup is probably a good idea so I encourage everyone to comment if you have any kind of opinion!


  1. Thanks for helping spread the word on this. Of course, eLoran is to Loran-C (those pictures you showed) what a flat screen HDTV with thousands of channels is to the old black and white tube set we used to watch Howdy Doody on. As one example of improved performance, the British are getting 6 – 8 meter nav accuracy and about 50ns timing. And, of course, everything is cheaper and automated.

    When you consider that the Russians, Chinese, Iranians, Saudis, Koreans, Indians, and others are all upgrading to or building eLoran so they are not so dependent upon a single, easy to disrupt signal from space, the US is at a huge disadvantage.

    While we at the RNT Foundation are technology agnostic, since the US government decided in 2008 that eLoran was an important part of the answer (and so have all those other countries), we are happy to support the US finally starting to actually do something about it.

    Agree completely with you that this is a hugely important issue and everyone who has any thoughts on it really should comment on the record.

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