GPS System Issues to Make ARPS Unreliable by 2010?

A recent article on the UK Guardian Newspaper’s website is an alarm to our technological dependencies on GPS.

“It is uncertain whether the Air Force will be able to acquire new satellites in time to maintain current GPS service without interruption,” said the report, presented to Congress. “If not, some military operations and some civilian users could be adversely affected.”

Pol-Speak for “it is breaking and we won’t get it fixed in time to keep it running 100%.”

Many of us have lost track of how many parts of our life are affected by GPS – new cars often have one or two GPS receivers on them (often the obligatory OnStar has its own GPS), many cellphones have GPS enabled, we have our TomToms & Amateur Radio ARPS systems.

GPS is part of tracking shipments, surveying our crops, measuring our construction efforts, flying our planes and has become integral in land navigation.

We had substitutes, but most are Direction Finding ranging from the simple ADF (Automatic (radio) Direction Finding), discontinued systems like the OMEGA Navigation System and comparative signal land based systems like LORAN rather than the precision system that the Global Positioning System (GPS) offers.

As radio amateurs we should make sure we have non-GPS dependent technologies to accomplish mission essential Emcomm/Freecom needs if GPS is unavailable.



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2 thoughts on “GPS System Issues to Make ARPS Unreliable by 2010?

  1. Ben w4qed says:

    I feel it will be at most a short duration in interruption. There are too many devices in the public that rely upon the GPS system to suddenly make it defunct. In government money is always the rule, remember the FCC, they will sell frequencies right out from under services for the right price. There are probably too many people in congress that either could not find their next appointment or get lost if they actually had to read a map. Congress thinks because they have a GPS telling them where to go that their job is to tell us how to get there.

  2. k9zw says:

    Hi Ben W4QED !

    I too share your hopes that any down time is minor & brief, but remain VERY concerned that our wishful thinking may belay the facts of the situation.

    Hopefully we will hear more about how the system will be augmented to reduce the appearing risks!



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