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Old 11-02-2020, 12:48 PM   #1
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Higher power 5G cell signals MAY interfere with low power GPS signals

https://www.avweb.com/aviation-news/...-cell-network/
IMHO, GPS signals, especially timing signals, are way too important to our economy and security yet easy to be blocked and there is no viable backup system in place at present. LORAN C was the best available option but when I last checked it was in danger of being scuttled.
Your thoughts?
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Old 11-02-2020, 01:07 PM   #2
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To be clear.. this pertains only to one new specific Cellular carrier that is not in operation at this time.

Your post sounds like all 5G cellular networks create this chance of interference with GPS.
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Old 11-02-2020, 02:15 PM   #3
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Your post sounds like all 5G cellular networks create this chance of interference with GPS.
It doesn't sound that way to me. The issue seems to me to be solely the possible interference of the unprecedented commercial use of a part of the frequency spectrum reserved for the DOD. GPS sattelites transmit at low power on just two frequencies in the L band.
Ligado(formerly the bankrupt Lightsquared) may be the only 5G network wanting to use L band frequencies (I don't know) but they do seem to be trying to be the "camel sticking its nose under the tent."
GPS denial is easy to accomplish by jamming, spoofing or possibly other methods. IMO, many bad actors, not all of them state governments, could shut down our use of navigation and timing signals whenever they want to. I may be wrong and I hope I am but at present I don't know of any ways to prevent it.
Sorry for the digression. The following article may get us back to the specific issue at hand. One thing that concerns me is the interjection of Attorney General William Barr into an issue which should not be of concern to the DOJ. The phrase "follow the money" comes to mind.

https://physicstoday.scitation.org/d...1063/PT.3.4544
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Old 11-02-2020, 08:19 PM   #4
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LORAN C was the best available option but when I last checked it was in danger of being scuttled.
Are you certain you mean LORAN C? It was killed off a decade ago.

Remember the Teledyne TDL-711 LORAN C? We ran it in corporate helicopters last century.

Ray
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Old 11-02-2020, 11:32 PM   #5
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Are you certain you mean LORAN C? It was killed off a decade ago.

Remember the Teledyne TDL-711 LORAN C? We ran it in corporate helicopters last century.

Ray
I've been out of the loop for quite awhile now. I know the bean counters have tried for years to kill it off so they can put all the dollars into GPS saying Loran-C(and now eLoran) is redundant. That's really putting all the eggs in one basket given the vulnerability of satellite-based low power systems. I frequently get NOTAMS(Notices to Airmen) saying GPS will be unavailable in different areas for defined periods of time. The locations are often near nuclear labs in New Mexico and military installations like the Naval Weapons Center (NWC) in China Lake, California.
Loran has come a very long way since my first exposure to it in 1965 aboard a destroyer in the North Atlantic. The Loran A system took up a large part of the Nav Shack just aft of the bridge. I vaguely remember having to tune frequencies and line up pips on an oscilloscope, consult a thick book full of tables of numbers then plot arcs based on VLF timed signals from 3 different ground stations on special navigation charts on a chart table. The ship's position would be somewhere in the small triangle where the 3 plotted arcs intersected on the chart. As I understand it the signals from GPS satellites work basically the same way. The VLF signals of Loran are much more powerful and therefore harder to jam than the much lower power GPS signals from satellites.
More than 10 years ago some avionics manufacturers had combined GPS and Loran-C receivers in panel-mounted units which shared the same display. Some even included VORTAC/ILS receivers in one panel-mounted unit suitable for general aviation aircraft.
While the government was busy decommissioning and dismantling Loran stations they were also doing the same with VORTACs with the intention of saving money leaving GPS the only source of navigation signals. I think, as many others do, that is a reckless and dangerous position to put us in. GPS signals are used for many things essential to the health of our economy other than the obvious air and ground navigation.
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Old 11-03-2020, 03:23 PM   #6
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LORAN A. I remember it. On our first transatlantic trip in the late 1970's we had a single inertial navigation system (INS) installed, a Delco Carousel if I recall. The pilots were supposed to use the portable LORAN A as the backup and it was the one where you had a 3" scope where you had to match up the pulses. Wow, that's really reaching back in the memory cobwebs.

Needless to say, they soon gave up on the LORAN and paper charts and just trusted the INS, which actually worked well.

After that trip I got to install a pair of Litton LTN-104 INS systems with DME (distance measuring equipment) updating capability so we could use them for RNAV (area navigation) inside the US.

Then later on we paired an INS with a VLF/OMEGA system and that combination worked really well. Then the OMEGA navigation system got shut down as well. VLF probably is still active because it uses phase-stable signals to allow communication with submerged submarines.

Since VLF and OMEGA both transmitted in the audible spectrum of 10 - 14 KHz for OMEGA, I always wondered what they would sound like if someone disconnected the antenna and connected it to a speaker. A massive, honkin' speaker, of course.

I think the OMEGA transmitters were around 10 KW but the Naval VLF stations were in the megawatt range.

Outside of ICBM's, I wonder how prevalent INS systems still are. The later ones we used had ring laser gyros instead of real spinning gyroscopes. I always marveled at how good our technology was that we could use two light pulses traveling through about 18" of tubing and measure the differential in how far they traveled in order to determine speed, attitude and location.

And that was over thirty years ago.

Good times.

Ray
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Old 11-04-2020, 09:12 PM   #7
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All our A320s and B757s had triple redundant IRSs with ground-based VHF navaids for updating. Only one of our leased 757s had GPS for position updating.
I bought a $60 handheld GPS on sale at Fry's in LAS when I was based there. On some of those long night overwater legs I would play with it a bit. I was pleasantly surprised to find it always agreed with the INS speeds and courses within one knot and one degree. It was usually right on.
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Old 11-04-2020, 10:12 PM   #8
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I've been away from that field for two decades now. Is there still a 15 minute INS/IRS initialization time?

I remember the instructor telling us the system could initialize far faster and they did for the military but the feds imposed both a much longer initialization period and intentional drift to keep other countries from using or own equipment against us. I always thought it was bit silly, though. If someone was going to launch an attack against us with our own equipment, well, they'd just fire the systems up a bit sooner.

The part that always amazed me was how an INS somehow knew its approximate latitude. If the pilot messed up on the latitude coordinate entry by enough the system would refuse to initialize.

But not longitude. We had a repeated write-up that the system was off intermittently by fifteen miles so I got in the habit of checking it before each flight. And then one day I caught it but didn't say a word. They were only going 90 miles so I knew they would be OK.

When the crew got back I still remember the captain exclaiming "Intermittent, I tell you. It's intermittent! Those darn things were off fifteen miles again on the way to Detroit and perfect on the way back. Both systems! The INS and the VLF/OMEGA!"

I had already clued our Chief Pilot in and he was with me at the time. I said "Both systems were off fifteen miles? One's radio and one's inertial. Any chance you mis-typed the present position when you initialized the systems?"

"NOT A CHANCE! WE ALWAYS DOUBLE-CHECK IT"

My response: "Any chance one of you entered in the CLE vortac as the present position instead of the KCLE airport?"

The Chief Pilot started laughing and told them what I had found. The VORTAC was fifteen miles to the west. They double-checked it, with the wrong place.

A different crew confessed to making a similar error. It was near the end of a late night flight from KCLE (Cleveland, OH) to KLAX (Los Angeles, CA) and they looked down at the INS, yawned and said they should start their descent soon. "Center, XXXX ready to come on down."

Center replied that they were about to call them because they were only sixty miles from LAX, still at FL390 and 460 knots! Center said they thought they were staying high to conserve fuel. They did not deny it.

They covered it well and Kenny said it was all "a******s and elbows" as they ran through the checklists and threw out everything but the kitchen sink to get slowed down.

Once they parked they saw that they had entered the longitude for LAX as W 128 instead of W 118 and that put their destination out in the Pacific. The INS happily did as it was told.

Ray
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Old 11-04-2020, 10:54 PM   #9
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LORAN C Shutdown

LORAN C was shutdown in 2010. There is a push to get eLORAN up and running. GPS signals are easy to jam and spoof. Sadly we have all our eggs in one basket using GPS as our only navigation source.

I worked on LORAN station for 25+ years.

Carl
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Old 11-05-2020, 01:24 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by NXR View Post
I've been away from that field for two decades now. Is there still a 15 minute INS/IRS initialization time?

I remember the instructor telling us the system could initialize far faster and they did for the military but the feds imposed both a much longer initialization period and intentional drift to keep other countries from using or own equipment against us. I always thought it was bit silly, though. If someone was going to launch an attack against us with our own equipment, well, they'd just fire the systems up a bit sooner.
I remember the A-6 Intruder crews had to man and start their aircraft before even the fighter crews who were usually the first to launch. The reason, as I understood it, was for INS initialization. My first hand exposure to INS happened years later in the airlines.
Aircraft operating areas at air carrier airports are thoroughly surveyed and as I understand it air carrier aircraft INS databases load the takeoff and landing airport information when each airport identifier is loaded into the box by the aircrew. When takeoff power is applied the INS (if airport and runway are properly entered in the FMS) updates itself as to position.
One thing I always wondered about was how the INS equipped aircraft aboard the boat knew with any degree of accuracy how to initialize a runway which was always moving and possibly turning during a long initialization process. Before GPS the only navaid available for updating during blue water ops was the TACAN and it was always moving. I vaguely remember that the boat had to maintain a steady course for some minutes before turning into the wind for launch but I may well be wrong. I never spent any time on the bridge during flight ops.
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Old 11-06-2020, 04:21 PM   #11
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As I undersrand it Aircraft operating areas at air carrier airports are thoroughly surveyed and as I understand it air carrier aircraft INS databases load the takeoff and landing airport information when each airport identifier is loaded into the box by the aircrew. When takeoff power is applied the INS (if airport and runway are properly entered in the FMS) updates itself as to position.
So, you're a newbie.

Back in the Good Old Days (tm) the only "database" was the Jepps. The nav systems stored up to ten waypoints, and just by 1, 2, 3, etc., and needed manually programmed with full lat/long every trip.

Everyone had books that they carried, created on a real typewriter, listing out the airports and navaids they used and their lat/long copied from the Jepps.

Then along came a company called Vandling Corporation with a product called NDB-2. It had a whopping 2 megabits of bubble memory and a 3 1/2" floppy disk reader for updates, usually located in a side console. It actually had all navaids and airports programmed in along with their lat/long for use by the nav systems!

And cost tens of thousands back in the 1980's. It was a hard sell at first but later became almost a standard piece of equipment. It's so old I can't even find it on Ebay, although I did once.

N41 24.2 W81 50.6

I typed those coordinates so often I'll never forget them. It's the ramp of the FBO where I worked back then.

Ray
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Old 11-06-2020, 08:54 PM   #12
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LORAN C was shutdown in 2010. There is a push to get eLORAN up and running. GPS signals are easy to jam and spoof. Sadly we have all our eggs in one basket using GPS as our only navigation source.

I worked on LORAN station for 25+ years.

Carl
Here's a couple of links to articles describing the problems with putting all the eggs in one basket. Very few people have any idea how dangerous it is to our economy to procrastinate in bringing a suitable terrestial backup system online for satellite-based GPS.
https://rntfnd.org/2019/06/02/gps-ja...dsecurity-com/
https://rntfnd.org/2020/11/05/timing...spatial-world/
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Old 11-23-2020, 02:58 PM   #13
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Here's a good article on Lockheed-Martin's GPS III satellites and their enhanced capabilities to counteract jamming and spoofing of signals and the addition of a new civilian frequency.
https://www.cnet.com/google-amp/news...a-big-upgrade/
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Old 11-24-2020, 07:21 AM   #14
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Iím not to worried. Just trust the government will do what is best for us common folks. Safe travels.

Enjoy the journey
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