USCG announces CRADA for alternative to GPS timing

By Brian at January 12, 2012 18:37
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In the Federal Register on January 11, 2012 the Coast Guard announced it was establishing an Cooperative Research and Development Agreement (CRADA) with UrsaNav, Inc. "to research, evaluate, and document... a wireless technical approach for providing precise time using U.S. government facilities and frequency authorizations."

The announcement said they plan to use old LORAN station locations and four frequency ranges:

  • LORAN frequencies (90-110 kHz)
  • dGPS frequencies (283.5-325 kHz)
  • HA-dGPS frequencies (435-490 kHz)
  • former international calling and distress frequency (500 kHz)
It will be interesting to see how this testing goes and to find out more about this technology. There has been a lot of speculation abut what the former LORAN and 500kHz distress frequencies would be used for and a lot of hopes they'd be used to expand communications bandwidth available for e-Navigation uses. Timing information is certainly a valuable component of e-Navigation and a reliable backup to GPS for timing is needed.

 

RTCM 2011: USCG regulatory updates regarding AIS

By Brian at May 16, 2011 10:30
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Larry Solomon from the Coast Guard Spectrum Management office provided his usual informative presentation at the 2011 RTCM Annual Meeting regulatory update session.  He covered USCG proposed changes to Part 80 of the FCC rules which govern maritime communications in the US.

He briefly touched on some problems with the current Part 80 - it has been 25 years since the last comprehensive revision to the regs and there are substantial changes that should be made to make them more usable.  There also are issues with regulations that use "incorporation by reference" (IBR), where another document (e.g., a technical standard) is referenced rather than including the whole text in the regulation. There are approximately 30 IBR updates pending due to hold up at the Federal Register office. Ideally there would be a comprehensive review of the Part 80 rules, but USCG doesn't have the resources to do this (estimated at 6 months to a year's worth of work).

However, there is an interesting proposal to create a new subpart (the currently-unused Subpart Q) to the Part 80 regs solely for AIS regulations. Right now AIS requirements are in various parts of part 80; Subpart Q would gather them together, including: Class A, Class B (SO and CS), AIS-SART, AIS AtoN, AIS testing. One question is whether other aspects of AIS management would fit into this subpart?  Issues such as VDL management, the process for creation and use of application specific messages, and other uses (and prohibitions on use) of the AIS service.

Jorge Arroyo concluded the update with a tantalizing promise that the semiannual regulatory agenda - due to be published any day at reginfo.gov - would include news on the "Final Action" for the AIS carrige requirements regulation. The NPRM was published in December 2008, and final comments were collected by mid-2009. Hopefully this will give us a light at the end of the tunnel for the expansion of the AIS carriage requirements. Jorge also reminded us of the very informative AIS information website he helps maintain with the USCG Navigation Center.

eNavigation 2010 underway in Seattle

By Brian at November 16, 2010 14:43
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The 2010 eNavigation conference is underway at the Bell Harbor Conference Center in Seattle.  About 100 participants have already been treated to presentations on identifying problems related to eNav.  Throughout the conference we will work on how to address these problems.

You can follow the conference on this blog and through Twitter - I'll be posting as @MaritimeSpatial and using the #eNav2010 hash tag.  Join the conversation!