Defense PNT Newsletter

No Status Quo for GPS

August 15, 2012By

The huge white charger galloped into the clearing. The destrier slid to a stop, steam snorting from his nostrils, as he pranced to a huge oak tree where the four-star Templar Knight astride the magnificent equine posted an urgent message for all to see in status quo voluntas non sufficit. Checking his GPS, the knight charged off into the surrounding woods. Then I awoke, but remembered the quirky dream vividly. The Latin phrase, resurrected from torturous Latin courses more than 45 years ago, translates to, “The staus quo will no longer suffice,” a theme being pushed at Air Force Space Command and, indeed, throughout the space community and the entire DoD, for that matter. read more

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My First-Hand Experience with the Waldo Canyon Wildfire and GPS

July 10, 2012By
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Tuesday, the 26th of June, started off as a beautiful day in Colorado Springs, if you ignored the towering plume of smoke to the west from the Waldo Canyon Wildfire. The wildfire started three days before in the popular Waldo Canyon hiking area in the Rocky Mountains just off Highway 24. While people in the Colorado Springs area were concerned, there were currently eight other wildfires raging in the state of Colorado and over the past month arsonist(s) were suspected of starting up to 20+ wildfires. So many had become inured to the sight and smell of smoke. Only one serious wildfire was known to be currently out of control in Colorado at the time, so concerns in the Colorado Springs community could be described as moderate. Then at 1630, that’s 4:30 P.M. for my non-military readers, the wildfire displayed its true personality. read more

NIST and Metrology

June 11, 2012By

A few months ago at a speaking engagement, I took questions from the audience after my presentation. The audience was made up of GPS enthusiasts, GPS equipment vendors, and evidently GPS neophytes as well, because the last question was asked by a young lady, from a large well known government user segment, who was intrigued by but obviously knew little about the inner workings of GPS. Her question so stunned me and the audience that it brought the questions to an abrupt end. Thank goodness no one actually laughed out loud, and frankly I was so incredulous that I almost gave an impertinent answer that would not have served any purpose other than to embarrass the young lady and expose some insensitivity on my part. No, fortunately, after recovering from the initial shock due to the naiveté of the question, I answered her with a straight face, because it seemed to be an honest and sincere question. read more

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CAST Navigation: Signal Diversity and the PHGPST

May 8, 2012By

I have long been an advocate of signal diversity as a solution to many of the ills that plague the GPS user, especially outdated user equipment. The best equipment, if it were available today, would be the PHGPST or Perfect Handheld GPS Transceiver. I cannot count the thousands of letters and emails from warfighters, first responders, and civil users who immediately see the value of software-defined receivers and want to know where to purchase the PHGPST. For now, some early GPS software-defined user equipment does exist, but to reach the goal of the PHGPST receiver manufacturers must first be able to accurately and reliably simulate/generate all the diverse PNT (position, navigation and timing) signals available, which include some signals not ordinarily categorized as PNT signals today. Certainly not an easy task; however, there is hope. Recently I heard about a small GNSS/INS simulation company that may be paving the way to the PHGPST — CAST Navigation in Tewksbury, Massachusetts. read more

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Grand Setting for a Grand Summit

April 11, 2012By

Most of Munich is an ultra-modern German city, albeit one of the most expensive cities in Europe, where you can travel anywhere by tram, automobile, S-Bahn, rail or taxi. But why bother when you have the opportunity and thrill of walking through the old city center and have Bavarians greet you with "May God greet you" or "God bless­"? — what a way to say hello. That experience, which brings back fond memories — more on that in my main column — combined with the wonderful aromas from bakeries and early morning baristas hard at work, which are hard to pass by, made the short walk to the Residenz München seem all too short; and then you are there — greeted with the magnificence of the Munich Satellite Summit venue. read more

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Grüss Gott – Munich Satellite Summit

April 11, 2012By

There is a reason the Munich Satellite Summit is billed as a summit and not a symposium or conference. It’s a different atmosphere that invites group chats, informal get-togethers, and networking. One item of note that I came away with is that the Chinese are looking for help and partners for their PNT constellations, of which there appear to be three in the making. But asked point blank when they would finally release the full ICD specifications for receivers (a partial ICD has been released) the answer was the same as last year. They did not know when that might happen. It is hard to build receivers and support a specific program, much less three PNT constellations, when you don’t have the specifications. read more

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eLORAN and UrsaNav: Timing Is Everything

March 14, 2012By

The first part of the recent UrsaNav press release says it best: This week for the first time since August 2010 advanced low frequency (LF) signals, including a new eLORAN, are on the air in North America! As a result of a Cooperative Research and Development Agreement (CRADA) between the United States Coast Guard (USCG) and UrsaNav, Inc. live testing... read more

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Rugged GPS-Enabled Windows Laptops

February 7, 2012By

I brushed the snow from my keyboard and in my mind I could hear the neighbors whispering, "Call the men in white coats, there he goes again." They may have cause for concern, as I am sitting on my deck during a lull in a major blizzard, typing on a laptop computer half buried in snow. My warfighter correspondence indicates that some war tasks call out for a rugged laptop rather than a rugged handheld device; thus, this cold warrior test of a device with embedded GPS capability. read more

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