Save Our GPS Tracking — Get Writing, Friends

If you’re a friend of GPS, or even you GPS haters who find their way here, if you can ever perceive of a time GPS might find your lost child or help catch your wife’s rapist, or something equally as high in your self interest, you ought to think about joining in the campaign and preventing the commercial destruction of the tax-payer supported infrastructure YOU built and YOU pay for.

(You can find your Representative here:

U.S. House of Representatives:

and Senators easily here:

 U.S. Senate:  )


You should write some letters like this, and you should write them now!

Dear Congressman Tipton:

I am writing on behalf of myself, my Colorado family and my long-term GPS consulting practice to share my concerns about a recent government action that could seriously affect the millions of Americans who use GPS every day.

In January, the FCC authorized a satellite company called LightSquared to use their satellite frequencies to build a new ground-based wireless network.  Unfortunately, the FCC is allowing this new wireless network to be built despite the fact it uses almost the same frequencies as the Global Positioning System (GPS) satellites.

GPS providers believe that this new wireless network will cause serious interference to GPS receivers across the country.  In addition this is my own personal and professional opinion.  I feel this is of significant concern to you as a Congressman from Colorado, as the GPS is a national, even global asset managed right off the plains of our great state.

Although the FCC has directed the company to conduct an interference study, we are very concerned that FCC’s plan for addressing interference to GPS is inadequate.  To expect the entity with a vast commercial stake in this potential GPS danger to be an impartial testing agency is ludicrous and dangerous, in my professional view.  At the very least, we must insist upon an independent, international organization for testing and certification of this proposed infringement on the GPS spectrum. 

Not only the USA, but our global allies may be adversely affected if the United Sates does not live up to our role as the manager of this critical resource.

As a provider of GPS consulting services, I am concerned that the FCC decision will harm my business and affect the millions of American consumers, businesses and government users who rely on GPS. 

There is also a potential for grave consequences to US intelligence and military services which can’t be mentioned here, and which LightSquared does not have the level of security clearance nor ‘need to know’ to even be aware of.  This is akin to allowing children to play with a loaded gun. 

While I am sure LightSquared are a concerned, honorable organization, they are playing with dangers they really do not understand, in the name of (possible) short-term financial gain, at the (possible) expense of our very national security.

I urge you to contact the FCC to let them know of the importance of protecting GPS from interference.

Thank you and please let me know if I can be of any further assistance in this matter.

David W. Starr

Save our GPS





You should also think seriously about joining or otherwise lending support to the coalition to Save Our GPS.:

There’s More To GPS Than Dashboard Toys

Updating the GPS satellite constellation takes next step
Posted: September 25, 2006

One year to the day after the Global Positioning System constellation began a modernization effort to improve the accuracy of the navigation network, the next step in that upgrade blasted into space from Cape Canaveral, Florida…. read a lot more here, great write up.

So when someone says GPS, what do you think of?  A little $89 toy from Cabella’s that helps you find last year’s fishing whole?  A colorful little mapping screen on your car’s dash with a mechanical voice screeching "turn Right Now" just after you passed the turn?  Or are you more like an intellectual acquaintance of mine who is so in love with his own education that he thinks low-life’s like Air Force enlisted troops don’t have much on the ball?

Well’s here’s what GPS is really all about:

Launching real satellites into space.  I say real because these aren’t tinker toys like NASA’s shuttle that breaks every time the moon changes phase and falls apart in mid-flight … I’m talking about birds that have been launched and launched and have had but one failure in 20 years.

The current satellites are built by Lockheed-Martin and they ride a Delta booster, as dependable as a Boeing 747, and co-incidentally, also built by Boeing.

In the white cone you see on top of the Delta in the photo is a Block 2R bird.  Military hardware is often built in "blocks", denoting major manufacturing improvements being made to the same basic airframe.  So the GPS birds are only in their second major rework, with the little R in the name standing for "Replacement"  I guess you could call this Block 2 and 1/2’s" if you wanted to. 

  If you read the article I’ve linked to you’ll see some of the praise that senior leadership has for the fellows and gals who "fly" these space machines out there on the barren plains east of Colorado Springs.

All the birds have lasted way past their design life, some an astounding amount of time.  The reasons I’m sure are many, the design is good, the workmanship in manufacturing has been great and there’s been  a little good luck too, but a heck of a lot of credit goes to these folks, many of them just ordinary "blue collar" kind of people like me who don’t just sit out there and watch dots fly past in the sky.  They fine tune each spacecraft continuously.  They have a program that continually restores the batteries which is one of the most critical reasons the birds last as long as they do.  And when you read in the news or in official specifications how the accuracy of the standard GPS navigation signal is 15 meters, don’t you believe for a minute these folks sit back and accept "working up to standards" as good enough.  When each active bird comes over the horizon for the South West Asia area, each and every bird has been updated to produce standard accuracies down to just a meter or two, day in, day your, twice a day, ti9mes 29 or more birds.

On Thanksgiving day when you’re bloated from turkey, on Christmas morning when your kids are opening presents, on Super Bowl Sunday when you’re stuffed with beer and chips, just remember the folks out on South Enoch Road making space systems look easy

Act Now To Save GPS As We Know It — Critical Information For All GPS users

I reported on this a few weeks back, along with a plea to contact your elected representatives on the issue.  I don’t know how many of you did … my Congressman and Senators apparently were too busy dismantling Medicare to take notice. 

I also joined the Coalition to Save Our GPS, something else I recommend you do … link is here.

Seems that the NBA has also joined, as should anyone else who cares about aviation, or even if an ambulance can reach you in an emergency.  In particular, I invite you to rad the attached factual report from Emergency Services and New Mexico State Police communication experts, detailing in simple and incontrovertible terms, that testing of just one of LightSquared’s proposed 40,000 transmitter sites.  It’s not nice stuff, folks.  here’s what the business aviation news folks published recently

LightSquared GPS Interference Reported

Early field tests of the effects of LightSquared’s 4G signal on GPS-dependent devices showed some disruption of service when tested by first responders in New Mexico. In a letter to federal officials (PDF) last week, Bill Range, the program director for New Mexico’s 911 system, says the tests run by police and emergency medical services personnel from two counties "substantiate concerns that the LightSquared network will cause interference to GPS signals and jeopardize 911 and public safety nationwide." In the tests, first responders reported inaccuracies and failures with GPS equipment in proximity to the LightSquared towers that persisted even after the 4G signal was turned off. As we reported Monday, LightSquared began live tests from a transmitter in the Nevada desert near Boulder City.

(Have you flown through the test area during testing (midnight to 6 a.m.)? If so, have you noticed any effect on your GPS equipment? After telling the FAA, why not drop us a line at and let us and your fellow SatViz, GPS ROI Blog readers know what you experienced?)

Meanwhile, LightSquared has submitted a progress report to the FCC on the testing so far (PDF), and the technical work group overseeing the testing according to GPS World will host a webinar May 26 to discuss the highly technical report. Also, the National Business Aviation Association has announced that it has joined the Coalition to Save Our GPS. The coalition was formed in April in response to the LightSquared proposal, which will involve the construction of 40,000 transmission towers broadcasting broadband Internet signals in a frequency band adjacent to the band used by GPS satellite transmitters. The fear is that the much more powerful broadband signals will overwhelm the weak GPS signals…. Full AvWeb report

GPS Tracking at RiskHere’s what’s goping on here, folks, in your knowlegeable but non-PhD reporter’s opinion.  I base this on years of experience working with the GPS under the USAF (Air Force Space Command), as well as even more years watching private industry cast their eyes longingly on the portions of the frequency spectrum reserved for the US military.  Always a prime target for civilian targeting, since the DoD doesn’t have the powerful legal background and resources to fight all potential “frequency grab” issues in court.

I fully believe the folks at LightSquared think they know what they are doing and I do not ascribe any malice toward them.

Howvere, notice the word I used there, purposely “think”?

There are forces at play here that even LightSquared’s PhD’s do not fully comprehend.  We already make use of the GPS in ways that were not even written into the original ICD (Interface Control Document) which attempted to doc8ment the know uses and characteristics of the signal.

More uses and better ways to make use of existing applications come about every day … so long as the GPS spectrum remains unsullied by high power interference sources that were not there. not even envisioned, when the GPS was designed.

To put it into terms much simpler and more direct than you are going to hear at the May webinar, It took several hundred years, for example, to prove the link between smoking and lung cancer, heart disease and other physical ailments.   The methodology being used here is very much akin to letting a teen sit in a room and tasking him to smoke Lucky Strike after Lucky Strikes, while telling the press, “See no ill effects, we told you so.”

Well, when I read those reports from the New Mexico public safety agencies, I certainly heard the the beginning signs of a distinct ‘smoker’s cough”, didn’t you?

Talk to your legislators, and to your superiors if you work for the USAF, the FAA, the FCC or an other government agency.  This is a very dumb thing to do, and, side from potential profit for LightSquared, has little or no redeeming features for mankind.  Stop the madness, protect the GPS we already have come to depend upon, and expend the effort in the charade of testing on building an even better GPS … minus significant man-made sources of interference where none exists today.  It’s important.

GPS Fish Finders

For the avid fisherman, a fish finder is a wonderful tool for you to take with you on your expeditions out on the ocean. The fish finder that you choose can greatly increase your odds of finding and catching all the fish that you want when you are fishing for sport or even as a commercial fisherman.

For the avid fisherman, a fish finder is a wonderful tool for you to take with you on your expeditions out on the ocean. The fish finder that you choose can greatly increase your odds of finding and catching all the fish that you want when you are fishing for sport or even as a commercial fisherman.

Finding where the fish are is the most important part of having success on your fishing trip. While some fishermen just use their instinct and search the sea for the best place to fish, others prefer to use a fish finder. Originally the technology was designed to allow the military to find submarines on the bottom of the ocean floor. Now the same technology can provide a fisherman with all the information that they need to find where the fish are located.

This technology uses sonar to “read” the area that exists between your boat and the ocean floor, as well as any objects or obstacles in between. Most of the time, these “obstacles” are actually fish. The fish finders of today are much more sophisticated than they were originally for military use. In fact, today’s modern fish finder will display the information in map format so that you can tell exactly where the fish are located in proximity to the ocean floor.

Fish finders are a great tool for commercial fishermen to use when their livelihood depends on the amount of fish that are caught. They are also a great tool for a sportsmen who wants to increase his odds of finding fish. It is simply an aid that you can use to help you produce the best results on all of your fishing trips. They are also a great tool to have if you take others out fishing on your boat. You can bring your guests to the very place the fish are swimming and ensure that everyone has a good time on the fishing trip.

As advances continue, fish finders will only get better. Technology continually improves, which means the fish finders themselves will also improve. Eventually, it’s expected that fish finders will be pretty much “foolproof.” It can be expensive to buy a fish finder if you choose a model with all the bells and whistles. Eventually, though, just about every fisherman, professional or amateur, will have this on their boats. One of the most popular is a handheld model that you can take with you wherever you go, so that you can use it even on someone else’s boat, not just your own.

There are a lot of different types of fish finders on the market, and lots of brands. It’s easy to choose the model that best meets your needs. If you fish occasionally and just for fun, you don’t need a terribly expensive model. If you fish for a living, though, you’re going to want to invest in a much more expensive model that’s going to get you good results so that your paycheck, too, is much improved over what it might be otherwise. Rest assured, though, that what you pay will come back to you many fold in profits. There are a lot of models on the market, so choose the one that’s best for you based upon your needs.

About the Author:

GPS Tracking — Is Your Service Fleet a Cost Center or a Profit Center?

I’ve been telling this GPS Tracking story for years.  In high profit time or in lean profit times, businesses who sell anything involving a service fleet can look at things in one of two ways:

  • Your service fleet is a Cost Center … a necessary but costly “evil”
  • Your service fleet can be turned into a significant Profit Center
    • GPS Tracking cuts costs per truck … Bottom Line profit improvement
    • GPS Tracking cuts cost per technician … more jobs completed … Bottom Line profit boost
    • GPS Tracking improves customer satisfaction … boosts reputation and sales … this leads directly to both Top Line and Bottom Line gains.

You don’t have to take my word on this, here’s a $400 gift from your online resource for GPS-induced profit improvements.

View More Complimentary Research

Location Intelligence:
Slash Costs per Vehicle

Discover how Best-in-Class companies…

  • Complete More Work Orders
  • Cut Time-to-Repair
  • Gain Service Vehicle Visibility

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Organizations are taking a more comprehensive view of the benefits afforded by location intelligence. Routing, scheduling, navigation, planning, asset security, and fleet management are functions that are being enabled with the use of GPS- or GIS-enabled location information… Read More

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GPS for Pets — White Bear Technologies RoamEO

Here’s another entry in the GPS Tracking for Pets derby.  I like this one because it seems better suited to how people typically interact with their pets.  And, it doesn’t require any service from cell phone companies of any description.  Not only does this mean there won’t be any monthly fees, but the darn thing might actually work.

Continue reading “GPS for Pets — White Bear Technologies RoamEO”