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 avweb.com 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 dave@satviz.com 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.