Pentagon will be testing GPS next week, they expect problems : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) : One Thread

Here's a bit from the pentagon regarding disruptions they expect when testing GPS systems next week.

go to

-- Loco (, February 20, 1999


link is.........................


-- Loco (, February 20, 1999.


That's definitely a newsworthy story. Here's a hot link to it and then a couple of quotes:

---------------------------------------------------------------------- ----------

2/20/99 -- 1:10 AM Pentagon to interrupt satellite navigation signals

---------------------------------------------------------------------- ----------

WASHINGTON (AP) - Civilian and military ships and planes could feel the effect of a Pentagon plan to disrupt its satellite navigation over North Carolina next week. The Defense Department will hold tests to prepare for potential loss of the Global Positioning System - a military-run network which provides longitudinal and latitudinal coordinates for ships and planes with appropriate receivers.

The tests and accompanying disruptions could affect the civilian ships and aircraft that use the 24-hour network to help guide them.

The Federal Aviation Administration and the Coast Guard issued notices Friday, cautioning pilots and ship operators against relying on GPS signals during certain four-hour periods from Monday through Saturday next week.

However, a spokesman for the U.S. Atlantic Command, which is running the test, told The Washington Post he expected ``only minimal impact'' on civilian users.

Affected areas will vary greatly according to altitude. For ships, it will involve a circular region within a radius of 40 miles centered about 120 miles east of Wilmington, N.C.

For planes cruising at 40,000 feet, the affected area expands to a radius of 350 miles and reaches as far south as Vero Beach, Fla., and as far north as Sea Isle, N.J.


During the tests, military crews will be evaluated on their ability to identify that GPS systems are not working and on finding other means of navigation. [snip]

-- Kevin (, February 20, 1999.

Lately I have been wondering if the GPS rollover will cause such massive problems worldwide that it causes the US stock market crash and resultant mass panic. I wouldn't be surprised. The whole world seems to be focused upon Y2K, but I suspect we could be in for a rude surprise during August.

-- dinosaur (, February 20, 1999.

Probably not - the impact may be felt - and it might be a strong one - (though personally I will be surprised if it were significant) but this is a test environment.

And the good thing about a test environment is that you can stop the test at many convenient points. Maybe not in time to prevent some failures - particularly if the "failure" has to be detected before you decide to stop! but you can stop the test - unlike Jan 1, 2000. Or the GPS roll-over.

If some catastrophic "loss-of-synch" problem occurs - and cannot be recovered easily - then it is better to find it now, rather than later (at the rollover itself, or during multiple problems occurring in Jan and Feb next year.

So let 'em do it. Write your Congressman a letter thanking them for having the sense to start testing now.

-- Robert A. Cook, P.E. (Kennesaw, GA) (, February 20, 1999.

But Robert, we will not SEE the loss of synch because the test is very locallized.


-- Chuck, night driver (, February 21, 1999.

As I understand it, the test will be limited to essentially the North Carolina area. Since I am close to the NC border, I'll watch the local media and see if anything is reported. Will advise if anything of importance happens. Lobo

-- Lobo (, February 21, 1999.

I don't think you'll hear of many problems from the GPS reset or the test. The engineers (and I spoke to them again just two days ago) that I know who design navigation systems say the receivers will function exactly like any momentary loss of signal. But, that's only because they didn't add anything stupid in their algorithms that couldn't be remedied by powering the unit down and up again. GPS for navigation simply uses time intervals. Some early receivers used a continuous or cumulative time differential and didn't consider the reset or thought the equipment would be replaced with generation changes. (Sound familiar?) Not too many of these are still around. Navigation using GPS is only one of many navigation techniques that shipping and aircraft use. Radio beacon, compass, celestial and dead reckoning are still on the menu in the navigation cafe.

Let me say something here that is obvious to many, but may not be known by some. The atomic clocks used in GPS satellites are only highly accurate timers and no date information is available or transmitted. The reset is no different than resetting a stop watch.

(Again, sorry for stating the obvious, never know what people know)

Europe, Asia and the U.S. are embroiled in a dispute over the next generation of digital cellular phone infrastructure that will consolidate standards and allow users to call from anywhere in the world to anywhere else in the world (GSM 2000). The rest of the world does not want to include GPS in the protocol (W-CDMA Wide Band Code Division Multiple Access) because of the possibility of satellite failure affecting the entire system. The U.S. has stupidly not cooperated with the world and is advancing a standard called W-CDMA -One. This uses and will rely on GPS for operation. The GPS satellites have already exceeded the anticipated lifespan and are operating on 'bonus' time right now. Quaalcom is more interested in maintaining the majority of patent rights for their system and charging exorbitant royalty fees than participating globally.

The current U.S. cellular system is the laughing stock of the world because Americans simply don't know that better technology is available and used in other parts of the world. Quaalcom and Motorola have effectively kept more advanced, less costly, better quality systems out of the market. American consumers just don't realize it. It is not unlike television. The quality of my broadcast television signal (image and sound) is better than any cable signal in the U.S. If you've never seen better quality, you have nothing to compare it to. The entire system from cameras to editing/mixing boards to transmitters is newer and cleaner (signal noise). This isn't a secret to the cable and broadcast operators in the U.S. They will openly admit that they have not spent the money to upgrade...because the public doesn't know any better. The best technology doesn't win - the best marketed technology wins (Windows).

-- PNG (, February 21, 1999.

I have just read in 'Time Bomb 2000' that the GPS system is used by many of the major banks in the US as a standard mechanism for recording the time of day. Because the accuracy of the GPS atomic clocks is among the highest in the world, and because it can be accessed by anyone with a GPS receiver, thousands of financial systems use GPS for their time calculations; they need the accuracy of GPS, because interest calculations on multi-billion dollar loans is sometimes calculated to the nearest millisecond.

I was wondering if any of this testing could have any effect on the banks, or have the banks already addressed this potential problem?

-- Scared (, February 21, 1999.

Yes, GPS is used for international transactions. But, this is one-time event--until the next time(!)

The financial implications are miniscule.

-- PNG (, February 21, 1999.

Moderation questions? read the FAQ