Cyber threats prompt return of radio for ship navigation.

Discussion in 'Amateur Radio News' started by EA1BDF, Aug 10, 2017.

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  1. W8BYH

    W8BYH Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    Magic Fairy Dust.

    I teach classes in GNSS theory for our engineering staff at a large airport and I'm always surprised at how little they understand the basics of GNSS positioning. Many are convinced that the satellite signal carries the actual map information. After all, how else does Google Maps get updated?!
    KI4ZUQ likes this.
  2. SM0AOM

    SM0AOM Ham Member QRZ Page

    Quite an interesting piece of history.

    I recall that one of my professors at Chalmers, dr Olof Rydbeck, once remarked in a lecture that he had been associated with all "famous Pierces", pre-war with G.W. and J.A., and post-war with J.R. (of TWT fame).

    The subject was about frequency control and crystal oscillators.

  3. W1YW

    W1YW Ham Member QRZ Page

    G.W. got J.A. his job at Harvard. J.R., of course was different and shined brightest of the three...

    J.A. was a second cousin, I believe, of G.W.

    I would say your prof was correct! G.W. invented the crystal oscillator (as you know, but others might not) .
    KI4ZUQ likes this.
  4. WA7AXT

    WA7AXT Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    That, you did!!!
    W5THJ likes this.
  5. N6JSX

    N6JSX Ham Member QRZ Page

    I read the comments here and see most are missing the point. If Cyber/Nuke happens the goal is destruction. One of the first part of that destruction is to negate the enemies communications and then their ability to counter destroy. The fall out of this attack will be SAT Comms aka world wide SAT NAV and many more. We all know that the air burst Nuke test in the 50's killed distant RF Comms - for weeks so you can assume Loran/Omega could be toast for some period too. If SATs are out forget ELT locator positioning too.

    Of course there are various levels of an attack - cyber being bad but not causing atmospheric issues (we hope). But if Cyber goes after SATs - mono-frequency GPS, ELT, NOAA WX, etc. are jeopardize. The various academies should require training/proficiency in the OLD stuff, like CW, Sextant, plotting, semaphore, etc. And maybe the USCG needs to consider the vulnerable automated light house system and how fast they can man-up to keep the lights on and add solar/wave-generators for ELT/Channel 16 monitoring.

    If a Nuke - for those surviving will be living in a world pre-electricity - forget SATs, Cell phones, telephones, radio other than solar/wind powered and then the longest the most efficient mode is CW and some PSK modes if you have a solar powered PC.

    What has me more concerned is all the space junk in orbit and then of some country sends a SAT killer missile to take out an opposing SAT - it will be like a billiard game at the break. The movie "Gravity" was a good cause-in-affect unrealistic survival story. Space junk is about to put this movie into real-ism soon enough especially if some small (smaller than a SMART car) undetectable asteroids does a Space Billiard break. The bottom line technology is great but since the 80's this World relies way to much on it - for too many their Smart phone is their life. Just think of the social breakdowns in Western societies when Smart phones go dead - chaos in the streets, dogs doing cats, social Armageddon, our youth lost wondering aimlessly. Without their Smart phone they will not be able to access the Boy/Girl Scout Manuals to learn how to survive without electricity - OMG. :oops: (we need an emoticon to show "kiss your _utt good-bye")
    W5THJ and KA9JLM like this.
  6. KK5R

    KK5R Ham Member QRZ Page

    I haven't read past page one in this forum topic (I plan to read all the comments...) but the first thought that came to mind was the Titanic. When that happened, shipping radio law were changed to have around the clock radio monitoring because there was a ship within a distance of the Titanic to have saved everyone but the radio operator of the nearby ship had gone off duty and they didn't know the Titanic was in trouble.

    My thought is that now may be a good time for ships to have a true backup system that includes a battery-operated CW station, perhaps a couple of portable units, that do not necessarily depend on the ships' antennas but have also a backup antenna for the backup radios. This would also require that at least a second-class radiotelegraph operator be part of the ships' crew if a first-class operator is not required. I would think that a good captain would expect this.

    I remember being a passenger on a river boat on the Amazon in 1958. They used CW stations and a radio operator was standard as part of the crew. I was into radio then and was friendly with the bridge where the radio equipment was located on that vessel, a three deck passenger and cargo vessel made in Holland with a paddle wheel driven by an 18-cyl engine (the pistons were the size of a card table). I was on the bridge one day when a message was coming through and it was running about 30-35 WPM. The captain was a few feet away listening to the CW. He suddenly started to "translate" the CW into Portuguese. The radio operator was surprised and said, "I didn't know you knew Morse code." The captain replied, "I've been on the bridge for almost 30 years and know the rivers but I've not been standing here all this time for nothing. I learned code years ago."

    I wonder how many of ships' crews today are competent in CW...?
    ON6KE and AK7ER like this.
  7. KM4DYX

    KM4DYX XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    And there it is.
  8. AC0GT

    AC0GT Ham Member QRZ Page

    If true then how does a new radio navigation system solve this? The article is concerned about keeping commercial shipping in operation in the case of widespread jamming and/or some long lasting failure in GPS. The presumption seems to be that the ships will remain fully operational, including their radios, or else they could not receive these restored Loran signals.

    I'll stand by my position that this is someone rolling a pork barrel. If there was a concern of loss of GPS, and people actually knew what they were talking about, then they'd be talking of automated inertial and celestial navigation. Even with inertial and celestial navigation there would have to be a means to crosscheck against some outside source for long term accuracy. This exists in the time standard transmitters and other radio systems out there. A combination of computer, radio receiver, and the right software can turn things like radio broadcasts, aircraft radar sweeps, and so much more into beacons to check against.

    We are talking about keeping accuracy for ships and aircraft being able to get from point A to point B. This isn't trying to drop a bomb down a battleship smokestack, or a car staying it its lane. This is something that needs to be within a couple miles. This is already doable by someone doing computations by hand with a sextant, pocketwatch, and charts. Automate this and they can certainly do just as well. Once near port other radio navigation systems come into play, where they are much harder to jam or spoof. If anyone tries then the Navy can drop a bomb down their smokestack. They'll be easy to find at that distance, they'll be the one with the strongest RF output.

    Isn't that a bit like saying that ships rely too much on this "new fangled" diesel technology? Shouldn't every ship be equipped with back up sails? I mean I can agree to the need for crew to be able to do some dead reckoning, read a compass, and so forth in a real SHTF situation. What I see here is a solution (Loran) looking for a problem. Either they aren't trying hard enough to look for that problem, or the solution is both too old and too new to be useful. Loran-A is dead, Loran-B didn't get past planning, Loran-C got obsoleted, and now they want to prop up some new variation on this theme for another try? I'm thinking this horse died a long time ago and another thrashing won't make it move.
  9. KY5U

    KY5U Subscriber QRZ Page

    Scientists, Technologists, and Academics lead us down the path of "advancement" with little regard for consequences. Lets poke the huge bear with this new whiz bang plasma generating stick and enjoy science at work. Hey, why was the bear not grateful for science?
  10. VE7JMR

    VE7JMR Ham Member QRZ Page

    A couple of points:
    1. What has RF jamming of GPS signals got to do with "Cyber"? If someone were to hack the GPS control system, that would be "Cyber", but that's not what this article is about.
    2. Clearly some folks haven't read the linked article. GPS signals are very weak, so relatively easy to jam. (e)LORAN uses much high power signals than GPS, therefore is less susceptible to jamming.
    3. In the event of a war, if the adversary has the capability to destroy GPS satellites in space, it's unlikely eLORAN beacons on the ground will survive very long.
    4. Not sure why the continental US would consider they need eLORAN coverage as any localized GNSS jamming could be dealt with. (RDF to jamming sources) I can appreciate why such a backup system seems a prudent idea around the Korean Peninsula at the moment.
    5. It seems conceivable that carrier signals from non-GNSS satellites in geosynchronous orbit (not in Low/Medium Earth Orbit) could be used non-high precision navigation. Not sure what the positional accuracy would be, but eLORAN isn't high precision.
    6. It would be very difficult to render all satellites usable for navigation inoperative. Given the existing and proposed constellations for GPS (32), GLONASS (24), BeiDou-2 (30) and Galileo (30), while it may be possible to create a temporary hole in system coverage, eliminating enough satellites to shutdown GNSS is a challenging proposition. Not to mention, given the political roots of these different systems, someone's ally would be very upset if their GNSS system were disabled.

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