How’s that new GPS unit working? Got all those bells and whistles, those sometimes frustrating-to-learn menu selections and learned where those “up” and “down” arrows move you.
Work great, don’t they: GPS gizmos help us get from Point A to Point B without a whole lot of fuss these days. They have helped us locate what were hard-to-find wrecks and natural and artificial reefs, and have helped us catch more fish.
There’s no way to tell, but it’s not too far-fetched to believe that GPS units have saved lives here and kept us from getting stranded for hours on shallow-water reefs that, years ago, we found because the boat ran aground.
BoatUS issued a warning last Wednesday about GPS BoatUS staffer Margaret Podlich reported the Federal Communications Commission issued a “conditional waiver” in January to broadband wireless communications provider LightSquared, a waiver that would expand the land-based use of GPS.
“This is a remarkably short comment period for an issue that has such dire consequences for America’s boaters and every other GPS user in the country,” Podlich said.
Here’s why: BoatUS’ report is that the FCC plans to allow LightSquared to use a frequency bandwidth adjacent to the GPS frequencies.
The report cited LightSquared plans to build 40,000 ground stations, and that “transmissions from these stations have shown to cause interference in hundreds of millions of GPS receivers across a wide range of uses, including aviation, marine, emergency response and industrial users such as delivery and trucking companies.”
The FCC’s move comes after the Department of Homeland Security shut down LORAN, which was established two decades ago as a navigational to aid boaters, mostly recreational boaters. The Coast Guard told recreational boaters to get GPS units to replace their LORAN guiding units when the LORAN system was turned off.
The 30-day comment period expires July 30.
For more, go to website: www.BoatUS.com/gov or you can contact your Congressional representative and senators.
For the second time in two years, the Department of Wildlife and Fisheries has closed popular fishing spots on the Rockefeller State Wildlife Refuge after recreational fishermen failed to clean up behind themselves.
Effective last Monday and running through a “closed to the public until further notice,” the Mud Hole water management control structure is off limits.
Littering is to blame. Seems cast-netters didn’t clean bycatch — identified mostly at menhaden — from banks and around the structure after plucking shrimp from nets.
The rotting fish created what Rockefeller managers said was an unsanitary condition in the area that’s accessible by boat.