By Ben Ellison
Head’s up: There’s finally a neat electronic solution to the GPS vulnerability problem which was noted here some time back (“The Dark Side of GPS,” April 2002), but which fortunately has not materialized...yet. Si-Tex is about to ship e-Loran, which not only backs up GPS with a modernized, and fiddle-free, version of LORAN, but also delivers better than one-degree heading accuracy, even to a stopped boat. At first, this $1,000 sensor will only work with certain Si-Tex plotters and PC software, but other manufacturers are supposedly free to develop compatibility. The technology sounds like it will offer navigators real belt-and-suspender position plotting, plus relatively inexpensive, nonmagnetic heading for autopilots, radar overlay, etc.; I look forward to trying it. Si-Tex, incidentally, is a fine example of the source/brand complications discussed in the column. As the U.S. arm of major behind-the-scenes player Koden, it markets that company’s radar scanners and other gear both directly under its own name and indirectly via several other brands; and the Si-Tex line also includes gear manufactured by unrelated companies, like C-Map, which may go out under different logos in other countries, even in this one!
Si-Tex ((727) 576-5734. www.si-tex.com.
This article originally appeared in the November 2005 issue of Power & Motoryacht magazine.