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May 09, 2011

Allan Tarvid

The Defense Department justifies limiting the position accuracy available from civilian GPS units via selective availability (S.A.) by claiming it prevents enemies from using our own system against us. (Selective availability is the government intentionally degrading position accuracy.) The potential threat the government describes most often to justify S.A. is that without it a terrorist could equip a guided missile with a civilian receiver and cause havoc with pinpoint accuracy.
The slanting gray cloud stretched from the sky down to the sea and ran directly across the course of the Hatteras and as far as the eye could see to each side. Somewhere inside that opaque wall was the harbor and a secure slip. As the cloud enveloped the Hatteras' flybridge, rain dropped the visibility to zero. The fact that the captain was about to enter one of the busiest harbors on the New England coast simply added to the his stress level. He'd have to sit "hove-to" to ride it out several miles offshore until the squall passed before trying to get into the harbor. Sound familiar?
Several years back, Computrol offered one of its Bottom Line fish finders with a feature called the "Specie Select," an LCD graph that let you select your target fish species from an on-screen list. The unit came under attack from all quarters, suffering a great deal of criticism on the grounds that a fish finder can't distinguish different fish species. Had the critics bothered to read the unit's owner's manual, they would have learned that the manufacturer never claimed that the unit could identify a particular fish.
No so very long ago, making a telephone call from far offshore cost a fortune. You needed to buy a single-sideband radio, then install it in your boat (not an easy affair with the special wiring required). Then you paid to connect to the marine operator/service provider like WOO or WOM. If atmospheric conditions conspired against you, you might never have been able to place the call at all. Also, there was the cost of the telephone call and the fact that the entire world could listen in on both sides of your conversation simply by tuning in to that frequency.
Considering the speed at which this industry is evolving, experts agree that in as little as a year, we will be using new technology that we can't imagine right now.
Thanks to new technology, today's radars crop up on much smaller boats and require little more knowledge or effort to install, maintain and use than a GPS or VHF radio.
The new software package predicts tides and currents from Maine to Mexico.
SI-TEX's most popular sounder in the company's history received enough improvements in 1 to rate a Mark II designation.
The new Interphase MPC 2000 is a Windows-5/8-based personal computer designed to handle the tough marine environment.
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