TELECOM Digest OnLine - Sorted: Re: Solar Storms Interfere With GPS Systems

Re: Solar Storms Interfere With GPS Systems

Duncan Smith (
Wed, 18 Apr 2007 16:56:05 -0700

On Wed, Apr 18, 2007 at 03:03:54PM -0500, Barry Levine wrote:

> If you find your Global Positioning System (GPS) device acting
> weirdly, the problem might be the Sun. Researchers at Cornell
> University reported Wednesday that an unprecedented solar storm last
> December had a serious impact on GPS and other communications
> systems.

> The findings, presented in Washington, D.C. at the first Space
> Weather Enterprise Forum, focused on a giant solar flare on December
> 6, 2006. It created a tremendous radio burst that caused GPS signals
> to be dropped for a large number of receivers, the researchers said.

> Solar flares have been known to disrupt satellite communications and
> impact electricity grids before, but the researchers said the
> December event was different.

On occasion (twice so far) my GPS receiver, a Magellan Sportrak, gets
wrong readings. For example, it might say that I moved 12 miles in 2
minutes, while I'm actually walking in the city. (The position is
then wrong for several hours -- even if I power-cycle the device --
though the velocity reading may be correct sooner.)

This sort of condition hasn't lasted for more than a few hours. I
always thought that it was because of the satellites being
resynchronized, though that's a rather odd proposition for a system
with the sort of requirements that GPS has. But now I hear that it
could have been the weather instead. ...

And what's this business with a secret word for the subject? Am I
just supposed to guess?

Duncan Smith

[TELECOM Digest Editor's Note: No, you are not supposed to guess
regards the secret word ... the secret word is the first word in this
response. What am I supposed to do, go through several hundred
spam/scam messages daily in the hopes I will can guess at the one or
two good valid messages every day? I had hoped -- sincerely hoped --
several months ago to be able to quit having to go through the
mountains of spam each day and only refer to the files which had the
secret word in them? I refuse to keep going through the rationale and
reason for this request. _Regular readers_ are tired of seeing it over
and over. I am not going to continue being the straight man in this
comedy routine. Most days, spam constitutes a minimum of 95 percent of
the telecom mailbox; more often than not, 98-99 percent. Try reading
this newsgroup on a regular basis! PAT]

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