A Community Devoted to the Preservation and Practice of Celestial Navigation and Other Methods of Traditional Wayfinding
From: Jing C
Date: 2017 Sep 3, 01:35 -0700
Hello everyone! Before I get to my question, I wanted to introduce myself. My name is Jing and I've only recently started learning celestial navigation by going through David Burch's home study book. I originally became interested in celestial navigation when one day I was thinking about what people would do if space debris (or a North Korean missile) took down GPS satellites, and also less morbidly, after the recent eclipse, I became more interested in astronomical phenomena in general.
I found this place via the sight reduction article on Wikipedia and also indirectly through the two circles of position Android app that Andres Ruiz wrote. It's great to see so many active participants here that are passionate and knowledgable about celestial navigation. And I was pleasantly surprised to learn that this field is still evolving! I am particularly looking forward to trying out both the Hav-Doniol method and the method detailed in the "Death to the Intercept Method" post.
So on to my question. I've seen a few of the posts on this forum talk about calculators, and for completeness sake, I wanted to make sure I got as wide a range of opinions as possible. So here's my question: what calculators do you use for routine celestial navigation and why? Or do you use something else (a smart phone app, computer program, pen and paper only, etc), and why?
I was impressed by the ocean immersion test that the Casio fx-260 solar underwent enough that I bought one at a back to school sale (or more accurately, it's successor, the fx-260 Solar II). It's inexpensive and seems to work well. The one issue I found was that you cannot enter minutes in decimal form.
I also had a TI-30XIIS laying around. It has dual battery/solar power and you can enter minutes as decimals, however it takes a couple more button presses to input degrees/minutes/seconds compared to the Casio.
The Casio fx-3650P was mentioned in previous posts as well, and when I looked it up, I saw that it was both programmable and solar powered, and could possibly provide the ability to derive lat/long without any plotting, so it's seems like an possible future upgrade to my current calculator.
I've never sailed a ship (some day!) so these may be irrelevant, but my primary considerations are cost and the ability to do things without outside power (i.e. paper, pen, and any electronics being self contained and solar powered).