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    Re: Celestial Calculator Comparisons
    From: Dan Allen
    Date: 2000 Mar 10, 10:13 AM

    There is a spectrum of celestial nav possibilities:
    
    a) GPS - push a button, get an answer - easiest thing going, but depends upon 
    24 satellites above, along with a support infrastructure on the ground. Fix 
    in 15 seconds.
    
    b) Sextant & calculator - not as handy, but fully self-contained.  The 
    calculator needs power, but if you have a solar battery charger and 3 AAA 
    nicads, you could run an HP-48 for a long time...  Fix in a few minutes.
    
    c) Sextant & slide rule or HO 249 or paper - no energy concerns at all; works 
    in all climates and temperatures, fully self-contained, and gives the 
    navigator something to really sink his teeth into.  Fix in 15-30 minutes.
    
    I believe that we need to be skilled in all three.  One solution that has 
    helped take the drudgery out of the last option for me is to write my own 
    celestial nav software on my HP-48GX.  This has kept the principles and 
    concepts clear in my mind so that I can play with the basic formulas and feel 
    comfortable with them in case I did need to go the option C route above.
    
    Dan Allen
    danallen{at}nwlink.com
    Navigate | Calculate | Communicate > Set Sail!
    
    -----Original Message-----
    From  Navigation Mailing List
    [mailto:NAVIGATION-L{at}LISTSERV.WEBKAHUNA.COM]On Behalf Of Joe Shields
    Sent: Friday, March 10, 2000 8:01 AM
    To: NAVIGATION-L{at}LISTSERV.WEBKAHUNA.COM
    Subject: Re: Celestial Calculator Comparisons
    
    
    As a landlocked armchair navigator who dreams of one day moving beyond my
    little 1 nm wide (at its widest part) man-made lake and out into blue water
    where I could do celestial nav. for real, I may be naive, but I am confused
    by all this concern over celestial calculators.  Wouldn't regular use of an
    'electronic' celestial calculator defeat the whole purpose of celestial
    navigation -- a reliable alternative/backup to 'electronics'.  Doing sight
    reduction by hand (in both my opinion and the opinion of the ASA Instructor
    who certified me) is a volatile skill that needs to be practiced regularly
    to be reliable.  What you don't use, you lose... which could be everything
    from your copy of HO 249 (or whatever) to doing accurate mental arithmetic.
    
    Is my thinking wrong that the best discipline is that my daily navigation
    would consist of doing traditional 'non-electronic' celestial/coastal/DR
    navigation to arrive at my position and then check it against the GPS.  With
    everything in close agreement, my comfort-level would be such that any
    'electronic' outage would not give rise to panic or drastically alter my
    navigational routine.
    
    Or is it more realistic that you are busier than a one-armed paperhanger,
    and you need all the shortcuts you can get.
    
    -- Joe Shields (lat:40 34, long:80 04)
    

       
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