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    Re: Digital Sextant
    From: Dan Allen
    Date: 2002 Apr 1, 16:13 -0800

    In the C. Plath history book, page 133, there is a great color photo
    of a prototype Plath sextant that contained an integrated celestial
    navigation calculator.  It has always intrigued me.
    I have put a copy of the photo on my web site here:
    (About 2/3rd of the way down the page)
    It has always seemed to me that if one could gather in a small device:
    a) a twin-quartz clock good to 1 second of accuracy per year like my
    Omega watch
    b) a nice Plath-like angle measurement device with a digital sensor to
    help measure angles
    c) another digial sensor (what kind?) to serve as an artificial horizon
    d) a small computer with software containing the equivalent of the
    nautical almanac for many years
    then with these elements in place one could imagine a navigation device
    that would be almost as simple to use as a GPS, but which was totally
    stand-alone and required no signals from radio or satellites.  If the
    electronics were low power enough the device could perhaps even be
    solar powered for the ultimate in self-sufficiency.
    A press of a button would measure the angle, note the exact time, and
    would check the current attitude of the sextant, and then proceed with
    the calculations yielding the same output as with normal sextants.  A
    memory could remember these sights and then after several had been taken
    a running fix could be achieved.
    I would certainly buy such a device if one existed at a price less than
    -----Original Message-----
    From: Navigation Mailing List
    [mailto:NAVIGATION-L@LISTSERV.WEBKAHUNA.COM]On Behalf Of Vic Fraenckel
    Sent: Monday, April 01, 2002 5:24 AM
    Subject: Digital Sextant
    I would like to ask if anyone has heard of, tried to build or was successful
    in building a all digital sextant. I have thought about this for many years
    but the technology for measuring angles to the necessary precision was way
    too expensive for my taste. I think perhaps it might be possible to do this
    today with a reasonable cost. Altitudes could be measured with optical
    encoders and the data could be transmitted to a computer at will along with
    the time of the sight and processed. Any thoughts?
    Any enlightenment would be appreciated.
    Victor Fraenckel - The Windman                 vfraenc1@nycap.rr.com
    KC2GUI                                                      www.windsway.com
          Home of the WindReader Electronic Theodolite
                                   Read the WIND

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