A Community Devoted to the Preservation and Practice of Celestial Navigation and Other Methods of Traditional Wayfinding
From: Francis Upchurch
Date: 2015 Dec 21, 22:41 -0800
Hi Lee and welcome aboard!
I started (became afflicted by) celnav 20+ years ago from even humbler origins than you. A second hand Davis 111 lifeboat sextant + cheap casio dive watch . For about 2-3 years I only did meridian and polaris sights for latitude,but also committed the heritical sin of doing meridian longitudes by taking timed sight about 1 hour before noon, then take noon max altitude for latitude, then re-set sextant to first altitude reading and accurately time when sun descends to that post noon. The mean of the 2 sights time gives relatively accurate time of local area apparent noon (LAN), then correct for equation of time, bingo, you have time difference from LAN at Greenwich (12.00 +/- EQT) and therefore longitude (well, the best I got was about +/- 15-20'. )
I taught my 12 year old daughter and later my son at same age, to" call noon" and work out lat and long. You should have seen their eyes light up in wonder as they plotted reasonable fixes on the chart, which we then checked with my early version of Decca, which never gave them the same emotional reaction. (modern GPS still doesn't.) By age 14, they could do proper LOPs using by then (mid 90s) cheap casio calculator and cosine formula, which I'm sure you will soon learn all about.
Don;t rush it. I still feel a beginner now.The Navlist experts will take you to some amazing places,some quite loony, literally, books, history, maths etc etc.For me ,the best hobby ever . The main thing is, enjoy!