Saturday, 29 May 2010

You're kidding right?

I've spent the last fifteen years or so extolling the virtues of GPS. Every time someone has told me that signals disappear, or that some mad two-star General in a bunker in Idaho can turn the system off, I've told the preaching Luddite that he was just plain wrong. I've lost count of the amount of times I've explained that a proper panel-mounted GPD just doesn't lose signal.

About a minute after leaving the strip I reached over to dial up Boscombe Down's frequency. Right there on the screen, in big green letters, was a message - NO GPS POSITION - the message light was flashing and that confirmed the lack of a signal. Mr Garmin (a GNS530W) was lost in space. The satellites may have been talking but for whatever reason the 530 wasn't listening.

For a few seconds I just couldn't believe it - this kind of stuff just doesn't happen, and yet despite turning it off and on again, always a good cure for electrical ills, nothing changed.

I was on a short VFR flight in the local area and with visibility at least 50k the danger of getting lost was minimal, and of course I had my Garmin aera sitting on the yoke merrily picking up signals. Had I been on an IFR flight the loss of the 530 would have been a major pain.

I'm hoping that the problem is as simple as a lose aerial connection or similar - I want my 530 back.

Update: order has been restored in my GPS world. As hoped, there was a problem with the antenna connection, and once that was fixed everything came back to life. I'm going to have to re-visit my evangelical enthusiasm for GPS, or at least tone it down a little…

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