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post #1 of 6 Old May 10th, 2009, 7:36 pm Thread Starter
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sun spots and GPS

I read the other day that there will be/are solar storms this year (now?). And depending on the severity of them they might do trillions of dollars of damage to sensitive electronic stuff. And that we could expect that things like GPS might be really messed up. Well, my aging Garmin street pilot is already showing signs of issues. It seems to take it much longer these days to acquire satellites and this weekend I rode for hours with no coverage in an area that has been fine in the past. Has anyone else experienced problems with their GPS recently??

Greg
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post #2 of 6 Old May 10th, 2009, 8:26 pm
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Re: sun spots and GPS

I nosed my bike out of the garage a teeny bit and my Garmin 2620 locked on fairly quick. This particular position doesn't have the greatest view of the sky.

Had it been off for any length of time?
Were you using any cordless phones nearby at the time?

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post #3 of 6 Old May 11th, 2009, 7:16 am
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Re: sun spots and GPS

My new 2820 is sitting on my living room table, 2 small windows about 5ft away and it locks onto the satillites no problem.

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post #4 of 6 Old May 11th, 2009, 7:33 am Thread Starter
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Re: sun spots and GPS

Okay. So it looks like it's my GPS. Time to go to the store.

Greg
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post #5 of 6 Old May 11th, 2009, 8:16 am
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Re: sun spots and GPS

I don't know about the Garmin but may Tom-Tom has a download which lasts for a couple weeks and tells the GPS where the satellites will be located. When my download is current it only takes a few seconds to lock in. When it's not current it can take 30 seconds or longer.


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post #6 of 6 Old May 11th, 2009, 8:28 am
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Re: sun spots and GPS

There are currently no sunspots. None. We are at the lowest point of an 11 year cycle and we've been here for a lot longer than many folks thought we would be. There was a recent report that NASA is predicting that this next sunspot cycle (cycle 24) will be a big one. If predictions are correct, there will be a lot of sunspots starting fairly soon and peaking in the next few years. They could be severe enough to cause major problems to the communication infrastructure. GPS is only one of the potential problems.

Meanwhile, ham radio guys are getting very excited. While sunspots disrupt satellite communications and cell phones, it allows for incredible propgation of radio waves. With a wire and a few watts of power, you'll be able to talk across the globe.
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