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Old 04-13-2017, 07:43 PM   #1
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Decca

On the charts for where we anchored today were the ruins of a US DECCA base. I had never heard of this so did a search.

Interesting. Precursor to LORAN and GPS.

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Decca_Navigator_System
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Old 04-13-2017, 07:58 PM   #2
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Yep....scary stuff compared to even Loran....

In Alaska, a few helos were Decca equipped, we joked that looking out the windows was more accurate navigation whether you could see or not.
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Old 04-13-2017, 11:06 PM   #3
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Although the DECCA system was invented in the US, it was implemented in the UK and owned and operated by the Decca Navigation Co. The Bahamas chain was established and maintained by the Brits up until DECCA was discontinued which was only a few years prior to Bahamian independence in '73. There is the master station at Pipe Cay, a slave on Andros, slave at Georgetown, and another on N Eleuthera. It was supplanted by LORAN and of course, later GPS. It was unique in that it was not a military operation.
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Old 04-14-2017, 05:44 AM   #4
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Consolan was great in its day for offshore, nothing required on board except a Consolan chart and a SW radio that could tune the frequency.

The chart was tiny and encompassed the entire Atlantic , so it was better than a Noon shot , mostly because it could be used 24/7.

If N Korea or Iran knock out the GPS with a nuke air burst, Loran will come back fairly quickly for inshore use.

Consolan might be back for offshore use. GPS will take years to restore.
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Old 04-14-2017, 07:19 AM   #5
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Interesting. The Exuma cruising guide and searches all did all say it was a US station. But British does make sense as it was a UK colony then.
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Old 04-14-2017, 07:44 AM   #6
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The US LORAN stations were on San Salvador and South Caicos.

Had to do 3 day inspections of those stations back in 1978. Tough duty....
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Old 04-14-2017, 03:02 PM   #7
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Interesting. The Exuma cruising guide and searches all did all say it was a US station. But British does make sense as it was a UK colony then.
I'm pretty sure the U.S. Navy ran the Decca stations.
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Old 04-14-2017, 03:49 PM   #8
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If N Korea or Iran knock out the GPS with a nuke air burst, Loran will come back fairly quickly for inshore use.

Consolan might be back for offshore use. GPS will take years to restore.

Here in BC we had 3 lines of loran-c until it was shut down.
I don't know what was done to "decommision" the other 2 lines,
but the line from Alaska had the tower dynamited down.
I don't think it will be re-activated in any hurry.

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Old 04-14-2017, 07:55 PM   #9
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I'm pretty sure the U.S. Navy ran the Decca stations.
Nope, DECCA was not operated by the USN, it was owned and operated exclusively by the Decca Navigation Co., Ltd. (British). They also leased all the receivers until shortly before they discontinued operations. The Bahamian stations were NOT military operations; they were manned by employees of DECCA. The misconception is probably rooted in the proximity of the AUTEC facility, which WAS a USN operation, and located on Andros. If I'm not mistaken, the AUTEC facility was located close to the Andros DECCA station. The charted "DECCA line", parts of which still exist, was a series of steel pilings that served as ATONs between the Andros and Pipe Cay stations.

The Pipe Cay station is a fun visit, watch out for poison wood and snakes, though! (Never saw snakes, but cruisers who stayed on the wall there for several months said they had to watch they didn't come aboard on the lines!) Eeeek!
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Old 04-15-2017, 06:48 AM   #10
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"the line from Alaska had the tower dynamited down.
I don't think it will be re-activated in any hurry."

Lots quicker to stand up an antenna tower than put a few dozen GPS satelites in orbit.
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Old 04-15-2017, 10:25 AM   #11
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Nope, DECCA was not operated by the USN, it was owned and operated exclusively by the Decca Navigation Co., Ltd. (British). They also leased all the receivers until shortly before they discontinued operations. The Bahamian stations were NOT military operations; they were manned by employees of DECCA. The misconception is probably rooted in the proximity of the AUTEC facility, which WAS a USN operation, and located on Andros. If I'm not mistaken, the AUTEC facility was located close to the Andros DECCA station. The charted "DECCA line", parts of which still exist, was a series of steel pilings that served as ATONs between the Andros and Pipe Cay stations.

The Pipe Cay station is a fun visit, watch out for poison wood and snakes, though! (Never saw snakes, but cruisers who stayed on the wall there for several months said they had to watch they didn't come aboard on the lines!) Eeeek!
Learn something new everyday. Thanks.

Never seen snakes there either.
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Old 04-15-2017, 10:30 AM   #12
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Decca Navigator
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Old 04-15-2017, 11:08 AM   #13
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The US LORAN stations were on San Salvador and South Caicos.

Had to do 3 day inspections of those stations back in 1978. Tough duty....
The food was not bad on either island. I would stay at the old Riding Rock Inn, on South Caico during that era. From what I understand now, that area has been developed as much as the Provo area. Boy did I eat pounds of Couch too. And the fishing in San Salvador was a good as it gets. There was tuna like schools of goldfish for the taking. Wahoo was second best there too. But the skitters was almost worse than they area along Core Banks in the Carolinas though.
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Old 04-15-2017, 11:11 AM   #14
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We wandered by there - found this guy monitoring the situation...
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