Loran A, Stoking Coal, Sunstones

Used Loran A late 70’s on the USCGC Gallatin - mostly drug interdiction in the Caribbean. Had a Sat Nav 1980 on USCGC Glacier - about the size of large refrigerator - didn’t work. But mostly we piloted more - DR’ed more when in the
middle of nowhere, used our sextants.

Loran c was a huge improvement - only dodgy in places where intercept angles were steep.

Sat nav passes every few hours - were kind of useless, other than a good check on other means when you got them.

It all worked just fine.

The satellites then were on a polar orbit. The higher the latitude, the more usable passes. In the Gulf a usable pass was every 4 hours. Surveying off Cartwright it was every 15 minutes. Our nav system was a doppler sonar with sat updates.

I posted earlier about calculating distance off a light ship with the underwater gong. We used the doppler sonar in hydrophone mode to time the difference between the lightship radio beacon and gong. Then using the water temp correction in Bowditch.


I haven’t seen a copy of Bowditch for more years than I care to think about and I was unaware that they contain such a table. I used Mathew’s tables.

I was on the Gallatin in '75. I was thinking that it one of the best run ships I ever sailed on.

But it’s hard to judge, it was my first ship and I was an E-2. However a couple years ago I got together with an old shipmate from the Gallatin that had retired after 20 years and I mentioned that. He agreed, said it was the best run unit out of all the places he’d been stationed.

He enjoyed Yap. Maybe too much. At least I got a wife out of the deal. . . .

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Yep. Loran A was on Yocona when I first got onboard in 1977; got a Loran C soon after onboard for setting NOAA buoys in Gulf of Alaska. Saw a lot of different variations of SatNav and Loran C in the early 80’s onboard Mellon. Times have changed…

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Always ensure a copy on the ships I am on; even if electronic. Never can tell!

My first ship as well, joined as SNQM right out of A school. Have nothing but great memories of my time on her, and same with my time in the Coast Guard. By far one of the best choices I made.

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My dad served on three ships chara akanar and valley forge in one year

We’ve been trying to hire coal passers all season long on my ship. Some only lasted a few days. It’s a tremendous opportunity to be the last person on the planet doing that job.

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