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Loran C - Need some education please

Old 04-20-2003, 06:40 PM
  #1  
bej
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Default Loran C - Need some education please

I'm considering buying a Loran Receiver. I've got a bunch of bottom obstructions (shrimpers drag log) that are in Loran and they don't compute in my GPS. I've been researching the Archives and found some good info. But I don't really know what I'm looking at. Can someone describe what the coupler is, what the tube looking thing is and what type antenna the units use. So far the Archives have told me to look for a Northstar 800/800x, Ratheon Nav 398, Apelco DX6000 or SiTex XJ-1. What about the others I'm seeing on Ebay (Raytheon 520, 550, etc...). The archives also indicate I should hold out for a unit with the receiver, mounting bracket, powercord, manual, coupler and coupler cable. Someone please walk me through the components so I don't bid on something that is incomplete...thanks

Lefty
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Old 04-21-2003, 05:16 AM
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Default Loran C - Need some education please

The coupler is the tube looking thing. It has a signal amplifier in it that makes the antenna look much longer than it physically is. You will need this part.

The antenna itself is still available from most boating outlets. just ask for a loran antenna.
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Old 04-21-2003, 06:42 AM
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Default Loran C - Need some education please

receiver - this is the display unit that will give you the readout of coordinates and allow you to enter waypoints. things to look for - unit should be in good physical condition, no corrosion, all keys need to work, back lighting should work.

power cable - plugs into receiver and then connects to your 12v power source. most people selling used lorans will have cut their power cable. usually this isn't a problem because you can lengthen the wires yourself. but make sure it comes with it because most manufacturers have different connectors to plug into the receiver and some are very hard to get aftermarket...

mounting bracket - to mount the unit on your dash, overhead, electronics box, etc. some units may come with a flush mount, so make sure you are getting the mounting type you want. if getting a bracket, make sure that it comes with the mounting knobs which will lock the receiver into the mounting bracket.

coupler - mounts on your hardtop, gunwale, arch, etc. generally about 6" - 8" long. receives the signals from the transmitting station. required for all lorans, and you need to get the one that matches up to your receiver (some are interchangeable, but do yourself a favor and get the one for your unit).

coupler cable - connects the coupler to the receiver. the coupler should come with cable. again, most people cut to size, so beware of short cables. fwiw, most marine electronics repair shops CAN install a new length of cable onto the coupler for you, will probably cost you less than $50. if cable is included, should be in good condition (no rips, tears, worn insulation, etc.) the connector for the receiver end is usually a pl-259 or a bnc type connector which are pretty readily available.

antenna - 8' loran whip, screws into the coupler and used to receive signal. can be purchased at any marine electronics store for around $25. if you are getting one with the unit, find out the condition of it...many are older and the fiberglass is starting to wear and you'll wind up with a handfull of fiberglass when trying to screw the unit in...make sure it still has a good finish.

manual - very helpful if you want to get the most out of your unit. many units are somewhat self explanatory, but it is sure helpful to have the manual. some can be ordered from the manufacturer.

so that's what you need to know about what you are buying in terms of components. as far as brands, i would recommend northstar (800x), furuno (lc-90, lc-90 mkii) or si-tex (xj-1, xj-9 or koden 797). e-bay is a great place to buy, don't pay more than $400 - $500 for a unit. they aren't worth more than that. you can probably find a nice unit for under $300.

in case anyone hasn't told you yet, loran is NOT gps in terms of coordinates. every loran will have slightly different coordinates for the same location. expect any loran that you buy to be a few microseconds (that's the digit that comes after the decimal) off from the numbers that you have. this is a result of the way lorans work and there isn't much you can do about it. run to the numbers you have in your hang log, drop a marker, and start making circles of increasing radius until you find what you are looking for. take down the numbers FOR YOUR LORAN.

i've got a friend here in town (i'm in nj) that buys and sells used lorans...if you can't find anything with which you are happy, let me know and i'll give you his info and he'll set you up with something...
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Old 04-21-2003, 09:00 AM
  #4  
bej
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Default Loran C - Need some education please

Thanks for the thorough reply. Understanding what your looking for sure helps...

Lefty
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Old 04-21-2003, 10:11 AM
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Default Loran C - Need some education please

glad you found it helpful...and if your shrimper buddy has any friends that run draggers up here in the northeast, just feel free to have him send a hang log over my way...8-)
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