UrsaNav installs eLoran testbed in South Korea

July 22, 2020  - By
The eLoran transmission site at Incheon, South Korea. (Photo: UrsaNav)

The eLoran transmission site at Incheon, South Korea. (Photo: UrsaNav)

South Korean is in the early stages of evaluating its eLoran system, but great results are expected based on the UrsaNav-supplied station in Incheon.

In August 2018, the Korea Research Institute of Ships and Oceans Engineering (KRISO) awarded UrsaNav, through its agent Dong Kang M-Tech, a contract to supply and install an eLoran transmitter testbed system in South Korea. UrsaNav is the exclusive, worldwide distributor of Nautel’s NL Series transmitters, provided eLoran transmitter technology, as well as timing, control and differential reference station equipment for the testbed. The contract represented the first phase in a broader program to upgrade Korea’s Loran-C stations to be the foundation of a sovereign Enhanced Loran (eLoran) positioning, navigation and timing (PNT) service.

“The Republic of Korea recognizes the challenges associated with relying solely on space-based signals, the relative ease with which those signals can be jammed or spoofed, and the necessity to provide trusted time and trusted position to its citizens and critical national infrastructure,” said Charles Schue, CEO of UrsaNav.

The 35-meter eLoran transmit antenna in Incheon. (Photo: UrsaNav)

The 35-meter eLoran transmit antenna in Incheon. (Photo: UrsaNav)

Many critical infrastructure sectors rely on accurate time and position, including maritime, aviation, electrical distribution, telecommunications, finance/banking, and digital broadcast. A complementary PNT (CPNT) service provides continuity of operations through alternative and diverse timing and positioning information. CPNT is a vital element in ensuring national security and assuring trusted time and position.

KRISO, in conjunction with the Korea Ministry of Oceans and Fisheries (MOF), is developing an Initial Operating Capability eLoran system to provide complementary PNT services as a part of its Electronic Navigation (E-Navigation) mission. KRISO selected UrsaNav Inc. as its prime eLoran systems contractor through a competitive tender offer.

UrsaNav provided, installed and tested an eLoran transmission system at a temporary location near Incheon, South Korea, in November 2019. The company also provided ancillary equipment for Additional Secondary Factor (ASF) map measurements and map-generation software, as well as differential reference station equipment to KRISO. Because of land size restrictions at the temporary site at Incheon, the eLoran transmission system was paired to a small footprint 35-meter top-loaded monopole antenna.

In addition to the equipment provided by UrsaNav, MOF separately contracted a local Korean firm to provide an interim GPS receiver set to synchronize the existing Loran-C sites at Pohang and Kwangju to UTC.

UN-1300 eLoran transmission equipment. (Photo: UrsaNav)

UN-1300 eLoran transmission equipment. (Photo: UrsaNav)

KRISO is in the early stages of measuring the performance of the Korea eLoran system, but results are expected to show better than 20-meter navigational accuracy within 30 kilometers of the differential reference station at the port of Pyeongtaek.

Once the eLoran performance has been proven, MOF plans to move the Incheon eLoran equipment to a permanent site, potentially on the island of Socheongdo, and pair it with a larger “Tee” antenna to increase the output power and coverage area of the system.

MOF also plans to upgrade the existing UTC synchronized Loran-C transmission sites at Pohang and Kwangju with new eLoran transmission equipment systems. The ministry will potentially add two additional transmission sites to provide complete coverage of the land and territorial waters of South Korea.

About the Author: Tracy Cozzens

Senior Editor Tracy Cozzens joined GPS World magazine in 2006. She also is editor of GPS World’s newsletters and the sister website Geospatial Solutions. She has worked in government, for non-profits, and in corporate communications, editing a variety of publications for audiences ranging from federal government contractors to teachers.