This article is from the Boats FAQ, by John F. Hughes with numerous contributions by others.
GPS appears to be the wave of the future in electronic navigation. Prices
are falling fast, and there are now GPS units for under $400. Since Loran
units cost over $300 (typically), the $400 GPS sounds like a pretty good
deal. Loran has excellent repeatability (i.e., you can get back to the same
spot, within about 100 yards), but GPS has greater accuracy (the
LAT/LON reading is likely to be closer to where you are than that of a
As an example, an Apelco DXL6350 ( I have a 6300) is available regularly
at under $250. It functions very well but lacks route capability. It is not
like the reallly low priced units that lack ASF and other needed features.
No other apologies needed. I believe I saw it on sale for $224 from E&B.
(1994 prices) (cp)
If my Loran gave out on me, I would, at this point, probably replace it
with a GPS. If I were looking for a cheap way to navigate electronically,
I'd look for some folks who just got GPS and offer to buy their Loran unit
cheap. It's worked fine for a very long time, and there's nothing wrong
with it. (jh)
Here's a summary of how GPS works, contrinuted by Craig Haggart: