It is over 20 years since the first GPS Roll-Over (21/22 August 1999) which, although over shadowed by the more notorious “Millenium Bug”, caused much concern for GPS manufacturers and users, worried that their GPS units would stop working.
Although some GPS models did have problems, world armageddon did not occur and we all carried on safely navigating, hoping that would be the end of it. Unfortunately, due to the original GPS system using a 10bit Week Number variable, we are stuck with this 20 year cycle, at the end of which the Week Number rolls over from 1024 to 0.
The next GPS roll-over will take place very soon, on the 6/7 April 2019 and it could cause some older GPS units to stop transmitting the right date and reset to 6th April 1999. Although this should not stop an AIS transponder from working it could have strange side effects on any navigation software or chart plotter that relies on the GPS time/date.
There has recently been quite a lot of “buzz” online about this imminent GPS roll-over and we have been contacted by a few of our customers, wanting confirmation that their Digital Yacht products will not be affected.
Well, the good news is that our popular GPS150 Smart Antenna and all of the AIS Transponders that we have ever sold (including our original AIT250) will all be fine after the GPS Roll-Over. They all have a week number offset programmed in during production that effectively gives them a 20 year lifetime from the date of the GPS chip manufacture.
We hope that this article gives all of our customers peace of mind that their Digital Yacht products will still be transmitting the right date and time this summer and for many more to come.