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Everything posted by imajeep

  1. Geocaching Swiss Army Knife (GSAK) currently owns the market. It creates a local database populated with data from geocaching.com pocket queries.
  2. I'm one of the folks that likes a GPS with electronic compass. I find that it gives me a better heading to the cache when I'm standing still. You have to be moving on non-compass units to get a heading.
  3. I just got off the phone with Garmin tech support, and I thought I'd pass along some issues that Topo 2008 has with Windows Vista, as well as a workaround I had installed Topo 2008, and it wouldn't launch on my Windows Vista laptop. It turns out that the version of MapSource on the Topo 2008 CD is not the latest version--the version on the CD has issues with Windows Vista. So, you have to download version 6.12.4 from the web site if you are running Windows Vista. Also, if you are installing on Vista, make sure you do it from the computer's Administrator account, and not just a user account with administrative privileges.
  4. Welcome to the forums! Love your nom de guerre--one of my favorite movies. It will be interesting to see what the remake is like. You can get nearly all the functionality of a 60CSx in a Vista Hcx, for about $100 less. It's a brand new model, so there are no definitive reviews yet. But I'd recommend having a look at it.
  5. I don't know about anyone else, but I reacted very negatively to this post. I think it was "I can't tolerate this" that turned me off. And I think the reason it turned me off is that we are all supposed to be helpful and friendly in these forums, and the post struck me personally as being rude and demanding. Not trying to start a flame war here. It occured to me that the OP may not realize why some people are reacting very negatively and might want to know.
  6. Great thread--I looked up Illinois law and discovered that the Illinois Recreational Use Act was amended in 2005. It basically repealed the immunity except in cases of hunting!
  7. The 60CSx is in Demo mode when the GPS receiver in the unit is disabled. In the satellite screen, press the Menu button once to bring up the pop-up menu. You should see a menu option to turn the receiver on.
  8. "Tells you something about the hider!" he said with a shrug. I have emailed cache owners a few times to notify them of problems. The good owners respond and tend to their caches. It seems also that these caches were the product of more thought and care on the part of the owner. In a couple of cases, no response. I went so far as to post a 'needs archiving' on one cache that had gone missing. The owner didn't respond to an email inquiry about the cache, and hadn't been online in a year. It turns out he had taken a break from the sport and did finally resurface when his cache was set to be archived. Another one that really amazes me is a cache that I found muggled. It wasn't a particularly good hide, so muggling was probably inevitable. However, my find was the first on record to report a muggling. The owner did not respond to a 'needs maintenance' log (I was able to partially reassemble the cache and rehide it in its original location), nor to a friendly note a month later.
  9. Can't claim to be a seasoned pro, but I always ask myself "What's the most logical place to put a cache in this location?" In the woods, most prominent tree in a clearing (or obvious stump or log), in a park, the large boulder over there in the corner, and so on. More often than not, the cache will be located in that 'logical place'.
  10. Had a flagpole micro to grab the other day. Similar to a lamppost micro--lift the skirt and all. The challenge to this one is that it was right next to a busy (petrol) filling station. The flagpole was next to a small war memorial, which was the reason for the cache. All I had was my Palm Z22, my GPSr, and a pen. So, how do you grab the cache without attracting attention? I decided "By attracting a lot of attention!" I started pacing off distances from the monument to nearby benches, writing them down on non-existent paper. I began photographing the monument from every possible angle with my Palm (which does not have a camera), and I began taking sight lines with my GPSr. After about five minutes of this nonsense, everyone at the filling station assumed either that I was nuts, or that I must be doing something official. In either case, they began ignoring me, and I was able to walk over to the flagpole, lift the skirt, and log my find without anyone taking the least bit of notice. It's the first time I've done that. It was actually kind of fun!
  11. I surely do hate it when I'm the bozo in the back country. But it's all to easy to do. Last month, Ms. Imajeep and I went after the Parker Mesa Overlook cache. Six miles total, out and back along a fire road from Topanga Canyon to the mesa, which overlooks the entire LA basin from above Malibu. Spectacular sight, if you are ever out that way. Before we went out, we debated whether to use the hydration packs. "Nah," we figured, "It's a quick out and back on a dirt road. People trail-run this thing. How bad can it be?" So we grabbed a couple of one-liter water bottles and headed out. Dumb, dumb, dumb. We didn't realize how dumb until we headed back. We grabbed four caches along the way out, and then spent nearly an hour hunting for the Parker Mesa cache, which (we think) was MIA. By the time we headed back, we were down to slightly less than half our water, at which point we realized that we were actually pretty tired, that we'd already been out for several hours, and that it was about 90 degrees on the trail. This could have been a serious problem--fortunately it wasn't. The GPS helped us ration our water on the hike back, but we still had a few nervous minutes worrying about dehydration. And no, we didn't laugh it off when we got home. Lesson learned: Even for the easy hike, even the one where we think we will only be out for a couple of hours, take water. Lots of water. And in California, unless we know the trail, we assume desert conditions. Not much older; but hopefully, a little bit wiser.
  12. No, even the mighty 60 CSx can get confused in 'canyon' conditions, urban and otherwise. It's simply less likely to do so than receivers that don't have high-sensitivity chipsets. If you spend much tume in urban canyons, you might try an external antenna. I keep a Gillson for just such an occasion--the actual antenna slips nicely in a pouch in my bush hat. It does alleviate the problem, but I have to admit I do look a bit ridiculous walking around downtown Chicago looking like Crocodile Dundee!
  13. A Premium membership makes paperless caching a lot easier. Here's what we do: We find a dozen or so caches we want to hunt and bookmark them (premium feature). Then we generate a 'pocket query' with the details on all bookmarked caches (another premium feature). That gets sent to us attached to an email from gc.com, as a zipped GPX file. We use a program called CacheMate to convert the GPX file to Palm format. So, at this point, we have for each cache we bookmarked: The description, the hint, and the five previous logs. Next we open the GPX in Google Earth (free) , which gives us aerial photos of the cache sites. We zoom in on each cache to get the detail we need, then we save the screen images to JPG files. We use a program called Splash Photo to convert the pictures to Palm format. So now we have aerial photos to go along with the cache information. We sync our Palm (Z22) to our PC, which transfers everything to the Palm. The Palm has a version of CacheMate for viewing cache information, and a version of Splash Photo for viewing the aerials. Now, what am I forgetting? Oh, yeah, we use Easy GPS to download the GPX waypoint info to our GPSr. Can't forget that! (Actually did, once. Ms. Imajeep smacked me upside the head... ). Ours isn't the only way to do it. A lot of people swear by GSAK (Geocaching Swiss Army Knife), a program that creates an maintains a local database of caches on your PC. I suspect you'll be seeing a lot about that in other replies to your message. Hope that helps!
  14. I think you've found it. I used a couple of caches to figure out my eTrexVista a few months ago. It's what got me started. Seriously, best way to learn it is to go out and experiment. Stand on your front door and take a waypoint. Now walk about 20 yards or meters away and tell the GPS to find the waypoint you just entered. Use the GPS to navigate back to your doorstep as if you didn't know that's where you were going. You will see how the GPSr works. If your GPS has a 'Track' function, take a walk around your neighborhood while recording a track. Record part of your walk holding the GPSr straight and level in front of you, and another part with the GPSr hanging from your belt. When you get home, upload the track to your PC and check the accuracy of both parts of the track. If you have any trees in your neighborhood (the thicker the better), take a reading under the trees and out in the open. Some units perform better under tree cover than others. This experiment will show you how well yous works under tree cover. Finally, download a couple of geocaches and go hunting! That's where you will really learn how to use your GPSr!
  15. There are a couple of ways of making routes in Google Earth. Did you use the 'Ask for directions' method, or did you use the Path tool? The Path tool creates a 'track' rather than a route, and I've never had much luck with it, even after using GPS Babel to convert the track to a route. So lately, I've been using the 'ask for directions' approach, and it works like a champ for me. Hope that helps!
  16. Okay, I admit it; this is a shameless plug for your vote in the Unite for Diabetes challenge. Here's Kelly, our Geopooch. (We submitted this picture back in May, under our (my) old account name 'dcvchicago'.) Kelly wants your vote in the Unite for Diabetes challenge. The theme is 'Fitness': Kelly thinks tennis is a great way to stay fit! Anyway, go to The Gallery Page, check out the pictures, and vote for your favorite. Kelly hopes it's her!
  17. I duplicate my coords in the log post, so downloaders get them, too.
  18. 1999 Cerokee Sport. Probably trading it in next 12 months for a Wrangler Unlimited 4-door.
  19. A combination of a nice place where we haven't been before, and an interesting hide. We don't care much about numbers or FTFs. Hats off to those who do, though!
  20. We got into geocaching a couple of months ago when we bought a GPS for hiking. We do some hiking in the Arizona desert, and we realized it was insane to go out, even with experienced locals, without a reliable way to backtrack. Since then, one of our Arizona hiking buddies got a GPS for the same reason. And another is getting ready to do the same thing. can we get a commission from Garmin? It is so easy to do something incredibly stupid without realizing it. About a month ago, we did what we thought would be an easy hike in California. Turned out to be desert conditions on the trail, and we were light on water. We could have gotten into real trouble. Fortunately, no real problems, other than a few nervous minutes wondering if our water was going to hold out. A sobering experience.
  21. For the last couple of dozen caches or so, I've been posting alternate coordinates if I find a cache more than thirty feet or so from the posted coordinates. It's only come up a couple of times, but it seems to have helped later hunters--one log noted that the hunter found the cache right at the secondary coordinates. So, as a help to all us newbies (who haven't yet developed an inate ability to sniff out a cache by sense of smell ), how about a set of supplemental coordinates when the find is some distance from the original? I read logs all the time where a finder says "Geez--I found the cache sixty feet from the posted coordinates." But who then doen't post the coordinates where the cache was found!
  22. Just launch GE and select File > Open. The file filter in the Open File dialog will be set to show only KML files. Drop the picklist and select GPX. Then you will bwe ably to see your GPX file in the dialog.
  23. Hey, if that's what it was all about, then I'd just take up coin collecting! In all seriousness, it's not a big deal. But when you're a newbie, it's easy to breach the local rules of etiquette without knowing it. IMHO, always best to check first. I think it comes from travelling overseas. Taking all of the above opinions into account, here's what I think I'm going to do. I'm going to clear a DNF once I find the cache, but I'm going to note in the find log how many tries it took to find the cache. That way, later hunters get an idea of the difficulty of the cache, but paperless cachers (like me and Ms. Imajeep) don't lose one of their five logs (Jeremy, please, please increase it to twenty!) to one of my DNFs. Thanks for the advice, one and all!
  24. We've found that the best way to carry satellite photos in the field is to download them from Google Earth to our Palm Z22 PDA. It integrates nicely with our overall paperless caching routine.
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