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Everything posted by n5psp

  1. It sure looks invisible to me. Looks like one finding it is kind of exposed to muggles passing by on that sidewalk.
  2. Seems to only apply migratory birds, not the ones that stick around all year like pigeons and whatever kind the cat catches and leaves feathers all over the porch. So it would seem that a non-migratory bird nest could be made into a cache or used to conceal a cache? Seems it's time to crawl up into the rafters in the barn for a ready-made cache that otherwise would be a fire hazard :-)
  3. Oh, wow. That's one of the most creative ones I've seen. The GEOKÄTKÖ wood-burned on the end probably is what keeps it findable yet fairly muggle resistant. In Texas because so much land is private property which limits placement to such places as parks and rest areas with very high muggle traffic, good camoflaged containers are often a must for anything other than an Altoids tin or film canister sized cache. Now a recent New Mexico expedition on BLM land... you could probably make a gigantic cache out of a sea shipping container and only fellow cachers would set foot within a mile of it in the next 10 years :-) Well, maybe an exaggeration where there's oil wells every few hundred meters. Now a container disguised as a piece of abandoned oil field hardware in the desert midway between any oil wells, tank batteries, or lease roads.. <gears in head turning> (inspired by a display at the oil show) A wood or fiberglass or sheet metal replica of a pumpjack counterweight would hold some really big swags and travel bugs... A real counterweight can weigh many times more than a big car or truck, while a fake lightweight shell might only weigh 50 pounds or so. So one could place the fake counterweight a hundred yards out in the sand dunes and scrub brush where equipment capable of carrying a real one would have gotten stuck.
  4. I did a larger container (40 ounce plastic peanut butter jar) that has survived 7 months in a pack rat nest. It was first thoroughly cleaned to remove all "food" odor traces as well as the label - used gasoline, acetone, xylene, and denatured alcohol in several stages. Next was to roughen the outer surface including the lid with 320 grit sandpaper in a crosshatch pattern until the whole thing looked like frosted or etched glass. This then got a thin coat of Rustoleum grey automotive primer, followed by a 2nd thin coat, followed with ultra flat khaki camouflage paint. Then I took some leaves and twigs and grass native to the hiding area and spread these lightly (about 20% coverage) on the container, and then sprayed a coat of brown camo, using the plant matter as a mask. Next was more leaves, twigs, and grass to increase the coverage (about 60%) and a coat of green camo sprayed throught he gaps. Final step was more leaves, twigs, etc. to cover about 90% of the container, and spray flat black. Once the "mask" was pulled away, the container had a 3 dimensional look to it, with "foreground" lighter colored "leaves" and "sticks" and other shaded darker "vegetation" that seemed further behind, and then patches of darker green, and finally very small patches of black. When stuck in real vegetation at the hide, the container just seemed to vanish to the casual eye. Of course within hours of placing the cache the pack rat went to work helping to more "naturally" conceal it, and every time someone finds it the rat helps re-hide it. Evidently it doesn't like the paint, and it hasn't flaked or peeled or chipped despite a lot of handling. By contrast, I was FTF a new cache near another pack rat nest (81 miles away from mine) which had been wrapped with camouflage tape. The rat had gnawed huge holes in the container in the roughly 72 hours since it was placed and the brand new log had been half eaten with plenty of rodent teeth marks. Another cool micro was simply an M&M's tube roughened with sandpaper, masked for some glue spots, then painted ultra-flat dark green. The spots masked for glue then had pine needles from an old artificial Christmas tree glued on, plus a piece of stiff wire to hang the thing with, just like an ornament. Yes, the micro was hung about 5 feet off the ground and 3 feet inside a small pine tree.
  5. I've had good luck (up to a year exposure) with Marine Goop. It is less UV sensitive than the other varieties of Goop, although it will eventually yellow and deteriorate on the surface if a spot of it is left exposed for over a year (tried to fix cracks in a vinyl car top with it) "Desert Oasis" in Odessa, during post-muggle resurrection, was assembled with Carpenter's Goop since it sticks to masonry and rocks a bit better. It holds some of the smaller camouflage rocks in place so they don't shift and fall beneath the container when it's being removed and replaced, and to cover some gaps in the hiding spot so it looks solid rather than hollow.
  6. Maybe if I wear an aluminum foil hat as well, they'll leave me alone? :-)
  7. Now playing on CBS (Central time zone) - James Bond in "Tomorrow Never Dies". Plot revolves around sending bogus calibration to the GPS satellites. Can just see the log for a geocache: "Could not find. No sign of ammo can under oak tree, or the go-cart track. Just really deep salt water everywhere. Was shot at by Chinese MIGs. Map claims coordinates are on land."
  8. Hopefully this will help educate that they aren't the threat many people think they are. There are only 4 kinds of poisonous snakes in the CONUS (continental US): Rattlesnakes, Copperheads, Water Moccasins, Coral snakes The first 3, pit vipers, have primarily hemotoxic venom - that is, it attacks the blood vessels and surrounding tissues. Coral snakes are only found in a small part of the U.S. (I think somewhere in Florida) and are neurotoxic like the cobras and asps, but they also have to latch on and chew to put in much venom. I've read that you have to really work at it to get bitten by a coral snake. Everything else is not poisonous, although a bite can sure bleed a lot because of the tiny sharp teeth. All snakes are reptiles. They are cold-blooded, that is, their body temperature follows ambient temperatures. So they have to move from shelter to the open and back again to regulate their temperature. In the summer, they crawl deep under rocks and into cool, dense foliage to escape the heat, and won't come out unless absolutely necessary because they can overheat during the day. They come out to eat or move about once things cool off, and then get under something again to escape the next day's heat. In winter, they hide under rocks and such to stay warm at night, and crawl out to bask and warm up on warm sunny days. So I see them in my driveway in the late afternoon in December, and in the summer they will be out late at night or in the very early morning. I happen to live out in the middle of nowhere, so I have a much higher odds of encountering a western diamondback rattlesnake between my front door and the car to go to work every morning (they sometimes stretch out in the driveway early on a summer morning, and on a winter evening). Pit vipers (rattlesnakes, copperheads, water moccasins) are relatively slow moving compared to nonpoisonous snakes, and normally will attempt to escape when they sense something warm-blooded that is too big to eat. If you see one, usually you can just wait and it will crawl off once it knows you are there. I've stomped the ground a little further away than its body length to get its attention, and then just stood there until it crawled off. Most people who get snakebit actually stepped on the snake while it's basking, stuck their hand under a rock or log or somewhere it was hiding to escape summer heat or winter cold, or actually tried to catch the thing. I've walked right past basking rattlers on trails, and just stayed 2/3 of their body length or more away (striking distance) and they just ignored me as not a threat. One of my caches has a log entry about a snake living under or on the cache. The finders shooed it off, and it lurked about 5 feet away in the brush while they signed the log, traded swags, and put the cache back. There's a lot of caches in New Mexico and West Texas that mention "bring your pokin' stick". All you need to avoid far too close encounters with snakes is just common sense. Carry a cane, and use it to poke before you step, step on TOP of large rocks and not down beside them. Wear leather boots that extend a ways up the calf of your leg, several inches above the ankles. Also take comfort in that the number of snakebites per thousands of miles hiked is extremely low. The few I am aware of happened because someone was doing something really reckless - like trying to catch the snake or not looking before sticking their hand in dark places they couldn't see into. Also - if you startle a rattler and it coils up and rattles, just slowly take one step back, give it some space, and it will eventually get out of your way. I've lived in rattlesnake country all my life, so this becomes second nature.
  9. Awww, there're cute! Found this one along the trail today: -WR Here's another really cute one found near a local cache during ham radio Field Day: They sure tickle when stepping on the arm hairs and they feel really fuzzy to the touch, although it takes a while for them to settle down when handling one. We spent over an hour taking pictures of this tarantula.
  10. I do most of my caches alone because of timing and logistics. Often it's returning from some work related trip or while errand running on a weekday, and there is not enough time to schedule to bring someone along on such short notice, usually. Also, sometimes the timetable takes an unexpected twist and there has been times that with someone else, some distant caches had to be skipped so they could get where they needed to be on time. Plus I need my space away from the hustle and bustle, and I've been known to just take off in a random direction 50 to 70 miles after work to do a new cache rather than head straight home in the summer when local sunset is around 9 PM. In the winter, I've done a few caches alone in the dark - not really night caches either, but just because it's dark within a few minutes of quitting time. Those can be nice because the bugs are gone and the weeds have died back, so some more difficult caches are easier to spot. Normally there is an APRS tracker in the car, so at least the ham radio folks can see generally where I'm at, and I keep the area repeaters in the handheld radio plus carry the cellphone. Another advantage of going out there alone is being able to stop and examine interesting things seen along the way, and also not having to wait for others who find different distractions. Oh - as an aside, I finally stumbled on someone else geocaching for an urban micro on the way back from lunch today. It was one I'd found before, so seeing 2 adults and 2 kids right under the tree from a block away and carefully looking... I turned on the next street and pulled right up beside them with the window down and asked "Found any film canisters?". That was fun. We were all late getting back from lunch, and got to meet some other locals who are getting active again while the grandkids are in town.
  11. Winter is my FAVORITE time to cache. It's not a blast furnace, and there's more time to do night caches. Fewer muggles because they are busy doing homework, especially on weeknights. Did I mention again, no incredibly hot blast furnace heat, no worry about vehicle problems or running out of water, not too many muggles to encounter on the trails, leaves sort of go away so there's better GPS reception, and when the foliage turns brown some caches become more easily spotted. It doesn't get cold enough in the Permian Basin of West Texas and New Mexico to get any real snow cover - it melts a few hours or days later. My first ever cache was February 2, 2003. Temperature was 80 deg F for the afternoon high.
  12. Screw top lid type containers rock. They will pass the fire hose test for liquid ingress, and also pass complete immersion as long as people make sure they lid fully seats. An acid test for whether a container will survive months outdoors and keep the log and swag dry is to build an immersion test cell - it can be anything from an aquarium to a swimming pool to an open-top 55 gallon drum, or a piece of large diameter pipe capped on one end. Weight the container so it will sink. Put something inside that will indicate the presence of moisture - anhydrous cobalt chloride powder (blue when dry, pink when moist) or other moisture indicator will work well. In a pinch, put a cup of dry flour in there. Set the test aparatus up outside, preferrably on the south side of the house (northern hemisphere) or north side (southern hemisphere) so it will go through more temperature extremes between day and night. Sink the container to the bottom - a foot underwater ought to test most caches - you can go to about 10 feet with a joint of 6 inch sewer pipe stood on end. Leave it for a week or more. Then fish it out, dry it thoroughly outside, and finally open it and check the test contents. If the moisture indicator material inside is still dry, your container passed. Here's why to do temperature cycles: The material expands and contracts, which can compromise the seal if the expansion coefficients are different between lid and body or O-ring or whatever. Also changing internal pressures / temperatures can cause air to "burp" out on hot days, and then the container might aspirate either water or very moist air on a cool night. This "breathing" tends to accumulate moisture inside - which is one reason plastic bags collect water. I've had some real surprises with what stays sealed and what leaks under such a real-world test.
  13. Hmmm - like some of those where a log sheet is behind a flat magnetic sign stuck to something? I just got done sanding and re-painting an industrial NEMA enclosure from a scrapped SCADA system that ought to withstand getting run over by a truck. I have delusions of making a wicked cache out of it, except for the obvious risk of "took UL / CSA rated outdoor electric enclosure, left coffee can" The project that may get hidden first depending on how the casting molds work out is an artificial rock - one at least 27x the internal volume of the one Groundspeak used to sell, at least peanut butter jar sized, though.
  14. I'd probably stay away from any that had log entries of suspicions of high criminal activity in the area, such as a possible drop zone for "el narcotraficantes", a known area of heavy gay cruising, places with known meth labs, pot being grown (due to boobytraps), or where a bunch of homeless have moved in. Now recruiting a few police officers to caching, who would be willing to periodically go out there in uniform and driving a cruiser - that would maybe let a cache help clean up an area. Elementary school grounds (or in close proximity) would be another one because of the extreme paranoia in this day and age concerning schools and middle-aged males near the grounds, as someone else posted so eloquently earlier. As an aside on the school issue, I wonder what subjecting children to 12 years of indoctrination with the prison lockdown type environment of today's schools will manifest itself as tomorrows' dysfunctional and damaged young adults when those kids grow up? Stockholm Syndrome, PTSD, phobia and paranoia epidemics, anyone? It does not bode well for the future of our society. Now some place with known physical hazards like terrain, - that would just be a higher difficulty rating challenge and I'd just get the proper equipment and training and go for that kind of cache. In our billiard table flat terrain of the Permian Basin, there aren't any technical climbing type places, and not much more woods than the mesquites - with some exceptions (I hid a series of 5 caches recently in some jungle). A "home-proud" upscale area would probably just take an extra trip or two to do role camouflage, to kind of look the part, and appear like maybe one of the hired help or something, like drive up with "Geo's Lawn Service" on a truck with a big mower in the back. High muggle density around micros in parks is a fact of life in Texas, since such a tiny portion of the land is not privately owned - and until someone reigns in the trial lawyer blight and deluge of frivolous lawsuits most ranchers and farmers can't open up their land to geocaching even if they are geocachers themselves due to liability risk. Heck, I have access to several excellent cache locations - some real "at one with nature" kind of spots - own some of them - and the insurance and defense attorney types blanch at the thought. It's just a sign of the times we live in.
  15. I'm working on a couple of bigger cache containers made from discarded oil field automation equipment enclosures. These NEMA rated containers are bigger than ammo cans, and if the conduits are properly installed in the holes the way the safety codes specify (I've seen some improperly installed) the things are gas tight. Once the circuit boards and stuff are unbolted from the inside, they are rather roomy. Down side is, they are much heavier than an ammo can. But, they have mounting flanges and were designed to bolt to utility poles, to pipelines, on meter skids, and other outdoor locations and keep the equipment inside not only dry and functional. Maybe hide the thing in plain sight - use a dummy conduit so it looks like maybe it's functional, stick a Groundspeak sticker on it, put a combination padlock on it, and have an earlier multi-cache stage for the combination. Most muggles would think it was some kind of automation equipment and leave it alone. Some of the ones I salvaged several years ago are made of heavy enough metal to take a 9mm round at point blank range without penetrating (although it puts a good dent in it).
  16. Oh wow. I gotta hide something like that. Is it a Rubbermaid or something like that underneath, or is it something more rigid so someone stepping on it won't crush it?
  17. Is it really flat and have some of the wood chips and such glued on top of it?
  18. ROTFL!!! Guess it couldn't be a Legend or a Venture, and 50 cal ammo cans and camo paint / stencils instead of the Rubbermaid containers Wonder what level PV/BV would get a Yellow Jeep TB pin? and how many caches one has to personally find to remain in qualification Or if it would be like hide 6 per month, find 10, get each of your group to do the same. "5th new cache of the day. Just another film container under a park bench to get PV/BV. TNLNSL" I bet the event caches would be held quarterly, all would be more than 600 miles away and take a whole weekend and cost around $500 plus gas, have endless speeches from the top dogs, and overpriced tapes and books for sale outside the arena, and drag on till 2 AM Friday and 3:30 AM Saturday nights, too
  19. There is a cemetery multi-cache around here that ultimately is more of a "milli" rather than a "micro" - big enough for small to medium travel bugs, that the actual container is a flower vase, complete with artificial flowers sticking out the top. You have to calculate coordinates from several other headstones criss-crossing the cemetery, and learn a lot about the history of the area.
  20. Entropy is what happens to my kitchen sink when I go look for a geocache instead of wash the dishes for a couple of days in a row
  21. Uh - I think the math is off... The equation is 6+(6*4)+(6*4*2) = 6+24+48 = 78 (DD, not Diamond) Emerald (bare minimum) would be 78 (side volume) + 79*3 = 78 + 237 = 315 Diamond (bare minimum) would be 78 (side volume) + 79*6 = 78 + 552 = 630 Real groups are extremely asymmetrical in both width and depth. There were some advantages a decade ago in being the only real computer geek in a Q-12 Ruby direct's group while they were getting software up and going and learning how to operate a computer for the first time. Seeing actual PV/BV figures for various legs, their width and depth, etc. was fascinating to say the least. In a nutshell - it more resembled a mesquite bush's tap root with a couple of deep forks than the classic 6-4-2. More fascinating was watching the group structure change over a 6 month period, seeing a good snapshot with every computer cleanup The attrition is fairly high if a lot of work isn't being done in the depth, and balancing width and depth is a tightrope act.
  22. Speaking of building width and depth - we had a Skywarn activation this evening although the really nasty weather ended up in Irion and Tom Green counties and then further east, which is San Angelo's responsibility. Anyway, in a severe weather outbreak a few months ago where I was acting as net control and things were quiet, one of the forecasters saw a loose travel bug in my backpack - the one I keep the ham radio related stuff in and spare tools and such in case something needs to be fixed or maintained unexpectedly at the Skywarn station at the weather service, and a conversation got going about travel bugs and geocaches. That planted some seeds, and this evening the same forcaster was on duty. He said that about 2 weeks ago the UTPB student newspaper ran a big article on geocaches and mentioned one that is on the campus (maybe THAT's why this geocache got muggled recently :-) Since it turned out the dry line was east of our area of responsibility, we talked about astronomy and geocaching and other technical stuff while periodically checking the radar loops and deciding whether to send a spotter to a nearby county or not (ultimately it was a meteorological non-event but we didn't know that for a couple of hours). Anyway, I had my travel bug inventory with me this evening and took pictures of them sitting on the radio transciever and some other views inside the weather office. Two of them are "speaking toys" - and I showed them the travel bug sheets, and how one of the TB's had just recently been in California, gone to Austin, ended up at an event cache. I also had some "this is a geocache" sheets in the pack - several micro-cache sized (print 4 to a page and cut em apart) and conventional sized ones without the coordinates, owner, or name filled in and left him one with the appropriate URLs. Hopefully one of them will surf to geocaching.com and look up the myriad of interesting caches a newbie can go looking for on a Saturday. The proof would be to see a newbie log on any cache in the area If geocaching had been around in the old days, that would have at least a few smiley logs a few hundred miles from home for the gas to a major function, and a few night caches while coming back from the inevitable no-shows. Gee maybe I need to place some new geocaches "in the middle of nowhere" that are near some prime spotting locations where someone can quickly move in any direction to either intercept and report on or escape from severe weather events
  23. Backpack with "swagbag", Garmin E-Trex Legend, cellphone, Palm, digital camera, 7 amp-hour gel-cell, flashlight, Yaesu FT-470 dual band ham handheld - rigged with Byonics TinyTrak in empty battery case and powered directly from gel-cell. This same pack also doubles as the ARES emergency pack, so I keep the assorted Red Cross and other credentials there, some freezer bags with clean underwear, socks, pants, shirt; a few water bottles, TOILET PAPER, assorted OTC medication and a couple of Rx bottles.. I do usually leave the Arrow antenna and all the RF connectors, adaptors, and tools in the car except for the Leatherman Wave when geocaching to save weight. The "swag bag" is a separate fanny pack so the heavier ARES pack can be left behind when the cache is more of a "park and grab". Now that hunting season is around the corner and a very nice camo pack with integrated "camelback" is on sale, I'm looking hard at upgrading. This pack I'm drooling over has some pouches specifically positioned and designed for a GPS, cellphone, handheld (with buttonhole for antenna to protrude), and the shotgun shell pouch is perfect for a gel-cell. It has a detatchable fanny pack, and a place to hook a separate speaker/mike for the ham rig on the shoulder strap. $49.95 at Sam's Club. To see the car running APRS running about, look at current location of cachemobile. When I have the FT-470 running as a tracker as well, look at the portable APRS tracker. To build up APRS tracks, look at findu cgi script documentation. Or just look at the radar map with APRS data overlaid like we do when Skywarn spotting: n5psp-9 track previous 168 hours
  24. Hmmm. Then I'm 2 wide and one leg 2 deep?
  25. I design oil field automation equipment. We started using GPSr's to document where the oil wells are located during installations for later maintenance. Before the GPS days, often half of the job time was spent trying to find the right oil well, especially when signs may have been shot full of holes to the point of being unreadable, and there are 200 nearly identical wells in the field. I started leading the charge even before selective availability was turned off and GPSr's became accurate to closer than about 2 city blocks, since in Texas, wells are spaced on 40 acres. I still have a track map complete with the 100 meter ambiguity of a telemetry installation in Andrews County captured in 1998. The information saves many man-hours in the field and quite a bit of mileage. Didn't get any bonuses or such though.
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