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Everything posted by CharlieP

  1. Many devices made for children are not recommended for rechargeable batteries because things get really hot if there is a short circuit. Alkalines cannot deliver enough current to get very hot. In other words ... lawyers. I use off-brand NiMH rechargeable batteries in my GPS. I have analyzed the economics, and if you are using your GPS more than 20 hours per month on average, the rechargeable are cheaper.
  2. Walk to an area that has the least tree cover and hold the GPS as high as possible. If it has a patch antenna, hold it as horizontal as possible. It helps a lot to stay in one place and then use a compass to shoot a bearing to the cache. Sometimes moving just a few feet away can make a big difference in reception, so watch the sat page on the GPS and try a few different spots until you get the best reception.
  3. Because in many places in this country you would never get elected that way.
  4. I hope our SC geocachers will keep a list of the legislators openly supporting geocaching in this matter, and also those with Ms. Ceips. I can't vote in SC, but I can make political donations.
  5. I strongly agree with those who think no action should be taken. Someday we may need the support and/or cooperation of letterbox folks in a political situation ... why make enemies? If you insist on pursuing the matter, please do not identify yourself as a geocacher.
  6. Wearing light colored clothing, especially white socks, can make it easier to see them before they bite. In the warmer months I prefer to wear khaki shorts, white shirt, and white socks. I have found that spraying my boots, socks, and legs with a deet repellent keeps off both ticks and chiggers. In Georgia, chiggers (harvest mites) are in many ways worse than ticks ... you can see ticks and get them off before they bite.
  7. I would not want to see a general rule that banned cemetery related geocaches. I especially enjoy caches with a historical theme, and I think that some geocaches can involve cemetery visits and not be an issue at all. Making more people aware of the importance of preserving old cemeteries is a good thing. Some examples of geocaches that took me to cemeteries and are IMHO beyond reproach: Minutemen in Tucker The Master Van Dorn I think a number of factors determine the appropriateness of these caches: 1) the tone of the cache page and the context of the cemetery visit in the cache hunt, 2) To what extent is the cemetery "public"? That question has some finer points, not just "who owns the real estate?" and "does the public have legal access?". 3) Is there a historical theme, or a theme of paying respect to a particular individual or group? FWIW, CharlieP
  8. FYI, modern pistols will not fire as a result of a fall or being dropped, even with a live round under the hammer. Early revolvers, e.g., Civil War era, would fire if dropped on the hammer, but long ago safety features were incorporated into pistols that prevent this. These days, almost all cases of accidental firing due to a fall result from the shooter falling as he is preparing to shoot, or right after making a shot with a semi-auto. If you leave it in the holster, it is about as safe as a roast-beef sandwich.
  9. Although I have a few pistols, I don't carry them geocaching. Weight is a major consideration, and legalities are another. Oddly, the only times I have felt like I needed a pistol was in suburban parks, not in the swamp or deep woods. Bears and Bobcats seem to mind their own business, its the urban 2-legged predators that sometimes worry me.
  10. The discharge rate used in these tests is considerably higher than the 0.1C rate recommended as the maximum rate for NiMH cells, and about 5 times the load of a typical GPSR. The test is fully discharging the cells in about 3 hours. To quote from the test page: "Higher discharge currents will result in diminished measured capacities." Yep. The test done after a year does not specify how the cells were prepared for the test, but I would assume they were not fully cycled, which could account for most of the loss in capacity. Having said all that, from my own tests I have found that NO NiMH cells yield rated capacity, and if you get 90% you are doing well. But then 90% of a 2000 mAh cell will power my GPSR for about 15 hours on a charge ... good nuf.
  11. I use NiMH rechargeables and charge them on an overnight (slow) charger. Fast charging is convenient, but also heats up the batteries more than slow charging, and heat may shorten battery life. I have found that slow-charged NiMH batteries may last more than 5 years and hundreds of charge cycles. It will be interesting to see what the average life of the fast-charge cells will be.
  12. I think there is such a policy ... but the NPS is re-considering it. This is from this link: FSEEE Quote: Marcia Keener, a program analyst for the Park Service policy office ... Certain national parks are willing to allow caches in designated areas once the hider has applied for and received a land-use permit; however, Keener says procedures established by Congress for reviewing these applications take time and money. Special permits can cost as much as $100, and may be good for only forty-eight hours. ... But Keener says there is room for compromise between cachers and national park managers, and that good communication is essential. “The [Park Service] would like to remove the Ôban’ language,” she says. “The next step [to allow forms of geocaching] is to get both the natural and cultural resources of national parks on the same page to have a better sense of what will happen if the ban language is removed. The more communication about a proposal and work that can be done to make the activity acceptable, the better. Talking with the park staff is absolutely key.”
  13. The simple answer is ... politics. I would speculate that there is a lot of anti-tourism and anti-outsider sentiment in areas like Beaufort, and the politicians, esp. Ms. Ceips, are playing on this. SC already has a lot of laws they don't enforce ... this is apparently a very political state ... maybe right up there with Arkansas and Louisiana. From my personal perspective, we have been considering a vacation home and Hilton Head or Beaufort were possibilities ... but I am not so sure I want to spend a lot of time in SC now ... Florida is looking better and better. Coincidentally, we will be in Beaufort Friday on a vacation trip ... but probably won't be looking at real estate. Future vacations to SC are also less likely. Some of the supporters of this bill may be happy about that, but on the whole, it is not good for SC. But who cares? The way most minority political groups deal with stuff like this is by supporting the opponents of the legislators proposing restrictions. This is the main way an out-of-state person can influence legislation. Money talks ...
  14. I heard on the news today that Eric Rudolph has told authorities he made some of his bombs by packing nails around dynamite inside an ammo can. If this is true, and it gets wider news coverage, it may cause some problems.
  15. Rating every cache hunt is probably not a good idea ... too many hurt feelings. But a system to help identify the really good caches could work ... maybe allow cachers to vote for their twenty favorite caches, or one cache out of every or ten they do. It would also be great to be able to easily list caches by characteristics such as historical, scenic, good hike, handicap friendly, creativity, etc.
  16. Any device that emits an electromagnetic field may affect a compass. It depends on how strong the field is relative to the earth's magnetic field. I have found that my GPSR can affect my compass if I hold it too close. But I have used my compass in proximity to high voltage transmission lines and did not notice a problem ... but I was not directly under the lines. The lines seem to affect the GPSR more than the compass. I would suggest you set the compass then walk under the lines and see what happens. It would be really interesting to try this with a DC transmission line, but those are very rare, most are AC. I don't think you will see much deviation, if any. But a steel transmission tower could cause a large deviation.
  17. If I think the posted coords are off enough that it causes a problem for searchers, I sometimes post my own coords. I also like to compare my coords with those of other cachers, especially in those locations where GPS reception is sketchy. Some folks think posting coords is a slap at the cache owner, but then some are ALWAYS looking for ANY reason to be offended.
  18. This is one of those issues that tends to get different responses from different folks depending primarily on their ... believe it or not ... age. Younger folks tend to have an outlook where it is not appropriate to pass judgement on ANY type of personal behavior. We old codgers are usually less restricted by political correctness. I sometimes cache on weekdays, by myself, in various public parks and encounter men trolling for male partners. Besides being annoying, this sometimes makes me think I should carry a pistol. Funny, I feel safe in the deep woods with the bears and poisonous snakes, but feel the need to arm myself in suburban parks. This is not good. There has been a murder in one of these parks a few miles from my home. Another park in the area is so dedicated to this activity that geocaches placed there were quickly removed. I think it is appropriate to discuss this here, if nothing else as a warning to other geocachers. But I am not sure at this point what would be a reasonable way to curtail this ... but a police sting operation would probably work. They use stings to bust hetero "Johns" so it seems reasonable to use the same method. FWIW, CharlieP
  19. Nah ... those relationships usually don't last long enough for such things to become issues.
  20. For the guys, the solution is simple ... I stumbled onto it accidently. Take the SO on a couple of extreme geocaching outings ... if it involves wading, briars, mud, poison ivy, mosquitos, ticks and a tough 6 mile hike ... it is probably perfect. If you can get a thunderstorm into the mix, just as you reach the top of that mountain, that's good too. And no bathroom within 20 miles. After that you will probably find that she will not be too eager to go geocaching with you, and will actually require encouragement and promises like "I am sure you will enjoy this one honey". If all this does not work, and she still wants to go without a complaint, you should marry this woman, if you have not already.
  21. I have found that power lines do cause some GPS reception problems, but it varies with the GPSR. I have an old Apelco marine GPS that will refuse to work at all under some very high voltage transmission lines (e.g., 500kV). My Garmin GPS76 does a lot better, but the lines still cause some problems.
  22. The Palm Zire 31 meets those specs. The standard price is $150 but it can be found on sale for $100 - $130.
  23. If you are on a tight budget, and plan to use the device only for geocaching, the Palm IIIxe is probably the best choice, and it can be bought in stores for $30 to $50. The IIIxe uses two AAA batteries. Beware of buying a used PDA with a rechargeable battery that is not user replaceable. The cost of replacing the battery may be more than the device is worth, and the battery may be almost gone. Another problem with the rechargeables is that the battery needs recharging every day or so, which can be a problem if you are in the woods several days, or if you are forgetful. If you plan to use additional software on the PDA, such as mapping, you may want to pay more bucks and get a PDA with a faster processor and a memory card slot, such as the Palm Zire 31. Just remember to recharge it. FWIW, CharlieP
  24. My cardiologist had told me to exercise, and I chose walking as a reasonable way to accomplish that and also get out of the office. I soon got bored with just walking around the block. Then I heard about geocaching and decided to try it ... the rest is history. I enjoy the problem-solving and exploration aspects of geocaching and also learning more about local history. Geocaching has allowed me to see many scenic and interesting places, while getting my prescribed exercise.
  25. I stopped picking up travel bugs over a year ago, when trading for the bugs became an issue. Some folks were saying they should be considered a trade item, others said they were not. Couple this with the obligation to move the bug along, and the fact that some owners don't put the bug's goals clearly on the bug itself, it just became too much of a hassle. If you want bugs to move: 1. Make it clear to ALL that they are NOT trade items, except in bug hotels where bug for bug trades are a stated conditional requirement. 2. If the bug has specific goals, put it on the bug, keep it simple and clearly visible. If I am kneeling on wet ground getting eaten alive by mosquitos, or in an area with a lot of muggles about, I am not going to take the time to do a lot of reading to see if I should pick this thing up. 3. Don't be too eager to jump on a cacher if they hold the bug a while ... sometimes folks' best laid plans don't work out. Happens to mice too, I hear. FWIW, CharlieP
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