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Everything posted by Fschwep

  1. Yes it does. It switches autozoom off... so it does not autozoom when you use find... ;-)
  2. You can switch the compass off and on by pressing and holding the Page key. Calibration is needed quite often, certainly after a battery change. You can also set the compass to work only when you have been below a certain speed for a certain length of time (i.e. set it really low, and you'll always be using the GPS heading as soon as you move, even when walking). I don't think you can turn off the altimeter. Of course nothing will stop you adapting the order of pages shown so that the altimeter screen does not show up, and to adapt the trip computer screen to avoid showing altitude. It's a pretty good altimeter, by the way, even compared to a dedicated aeronautical alti/vario combo. Waypoint at destination does give you the name of the waypoint, doesn't it? In map view it shows the name quite large: North to XXX. It's true that the 60CSx has more options than one can throw a stick at and maybe simplicity of operation suffers.
  3. Yep, I fly balloons. I have my own, a small one for 2 or 3 people (depending on temperature and altitude), and also fly for a French ballooning company as a freelance pilot, with larger balloons (7/8 or 10/12 passengers). Just this weekend I was very glad I had my 60CSx while flying with 12 people in the basket over the very varied landscape of the Parc des Volcans in the Auvergne (yes, volcanoes - dead ones, but over 100 of them): my altimeter/vario went dead halfway through the flight due to a battery problem. While flying you can't really fiddle around a lot with things like that, so I reverted to my Garmin to read off both altitude and vertical speed (I have set the trip computer to show both, along with my heading, bearing to a target, location and flight time). I can say that the vertical speed indicator of the 60CSx comes quite close to the precision and sensitivity of a real alti/vario combo. Good backup, that. Look at Le Ballon Bleu, our website with some info on ballooning here and our little studio we rent to tourists. There are some caches near here (I have not started doing caching yet, I hope to get around to that someday, but someone else has set a few routes with multiple caches, riddles, the lot), just search for France - Combrailles or a position around 46°N 2.8° E . Just an example: In these deep gorges and with tree cover, better bring a GPS with a high-sensitivity receiver...
  4. Just an idea. Have you tried switching off your portable phone or, for that matter, any other high frequency radio transmitter you may be carrying? I use my GPS mostly while flying a balloon, and looking at the tracks on the PC later have the impression that 'jumps' in the track seem to coincide with the rare moments when I used my airband VHF radio, or when either my own phone or that of a passenger was used. There is fairly strong anecdotal evidence amongst balloonists that the use of a radio transmitter near a GPS can 'jam' it and throw off the positioning. Maybe for some reason the Colorado's receiver is more vulnerable to this.
  5. I don't think you'll be missing much. Main differences with more modern units are the older receiver which may lose sat lock faster under tree cover or in a deep ravine, and no maps. It also eats batteries a bit faster. You can still hook it up to a PC using a cable (find GPS Warehouse in the UK on the web; they sell special cables that connect the serial port of your 12 directly to a USB port on a PC without hassle - I have one and it works great, though it's an expensive cable). I have a 12XL and a 60CSx, and I find that the 12XL is easier to use when you need to enter coordinates (as in UTM or degrees/minutes) directly into the GPS - you use the rocker to move to the number you want to change and then move up or down to change it. On the 60CSx you need to enter every number by picking it from a tiny menu, which takes a lot more time - I'd say so much that booting up a laptop, hooking it up and starting a mapping program to do it from the computer would be just as quick. The 12 or 12XL is designed for a simple operation: tell you where you are in UTM or degrees/minutes so you can find that position on a paper map, and take you to a waypoint you either enter directly or load from a computer. And they do that quite well. A 12 is a hammer; the latest models are toolboxes. If you just need to hit a nail, you don't need the whole toolbox.
  6. 1. GPS - until recently a Garmin 12XL, now a GPSMap 60CSx 2. Paperless Device and Software - oldfashioned Psion 5mx PDA (not for GPS use, though it will talk to a GPS through a weird cable combo, and it has European RoutePlanner software developed in the stone age by TomTom before they became TomTom; but it is still simply an excellent pocket computer with a real keyboard, great battery life and lots of software). And a 12 inch notebook PC (IBM ThinkPad) running topo map software from IGN, the French topo institute (scanned maps, not routable vectors). 3. Software for downloading Waypoints - Bayo CartoExploreur by IGN (see above). Based on Mapsource. As it uses real 1:25.000 scale topo maps with superb detail I can use it to enter balloon launch and landing sites and competition target locations very precisely. 4. Maps - electronic in PC: CartoExploreur; in the GPS, TOPO France and CityNavigator France (whole country on a 1GB card); plus a load of paper maps in 1:25.000, 1:50.000 and 1:100.000, most with UTM grid.
  7. I use my GPS primarily for hot-air ballooning. It's a great help to find elusive, thin layers of air that move in different directions and different speeds, as the receiver shows small changes in heading and speed very rapidly. Thus it helps me navigate to a good landing area, or to goals and targets in competition flying. Competitive balloon pilots were early adopters of GPS technology - I got my first Garmin GPS45 years before selective availability was abolished, and have been carrying a GPS 12XL for almost a decade on all my flights. Recently I upgraded to a 60CSx, and I guess that one will see some use outside ballooning, due to its routing capabilities (it also helps to find the shortest way back to the launch site after landing in some remote area).
  8. I found that the 60CSx self-calibrates when you switch it on. It uses the GPS 3D position to reset the barometric pressure altimeter. Just saw it do that: switched it on, it showed 780 m when it got a first fix on satellites. Our house is at 640 m, I was on the first floor so closer to 644. True, a weather depression had passed so pressure had dropped, hence the higher altitude showing. A minute later the Elevation counter on the trip comp screen started counting down, finishing at 649 metres. About 5 metres off the true altitude/elevation is quite good - a normal pressure altimeter will be a lot further off if the weather changes. Also, topo maps usually show elevation lines spaced at 10 or 20 metres, so greater accuracy is not of much use during a hike or, like with me, in the air. Do realize that determining a position within 10 metres horizontally and and vertically on the scale of the PLANET is in fact awesome. It is within the size of a pencil dot on a military 1:50.000 scale map. People are getting too spoiled by car GPSes used as address seekers, while we are talking about the Global Positioning System originally designed for marine and military use.
  9. I'd say those are nice for logging afterwards. While hiking the obviously useful info is a) where you are, where your goal is and c) if you are going the right way to get there. The 60CSx can do that excellently. Ascent and descent data could help you confirm that yes, you climbed to a hilltop (or rather, halfway there). Never ever forget to take a good paper topo map so you can relate a) and c) to that. No batteries needed.
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