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Everything posted by OlderNDirt49

  1. Interesting resurrected thread, so I'll join in. Keep in mind, this is from an "old school" guy....I'm talking about slide rules, party lines, and full service gas stations. I had no idea what GPS was until we bought a new car with On-star service, free for 3 months, then about #30 a month for full service. It was nice during trial, but got to thinking at the price of service, I could buy a GPS unit for less then a years worth of service, so went looking. Then remembered a story I had seen about this geocaching thing that had sounded rather interesting. But would that or car navigation be something I would really do/use or was it just an intriguing possibility? So my research began, could I find a GPS unit that would let me try both with reasonably good results? You know, not wanting to get something that would be so limited as to kill the interest in both uses. My research led me to the Garmin Nuvi 500, a unit with full auto navigation and full paperless caching. I waited for the right deal to come along and took the plunge and eagerly tracked the shipment until its arrival. What an exciting early spring Christmas that day was! I'll admit, it took some time for this "beginner" to figure out how to use this gem for either navigation or geocaching, but I finally figured out how to get a couple geocaches on it and navigate to the cache, change to off road walking mode (that one did take some time), and make that first find. But I was hooked on the hobby. Unfortunately, I spent more time in the next month figuring out how to get a bunch of geocaches into the unit, using other on-line services, and logging my finds. But soon had it serviceably figured out. I was now feeling like a true geocacher and purchased a nuvi 2455 for the car so the nuvi 500 would always be available for my adventure days (yes, the wife has now decided by now that the car navigation was necessary for her shopping trips). All was well for a few years, but then I started to question the ability of the 500 when the dnf's started to equal and surpass the finds. Being very rural, a geo trip would require traveling 20 to 50 miles (depending on which direction I headed) to hunt the first cache. Nothing more frustrating to travel that far and have to dnf 3 of the first 4 hunts. So my geocaching attempts severely declined to next to none for a couple years. Getting the bug back this spring, I pulled out the 500 and got it updated and ready to go, only to find out it was on it way to GPSr heaven. Garmin gave me some very reasonable options to replace the unit, so went back to researching my choices. So now, I have a nice, new nuvi 3597 (great navigation unit btq) for traveling, the nuvi 2455 for traveling on geocaching trips, and an Oregon 650t for the hunt when I get there. I have a lot to learn about the 650t, but have had the chance to give it a test and like what I am seeing so far. So here I sit on this cold, windy, wet day anxiously awaiting some reasonable weather to get out there and have some fun. Yes, there are going to be the dnf's, but faith in the GPSr should be a thing of the past. Only thing I am going to miss is seeing geocaches, both found and unfound on the screen of the 2455 as I travel the roads, but that is a small price to pay.
  2. Thanks, geodarts. All I have done is added geocaches, albeit GPX files through GSAK (Oh! The shame! LOL!), so probably not gonna hurt to update and if there is a problem, I am still in the 30 day return period.
  3. I tried the Garmin Export Macro and it worked for GPX files, but the option to change to GGZ was greyed out. Wondering if updating GSAK to the new version 8 will be needed which I have no problem paying for the update if that fixes it. Also wondering: My 650t came with software version 2.70 and I have read a lot about possible problems when updating to the current 3.80 and recommending not to update to that. Is there any choice to update to an earlier version (like 3.60) rather then going straight to 3.80? The only option I got was to download and install version 3.80.
  4. The only one they had was their display and wouldn't budge on price. Also had a discount direct from Garmin and they express shipped (2 days). Now if it would just start warming up here in Nebraska, I would be ready to go. I would also be interested in how other Oregon 6xx owners are loading that plethora of geocaches on their units. I load my 650 using GSAK and always use the GGZ file type. It's supposed to index & sort faster. I normally have about 15,000 caches onboard. I had been using GSAK in the past, looked, didn't see the Oregon 600 series available as an option to send to GPS nor did I see anything about GGZ files through the export option. Does GSAK have to be updated to the new version 8 to get the GGZ file option?
  5. The only one they had was their display and wouldn't budge on price. Also had a discount direct from Garmin and they express shipped (2 days). Now if it would just start warming up here in Nebraska, I would be ready to go. I would also be interested in how other Oregon 6xx owners are loading that plethora of geocaches on their units.
  6. Hi all! After doing a lot a research and finally making a 4 hour round trip to put one of these in my hands, I made the plunge today for the Oregon 650t. Yes, there are a number of concerns/problems referenced here and elsewhere, but am willing to take the chance on, what should be a vast upgrade over my original venture into the sport with a now failing Nuvi 500. I can't wait until it arrives Thursday and then I can start pestering the board with lots of questions.
  7. I currently have the Oregon 600, which I got after selling a Montana 600. I think the Oregon display is it's strongest feature - to me it's easy to read and sensitive to the touch. I find it easier to use than the Montana and prefer the way it displays cache information. I simply use the field note feature to record the cache as found - or do it on my iphone caching app - so I am not sure how easy it is to enter any information through the keyboard. I am not certain that GLONASS is much of a factor. My iphone (which also has GLONASS) and the 62s (without it) typically get me a little closer to most caches. That is not to say one unit is more accurate than another, but I have not noticed increased accuracy with the Oregon. I had gotten the Montana for voice routing (with its cradle), but when I upgraded my phone I found myself using that with Navigon - the phone is more responsive than the Montana was for me. The Oregon works well for routing, but the voice is handy if I am driving by myself in heavy traffic. I never ran out of room for cache when using the Montana, but only load what I might need so massive amounts of caches were never an issue. I used it with a holster case when hiking, but the Oregon is definitely easier to carry. If you can go to a store that has both units (or know cachers with one or the other), I would recommend trying both and seeing how you like the display, feel, or keyboards on each unit. Thanks for the info! The display screen and size are just a couple of features that make me lean to the Oregon. The only other means of navigation I have is a Nuvi 2455 and I am not very comfortable trying to navigate to a cache (at least 20 miles to get to just one unfound cache) with a unit that does not easily load caches. It could be done, but might end up being a bit of a pain. Again, having to travel quite a distance to even begin caching, I have had to load different databases from GSAK depending on which direction I am heading. It would be much easier just maintaining and loading one database. I will probably do the store thing at some point, but the best chance of finding a store that has both in stock will require a minimum 200 mile round trip. Unfortunately, I do not know any other cachers let alone somebody with one or the other units. I might add that I have been geocaching with a Nuvi 500, my first venture into GPS just to see if I liked caching and use that means of navigation rather then the cost of On Star. Needless to say, I am now hooked on geocaching and would like to get something that should work far better then the Nuvi 500, which has now developed boot problems that Garmin says require repair. They are willing to replace the unit at a fair price or apply that amount to the purchase of a different unit. I am just not comfortable spending an amount for a discontinued GPS and losing the benefit of Life Time map updates that I have only used for a couple years.
  8. I am interested in the Oregon 650 and have read through this whole thread leading to a couple questions: 1. I am very rural and need (or at least would like) turn by turn directions to get to the cache area. I understand the 650 does not have spoken directions, but how easy/good is seeing the directions on the screen? 2. Being a bit long in the tooth and having a bit of a tremor problem (along with short, stubby fingers), how easy is it to hit what you want to hit on the 3" screen. particularly entering log info on the "keyboard"? I am also looking at the Montana 650 for the bigger screen, but the number of caches and GLONAS (sp?) are hard to ignore. Any feedback greatly appreciated. Thx.
  9. I did check a couple last year when first thinking I may have a problem and they zeroed in quite well, and yes, they were older caches. But thanks for the suggestion. I will go out and try a few more and a newer placement. Since I am rural, most I had problems with have not been hunted (or not logged as dnf). One has been found a couple times and comments indicate it was a "quick find", which I generally take with a grain of salt. Interesting thought though that my "problem hunts" have the same co. Will have to do more research on that. Thanks.
  10. Hey all. Hoping you can help or provide some advice to keep my interest in geocaching alive. I started 3 years ago with a Nuvi 500 (ok, stop giggling and hear me through). Originally, it worked well and approaching the geocache would accurately count down the distance, even to 0 feet in some cases. Towards the end of last year, my dnf's started adding up and the frustration of standing at ground zero and seeing nothing resembling a hiding spot for 20-30 feet in all directions. Then I find myself standing along a gravel road with the 500 saying to go 25' to the west and there is nothing there....no bushes, trees, fence, just a barren ditch and pasture. Looking east on the other side of the road (maybe 20' away), there at least is a fence and telephone poles with some weeds around the base. So I give it a look and sure enought, there it is. I am guessing at least 50' from where the 500 said I should look. Dnf's keep piling up and I now pay closer attention to the accuracy. No luck on a couple 20'-30' bridges on gravel roads, in a grove of trees, or along a hedge row. I manage a couple finds where you can pretty much spot the cache before getting out of the car. Then I find myself along a chain link fence with a barren ditch on one side and a paved parking lot (no light poles) on the other, and sure enough, the unit points me 20+' to the middle of the ditch (I know it is not there cause the co says the cache is at eye level). My interest is fading and fun is draining away after another disappointment. I don't mind having to admit to a dnf now and then, but there has to be some confidence before heading out on a 60-80 mile round trip just to hunt one cache. Sorry for going so far in depth to explain my problem, so will get to the question(s). Can/should the accuracy of the Nuvi 500 (or any unit for that matter) degrade over time? I've searched unsuccessfully to see if there is any kind of calibration for accuracy. Am I correct that there is none? And finally, is it time to spend some bucks for a high quality unit if I am going to take this hobby seriously? Thanks for "listening" to my bit of a rant. All input appreciated.
  11. I have been using my nuvi 500 for several months now. It is a little different then other nuvi's in that it was designed for geocaching as well as auto. I was at first frustrated in running into a few problems (ahem, cache name length), which caused the nuvi to lock up. I ended up getting a premium membership so I could get pocket queries. I then load multiple (4) pocket queries into GSAK where there is a command to do a smart shortening of the cache name when loading into the 500. My GSAK database has around 1800 caches that all load into the nuvi at a time and updating the information is quite easy. That covers most of the east half of Nebraska for me. Once you get that working, play with the nuvi a bit for your actual hunt and find what works best for you. For me, once I exit my vehicle, I change to walking off road mode and that works for me. Good luck and happy caching!
  12. Being relativley new to this hobby, I have learned a couple things: What you can't find one day can be a simple find another day. Being very rural, I quickly found everything "local", so I had to plan a drive for my hunts. I made a special 20 mile hunting trip to a nearby town for a "cluster" of four caches and came away with four DNF's. Very frustrating for a newbie! After reading the info for the caches, I returned for a second attempt and went 3 for 4 and all 3 were quick finds. The fourth appears to be and remains a cache poorly maintained and not close at all to the posted co-ordinates. At least for me, it seems some days your gpsr, your eyes, or your geosenses have taken the day off for some reason. What is easy to some cachers can be difficult to others, regardless of experience. I used to feel like making a find was my problem due to my lack of experience and the fact that I always hunt alone. Then I made a quick grab on a cache (within a couple minutes of arriving) which the previous logs showed DNF's for a group of experienced cachers (3 with 800 - 1200 finds each) saying they gave it a good look, but were not able to make the find. What a boost to fair better then others far more experienced! Don't feel bad about logging your DNF's! I recently hit find #100 and had a specific idea for my "coundown to 100" with a specific group of 5 caches by a specific co. I was only able to find 1 of the first 4, putting an end to my well made plans and I fell a couple short of hitting 100. I logged the DNF's and was soon notified by the co that all 3 DNF's were gone! I have no problem at all with my DNF being the final entry for an archived cache and I feel good that by recording my DNF I saved many future hunters the time chasing a missing cache. Sorry for the wordy response, but if it helps the op or others with similar experience, it will be worth the space. Enjoy the hunt, rejoice in the successes and experiences, and record all activity and the hobby will benefit for all participants.
  13. Having only owned the Nuvi 500, I can't address comparisons to other units, auto navigation or geocaching. As for the Nuvi 500: I, too was looking for one unit that presumable would do auto navigation and geocaching reasoanbly well, just in case geocaching didn't pan out as a hobby, a very wrong assumption as it turned out. For my use, there is little more I would want a unit to do for auto navigation. While the combined navigation ane topo map is nice, I do wonder about the frequency of updated maps. For geocaching, I really like the ease of navigating to the area and then changing to walking mode (off road and a good idea to mute audio voice, especially if one downloads and installs the Dr. Nightmare voice..lol) for the actual hunt. In either mode, the cache descriiption, hint (if any), and last 5 log entries are a couple touch screen presses away, as well as the option to log the hunt on the spot (I am sure that is available on most all paperles units). For an older cacher, I also like the larger screen making it easier for my limited eyesight. I find it to be quite accurate, but have wondered if at times, a better hand held would be a fair amount more accurate. The biggest problem with it is the limit on the number of characters in a chache name (I have been told between 13 and 20 characters, but I have had it work just fine with far more then 20), if too long, would totally shut down the unit. With a little work and research, I have figured out how to use GSAK so the names are all abbreviated automatically and have had no problems since. As for durability, I can only say that I did accidently drop it from about four feet onto concrete. Other then a tiny knick on one corner, there has been no problem with its operation (knock on wood)! However, I hope not to make a habit of doing that. Now, having said all that, I will admit I have found myself checking out better auto navigation units and hand held geocaching units. But at a cost of two to three times the price of the Nuvi 500 for the additional benefits I would get, I think it is going to work just fine for me for quite a while.
  14. I have been using (and liking) a nuvi 500 for a few months now. I am not certain, but think this would work for you. Get a micro memory card for your nuvi, save your pq's to the memory card, then remove the memory card when not caching. When you want to go caching, just pop the memory card back in. At least it might be worth a try. Good luck.
  15. 30 years time? My goodness, MrsB. I get the destinct impression that in 30 years time, I have a much better chance of being a cache then finding a cache! Sorry, couldn't resist!
  16. Thanks for all the help responses. Beetween the information here and posts on the GSAK board, I gleened enough information to lead me to a solution to my main problem item #1 (loading PQ into GSAK). Step by step is in my thread there, but will note here that I went into the firewall settings in CA Security and changed the Email settings NOT to quaranteen .zip files. I now have a small PQ in Gsak so I can work on the other areas of question before going for a 500 cacje PQ, but am confident in accomplishing those. Thanks again for all the help!
  17. Thanks, jholly! I finally found something about .efw files and CA Security, which I unfortunately use (not sure if the problem is only with CA). I tried disabling CA anti-virus, but zip file was still emailed to me as .efw and I see nowhere to change that when "saving" the "zip" file. I'll try the GSAK board and see if there is a solution there.
  18. Chuy: When I generate the pq, it is a .zip with a .gpx file. In the e-mail, I receive a .zip file. The problem seems to come when I "save" the file to the hard drive. What shows up is an unzipped file that shows as a .efw document and I see no way to alter or change that. I read up a little on Pilotsnipe's info, but figured I need to get the basics working before going to the next level. Thx for your help. jholly: I hear what you are saying, but I tried searching that site to no avail and there seems to be very little activity on that site. But I will look into that if it doesn't go anywhere here. In searching the internet for others having a similar problem, what little I found was all in foreign language and therefor, of no/little use.
  19. Fairly new to the hobby and hope I got this in the right forum. I have loaded caches into my Nuvi 500 and found most, but am trying to overcome the Nuvi 500 cache name limitation and make loading lots of caches easier then one at a time. I have tried easygps, but it looks like GSAK is the way to go for limiting multiple cache names automatically. So in trying to setup and use PQ's and GSAK, I have (for the time being) 3 problems: 1. After generating a PQ and receiving an e-mail with the file, I rename it and save it to my hard drive. When I try to load it into GSAK (by drag and drop or open file), I get the error message "This file does not pass XML validation and will be ignored". Nothing appears in GSAK. 2. I can't find the correct place to put the "%smart=20" command that will shorten cache names automatically when loaded into the Nuvi 500. 3. I find no option to load the caches onto the micro sd card rather then directly into the Nuvi 500. Hopefully there is a solution to the first problem so I can load PQ's into GSAK to test and fix the other two. Any and all help/suggestions will be greatly appreciated. Thx.
  20. I haven't seen it here or anywhere else, but I have found a pair of needle nose pliers to come in handy on a few occasions. Edit: Thx for the tip.....electricians tape now added to my bag.
  21. Annie quickly took care of setting me up as well, so another big THANKS to her as well. GPSr loaded up and ready to cache in on the fun! Thanks as well to kev-val.
  22. Thanks for the info, kev-val. E-mail is sent and hoping for a good outcome.
  23. +1 My Garmin Nuvi 500 was already registered, plugin updated and verified, but trial activation page sits there "detecting plugin......" with the activation button greyed out. Am I correct that this is a geocaching.com issure rather then a Garmin issue?
  24. Having just started caching this week, it is rather nice to be a noob at something at 59.
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