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Everything posted by dsandbro

  1. The GMRS channels require a license according to the regulations, but the government does not seem to care and very few bother to actually get one.
  2. The stuff I have seen fades to blue in just a couple of months even in partial sunlight. Several caches I have spotted from a good distance away because the faded tape really stands out from natural vegetation.
  3. If it is in good condition when you first acquire it. But even ones that 'look OK' can leak, with some hidden or obscure flaws. The best ones still can degrade over time, as mentioned above.
  4. Even using two or more bearings, the margin of error often will still leave with a 20ft+ circle to search. Once I have that size area narrowed down, I carefully scan the area looking for potential hiding places (If I were hiding a cache here, where would I put it?). Look for 'out of place' objects. A pile of bark or twigs, a few rocks, etc. 9 times out of 10 I will spot the hiding place from 10 feet away, even though I can't yet see the cache container.
  5. While wearing the clothes light your pants legs on fire. As the fleeing ticks run across your chest stab them with an icepick...
  6. Go to a clearing where you have a good signal, wait for the unit to get a solid lock, then slowly walk back thru the forest. Many units will keep locked on to a marginal signal once located. Look at the constellation on the unit. Many times there will be more satellites in one quadrant of the sky more than others. Move a short distance one way or another so there is an opening in the forest canopy in that direction. It often does not take much of an opening to really improve the signal. Hold the unit so your body is not between the unit and the bulk of the satellites. Radio signals do not pass thru water very well, and your body is just a big bag of water. External antennas really improve the accuracy and sensitivity of the unit. The mag mount antenna made for cars works really well. Put a couple of safety pins in the crown of your hat and the mag antenna base will stay there and the cord snakes down to the unit in your hand or pack. Glue a small flat washer to the top of a walking stick and the mag base will stick there, then you lift the hiking stick with the antenna into the air as high as you can reach.
  7. Sometimes. Sometimes I leave the weapon at home or in the vehicle. It depends on the area, time of day/day of week, and other size-up factors. My gut feeling tells me whether it is a reasonable tool to have handy or wasted weight, and I choose accordingly.
  8. I can think of only one circumstance where you would not use WGS84. You are using your GPS for a non-geocaching use and the map you are using is NAD27, which is still commonly used on older maps and many government agencies. Look at the legend or margin information on the map. Set your GPS to that. If your unit has NAD83 you can use it as WGS84. The difference is negligible over most of North America.
  9. My wife uses a fanny pack with a unique hidden pocket. Most people would have to look twice to even see the zippered compartment, but it can be opened in seconds and withdraw the .357 with one hand behind her back (pun). She bought it at a NV gun show where a woman vendor made them herself. Never saw another one like it. We are like most here. Seldom carry a firearm either concealed or open. We can, just don't have the need. We do when we think it wise to do so, but that is rare. So why have the extra weight?
  10. Use one of the websites, downloaded freeware, or your GPS to do it. It is possible to do it by hand cranking with pencil and paper, but it gets real ugly. Only a real math nerd would like doing it that way.
  11. Is the specific area you saw the flags forested? According to the reference sheet in front of me the forest activity flagging color code for that area is: Blue -- project area boundary Pink: Skid trail or tractor route (access route to the proposed project?). Property lines are red. It could be the landowner/manager laying out some work to be done on the land, totally unrelated to geocaching. Just by coincidence the flag line went by the cache.
  12. PLSS is the Public Land Survey System. Some people know it as Township, Range, and Section. It is based on a flat Earth, so every 4 townships there is (supposed to be) a correction factor. In the mountainous terrain of the western U.S. the surveying errors accumulated, so you see some bizzare shapes to some sections, which are supposed to be exactly 1 mile square. The notes of the surveyors (some dating from the 1850's in my area) make some real interesting reading. They describe encounters with grizzly bears, surveying right through Indian villages, forest fires, having their equipment damaged by floods, etc. You may have heard of the fellow that first thought up this method of land surveying and mapping. His name was Thomas Jefferson (yes... THAT Thomas Jefferson).
  13. External antennas significantly improve accuracy, even if you cannot get the antenna above the obstructions. I attach the antenna to the top of my hiking stick and just let it stabilize and auto-average.
  14. About half the ones I have found have leaked. Either from improper closure or the seals going bad. They are easy to spot. Look for straight lines and sharp corners and they pop right out of their hiding places. They cost a few $$. I have several, but I use them to store ammunition (what a novel use!!), and carry basic tools in the vehicles.
  15. Briansnat is correct. The local manager is authorized to determine what is allowed or not allowed in the wilderness areas under their jurisdiction. An adjacent national forest may have a different interpretation of the Wilderness Act. This is by design. The Forest Service has taken great pains to maintain itself as a decentralized organization with as few national mandates and national regulations as possible. Local decisions on how to manage the public lands should made by local people with boots on the ground -- not by lawyers, judges, or politicians in Washington DC. When I worked for the USFS one of my collateral duties was to monitor the geocaches on national forest land. Several were inside the Wilderness with full knowledge and consent of all. I checked them yearly and never saw any impact or had any concerns. There were a few outside the Wilderness that I brought to the attention of various folks, and after discussion we decided to leave them alone. Most are unaware that in the spectrum of land management classifications Wilderness is not the most restrictive. Research Natural areas are far more restrictive as to uses. RNAs are not even supposed to have trails and any human use is discouraged. Yet no one either inside or outside the agency has raised a peep about geocaches in RNAs.
  16. I have asked my local community college to offer a short course on geocaching (stretching to a whole semester would be difficult). They are always asking for suggestions for possible classes to boost enrollment.
  17. I have yet to see the batteries die on a old-fashioned magnetic compass. There are a few locations where mag compasses give erroneous readings. These are usually well known and marked on maps. This is offset by the locations where GPS signals are erratic. Usually NOT well documented nor listed on maps. I am curious about the comment mag compasses only have an accuracy of 3 degrees. I am consistently within 1/2 degree on my Silva Ranger. Less than 1/4 degree with my Suunto.
  18. Since most people have a 8.5x11 printer at home, the full size quads are hard to print. Save the files to a CD, DVD, or flash drive and take it to a local print shop to print full size. Or make friends with someone who works with GIS and has access to a full size plotter. Bribing with liquor usually works.
  19. My most is 10 in one day, but I seldom go out just for geocaching. I go hiking, biking, etc and search for caches along the way. Since the purpose of my outing that day was a hiking to a backcountry lake and my driving and hiking just happened to pass by the caches, 10 is a pretty good day's work.
  20. External Antenna for my Garmin GPSMap 76. I asked for one for my pickup, since it does not get good reception inside the cab. Tonight when I came home from work I got 12 satellites DGPS inside my metal roofed garage! Really -- 12 under a metal roof -- no exaggeration! By mistake, my wife got shipped two antennae, only got billed for one. We were going to send one back, but I found a use for the second one (wife's car came with a GPS nav system built in, so I do not need it for her car). When I put the antenna atop my hiking stick I get fantastic signal in a local narrow canyon bottom with thick canopy where before I got no signal with the unit alone. Since the first one is now more-or-less permanently wired into my truck I will the use the other one as a portable.
  21. The license fee is currently $75 or $80 and is good for only a period of time (5 years, I think). According to Federal regulations a license is required for the GMRS band, but no one I know ever bothered to get one. The FCC issued a standard statement about a license required for any use anywhere, but that is legal PR CYA talk. They do not care about occasional use of GMRS radios in remote areas where any chance of interference with other users is nil. Use GMRS in a congested area for commercial purposes and you may get busted. Available from many sources are external antennaes and power boosters for the small handheld radios. Use those and you may get busted. Or maybe not.
  22. The worst I encountered was a small jar filled with a gray powder and a note attached. The note said it was the cremated remains of their pet dog. I didn't trade anything for it.
  23. Count us in the canoe bunch. My wife and I, two dogs, and lots of gear, including folding lawn chairs, ice chest of goodies, dry bags with extra clothes, and day packs with hiking gear made the canoe the better choice for us. A canoe lets you move the cargo around to better trim depending on wind and water conditions. Shifting gear around is bit more problematic in a kayak. I disagree with the poster that said it hard to paddle solo in a 2-seater canoe. Ours is just about as easy either way.
  24. I would suspect it means audio or noisemaking devices. By Federal law (ADA, among others) you cannot ban pacemakers, hearing aids, insulin pumps, respiratory assistance equipment, powered wheelchairs, or electronic prosthetics.
  25. About 90% of mine are solo, including all my 4s and 5s and all my backcountry/wilderness caches. No problem. I am perfectly comfortable solo x-country hiking. I have done it all my life both professionally and for personal recreation and do not worry about it at all, neither does my wife worry about me when I am out in the forest alone.
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