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Everything posted by BFG99

  1. I'm looking for opinions on this one. Yesterday, after 7 or 8 miles entirely on foot, I came across the last cache for the day. Unexpectedly, it was 10-15 feett off the ground, in the branches of a large willow tree. The easiest way to access it was via the trunk of a second willow tree that had fallen over some time ago, with the top of the trunk in the crown (around 10-12 feet up) of the target tree. I started to climb the dead tree's trunk, but in the process fell and nearly twisted my ankle. I'm also a big guy - 250 lbs and 6'5" - and wasn't sure the dead tree would support my weight. It certainly protested during the climb. I decided that, since I had spotted the cache, had gotten within 5 feet of it, had tried to reach it, and there was a decent chance of injury, I'd count it as "found". But the owner just deleted my status since I hadn't actually signed the log, as the rules do say "you can mark it found once you sign the log" - at least when there is one. What say the community? Did I find it or not? I will abide by whatever is decided here. I will mention that the owner is significantly more experienced than I, and had I not spotted it, tried to reach it and nearly injured myself in the process, I would agree it was "not found".
  2. You can turn the compass on or off on the HCx, though even when it's "on" if will shut itself off if you're going over a certain speed. You can customize that speed - I have mine set to < 5 mph. I usually only turn mine on when I'm at the landing zone in order to save battery power. Unfortunately, this typically means I have to calibrate it fairly frequently.
  3. Yep, it's clear that WGS84 is the way to go for the datum, specifically the EGM96 (revision 2004) version. This is purely about coordinate systems within the datum.
  4. Purely out of curiosity: which GPS coordinate format do you tend to use when entering new caches on the website, or importing into your GPS unit? There are several options: DDD MM.MMM -- the main format used by this website. Gives information to about 73 inches (in my latitude, central MN). DDD.DDDDD -- used by this website's maps. Gives information to about 44 inches. UTM -- alternate given by this website. Gives information to about 39 inches. DDDD MM SS.SS -- A popular alternative. Gives information to about 12 inches. It may be a moot point, since many GPSs are only accurate (in nominal conditions) to within +/- 8 feet. But, I'd prefer to enter whichever coordinates are going to get me closest to the find, which usually means using the same format that the person entering it used, instead of converting. So, what type do you usually use?
  5. Thanks for the direct download link, but I don't know of any way to install it directly. I'll read some of the discussion topics and see if I can figure it out tough. Interesting that turning OFF the compass would make it more accurate (or, perhaps a better way to put it: "more closely match the other guy's coordinates"). Well, that's assuming that you remembered to calibrate it. I always keep it on as I assume that will help with the accuracy. I'll try that, thanks. One more question: if I do get another unit, my top 2 requirements are GPS accuracy, especially in high-cover areas (dense woods, etc.), and battery life. I don't care much about having touchscreens or color or other fancy bells & whistles, and I don't care if it's a new unit. I don't even care if it's Internet- or cell-enabled. I would like to get something that's both GPS and GNAS compatible though. What would you suggest? (And yes, I'll be browsing the forums for answers to that question as well.)
  6. Unfortunately Garmin Express is not compatible with the Vista HCx (the unit is too old).
  7. Well, I'm still scratching my head over here. I contacted Garmin, and the first thing they recommended was to update the software. Makes sense. I got the base software updated to 3.20 no problem, but I'm having trouble with the chipset software. Every time I try to update via WebUpdater, the unit resets in the middle of the update process, during the "erasing previous chipset software" step. Then I get a "the unit is not responding" error, and the update stops. Has anyone else seen this? Any way to get around it? Other than a factory reset I have no other ideas at this point.
  8. Thanks for the responses. Yes, it may be time to find a new unit. One detail I forgot to include: years ago, some batteries were allowed to corrode badly within the HCx. I wouldn't be surprised if that is causing problems with its power regulation now, despite the fact I had it professionally cleaned. Ah well.
  9. Has anyone seen issues like the following with their GPS? Any suggestions? It's well past warranty and probably not worth a repair... 1. On external power, the unit will never lock onto satellites. In fact it never even finds them. If I switch to batteries it will work. My late father told me it was always that way. 2. It won't start up on 1.5V alkaline batteries, and I have trouble with lithium (unknown voltage). Only 1.2V nickel batteries work consistently. 3. I can't seem to get a very good lock under heavily wooded areas, even with WAAS and the compass. I've spent many hours looking for a single cache within the 30' radius circle which was the best this unit could give me. My iPhone is often much more accurate in such situations.(Or, is it that many caches nowadays are logged with iPhone-determined coordinates?) 4. Until recently, my laptop would not recognize the unit when it was connected by USB. I was able to get that repaired, however. I've been unable to update the chipset but successfully updated the software to the latest. Thoughts? I'm wondering if it's time to get a new unit...
  10. It's really too bad I didn't get permission to place one here - it would've been a great location, bringing additional attention to the site, and there are very few caches in the immediate vicinity. Oh well.
  11. Nope, that wasn't it...I can't even find the site now, but it looked like an Amazon knock-off shopping page. I know a little bit of Spanish so I'm pretty sure they weren't offering it for 40 pesos etc.
  12. I'm largely guessing based on my limited (but slowly expanding) understanding of WAAS/EGNOS. It was my understanding that all GPS satellite signals already accounted for the minimal possible ionosphere interference, and the WAAS calculated differential is the "greater than minimal". If that's true, then there can be times when a zero differential from the standard GPS is needed, which would mean a lock-on to a WAAS satellite would not result in a "D". But again, I could be way off. I wouldn't be surprised. As far as why different WAAS satellites would provide different differentials - again, guessing. But, there would be no reason for Garmins to lock onto 2 WAAS satellites simultaneously if they provided exactly the same differential. And I would assume the ionosphere differential would be somewhat different at each reference station.
  13. Aww, that DOES sound like it would have been fun. Too bad I didn't discover caching until 2011. Hopefully there will be another tie-in some day like this one...
  14. A few months ago, when I was researching whether to replace my reliable (but unfortunately battery-corroded) eTrex Vista HCx, I happened to come across a site that was selling a "Garmin eTrex 40". It didn't show a photo or anything and was in Spanish, so I figured it either was a scam or some cheap knockoff of a genuine product. Have any of you run across fake/imitation GPSs before?
  15. Hey, if they still work, my thought is that they're never too old. I was using a Garmin Geko 201 for quite a while - now THERE's a dinosaur.
  16. If all 12 satellites truly had a "D" on the 450, then the 450 can access more than 12 satellites at once - 12 GPSs and at least 1 WAAS. And I have no way of knowing this for sure, but I suspect whether the "D"s show up or not has to do with which WAAS satellite(s) have been accessed by the unit, and what differential, if any, those satellites suggested. For example, if your 450 connected to WAAS #37, and it provided a differential, that would have been applied to all the GPS satellites. Your 62S, meanwhile, might have connected to WAAS #49 instead, which provided a zero differential. Then the next day it connected to #37. This is all speculative, of course...just trying to figure out the behavior you're seeing based on the small amount of knowledge I have on this. My recommendation--check next time if both units are reporting locks on the same WAAS satellites.
  17. As is often the case with situations like this, I see several potential issues: (1) Not knowing ahead of time exactly where the cache was, the newbie might have thought it was on the farmer's ground and thus the farmer had okayed both its placement, and use of the field path. It's easy to see the flaw in that logic now, but at the time it may have seemed reasonable. (2) I don't believe medoug did anything wrong by placing the cache where he did, which happened to be in close proximity to the farmer's field path. But a note in the cache's description to stay out of the field would have been both helpful and warranted. (3) In my judgment, and in my judgment alone, the follow-up email to the cacher was unhelpful. I think a "friendly" warning along the lines of "please don't cross private property without permission when caching in the future", coupled with a promise to amend the cache's description, would have been more effective. (4) As others noted, it might not have been clear that that was a private drive. I used to live in rural Missouri, and MANY of the field paths in that part of the world are completely unmarked - people in the area just know "that's the Goetting's field path, you shouldn't drive there". So if it wasn't clearly marked, at least a small amount of the blame belongs on the farmer. (5) At no point has anyone actually approached the farmer about this. Their reaction might be so strong it warrants moving the cache, or they might be perfectly fine with cachers accessing their field. Or anywhere in between. In my opinion, the farmer only needs to be involved if this reoccurs.
  18. Still no luck...I have the "rgn" file that's needed but don't know what to do with it.
  19. #33 would have been a WAAS satellite, since GPS doesn't go above 32. Someone with more knowledge than I please correct me if I'm wrong, but I believe the D only appears if a WAAS satellite is locked on and indicates a differential needs to be used. It's possible that your 550t calculated no differential was needed and so did not display it. Still, it is strange that the Vista did display D's in the same circumstances...maybe it locked onto a WAAS other than 33 which indicated something different?
  20. D'oh! Would you believe I've been right there, 5 feet away from that statue, and I didn't know there was a cache there? Figures.
  21. Hmm, I didn't expect the "10 satellites versus 12" thing to be such a big issue. I agree that, if you have even decent signals from 10 GPS satellites, and the satellites aren't all bunched in one small area of the horizon, the extra 2 satellites will not improve accuracy. However, if you have several weak signals, a lot of scattering (due to cloud cover or ground cover), etc., then there's a chance that 12 satellites would be slightly better than 10. But even so...would 12 GPS satellites in that scenario give a greater accuracy than 10 GPS + 2 WAAS? Again, it's difficult to say. In practice, I've found no real improved accuracy from 12 full-strength GPS satellites versus 8. Below 8, the reported accuracy does start diminishing, at least on my eTrex Vista HCx. And the reported accuracy is almost always identical for 12 GPS versus 10 GPS + 2 WAAS. Here's a related question - what's the maximum number of satellites that could appear overhead at any one time? Most units can lock onto 12 satellites simultaneously, out of the constellation of 42 (32 GPS + 10? WAAS). How frequently are more than 12 actually available?
  22. Yep, "D" means differential GPS, i.e. the GPS satellite and WAAS/EGNOS are both being taken into account. It's not a surprise that it took longer to lock onto WAAS/EGNOS...my understanding is that they only broadcast every 90 seconds or so.
  23. Well, looks like a moot point anyway. The owner of the site took a while to get back to me but ended up deciding not to let me place a cache. Oh well!
  24. Well, for a (possibly) inappropriate location, you can check out the thread I started, "Place a cache here, or don't?" But yes, I'd agree that cemeteries should be off-limits...UNLESS it's placed in honor of a passed cacher with their foreknowledge, and even then you'd have to be very careful. I also feel like a cache I placed at an old country church might have been a bad idea...as it was destroyed by vandals a year later after standing there for nearly 150 years. I'd like to think the cache didn't give anyone the idea or advertise it unnecessarily, but you never know. EDIT: Funny thing about that "middle of a highway" idea for the off-limits list. There's a cache near here that LOOKS like it's in the middle of the highway if you Google it...but it's actually in a pedestrian underpass. I thought that was clever.
  25. Well, I'm averaging about 0.1 successful finds per day since registering, so I might have a chance in that second category. But I do have to admit, the squirrel's cute. Why don't cache counts matter? It's not a contest, that's why. I'd be worried about someone who's playing just to up their count...and whether they're actually having fun. EDIT: BTW, how can we be sure the squirrel only has two peanuts?
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