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Everything posted by jopasm

  1. I have one and I am NOT impressed. The GPS takes a long time to lock on, is very inaccurate once it does (we're talking 100' or more off on a clear day with no obstructions), and sometimes refuses to work period. Samsung seems to have a serious problem with their GPS implementation - the Blackjack II GPS was awful, the Captivate has been plagued with problems, and they pulled their GPS enabled camera off the market after a short time due to severe GPS shortcomings. Their customer service was not the worst I've ever dealt with, but wanted me to ship the phone back to them, be without for 2-3 weeks while they attempted to fix the problem, then ship it back (another 5 days). This was on a phone that was 34 days old (you only get a 30 day return/warranty, after that it has to be sent it to be fixed). ATT was even less help. I regret buying the Captivate and I will not be purchasing another Samsung product. One of my co-workers has a Garmin phone (runs Android) and it works great. The HTC and Motorola phones seem to have a decent GPS implementation. I'd stay away from Samsung though.
  2. missed that step, and now my 400t is just limping along as a GPSr and is useless for caching. A master reset AFTER the downgrade didn't change much. I have this issue with my Colorado after loading GPX files, but only sometimes. I get four possible results: 1) No caches appear to be on the unit. 2) A random selection of caches appear, no idea how it decides what to show but never the cache I am closest to, I think it hates me . 3) They appear but details are blank and it normally then turns itself off. 4) It works fine. I have tried loading smaller files and even odd caches but the results can be any one of the above. I have found that a master reset then setting it up again and switching to geocaching mode normally sorts it. It keeps all my settings in that profile which is odd, but I am not complaining. On occasions there are still no caches so another reset virtually always brings them back on the second power up cycle. I have reported this a couple of times to Garmin but no response, yet plus it hanging when loading the maps after adding a new GPX file, normally I turn it off and back on at this stage and it is fine. So if one reset does not work try it all again. I can almost set my GPS back up without looking at it now as I have had to reset it so many times. Are you putting the caches on a microSD card or internal memory? If you're using a microSD card you might want to back the data up and format it. If you're still having a problem try a different card if you can just to rule it out.
  3. My Dakota 20 is still crashing and powering down when I try to save a track, even after the update. I'll test some more later, but this is getting very frustrating. I haven't tried resetting to factory default yet but I was hoping to avoid that.
  4. The Archaeological Conservancy sometimes partners with local archaeology societies to run digs and field schools that are open to the public. Their magazine is also well worth the subscription if you're interested in archaeology. http://www.americanarchaeology.com
  5. Amazon is down to $314 with free shipping. Kinda wish I'd waited in February when I bought my Dakota. Who knew Garmin would be playing pricing games and competing with themselves by pricing their "upper end" handheld (Oregon series) far lower than their "mid range" handheld (Dakota series).
  6. It's hard to find a good GPS logger that runs off AA batteries (no way you're going to get 8 days out of a standard battery, if you're willing to lug a golf-cart battery with you and leave the GPS connected to it then *maybe*). Semsons is a good dealer, but you're looking at around $75 for a GiSTEQ PhotoTrackr that will hold around 230K waypoints and has no way to add more memory. Loggers that take microSD cards are even more expensive, putting you into the realm of an Etrex Legend Hcx. The legend has a lot more features. If you do decide to get a data logger find and read all the reviews you can. Lots of them are made for photo-tagging and aren't very rugged or waterproof. I have an i-Blue 821 that's worked OK, but it is definitely not up to surviving 8 days outdoors. It is not waterproof (not even water resistant) and uses a rechargeable, cell-phone type, battery that's good for at most 18 hours. The software can be finicky - the manufacturer supplied software was marginally functional, I found an open source program that works better but it's still a pain. It's also very easy to stop it logging since the only button on the thing is easy to press accidentally and it functions as the on/off switch and the start/stop logging switch. I think a good handheld is going to be the better choice overall.
  7. In addition to the better screen, the 450 has a 3-axis compass (the 200 does not). It will also handle up to 5000 caches at a time instead of 2000. I bought a Dakota 20, and I'm very happy with it, but Garmin apparently can't decide what the place of the Dakota series is since the Oregons have more features and with the current rebate you can get a Oregon 450 for the same price as I paid for a Dakota 20 a few weeks ago! You can compare the specs on the different models on the Oregon wiki: http://garminoregon.wikispaces.com/
  8. You could roll your own, but your not going to be able to hook anything up to your Garmin 60 to use as some sort of homing beacon, it's just not made for that. If you have electronics skills you could put together a small GPS tracker using a transmitter in one of the unlicensed bands and a small receiver that would plug into your computer. Basically it would transmit the position of your bike. The receiver would get the signal and feed it to your computer, but you'd need to do some programming to get the coordinates into a mapping program. GPS modules, transmitters, and receivers are available from sparkfun.com and range in price from quite cheap to painfully expensive. If you get your amateur radio license you could use one of the APRS solutions. APRS will do what you want, although it will also do a lot more. A pre-built transmitter is around $190 plus you'll need to add a GPS and a case. Byonics is one maker: http://www.byonics.com/microtrak/mt8000fa.php People launch APRS transmitters in balloons, so you could find/build one that'll fit under a bike seat. The antenna might be a problem though. See arrl.org for info on getting a license. As far as I know there's nothing made for bicycles commercially. You should register your bike with the National Bike Registery - http://www.nationalbikeregistry.com/ at the very least, that way if something does happen you have a bit of a better chance of recovering it.
  9. Is the problem description that simple? Perhaps my test tracks haven't been long enough, or ??? So far, I haven't been able to break my Dakota 20 at 2.80 while saving a full current track. Where was that other thread? The other thread is here: http://forums.Groundspeak.com/GC/index.php?showtopic=245973 It hasn't been very active. There are a few more reports in this thread: http://garmindakota.wikispaces.com/message...w/home/22297425 I was attempting to save a ~98 mile track of a day's travel. Plenty of room in the internal storage (my maps are on a microSD card).
  10. It's been mentioned in another thread, but the update for the Dakota's seems to have a faulty "save current track" routine (causes the unit to shutdown) and I've been seeing some sporadic weird things out of the GPS - the compass screen seems to be affected most of all. For example, yesterday I parked in the parking lot next to a trailhead. The cache was .2 mile down the trail. I got out of the car, moved away from it to an area w/ a clear view of the sky, did the compass calibration dance, and started towards the cache. The distance to cache read 32 feet...odd. I kept moving and with every step the distance to the cache *increased* even though I was moving towards the cache. At around .1 mile the distance reading stabilized. Hopefully there will be an update soon, looks like the Dakota users get to beta-test a new firmware *and* new GPS chipset firmware as well! Still not getting WAAS signal locks even with the new firmware.
  11. I've never needed anything beyond a pair of tweezers. I keep a mini-leatherman (one of the Squirt models, I think it's an E4) in my pocket most of the time (caching or not). It has needle nose pliers, tweezers, and various screwdrivers and such. Most of my finds are rural caches, I usually carry a backpack with a few trade items, a flashlight, spare pens and pencils, water, first aid kit, snacks, rain gear, and other things depending on the season and weather. Oh, and spare batteries. I keep a pack in the car and one in my backpack.
  12. I'm having the same problem. When I boot up I get a "corrupt PNZ file" error but the GPS boots up normally after that. It happened after the upgrade to 2.8. I've deleted all the BirdsEye imagery off my GPS and I'm going to test it some more this afternoon and see if they're related. It's a little frustrating - I went on a hike yesterday and had to just download the full track off the GPS and divide it into sections later.
  13. When you install new maps with Mapsource it overwrites the previous maps. THe Oregon, Colorado, and Dakota can use multiple map files, most of Garmin's other GPS's cannot. SO - the easiest way to fix it is to rename the gpsmapsupp.img in the garmin directory on your dakota 10 to a more descriptive name - for example, if you've uploaded the topo maps rename it to topo.img, then upload your other map and rename it to something that makes sense. Once you have the .img files you can drag and drop them on the Dakota, you don't have to add them through Mapsource.
  14. Check out this page: http://garminoregon.wikispaces.com/Miscell...0to%20Garmin%3F It lists a couple of ways to recover a Garmin in the situation you describe.
  15. I have the Dakota 20 and I like it a lot, I'd suggest taking a close look at the specs on both before you buy the 10. There's a minimal price difference and the Dakota 10 seems pretty severely crippled - no microSD card slot, no magnetic compass, no wireless transfer, etc.
  16. If you do a google search for "triton RAM bike mount" you'll find plenty of RAM dealers, looks like it'll cost around $20. Not too bad.
  17. I have mounted my GPSMap 60cx on my bike and used it for riding on a variety of roads and trails. It only fell out when I took a header down a 6ft bank. I always loop the lanyard over the handlebar so if the GPS does fall out of the holder it won't hit the ground. I have a Garmin Dakota now and I have the GPS mount for it from Garmin, but I haven't gotten it mounted on the bike yet. I've also heard good things about RAM mounts. What type/model of GPS do you have? Odds are somebody here is familiar with mounts for it.
  18. Yes, REI does. They have waterproof boxed, travel bug tags, micro ID stickers, etc. Except the closest REI to me is St Louis. Bout 220 miles.. ROAD TRIP! I can confirm that the St. Louis REI has travel bug tags, car decals, cachekinz, patches, stickers, and I think a cache starter kit or two. They had a whole display of Groundspeak gear. AFAIK REI is the only brick & mortar selling Groundspeak stuff. And I had to drive 370 miles, you can't complain about a measly 220.
  19. Lots of info here: http://garminoregon.wikispaces.com/ Free maps here: http://www.gpsfiledepot.com/
  20. I re-read this thread (I'm going on a long-ish road trip soon as well) and thought I'd give a little more detail on the way I've been handling routes. I just took a medium length roadtrip and I'm planning a another couple as well as a long road trip. The equipment I use for the planning stage is my netbook with GSAK installed and a Garmin Dakota 20. First I generate a route for my trip. For shorter trips (6 hours or so, basically day-long driving) I will generate one route and use pocket queries to find all the caches within a 0.5 mile radius of the route. That nets me rest area caches, park & grabs at stores, etc. Then I check the preview results page and see how many caches will be in the pocket query. If it's less than 500 I'll expand the radius of my pocket query by 0.5 until I hit 500 caches. Once I'm satisfied I'll set the pocket query to run and load the resulting file into GSAK. I'll also download a GPX copy of the route. Then I will generate pocket queries at my destination(s) and load those files into GSAK. Depending on the cache density I might have to do several caches. I personally prefer single-stage regular sized caches, virtuals, and earthcaches - if there are lots of micros in an area I might do a query on micros only, then another on my preferred types. I'll load these into GSAK. THe second step is loading my GPS. Depending on how much time I have I will either drop the pocket query I generate of the route directly into my GPS or if I have more time to play with GSAK I will set up a filter along the route using the GPX file I downloaded of the route. It really depends on how much time I will have to hunt during the drive - if I don't have a lot of time I"ll only load caches near my route, if I have more time I'll load some that take me off the interstate/highway. Once I arrive at my destination I use GSAK to select the caches using a filter and a location and load those on my GPS. Before I leave I'll load the caches along the route back on the GPS. I tend to load lots of caches on my GPS to allow for spur of the moment caching wherever I am in the city/town/park I am visiting. I'll also browse through GSAK and find any interesting looking caches I definitely want to hit. For a longer trip the procedure is the same except I will break the route up into 300-400 mile chunks and generate pocket queries for those. In particularly cache-rich areas I might create routes of 200 miles or so, it just depends. If my pocket query of all caches within 0.5 mile of the route returns 500 caches I will probably shorten the route just to make sure I'm not missing any. For each stop along the way (wherever I am spending the night or a few days) I will generate pocket queries of a larger area so I can do some caching. I'll load everything in GSAK and use it to generate a list of caches for each days travel. It's easy to set up filters. I will also make note of what places are likely to have free wi-fi. I know that McAlister's Deli, Panera Bread, Barnes & Noble, and most coffee shops (but not starbucks) have free wi-fi. I'll also see if the rest areas in the states I'm travelling through offer wifi. That way if I need to get online to find more caches or whatever I have an idea of what to look for. This is all pretty basic stuff, but the combination of pocket queries and GSAK makes for a very flexible platform for planning your trip. You can keep a large database of caches with you at all times and use filters to pare the list down to a size that will fit in your GPS at any one time.
  21. That sounds like quite a trip! You might want to make several routes and generate pocket queries of all the caches within .5 miles of those routes - that will get all the quick and easy rest area/gas station/park caches along your route. Then do pocket queries for the areas where you're planning on overnighting or spending more time. GSAK can find caches along a route as well, so you might do a series of just-barely overlapping pocket queries along your route to load up on caches. As far as equipment goes: netbook - I love mine, I have a full size laptop as well but a netbook has much better battery life and is a lot lighter. The only caveat is that the resolution on a 10" netbook is going to be non-standard at 1024x600, some apps don't like that. The Asus netbooks lets you go to a "virtual" 1024x768 mode where you can scroll the screen. MS Streets and Trips seems to work OK in 1024x600 though. external hard drive or flash drive - get a 2.5" external hard drive that runs off USB (doesn't require AC power) and backup all your photos and such on it. DO NOT keep it in your laptop bag, hide it your suitcase or somewhere else seperate from your laptop/netbook. That way if somebody grabs your laptop bag you won't lose those vacation pictures. A large-ish flash drive (8 gigs or larger) might work as well and would be easier to hide and a little more rugged. Flash drives are cheap enough that you could get 2 flash drives or a hard drive and a flash drive. Dropbox also offers a free 2gb online storage account. inverter for your car - you can get a decent one that will power a laptop or netbook for $40 or so. Handy to have for charging the computer, camera, or GPS batteries while you're on the road for extended periods. cables for *everything* and a spare USB cable for loading the GPS. Keep the spare USB cable in the glovebox or somewhere. If I'm going on an extended trip I'll even take a spare power supply for my laptop. I keep one at home and one in the laptop bag, so I just drop the home one into my overnight bag. That way if I forget the charger at the hotel, or it gets slammed in a door, or if it just stops working I'm covered. I'm guessing you have the usual hiking/outdoor gear like water bottles, hiking sticks, snacks, rain gear, packs, etc covered. You might want a waterproof case/bag for your camera - either a heavy duty ziplock or one of the bags made for cameras "just in case" you're out hiking and it starts pouring down. Also hats and bandannas for everybody! Check the bear warnings in Yellowstone National Park - some areas ask that you don't leave coolers visible I think. That's the first few things that spring to mind. Sounds like you folk are going to have a great geo-car-trip! Oh yeah, check out Cahokia in Illinois and Mastodon State Park in Missouri! There are several good caches and an earth cache at Cahokia, and an earthcache for Mastodon state park. You can easily spend a day at Cahokia, but you could do the caches near Monk's mound and visit the information center in a half day. Mastodon park takes an hour or two.
  22. YouTube videos are prone to vanishing w/out warning. I'll agree that I'd be annoyed if I had to go rent some movie, but hey, I don't have to do the cache (I probably wouldn't). If the OP does decide to do this make sure a local library has a copy of the movie if at all possible. I think the local library even has DVD players and TV's you can "check out" for watching a DVD in the library. You could do a similar hint w/ a book puzzle, just make sure you post the revision and printing of the copy you're using! The 1967 Lord of the Rings published in the UK probably has different page #'s than the 2005 edition published in the US, for example.
  23. Your best bet is to check the website and call the WMA. Sometimes there are different types of WMA's (locally there are WMA's on land leased from the Federal government, state owned WMA's, and WMA's on a mix of state and privately owned land leased by the state). Some of the smallest WMA's are not open for hiking or camping (the primary purpose is hunting, and they're too small to have mixed use as a matter of safety). Some areas of WMA's are not open due to conservation practices (for example, there are a couple areas nearby where lakes and the land surrounding them are closed to allow fish and fowl populations a chance to recover). Also, some WMA's do not allow geocaching and thus you'd be ticketed.
  24. Have you checked with AT&T and other GSM carriers? Usually if you already own the equipment you can just get a SIM card and start a no-contract plan. Theoretically the contracts are just to recover the cost of the equipment. Sometimes you have to try several people w/ AT&T b/f you find someone who knows what they're doing, they don't train their employees well. Never have, probably never will.
  25. As much as I like my Samsung Blackjack II the GPS in it has been virtually worthless - takes 5-15 minutes to get a satellite lock, won't track properly at walking speeds, drains the battery insanely fast (you can watch the battery meter drain with the GPS enabled), etc. I think the newer generation of phones function a bit better.
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