Jump to content


+Charter Members
  • Posts

  • Joined

  • Last visited

Everything posted by victorymike

  1. I know that there have been a few love connections made here in Michigan, myself included. I married Pirates of the Woods last June. And life couldn't be any sweeter.
  2. I have had a few old digital cameras that I rarely used...back when it was ta bit troublesome to get them downloaded to a computer. I tried the digital camera revolution again with my Nikon Coolpix 1500. It is a scant 1.5 megapixels but what I love most about it is the ability for the lens to swivel backwards to take perfect self portraits (with the caches I find, as an example) every time...then swivel it back around and use the closeup setting to snap a picture of my log entry (so I know what pictures go with what cache and what I traded and experienced). I have used it in all seasons and in all weather. I even backpacked 92.7 miles around Isle Royale with it and took over 1200 pictures...brought 3 rechargeable batteries with me and my Brunton Solaris solar panel charger and that kept me snapping away as much as I wanted. Some day I may consider upgrading but it has to have the ability to take perfect self portraits every time. Things I would like: More resolution (more megapixels), the ability to run off of rechargeable AA batteries, a much better zoom, and a little better night capability (when it gets dark I can barely take legible pics of myself with the cache at arms length).
  3. Even buying all the accessories for mine I still payed less than a hard shell tandem kayak ($150-$300 less). As far as durability with an inflatable, mine has a pretty good hull and I've scuffed and scraped along without rips or tears...and I don't even worry about them. It may not be a rigid hull but it is quite durable. But I paid for a premium inflatable, not an el cheap-o special. I just got married and my wife has 2 solo hard shell Old Towne Otters. Fine for us to paddle around in. We still live in an apartment and store them on our patio. The inflatable is good for paddling around with our daughter. And even better for storing in the apartment. Better yet if you have a car for transporting your boat...much easier to toss in the trunk than a hard-shell. We have 2 Jeeps, 2 trucks, and 2 motorcycles. It is easy to transport either the hard shell kayaks or the inflatable on either the Jeeps or in the trucks. But if I wanted to I could strap the inflatable onto my bike and ride to a put-in spot. Shop around, take the comments here to heart. Don't expect hard shell kayak performance out of an inflatable (but I was pleasantly surprised after accessorizing mine to the hilt).
  4. I am not certain but am fairly sure that they are not routeable.
  5. I have found a gargantuan ammo can (a real one), a huge rubbermaid trash can with 3 bowling balls (and other stuff in it), and many 5-gallon pails but nothing was quite as large as this moster, GCXTPX
  6. To load cache info into your 400t you need a gpx file of the caches. Then plug yout 400t into your comuter's usb port. Open the garmin folder and drop your gpx file into garmin/gpx.
  7. Here is an excerpt from a paper that I wrote on how GPS works. Should answer your question specifically. The satellites are launched by Delta rockets to achieve their initial orbits but they have a small fuel supply for fine-tuning. Solar panels and batteries are used to power the satellites’ transmitters (The solar arrays can be visible from Earth and look like shooting stars called Iridium Flares. (For more information visit http://www.heavens-above.com). The most important parts of the satellites are their atomic clocks, accurate to within 3 nanoseconds (that is 3 billionths of a second or 0.000000003 seconds). Each satellite carries two cesium and two rubidium clocks (These are the atomic clocks. They are based on the fact that it takes a known exact amount of time for an atom of cesium or rubidium to decay.) They receive data signals at 1783.74 MHz for things such as course corrections and almanac updates. They transmit data on two frequencies, 1575.42 MHz (L1) and 1227.60MHZ (L2), at 500 watts of power. Dual frequencies are used in order to minimize atmospheric propagation errors in military and industrial GPS receivers. L1 and L2 are the signals that our GPS receivers use to determine our position, but they are just the carrier waves. Each carrier wave has binary codes modulated into them. C/A (coarse acquisition) and P (precise) binary codes are modulated into both the L1 and L2 carrier waves. L1 contains C/A and P codes, but L2 is normally set to carry only P code. The C/A code is amplified such that it is 3-6 decibels stronger than the P code. It is modulated onto the carrier wave at 1.023 Mega-bits per second, which results in the entire C/A code repeating itself every 299,739 km of carrier wave (1023 chips with each chip length 293m). When selective availability is on the chip length is changed from 293 m (selective availability was removed by the Clinton Administration May 1st, 2000, opening up GPS usage to the public). The P code is a very long binary code that repeats every 38 weeks in its entirety, but each satellite transmits a different weekly section of the code. This reduces the amount of time required to receive the entire code to approximately one week. The P code is modulated onto the carrier wave at 10.23 MHz and repeats itself every 181,273,389,696 km of carrier wave (chip length is 29.3m). Civilian (commercial) GPS receivers only receive the L1 C/A code. The coarse acquisition code is composed of two signals known as the pseudo random binary code and the navigational broadcast message. The pseudo random binary code is modulated onto the C/A code and repeats every millisecond, but the navigational broadcast message overlays many cycles of the pseudo random binary code. The pseudo random binary code is 1023 chips and repeats every millisecond. There are 32 different pseudo random codes and each one identifies a different satellite. The navigation data is modulated on top of the signature at 50 Hz (by using the pseudo random binary code as a carrier). The navigation message is split up into 25 frames and each frame is split up into 5 sub-frames. A frame is transmitted in 30 seconds at the top and middle of every minute (as measured by the atomic clocks in the satellites). Sub-frame 1 contains GPS week number, satellite accuracy and health, and clock corrections (this takes 6 seconds). Sub-frames 2 and 3 contain ephemeris data (6 seconds each). Sub-frame 4 contains almanac data for satellites 25-32, special messages, satellite configuration flags, and ionospheric and UTC data (6 seconds). Sub-frame 5 contains almanac data for satellites 1-24 and almanac reference time and week number (6 seconds). Sub-frames 4 and 5 are different in all 25 frames. In order to get complete almanac data it takes approximately 12.5 minutes to download all of the data to our receivers (all 25 frames). In order to reduce the time it takes to get a fix with a receiver the ephemeris and clock data is repeated every 30 seconds. This allows us to get a fix quickly (sometimes as fast as 45 seconds), but without receiving all of the almanac data.
  8. UTMs are the easiest as long as you are in the same zone (which more than likely you will be). The zone is the first number (something like 14T for me), followed by the Latitude and longitude. The Latitude and Longitude in UTMs are broken up into meter square grids. If the Latitude number goes up by 1 then it is one meter more. If the Longitude goes up by 1 it is 1 meter more. Nice easy square grid...and easy addition, subtraction, division, etc. Sometimes it is easier to convert a coordinate to UTMs to do the math on it.
  9. Don't rely too heavily on Estimated Position Error. It is, well...estimated. The answer to your question is that your Colorado 400t is proven to work accurately enough to find thousands, if not tens of thousands, of geocaches all over the world...SO FAR (just a guess...there are a lot of geocachers using 400t's to seek out geocaches). Of course you could use it to seek out all 939,998 caches in the world (that is the current number of caches listed on gc.com's home page, as of this typing). Remember that you are seekign out a specific point on the Earth that was posted by somebody else. So the EPE is compounded. The placer's error AND your error. As a long time geocache seeker I know that I start looking for landmarks once I approach within 300 feet of a cache, trying to guess where the cache would be hidden. Ditto as I approach closer, 200 feet, and closer, 100 feet. By the time I hit 50 feet away I usually have the hiding spot pegged. But there are days when the satellites aren't aligned (more specifically when you are using a totally different set of satellites than the placer) and maybe your gps is using one with a bad health rating (bad health rating is a real thing). Then you have to expand your search radius. To me, anything found more than 50 feet off would be an indication of a questionable hiding coordinate. Please note that I arbitrarily picked 50 feet. For those caches I like to take my own GPS coordinate and mention it to the cache owner, should they be so inclined to change it.
  10. I'd wanted to get an inflatable kayak for several years. I got married and my wife has a daughter so my plans changed from getting a 1-person kayak to getting a 2-person kayak. I ended up using my REI dividend check and a coupon to pick up the Advanced Elements Advanced Frame Convertible 2-person kayak. I can set it up in about 5 minutes and store it away in about 10 minutes. First impression of it was what I expected. It was slow compared to my wife's hard shell Old Town Otter. But it tracked really well. It was a little floppy in the middle and my 190# weight tended to push the sides out a little bit, making me look like a fat paddler...but not affecting its handling. Oh...and when carrying it it would fold in the middle and drag across the ground. To correct the sides pushing out issue I bought the 2-person spray skirt. We took it out caching around Drummond Island and it was much nicer with the spray skirt, albeit still a slow paddle in the water. The spray skirt kept water from splashing onto our pants which was REALLY nice. It flopped its way over the waves, which was an interesting experience. It was still very stable and easy to maneuver. Most recently I bought the backbone for it in the hopes of correcting its speed in the water and its floppiness when carrying it. Now it is a really nice boat. It is faster than my wife's Old Town Otter. It is sturdy and easy to carry. It still sets up in about 5-10 minutes and takes down in 10-12 minutes. We just used it on Sunday to seek out a 7 stage multicache down the Huron River (about 6 miles). We transported it in a truck, still inflated, along with 2 other hard-shelled kayaks. And it went well. It stores well in the large bag, but I am kinda obsessive compulsive about folding it exactly how it came. I am also able to put the air pump, the spray skirt, the backbone, the seats, and even a lifejacket in the bag with it. Additionally I put in an old easy dry towel to dry it out after use. In order to store it this WInter I gave it a thorough cleaning and drying before putting it away. It is easy to do. Overall I would reccommend it to anybody. And I would warn them not to expect hard shell keyak perfomance right out of the box. For that you need to accessorize it to the hilt. Happy paddling
  11. I bought the Garmin Colorado 400t the first month that it was available. It has been a solid unit for me. I've used it to navigate me on a 100 mile 4 day kayaking/geocaching trip down the huron River (okay...we only actually paddled 60 miles of it and jockeyed cars back and forth to get us around the boring bits). I've used it on a simple 10 mile overnight camping trip. But most importantly I used it on a 92.7 mile 16 day backpacking trip to Isle Royale last year. I had it on the entire time we were hiking. I carried 8 AA batteries for it (2 in the unit and 6 spares). I also carried my Brunton Solaris solar panel to charge said batteries. It worked great for keeping my GPS and my camera batteries charged the entire trip. Besides hiking EXACTLY 92.7 miles I took over 1200 pictures. The Colorado 400t worked flawlesly and I always knew how much further it was to the next campsite by double checking our position with the preloaded TOPO maps. It is a power hog, to be sure. When on that Isle Royale trip it would eat one pair of batteries almost every day (8 hours of continual use). My old Garmin GPSMAP76C was very economical on batteries and would last about 30 hours on 2 AAs. I almost never use the digital compass on my Colorado 400t. Although not exactly trouble free, it has been nearly so. The one major problem I did have with it required sending it back to Garmin for a replacement at no charge. And I have been happy ever after.
  12. I'd follow my GPS to the ends of the Earth...AND, hopefully, back again.
  13. For mapping on a budget I'd reccommend a non digital compass/barometric altimeter equipped unit (most people, myself included, get very little use out of those options...which get in the way most of the time anyway). Something like a Garmin GPSMAP 60 or 76 C would be ideal. If you want to have the ability to load massive amount of detailed maps in the future then you can go with the "x" models (60Cx or 76Cx). For your price range you should be able to pick up either of those units, City Navigator 2009, and maybe even a car charger for your GPS (then you'd just need a car mount). That would be a full package deal and upgradeable in the future (if you wanted to buy Topo maps or bluetooth or whatever). Looking around on eBay you should be able to get either Cx unit for ~$250, maps for under $100, and a charger/mount kit for $50. $400...complete kit!
  14. I've also found a lot of very useful and valuable (to me) items during my years of caching. At one cache, deep in the woods on private property (their hunting spot), I found a cache with a second set of coordinates for a stash of ice cold Pepsi's nearby. Yes, stashed in the swamp in the cold water. I cleaned one off and drank it...and it was refreshing. At another cache I hiked a few miles across a frozen lake to find a terrain 5 cache and was happy to trade for the brass Boatswain's whistle and chain, complete in a gift box (I am a Navy veteran). While cleaning out the junky items in my personal caches I have come across soggy gift certificates to restaurants. After drying them out I have gotten a free Blooming Onion, free subway sub, and a free pizza. That reminds me...I completed the mission of a travel bug once. It was going from a sister in Tennessee to her brother who owned a Cottage Inn pizza store in Chelsea, Michigan. And he gave me a free large pizza when I delivered it. It was very nice. Anyway...this experience has taught me to be happy to find restaurant gift certificates in caches. I know they don't get picked up often and I really appreciate a free meal every now and then. Of course I have found quite a few unactivated geocoins. I always leave items in caches, whether I take something or not...I make chainmail keychains and have distributed well over 3000 of them so far. I even make micro chainmail keychains that are small enough to leave in most microcaches. I even make micro chainmail V-Man earrings. And I have my personal pathtag and geocoin that I leave in special caches. I have to admit that every treasure I have ever gotten was most likely NOT a FTF. Yes, I have found about 70 FTFs since 2001, but I am not a FTF hog. I think the biggest FTF prize I ever got was $5. I prefer to wait for a few people to thit the caches first...that way there are likely to be a few new signature items for me to find when I seek out the cache. I really like signature items and cards and have a big collection. Overall, however, I primarily enjoy the thrill of the hunt.
  15. I've wanted to get one of those nice BC900 chargers. As for batteries, I use 2700mah NiMH NUONs (bought them as a kit and they came with a NUON charger). I bought them right after I bought my Colorado 400t and get good life out of them...have gotten good life out of them for the past years and a half (got my 400t in Feb of '08). I have even used my NUON charger with my Brunton Solaris solar panel to charge my GPS batteries while on a 16 day backpacking trip on Isle Royale...kept the GPS on during my entire 92.7 mile hike.
  16. It depends on what your intended use is. For keeping a camera and batteries or a cell phone safe and dry, but still have quick access to, I use something like this (Pelican or Otterbox cases): For backpacking I just use a rain cover on my pack...or if you expect to get sopping wet you could use a large dry pack like this (I have one of these but haven't used it yet): For keeping my sleeping bag and tent and even some clothes dry while on overnight kayaking trips I use this: I have a few of these Sea to Summit eVent dry sacks for backpacking...one for clothing and one for food items...the rest I put in my pack and use a pack cover to keep dry: And my pack cover:
  17. These intrigued me last year and I've always kept my eye out for them. I recently noticed that Bivouac in downtown Ann Arbor became a distributor so I went right over and bought a pair of the Black KSOs. The pair I got were smaller than I thought I needed but the guy working there was right on the money...a tighter fit is better with these. They literally fit like a glove and I really like 'em. My intentions were to use them as a watershoe, since I hate my Keens (gravel always got in the Keens and was really annoying), and for some mild hiking. I used them for a day at work to "break them in" (get a feel for them)...but they were extremely comfortable right out of the box...I don't think I needed a "break in period". The more I wear them, the more I fall in love with them. I used them on a kayaking geocaching picnic trip a few weeks ago and they were absolutely awesome. Hiking across the islands thru mud was such an awesome experience...you HAVE GOT TO try it! One thing that I noticed with them...the soles are a bit thin (but are nice and flexy and grippy) and you feel the larger rocks you step on...especially the single ones you hit right in the middle of your sole...it takes a little getting used to. For keeping the leeches out from between your toes...awesome! Wading...nothing is better. Keeping rocks out of your shoes...they are the bomb! And then there is the wierd-factor...nothing is better as a conversation starter. Oh...and they are extremely light compared to my Keens...great for backpacking and fording. $85? Yeah, definately worth it.
  18. I was looking for top of the line gear for a 92.7 mile hiking and camping trip to Isle Royale National Park. Bivouac had some of what I wanted, Cabela's had some more. REI had it ALL. One stop shopping for the best of the best camping and hiking gear, clothing, accessories. Cabela's had really good stuff...just not top of the line for what I wanted. For fishing and hunting gear Cabela's has it all, tho. Both have awesome return and exchange policies. Their customer bases overlap a little bit. They are both worth visiting in person. It has been said that the Cabela's in Dundee is Michigan's #1 attraction...and from the looks of the parking lot on any given day I'd have to agree. While REI has some neat stuff to see, I wouldn't call it an attraction...just cool to visit.
  19. Generally, if there is a law, it states 3" for a concealed blade (pocketknife). But what if the knife is in a sheath out in the open (like large fixed blade Bowie knives)? My guess...unlimited length. Sword-size, if you want.
  20. Simply put, it's easier to zero in on a non moving target. Here is where I can be utterly wrong. When getting a fix the GPS assumes where you are (which is where you were when you shut off the GPS last), checks that postion against a quick look at the satalite. No match, it makes a calculated guess and checks again. If you are moving the guesses take longer to zero in. According to information that I looked up on the Joe Mehaffey and Jack Yeazel website (there is a link to the website from geocaching.com) they say that nobody is 100% sure why it takes longer to achieve an initial fix if you are moving but they think that it involves sending the GPS data thru a Kalman filter...which I think is similar to what Renegade Knight posted above.
  21. I found my first 1800+ caches with my Garmin eMap (my first GPS). I absolutely loved it. Great unit! You will be very happy with it.
  22. I went caching with my 400t again yesterday. Hit about 6 more caches. Had to reboot about 8 times. A few times it would jump as far away as 154 miles and stay there. I stayed away from the "Find Next Closest" tab so that is not it. I tried a hard reboot. For 20 minutes it displayed that I was in the heart of Toledo, Ohio even tho I was about 80 miles (straight line) North near Rawsonville, Michigan...and that was with a full compliment of locked in satellites. Even the slightest amount of tree cover inspires it to immediately jump an an arbitrary direction. And it leaves cookie trail lines when it does so. When I got done caching my tracks looked like rays from the sun stabbing out in every direction from my epicenter. Note that this has only happened since I used Webupdater to upgrade to chipset type M V2.80. Oh how I wish I could go back to the stable platform I had prior to this update. It sickens me.
  23. I had never had a location error problem at all. Then I upgraded to Chipset type M firmware v2.80. Crud. This sucks big time. It seems to happen when I select "Next Closest" after finding a geocache. THe darn thing jumps as far as 15 miles away. I recognize it and quite often it takes a power down, power up cycle to get it back on track. This NEVER happened to me before I upgraded the chipset firmware. I backed up my old Colorado onto an external hard drive but not my new replacement one (cracked screen from faulty carabiner). Went caching on Halloween day before I had to go to work (4pm-midnight). Hit 11 caches. Had to reboot about 4 times. Guess I have to live with it until a new update comes along.
  24. I carried 3 spare EN-EL2 digital camera batteries (one is old and weak and only lasts about 4 hours) and my Brunton Solaris 12 solar panel on my 16 day backpacking trip to Isle Royale. I also brought 8 2500mah AA NUON batteries and their charger for use with my Garmin Colorado 400t (which eats batteries). I charged batteries at every opportunity and was able to keep snapping pictures the entire way...as well as keep my GPS powered up the ENTIRE time (which is a feat since it drains a pair of AAs in around 10-12 hours). I hiked 92.7 miles (yes...ninety two point seven miles) and took 1290 (yes...one thousand two hundred and ninety) pictures. My Brunton Solaris 12 worked AWESOME. The only problem was getting late starts which put us in camp as the sun was behind the treeline. Luckily I didn't have to charge batteries EVERY day. When the sun was bright and high and we had open campsites I was able to charge 4 AA batteries and a digital camera battery at the same time. Luckily we had a couple of days set aside for swimming and rest and enjoyment...which I also used to completely charge every battery in my pack. P.S. Take a "few" extra batteries, lol. It would have taken about 15 spare EN-EL2 batteries to last the entire trip...at around $30 a pop. Not an option...even if you could find that many brand new batteries for sale (they are becoming outdated). P.P.S. The Brunton Solaris 12 only weighs around a pound. 15 spare batteries...I am guessing they would weigh more than a pound.
  25. There is one Ammo can cache that I know of in Ann Arbor...AND it is one of Michigan's oldest caches..."My Old School". I'd say that it is a must find. Other than that most of the caches around Ann Arbor are clear type containers to be in compliance with park geocaching rules. I just archived a handful of my caches with the intention of replacing them but I am really slow in getting them back out there. Many of my caches have been out for several years and I have rejuvenated them multiple times but the swag deteriorates to junk pretty quickly. There are some really awesome parks around Ann Arbor...which has over 147 parks. Enjoy!
  • Create New...