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Everything posted by stoneswivel

  1. On-topic is good. However, we may need to be patient. Those best able to respond meaningfully are likely involved with the mundanity of securing/recovering loved ones and property more important than ammo cans.
  2. I just returned from a 3000-mile road trip with my brother, Aeger Primo. He's new to caching, and doesn't have the cash for a GPSr right now. His solution was to use the Trimble package, because he can afford seven bucks a month. Both of us played with the Trimble, and it has a lot to recommend it. He's running it on a Sanyo Katana with Sprint service. I use a 60CSx. Weather and family issues prevented us from caching as much as we'd have liked, but we made at least one stop in every state. My summary of the service, compared to my setup: Pros 1. Cache pages are always available. I use Custom POIs and no PDA, and often am flying blind. 2. Look up, find, and log caches with one device. Yummy. 3. $7/mo. At this rate, he'll have matched my spending several years after my unit is obsolete. 4. No need to pretend your GPSr is a mobile phone to fool civilians. It is. Cons 1. Service is only as available as mobile phone reception. No good for remote areas. 2. Cache page font is tiny. We both did a lot of squinting. 3. His antenna isn't as good. My unit consistently took us closer. But we would have found most, if not all, with his. He may have other observations. I'll point him towards this post.
  3. ...and that's more effort than many tadpoles put in before asking questions here. Thanks for taking the time to do your research. Your question was a good one, and while briansnat answered it pretty authoritatively, you may not be the only person to confuse the two 'team' concepts. Oh, and welcome to the sport!
  4. Usually, I tell the truth, especially if law enforcement is asking the question. But occasionally, I just feel perverse, and/or prefer not to launch into the whole explanation. In those cases, I explain that I'm a biologist. That gives a reasonable, believable, and sufficiently vague reason to be poking around anywhere in the woods (I don't do a lot of urban caches). Recently, some schoolkids busted me in the middle of combing a tree for a nano, and surprised me by asking, "Are you a biologist?" "Yup."
  5. Yeah, the one that caused me to draft the post illustrated a point I'd been wanting to make about possible click errors--reading the thread, I'd been wondering what percentage of these were due to lack of attention. I know I've caught one of my own like that. But on re-reading it, I couldn't be sure if the cacher's reference to DNFing wasn't poorly worded past tense, and wanted to give the benefit of the doubt. Not my best thread debut.
  6. Count me as another fan of the GPSr compass. I taught land navigation in the Air Force, and I'm glad I have that to fall back on (though I usually don't have a map with me anyway aound DFW). If we wanted to get medieval about it, we could all find our caches that way just fine. But life is sooo much easier with a GPSr, and I like to take advantage of all of its features. As Alan mentioned, the auto-switch-to-magnetic compass (if you have one) is terrific. When on foot, mine is set to switch to the magnetic compass (from velocity vector) whenever I'm moving < 1mph for more than 5 seconds. That way, it doesn't get "confused" if I stop for a moment to pick a dogleg, choose a bushwhack path, or just enjoy my surroundings. One thing to keep in mind, especially when taking bearings, though, is inherent accuracy. The specs on my 60CSx give a compass accuracy of +/- 5 degrees. If I really needed to shoot a long, accurate bearing, I'd whip out my lensatic compass, and figure in the local declination. I've been able to achieve about 1 degree accuracy over pretty long distances. But with those, as with most things, you get what you pay for. Don't expect that kind of performance from the one in the top of your trekking pole.
  7. Whether you give hints or not is up to you. It's a matter of personal preference. My own philosophy is that the cache belongs to the cache owner, and (s)he is the person who should decide whether to give hints. Thus, when approached, I usually refer the person to the owner. But I do it in as polite a way as I can.
  8. It sure can, as can a gross longitude change. Your receiver needs to have a rough idea of where it is on the planet, so that it will know what SVs (satellite vehicles) are viewable from its location. When you move as far as TX-IA, it needs a nudge. Haven't used your machine, but I think all modern Garmins have a satellite view page that looks like a bulls-eye with icons of satellites floating in it. Search your menu from that page, and see if there's a "New Location" option. You can then set it manually, or have the electronics do it for you. If you don't have that option, I'm sure a StreetPilot wizard will be along shortly.
  9. Reading this, I couldn't help but wonder if he'd found the cache just before you arrived, and stuck around just to enjoy the shenanigans!
  10. After all that, I just had to Google it. The things I learn on this forum! I can see why you'd need to be pretty close.
  11. I agree that Apple knows design better than anybody, and it's been a long time since I coveted anything as much as I do this phone. I almost cried when I realized that Cingular was to be the carrier: I dropped them two months ago and signed a different contract! As far as ruggedness, the others have a good point. Of course, I use screen covers on every gadget I have, but even a good case wouldn't work with a touch-screen that advanced (the "accidental touch" feature). Come to think of it, a screen cover would likely jik things up, too. Ironically, nothing I've seen indicates the iPhone will have native GPS. Anybody see anything to the contrary?
  12. I'm assuming you mean to use UTM coords in your GPSr? If so, the answer is "Probably." What unit are you using?
  13. Wow. How very concisely and completely put. I wish I could have explained it that well.
  14. 90' is a big discrepancy. Try StarBrand's suggestion first, but if the coords were the same... The variation comes from any number of sources. The thing to remember is that your receiver is basically a radio receiver with a good clock that does a bunch of math to come up with a position. Errors in that position can come in at any stage of the game, but most people focus on the radio reception. The signals sent by the satellite navigation subsystem are surprisingly low power. They are influenced by atmospheric distortion (much more so when they are low on the horizon), blockage by things like tree cover, tall buildings, and hills, and what are known as "multipath effects". The latter occur when the signal is received twice; once on direct line-of-sight, and again after reflecting off a nearby object (such as a hillside). Another important factor is satellite geometry. The math that the system uses to calculate position is analagous to triangulation on a map. If the three points you're using to triangulate are widely separated, you get a good fix. Same with GPS--you want several satellites dispersed in the viewable sky. Most receivers ("GPSr"s), including yours, have a satellite view you can check for this. There are other factors, but people's eyes tend to glaze over when I take this discussion too far, so that's enough for now. What can be done about it? Several things. First, there's a field on your Garmin called "Accuracy" that is displayed on several screens by default. ["Accuracy" is a misnomer, but that''s another rant. Suffice that it's a measure of position "goodness."] Check that first. If you're reading 10-20' accuracy, that's reasonable under most circumstances. I could narrow it down more if I had an idea of your latitude. If the Accuracy is more than 20', one of the factors above is degrading the position "goodness." Try "boxing" the coordinates. Come at the cache from several different angles. Remember where the GPSr puts you at each one. Keep an eye on your Accuracy each time. If they're all different locations, trust the ones in which your Accuracy was a lower number more. If you have more questions, don't be afraid to ask. And welcome to the sport!
  15. Make me #3. But I like to put as much of the cache name in the waypoint as possible--just the way my mind works. I use the "smart name" algorithm to strip out junk and create 15-character names. Helps with child waypoints as well. For example, My Skittle-ly Goodness becomes SkittlelyGood, and the parking coords are SkittlelyGoPA. Then in the "Note", I include size, Ter/Dif, last 4 logs, and the cache owner, ie "S (2/:) FFOO by stoneswivel". There seems to be lots of good ways to do this; it might deserve its own thread. I also carry a notebook with me. I occasionally include pre-find stuff like cache page redirects ("From Stage 2, take a bearing of 237 for 1.4 miles"), but mostly it's so I can record my thoughts at the find. I do mostly longer caches these days, and the old noggin' doesn't retain that stuff over the walk (or paddle) out.
  16. GSAK can automate that process as well. To really scrunch it down to the fundamentals, you have to do some tweaking; the defaults include pictures and more stuff than is necessary.
  17. Another way to protect privacy would have been to remove all the IP addys in the headers. In fact, the headers themselves were unnecessary.
  18. Here's another thought, since my perception is that as a group, we've done a great job of illustrating that there are several workable solutions, and it ultimately comes down to an issue of the OP's personal preference. But how does he establish a preference? Before I bought my first paddlecraft (yak/canoe/raft doesn't matter), I paddled about 15 different kinds of boats. I actually started out thinking I wanted a whitewater kayak first, but ended up getting something different because of my experiences. I had that luxury because I joined a local paddling group that not only provided basic paddling instruction, but was blessed with members that went out of their way to loan me different boats, paddles, PFDs, etc, so I could decide what would work for me before I plunked down my dinero. They gave advice on what accessories to buy right away, and what I could delay until my budget caught up with my greed. They even held some wintertime paddles in a local indoor pool for the purpose of just kicking the tires on different boats (sponsored by vendors, of course). Now, I'm not saying that every paddling group will offer all of this, or if there's even one in the OP's area (though that close to Boston, this might be a place to start), but it's an option to consider. It would blow the whole holiday wish-list plan, but I'm so glad I waited. Best of luck with whatever you decide.
  19. stoneswivel

    Cache Titles

    Yes, pretty much what budd-rdc said. The page will store whatever you enter. Rendering it on the page is another matter. I added random Unicode chars up the scale, and it took everything. The stuff up to 00FF seemed to render fine, but after that, not so good. I was using ISO 8859-1 (Western) encoding, so that was probably the limitation. Someone intending to display, say, Cyrillic, would likely already have their browser configured accordingly. Didn't jik with it that far. Then again, refer to my earlier post before listening to a word I say!
  20. stoneswivel

    Cache Titles

    Markwell, I hate to be a dolt, but your response confuzzled me. Was it, "Nope, the site won't accept foreign characters, but you can name the cache anything you want?" Or, y'know, the other way around? Sorry, but when they were handing out brains, I thought they said trains, and asked for a slow one. Edit: Never mind. Did a quick experiment, as I should have before posting, and answered my own question. Please ignore the man with the vacant expression.
  21. Add TX at 361/16274 (2.2%). Wonder which states/countries bring up the average?
  22. Very thorough review of the topic, and I concur with everything presented. 3-in-1s are fine if you have money to burn, but aren't as cost-effective as retailers might have you think. I bought one for my fashion-conscious 15 year-old daughter, but my stuff is all piece-parts, and largely from mtbikernate's ensemble. One thing mtbikernate touched upon that I'd amplify is a bushwhacking layer. If you're on a budget (and in an area with thorns of one sort or another), your outer layers are not likely to be sturdy enough to withstand the assault. There's nothing worse than having your expensive fill jacket shredded, unless it's turning back from a great cache to save it! I like a heavy canvas (think Carhartt, though you can get a knockoff for less) layer in the fall, and have worn it in warmer weather on the more insane bushwhacks. In Buffalo (which I'd be in now, but for the vagaries of corporate fate), I might buy a size larger to fit over mid-layers. I also have a pair of heavy canvas poly-lined overalls I use all the time, even here in N TX. I'd also add Ex Officio to the list of retailers to check out. They don't have much stuff warmer than a sweater, but the stuff they do have is first-rate, particularly the all-important base layer/underwear.
  23. This is a good thread, and as I expected before opening it, people tend to be falling into those who want to travel light, with only the things they tend to need most often, and those who want to be loaded for bear. It's a great illustration of how this is a game we can pretty much play any way we want. I am at the latter extreme, carrying a pack with 3 days' survival gear to virtually every cache (OK, I leave it in the truck at P&Gs, but I rarely do those). My truck also contains additional food, water, and equipment. I've taken some ribbing about it in the past, but tend to be the type to solo into remote places, and to turn afternoon hikes into weekend affairs, so I try to balance that riskier behavior with some extra preparedness. Going ultra-light keeps the weight down, and I want to think that hefting that pack everywhere has got to have some benefit. One item I saw mentioned often above is a multi-tool. I used to carry a Leatheman with needle-nosed pliers, but it grew legs at some point in the past. Something like that is one item I'd like to add to my pack, as the pliers would be handy for everything from extracting micro logs to field repair of caches and equipment. Thanks for the reminder to take care of that detail. Speaking of details, one that bothered me in one of the postings above was this: I want to think I'm misinterpreting their intended use, because I hope all of us try our best to Leave No Trace when we're out in the field. Doing otherwise would just contribute (rightfully) to a negative public image of geocachers.
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