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Havent found one after 11 tries....


LoverD
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I am really discouraged about this. The first 5 were using a lower end model GPS, which most of the time had trouble tracking the satellites, so I thought that was the problem. But the next several were with friends and different models. No Luck. Today, I took my son out with a newly purchased Garwin Etrex Vista to visit two sites. Again, standing right on top of the dadgum coordinates looking all around - found nothing. And we looked HARD. The odds seem unlikely, but is it possible all the caches were taken? WHat am I doing wrong?

 

How hard are these caches hidden? I purposly chose "level" 1/1 and STILL never found it.

 

Please help.

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Being 1/1 they may have been discovered and removed/plundered. However it seems unlikely that several of them went missing (you didnt say how many different caches made up your 11 attempts).

 

The best indication is probably how recently each one has been logged (either found or not found) by someone else. Also, I see that you did not log your Did Not Finds. These are important as they help the owner keep tabs on the cache. A single Did Not Find is to be expected once in a while, but if the owner sees multiple DNF (along with the information in each log) it may warrent a trip to check on the cache.

 

Dont give up. Add a watch to one of the ones you have attempted and see if someone logs. Then go try it again.

 

------------------------------------------------

The world is a playground. Go outside and play!

------------------------------------------------

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You said that you were standing right on top of the coordinates. The accuracy of the GPSr is such that the cache may be 25 to 60 feet away from the exact coordinates.

You might want to e-mail the owner of one of the caches to see if they would meet you at the site to give you some advice. Most cachers that I have met would be happy to help out a 'newbie'.

 

Keep trying,

RichardMoore

 

www.geocities.com/richardsrunaway

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As another newbie I can only offer you encouragment to keep trying. I feel pretty lucky that we've found 9/9 in the past month since we got started. Up to today our hardest was a multi where we figured the clues wrong the first 2 times and spent most of an afternoon before we got it right. Today we hunted for most of an hour for one where previous cachers including ourselves felt the coordinates were about 50 feet off. We resorted to the encrypted clue which inspired my wife to find the real hiding spot. We have found you really have to watch your GPS close as you go back and forth across the general area, eventually you will narrow down the search to maybe 10-20 feet where the GPS most often shows you are closest. Even under heavy cover our Etrex's put us in range everytime if we give them enough time and watch the display closely. Then the fun begins, turning over all the branches, rocks etc to find the cache. Sometimes you can spot the likely hiding places (hollow logs, stumps, etc) pretty easily, other times the cache owner was real creative and you will get a little more educated when you find it. We also try hard to put everything back the way we found it and leave as little sign as possible so the next person will have the same "fun" we had.

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Like the general says - check your datum, it should be WGS-84. Also check to make sure that you are entering lat/lon as DD* MM.MMM and not DD* MM SS. These parameters can be found in the system setup on your GPS. If these parameters are off you could be nowhere near the cache. If these are set correctly set, keep looking. Mentally mark where the GPS said you are right on top of it, and start searching out from there. You will usually be within 20 to 40 feet from the cache, but I've been off as much as 120 feet. Most importantly please don't get discouraged. You will find it, and you will be quite proud that you did.

 

Predicting is difficult, especially when predicting the future.

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1/1 doesn't mean it's easy to find. Only that the owner rated it 1/1. they had no trouble hiding it after all, how could anyone have trouble finding it? In short they are clueless about the finding part.

 

So read the logs they will give you an idea of what's hard or easy. It takes some time to get a feel for whats hard.

 

After 400+ finds I just got skunked 4 times in a row. Including by a 1/1.

 

=====================

Wherever you go there you are.

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I saw your post on one cache and sent you an e-mail. I'll help you all I can. What part of the valley are you in? I can give you a list of some good beginner's caches for you to look for. As has already been stated, check your datum and format. There is an informal public meeting of Phoenix area geocachers tomorrow. I'll send you an e-mail with the coordinates and phone number. There will be experienced cachers there who can help you out.

 

That moss-covered bucket I hailed as a treasure,

For often at noon, when I returned from the field,

I found it the source of an exquisite pleasure.

 

Samuel Woodworth The Old Oaken Bucket

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When I was a neophyte cacher, I tended to get too jumpy when following my GPS. I'd get upset when The Precious would read like this: 32 feet away - no, 54 - wait, it's 43 feet away. Yeah, 43 or maybe 37. You can see your position change on the map page even as you're standing still while this happens. This variation is accounted for by shifting satellite reception. I've learned to slow down stand still for a while to allow the GPS to settle.

 

Also, as you get closer to the cache you should pay more attention to the distance to the cache than to the compass direction. I believe the distance is updated more often direction. Just yesterday I had a scary experience in thick woods when I lost satellite reception entirely after bushwacking 500 feet off the trail to find a cache. Even when I stood in a clearing and managed to get reception again and a map position, the direction arrow still wouldn't update. So a lot of times, the map page is your friend.

 

Finally, something basic that I often forget to do - hold the GPS out and away from your body for best reception.

 

These are all tips for improving reception and reading your GPS. But as others here have said, you might just have the misfortune to be hunting poorly hidden or plundered caches.

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i like to look at a topo or arial shot before going out. often a landmark or specific spot/contour will stand out. being a military guy, map/terrain coordination plays a huge part in geocaching for me. most 1/1s are actually easy with just a map.

 

learn to rely on your pre caching work first. i then use the gps to really hone in.

 

i also use a lensatic compass when leaving a trail.. to keep track of movement off trail.

 

it always helps to stop and put the gps down for 2 mins. don't keep turning around, once it settles "" then you will have a better angle on the cache.

 

-robbie

 

wings_flag.gif

A family that Geocaches together... eventually gets wet.

 

required reading

My first bible

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I'd like to reiterate what RichardMoore said. You have to remember that the run of the mill commercial GPSr isn't always going to land you right on top of a target. There could be a variance of 30 feet from the waypoint set by the hider and another 30 feet variance from your GPSr for a possible total of 60 feet off. The GPSr gets you to the area but it can take some detective work to find the cache itself.

 

When I go on a cache hunt I read all of the latest logs so I know if the cache is there's extra info contributed, what's been traded (so I might leave something appropriate) and if the cache has gone missing, has adjusted coordinates and so on. I print out the cache's page so that if I start having trouble I can look at the clues, re-check if the coordinates are correct, etc etc.

 

Team Kender - Willow and Dan exploring the Bay Area backroads!

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I'd pick a 1/1 cache that previous finders have called 'easy,' read all the old find logs (and make sure it's been found recently -- if there's a string of not-founds, forget it), decrypt the clue and verify that it's something USEFUL (like, say, a description of where the cache is hidden), and verify all the settings on your GPS -- datum WGS84, coordinate format degree-minute-decimal minute. When you're out in the field, look at your estimated accuracy and be sure it's reasonable (if it's 50 foot, you're going to have more trouble than necessary). Don't get too hung up on the point the GPS designates as 'zero,' since it can and will drift around. When you're thirty or forty feet off, walking at a reasonable pace, see which way the GPS says the cache is and go there to start the search.

 

Really, though, I'd say if you've made eleven attempts and no finds, something's wrong in the coordinate format or datum. Finding a cache isn't THAT hard. If you've been looking for micros, either pick ones where the clue is a dead giveaway, or look for traditional caches first. My first micro had me completely stumped, because I didn't realize how they're typically hidden around here. An ordinary cache is a little harder to make invisible, though the one dangling twenty feet over our heads on a rope was a good try. (That wasn't a difficulty 1, however!)

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Hi, I'm glad to see that I'm not the only one that can't find a hide. I have tried 2 in the last 2 days and have been right on with the coordinates, locked on to 9 satelites with an accuracy of +/- 16.2 Ft. and had a friend and we found nothing either time. Also looking at the topo map showed the cache to be nowhere near where the coordinates took me.

If you get any good information I would appreciate you passing it along.

Thanks,

 

Kudu

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quote:
Originally posted by Team Kender:

commercial GPSr isn't always going to land you right on top of a target.


 

In fact, the manual for our new GPSr (a Magellan SporTrak Pro) gives the accuracy of the GPS as "7 meters 95% 2D RMS" -- in other words, the GPS will get you within 7 meters (21 feet) of the target 95% of the time. If your GPS has WAAS (Wide Area Augmentation System) capability and the area you're caching in has WAAS coverage, the accuracy improves to about 3 meters (10 feet) 95% 2D RMS.

 

Getting within 7 meters of the target isn't all there is to the sport, though, of course. Our first cache was Unknown Exit, and we walked right by the cache location three times before we found it -- and we'd looked at previous photos of the cache before we went out, so we knew more or less where it was, even.

 

The other suggestions on what else you can do to help find a cache the next time out are excellent ones, though. We read the message boards for several weeks before we went out on our first hunt, and learned enough from that that we found both of the caches we'd targeted.

 

-- Tammy, of Team Psittacine

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quote:
Originally posted by kudu:

Hi, I'm glad to see that I'm not the only one that can't find a hide. I have tried 2 in the last 2 days and have been right on with the coordinates, locked on to 9 satelites with an accuracy of +/- 16.2 Ft. and had a friend and we found nothing either time. Also looking at the topo map showed the cache to be nowhere near where the coordinates took me.

If you get any good information I would appreciate you passing it along.

Thanks,

 

Kudu


 

If you have Mapsend Topo for a Magellan I can tell you it's not always very accurate. So far I average my placement at 50 West and bounces a couple of feet north or south. That isn't to say the GPSr coordinates are that far off, but the display of the streets themselves are.

 

Team Kender - "The Sun is coming up!" "No, the horizon is going down."

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quote:
Originally posted by kudu:

Hi, I'm glad to see that I'm not the only one that can't find a hide. I have tried 2 in the last 2 days and have been right on with the coordinates, locked on to 9 satelites with an accuracy of +/- 16.2 Ft. and had a friend and we found nothing either time. Also looking at the topo map showed the cache to be nowhere near where the coordinates took me.

If you get any good information I would appreciate you passing it along.

Thanks,

 

Kudu


 

Definitely sounds like you should double-check your datum, as others have mentioned.

 

I had an interesting problem the other day - my eTrex froze up, and I had to pop the batteries out to get it to turn off. I replaced them, turned the unit back on, and everything seemed fine. But the next time we went out on a hunt, I discovered that my coordinates were around 300 feet off. Fortunately, Peggy had her Geko, and got us where we needed to go. I checked that we had the same coords, even looked to see that the datum was set to WGS-84, and all looked good. But the eTrex was still off. I had to change the datum, then change it back, to get correct readings.

 

Ron/yumitori

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I'm a short timer having found 20+ with only a few that we decided were plundered but I am beginning to get a feel for what I am looking for. In most cases there is something that you are looking at that isn't quite right. Most caches have been buried/covered with what ever is handy. Leaves, sticks, rocks. If you find sticks piled together under a rock or tree, rocks sitting on top of leaves/sticks ect ie. something that won't happen naturally you have probably found the site.

 

The virtue of Patience is essential when caching

Don't forget to stop and enjoy where you are.

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Don't give up!

 

If I didn't have my 20 year old son along, I wouldn't have found several of them. He spots the small details, I'm better at looking for likely hiding spots. But when it's hidden "under a rock, some sticks and leaves" and you are looking at a rock wall/ledge of nothing but rocks, sticks and leaves, he is the finder.

 

My contribution in those situations is to back off about 100' and watch the bearing change. When I find the minimum/maximum, I pull out the compass and determine the right/left boundaries of the search area. Then I go 100' away in a different direction and do it again. This helps to narrow down the actual search area, since standing within the coordinate target leaves the GPS seeming to point in every direction with changing distances. Backing off 100' clarifies the search range.

 

Then you set the GPS aside and search the identified area.

 

Keep in mind that if your compass is adjusted for magnetic declination, you set the GPS for True north. If your compass is not adjusted for declination, set the GPS for magnetic north. Then whatever bearing the GPS displays is what you use on the compass.

 

As we succeed finding more caches, we are becoming more aware of how to find the hiding spots.

 

Good Luck

 

Faster, Better, Cheaper

Pick any two.

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