Jump to content

Help! Gecko Vs Etrex Under Heavy Tree Cover?


Buildingblocks
Followers 0

Recommended Posts

Hi! I'm looking to get our first GPS and we are under a VERY tight budget. We are in western Washington, so much of our caching will be under tree cover, adn I have heard that eTrex sometimes struggles to maintain a lock under these conditions. I found a brand new gecko 101 for $80 and was wondering if it would work any better.

 

I have been lurking here for a few weeks and we can't wait to get started!

 

Buildingblocks

Two Blockheads and the five Babyblocks

Link to comment

As a very general rule most any newer GPSr will do better under such conditions than most any older unit and the etrex is an older unit.

 

However, heavy tree cover can pose challenges for the even the best of the recreational GPSrs.

Link to comment

I'm not familiar with the GEKO's capabilities. But if you know you're going to be spending a lot of time under tree cover I would suggest you NOT consider the etrex (yellow) It's known to have a problem in that area.

 

What are your needs from a GPSr? If you are on a tight budget and are looking for an entry level unit, I would suggest you consider the Lowrance iFinder GO it's just $68 at that link. Be advised it doesn't have PC cable connectivity if that is important to you. But it does work well in the woods, is very accurate with good battery life, and includes basemaps in its 32mb memory.

Link to comment

My wife's Geko has a tad better reception than my old eTrex Vista under trees. If you're on a budget tho and assuming don't mind that you can't hook your GPS up to a PC (since you're considering a Geko 101), the you may want to look at the iFinder Go or iFinder Go2. Reception is excellent on those units and they are very inexpensive.

Link to comment

Dino Hunters:

me again.

 

The Gps 60 looks good, and there seems to be a lot of them on ebay. Are teh map units more trouble than they're worth, or is it just more expensive? Those seem to be abundant on ebay as well, so I thought I'd keep an eye out for them.

 

The iFinder also looks good... agghh!! At least I know that the most imprtant variable is the antenna...the rest is kinda gravy. Am I right? (It would be great to be able to download, though...)

 

Thanks SO much for your patience!!!

Link to comment
The Gps 60 looks good, and there seems to be a lot of them on ebay. Are teh map units more trouble than they're worth, or is it just more expensive?

 

Mapping units make your GPS far more useful. A non mapping unit tells you your destination is "over there" and x feet away. A mapping unit will show you the best way get "over there". You will find many uses for a mapping unit beyond geocaching.

 

At least I know that the most imprtant variable is the antenna...

 

Not so fast. The antenna is important but not the end all. Newer units with patch antennas (eXplorist, iFinders) equal or outperform units with the quad helix antennas.

Link to comment
...At least I know that the most imprtant variable is the antenna...the rest is kinda gravy.  Am I right?

Umm well,, no.

 

In my opinion the antenna really isn't as critical a factor as some might think. In the past certain models equipped with patch antennas, namely the early Etrex's, had problems maintaining signal lock in tough terrain, ie under heavy tree cover, and it appears to have run rampant into a general universal steriotype that patch antennas aren't as good as quads.

 

Personally with todays modern technology, if anything I would feel the opposite is true. If I were shopping for a "new" GPS I wouldn't hesitate to buy one with patch, and actually I think I'd specifically seek out a patch equipped model. Nothing wrong with a quad helix antenna I guess. But they aren't my first choice, at least while using a GPS in my areas terrain.

Link to comment

Trees aren't new and people have been geocaching in WA for a while now, so don't worry too much about it. If I had to choose between a yellow etrex and a geko 101, I'd choose the yellow because you can upload coords.

 

If my budget was really tight, I'd buy it off of ebay. You can find a yellow etrex for $50 plus shipping.

Link to comment

It might be more cost-effective to move up from the yellow to a model that comes with the computer cable, since that'll tack on an extra $30 and you're likely to want it soon. I also really like the fact that the slightly more expensive eTrexes have a click stick for entering coordinates on multis and such -- entering them manually on the yellow is tedious. In the long run, those two things will make using the GPS much less annoying. (Some people say they've managed to break their click stick. We haven't, in a year and a half of use. I really, really like it.) Signal lock? Never had a problem with the yellow. If anything, the Vista we upgraded to feels pokier when it comes to getting an initial lock. Neither has been troublesome under tree cover. The only time poor signals ever made it hard for us to find a cache was downtown next to a bunch of skyscrapers. That's signal bounce, not the GPSr's fault.

Link to comment

:unsure:

 

Just when I thought I had SOMETHING figured out! :blink:

 

OK. Part of my problem is that I am trying to familiarize myself with the basic features of the lower priced models. For example, I didn't know that the lowly etrex yellow could download co-ords- I thought it was an "older" model and didn't have that kind of bells and whistles. I don't know what is considered "older" or "newer". Pretty much all I know is NO COBRAS! :huh:

 

So, if I am looking for something I can get, new or used, for under 130 or so, that is reliable under tree cover and is easy to use. Downloading co-ords will be a selling factor, and it looks like I may be able to get ahold of an old PDA, if that makes any difference. I wasn't very clear in my first post, but I am looking to get our first one- we have never used a GPS before. I expect to be using this quite a bit as a family activity, including some days of hunting >5 caches. I seriously doubt we will be able to upgrade any time in the next few years, so I am being rather anal in my decision making.

 

SO, let me see if I can sum things up for myself:

 

Gecko- cheap, ? reliable, no downloads

eTrex yellow- cheap, ? reliable, yes downloads (cable $30 extra?)

explorist ?? the cheaper, orange ones ???

iFinder- cheap, reliable, no downloads

 

So, if I watch ebay, I see lots of orange magellans, etrex yellow, GPS 60, and some legends. (OK, so the legends adn 60s are a bit more, but a girl can hope, right?) Will all of these download co-ords and be reliable?

 

Hoping you're not sick of me yet,

Mama Blockhead

Link to comment
OK.  Part of my problem is that I am trying to familiarize myself with the basic features of the lower priced models.  For example, I didn't know that the lowly etrex yellow could download co-ords- I thought it was an "older" model and didn't have that kind of bells and whistles.

 

Don't blame you at all for being confused when trying to find the best model for your needs and budget. It happens quite easily even for those of us more familiar with GPSrs. The etrex is old, the geko and explorist are new. That doesn't mean they are 'better'. The etrex is low priced because it is older, the geko and explorist are low priced because they lack many features. I really don't recommend the geko or the explorist 100-300 because they do lack features you are likely to find yourself wanting. However, I don't recommend the extrex either because out of every GPSr I have ever seen that is the one most consistently getting complaints about losing lock under tree cover. However, you need to understand that while I rarely lose lock with my Meridian, it did happen this past weekend and I really didn't think the tree cover was all that bad compared to what I have been in previously. It happens (or at least can happen) with any unit. Nevertheless the etrex seems to be the unit most complain about with this. I have never owned one so have only the reports of others to go on.

 

So, if I am looking for something I can get, new or used, for under 130 or so, that is reliable under tree cover and is easy to use.  Downloading co-ords will be a selling factor, and it looks like I may be able to get ahold of an old PDA, if that makes any difference.

 

Generally PDAs are useful for downloading cache pages as well as running some software that stores the coords and other info. This way you can have the hints on the cache page without having to print them out. It is unnecessary, but many find it very convenient.

 

Gecko- cheap, ? reliable, no downloads

eTrex yellow- cheap, ? reliable, yes downloads  (cable $30 extra?)

explorist ?? the cheaper, orange ones ???

iFinder- cheap, reliable, no downloads

 

The geko and cheaper explorists (100-300 series) have no serial or USB port so no downloads. The etrex has a serial port interface. I am not familiar with the lowrance units, but I don't think the ifinder GO has one either.

 

Unless someone has a sweet deal to make you (you can check the garage sale forums and tell the folks what you want and see if someone has a unit they don't need that they will sell in your price range) I think you need to choose between the features of the etrex and the lack of features of the new , but likely better performance under cover of the new units from all 3 manufactures.

 

For the record, there are probably more etrex users out there than users of any other GPSr. It isn't a bad unit and it has stood the test of time quite well. If you shop around at your local stores you can probably find one for under $100 and if you get it at a large store you can probably return it if you aren't satisfied with it's performance under cover in your area. If nothing else Walmart is great for being able to return pretty much anything for any reason.

Link to comment

Well, it's a done deal.

 

I hit ebay, and found a Sportrak Map... and I won it for $125. If I just got ripped off, please don't tell me! :blink:

 

It was listed as new, so I am hoping that means I will have a manufacturer's warrantee on it. If not, I'll just hope I never need it.

 

 

You guys were awesome- I learned so much. I wound up with a unit that downloads and maps, two things I wasn't gonna push for before. It was more than I was gonna spend, but hey, it was my first auction and I got carried away. I THINK I just saw this same unit at Radio Shack on clearance for $175.

 

<deep sigh> Now we just hope it comes before Monday! I need to go get the infamous paper oragnized....

 

Mama Blockhead

 

PS- Don't think you've heared the last of me. :unsure:

Link to comment
Well, it's a done deal.

 

I hit ebay, and found a Sportrak Map... and I won it for $125.  If I just got ripped off, please don't tell me!  :unsure:

 

It was listed as new, so I am hoping that means I will have a manufacturer's warrantee on it.  If not, I'll just hope I never need it.

you didn't get ripped off at all. The Sport Trak Map is a fairly basic unit as far as mapping units go due to only having 6mb of internal memory for map uploads, but you got a good price on it, and the sportraks are among the best performers in the field at any price.

 

You can download cache coords from this site into GSAK or EASYGPS or whatever (free/shareware) and into your GPS no problem.

 

The additional maps are going to cost you $80 or so if you decide to buy them so I wouldn't worry about it right now. Maps aren't all that helpful for caching, mostly for driving. Besides, the topo maps can fit a good sized area into that much space if you do get the map software at some point. [editted to add, I just checked the topo software that will work with your unit and I can fit half of wisconsin into 6mb]

 

So for the price I think you did really well in getting a great unit that you will be happy with. I am actually surpised you got it that cheaply. I have seen them from 170-200 on the web.

Edited by DaveA
Link to comment

Congrats on winning the bid on the Sporttrack Map. That's a good unit & you should be happy with it.

 

If you've never used a GPS before, I think you are gonna be flat out AMAZED at what these cool gadgets are capable of. If you're like the majority of first purchasers, within an hour of delivery you are going to be "running" around your front/back yard & see the device tracking your movement & speed :unsure:

 

Later once you're cooled down a bit (lol) and are curious what that PDA is good for in terms of Geocaching, fire up another forum thread & prepare to be amazed a second time :blink:

Link to comment
Well, it's a done deal.

 

I hit ebay, and found a Sportrak Map... and I won it for $125.  If I just got ripped off, please don't tell me!  :unsure:

 

It was listed as new, so I am hoping that means I will have a manufacturer's warrantee on it.  If not, I'll just hope I never need it.

you didn't get ripped off at all. The Sport Trak Map is a fairly basic unit as far as mapping units go due to only having 6mb of internal memory for map uploads, but you got a good price on it, and the sportraks are among the best performers in the field at any price.

 

You can download cache coords from this site into GSAK or EASYGPS or whatever (free/shareware) and into your GPS no problem.

 

The additional maps are going to cost you $80 or so if you decide to buy them so I wouldn't worry about it right now. Maps aren't all that helpful for caching, mostly for driving. Besides, the topo maps can fit a good sized area into that much space if you do get the map software at some point. [editted to add, I just checked the topo software that will work with your unit and I can fit half of wisconsin into 6mb]

 

So for the price I think you did really well in getting a great unit that you will be happy with. I am actually surpised you got it that cheaply. I have seen them from 170-200 on the web.

I just checked the topo software that will work with your unit and I can fit half of wisconsin into 6mb]

 

So, I'm thinkin' that western WA would probably fit, too. Not that I'm looking to spend the money any time soon! I need a digital camera first! (I know, welcome to the century.) That is going to be the family Christmas gift, I think.

 

Anyhow, I am absolutely itching to get going next week! I already have about a dozen pages printed out. I just need to go buy some stuff to trade with and I'm on my way! My 6yob (Babyblock3) is SO excited to go "treasure hunting", and my other kids (14yob,7yog,4yob,3yog) are just ready to go outside for any reason. Hubby likes to explore like I do. I don't think it will be long before we're hooked. :blink:

 

Thanks again, guys...you'll make a technogeek out of me yet!

 

Mama Blockhead, for Papa Blockhead and the five Babyblocks (no matter how much my 14yo son HATES that!)

Link to comment
So, I'm thinkin' that western WA would probably fit, too.  Not that I'm looking to spend the money any time soon!

 

Well I just checked and roughly 1/3 of Washington (sliced up any way you care to) fits into 6mb so I think you are fine there. The entire state is about 16 mb

 

  I need a digital camera first!  (I know, welcome to the century.)  That is going to be the family Christmas gift, I think.

 

Yes, you really do need a digital camera. Funny thing is that I have a 4 megapixel camera that I paid around $450 for that is vastly inferior to my wife's 3 megapixel camera that she paid about $130 for. Her camera is smaller, lighter, has the same feature set and does much, much better at taking good snapshots than mine, particularly in low to moderate light. Her camera is the Olympus D-535 and I vastly prefer it to my Minolta DiMage 414. Just a recomendation. With my camera almost every shot has to be passed through Adobe Photoshop to get a good printable image whereas her camera produces good shots with no modifications. Grrrr.

 

Anyhow, I am absolutely itching to get going next week!  I already have about a dozen pages printed out.  I just need to go buy some stuff to trade with and I'm on my way!  My 6yob (Babyblock3) is SO excited to go "treasure hunting", and my other kids (14yob,7yog,4yob,3yog) are just ready to go outside for any reason.  Hubby likes to explore like I do.  I don't think it will be long before we're hooked. :unsure:

 

Well, let me prepare you for reality. The treasure you are going to find in caches is almost always going to be junk to adults, but to youngins it really is treasure.

 

Thanks again, guys...you'll make a technogeek out of me yet!

 

Mama Blockhead, for Papa Blockhead and the five Babyblocks (no matter how much my 14yo son HATES that!)

 

Well you are welcome, that is what we are here for. Have a great time and don't be a stranger.

Link to comment

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...
Followers 0
×
×
  • Create New...