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Oregon or PN-40

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We want to go paperless! :) We have used a Garmin ETrex Vista HCx and have really not been caching much, partly because we've been busy but also because it's a hassle to print everything to go out. Have been researching and have it down to the Garmin Oregon 400t (or the 300, if I can figure out the additional programming and maps needed to equal the 400) or the DeLorme PN-40. I have read the downfalls of each unit but would like clarification of the "steep learning curve" or the PN-40. My computer skills are pretty strong but don't want too much work setting up the unit. I just want to start using it with as little work as possible. We are planning a trip to the southwest in the fall and will be using the new gps to have some caching fun there...will need some good maps for backroading too. I know there are lots of strong opinions on Groundspeak...that's good1 All advice and input will be appreciated but we are strong on being paperless. Thanks, W & R

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We want to go paperless! :) We have used a Garmin ETrex Vista HCx and have really not been caching much, partly because we've been busy but also because it's a hassle to print everything to go out. Have been researching and have it down to the Garmin Oregon 400t (or the 300, if I can figure out the additional programming and maps needed to equal the 400) or the DeLorme PN-40. I have read the downfalls of each unit but would like clarification of the "steep learning curve" or the PN-40. My computer skills are pretty strong but don't want too much work setting up the unit. I just want to start using it with as little work as possible. We are planning a trip to the southwest in the fall and will be using the new gps to have some caching fun there...will need some good maps for backroading too. I know there are lots of strong opinions on Groundspeak...that's good1 All advice and input will be appreciated but we are strong on being paperless. Thanks, W & R

 

The steep learning curve argument is bunk, I owned a PN-40 and now own an Oregon 300 (not for much longer thankfully) and I can tell you the Oregon was more difficult for me to figure out. Read my thread here, in particular, the last post which will give my honest impressions of the Oregon vs the PN-40!

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......"steep learning curve" or the PN-40. .....

My inferrence here has been that these characteriztions were more related to the Topo USA 7.0/8.0 mapping software that was bundled with the PN-40s as opposed to the handheld PN-40, itself.

While somewhat understandable in the past, due to recent operational enhancements from DeLorme, one does not even need to install the Topo USA 8.0 software on their PCs for paperless geocaching. Even when installed, that software can be bypassed when paperlessly transferring geocache descriptions and uploading field notes.

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We want to go paperless! :D We have used a Garmin ETrex Vista HCx and have really not been caching much, partly because we've been busy but also because it's a hassle to print everything to go out. Have been researching and have it down to the Garmin Oregon 400t (or the 300, if I can figure out the additional programming and maps needed to equal the 400) or the DeLorme PN-40. I have read the downfalls of each unit but would like clarification of the "steep learning curve" or the PN-40. My computer skills are pretty strong but don't want too much work setting up the unit. I just want to start using it with as little work as possible. We are planning a trip to the southwest in the fall and will be using the new gps to have some caching fun there...will need some good maps for backroading too. I know there are lots of strong opinions on Groundspeak...that's good1 All advice and input will be appreciated but we are strong on being paperless. Thanks, W & R

 

The steep learning curve argument is bunk, I owned a PN-40 and now own an Oregon 300 (not for much longer thankfully) and I can tell you the Oregon was more difficult for me to figure out. Read my thread here, in particular, the last post which will give my honest impressions of the Oregon vs the PN-40!

 

It would be just as seep of a learning curve for us Oregon users to have to pick up a PN-40 and try to figure it out on the fly while caching. We would ALWAYS like to stay with something familiar. Anything else is a pain. However, I believe if you started out on an Oregon and switched to a PN-40, you'd throw rocks at the PN and go back to an Oregon. I too, have tried a PN-40 and hated it. The smaller screen, short battery life, not touch screen, routing was strange, and the learning curve all left me wanting to drop-kick it into another time zone. The Oregon is the best GPSr out there IMHO. Nothing else even comes close.

 

But opinions are like noses, everybody has one! [:)]

Edited by BetaMan

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......"steep learning curve" or the PN-40. .....

My inferrence here has been that these characteriztions were more related to the Topo USA 7.0/8.0 mapping software that was bundled with the PN-40s as opposed to the handheld PN-40, itself.

While somewhat understandable in the past, due to recent operational enhancements from DeLorme, one does not even need to install the Topo USA 8.0 software on their PCs for paperless geocaching. Even when installed, that software can be bypassed when paperlessly transferring geocache descriptions and uploading field notes.

Thanks so much for that clarification that it's the maps not the unit...makes sense! Also, Roddy, I enjoyed reading through your thread on the PN-40 v Oregon the other day and had looked forward to hearing how you liked the Oregon on your return. BTW - so sorry you lost your beloved orange but we benefited from the great evaluation that you did of both units and I am leaning toward the PN-40 based on it!

 

What is SE?

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We want to go paperless! :laughing: We have used a Garmin ETrex Vista HCx and have really not been caching much, partly because we've been busy but also because it's a hassle to print everything to go out. Have been researching and have it down to the Garmin Oregon 400t (or the 300, if I can figure out the additional programming and maps needed to equal the 400) or the DeLorme PN-40. I have read the downfalls of each unit but would like clarification of the "steep learning curve" or the PN-40. My computer skills are pretty strong but don't want too much work setting up the unit. I just want to start using it with as little work as possible. We are planning a trip to the southwest in the fall and will be using the new gps to have some caching fun there...will need some good maps for backroading too. I know there are lots of strong opinions on Groundspeak...that's good1 All advice and input will be appreciated but we are strong on being paperless. Thanks, W & R

 

The steep learning curve argument is bunk, I owned a PN-40 and now own an Oregon 300 (not for much longer thankfully) and I can tell you the Oregon was more difficult for me to figure out. Read my thread here, in particular, the last post which will give my honest impressions of the Oregon vs the PN-40!

 

It would be just as seep of a learning curve for us Oregon users to have to pick up a PN-40 and try to figure it out on the fly while caching. We would ALWAYS like to stay with something familiar. Anything else is a pain. However, I believe if you started out on an Oregon and switched to a PN-40, you'd throw rocks at the PN and go back to an Oregon. I too, have tried a PN-40 and hated it. The smaller screen, short battery life, not touch screen, routing was strange, and the learning curve all left me wanting to drop-kick it into another time zone. The Oregon is the best GPSr out there IMHO. Nothing else even comes close.

 

But opinions are like noses, everybody has one! [:D]

Oh great...just when I thought I was becoming less confused! :)

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My first true hand held device (LifeDrive/TomTom not included) was an Magellan eXplorist XL,

I had no problems making the transition to the PN device, sure screen is smaller but I rolled w/it.

Could never agree with the "steep learning curve" attributed to Topo 7/8, even having been

coddled by Macintosh all these years. I'm looking forward to the 40's progress, and the next

evolution too.

 

Norm

Edited by RRLover

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We want to go paperless! :D We have used a Garmin ETrex Vista HCx and have really not been caching much, partly because we've been busy but also because it's a hassle to print everything to go out. Have been researching and have it down to the Garmin Oregon 400t (or the 300, if I can figure out the additional programming and maps needed to equal the 400) or the DeLorme PN-40. I have read the downfalls of each unit but would like clarification of the "steep learning curve" or the PN-40. My computer skills are pretty strong but don't want too much work setting up the unit. I just want to start using it with as little work as possible. We are planning a trip to the southwest in the fall and will be using the new gps to have some caching fun there...will need some good maps for backroading too. I know there are lots of strong opinions on Groundspeak...that's good1 All advice and input will be appreciated but we are strong on being paperless. Thanks, W & R

 

The steep learning curve argument is bunk, I owned a PN-40 and now own an Oregon 300 (not for much longer thankfully) and I can tell you the Oregon was more difficult for me to figure out. Read my thread here, in particular, the last post which will give my honest impressions of the Oregon vs the PN-40!

 

It would be just as seep of a learning curve for us Oregon users to have to pick up a PN-40 and try to figure it out on the fly while caching. We would ALWAYS like to stay with something familiar. Anything else is a pain. However, I believe if you started out on an Oregon and switched to a PN-40, you'd throw rocks at the PN and go back to an Oregon. I too, have tried a PN-40 and hated it. The smaller screen, short battery life, not touch screen, routing was strange, and the learning curve all left me wanting to drop-kick it into another time zone. The Oregon is the best GPSr out there IMHO. Nothing else even comes close.

 

But opinions are like noses, everybody has one! [:)]

 

Actually, if you read my posts, I stated the PN was easier to learn than the Oregon, it wouldn't have mattered what unit I was learning first, I gave an honest opinion of my experiences. The menu of the Oregon had you searching through several options to find what you needed, sometimes multiple times too. For instance, I want to drive to the cache, so I bring up the cache (toggle back a few pages to get to geocaches) and have it route me (figured out quickly how to change the prefs so I had it set to road route automatically). Then, when to the cache, I brought up the where to and chenged it to hiking, then had to go back and bring up the map to see what I wanted to see...but first, I had to change turn off the CN so I could see the more detailed free map I downloaded, so back to the set-up and click off CN. Now, I realize you can set this up to change automatically through the profiles option, but with all my playing, I never did figure out how to customize the profiles. OK, CN is off, now back to the maps...a few more scrolls of the menu. I then want to see what the description is, so back to the geocaching option, bring up the cache and read it. Close that back down, head back to maps and get close, then I need to go to compass, another couple clicks. This is all for a fairly simple task, something I can do simpler on the PN-40, with a lot less steps I believe!

 

I do remember that I liked being able to enter addresses to route to, but again, a Nuvi will do this better if I need!

 

I'll also state to you that I learned the PN exactly the same way, by using it. I took it straight from the box (after loading the maps of course) to the first cache.

Edited by Rockin Roddy

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Thanks Norm...so when you say "the 40's progress, and the next evolution too" what do you mean? Sorry, just want to make sure that there isn't something later and greater right around the bend. My usual luck, spend the money and next week it's outdated! DANG

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I'll add that I too had a Maggie 500LE before buying the PN-40, loved the Maggie but glad it died out on me! :)

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Thanks Norm...so when you say "the 40's progress, and the next evolution too" what do you mean? Sorry, just want to make sure that there isn't something later and greater right around the bend. My usual luck, spend the money and next week it's outdated! DANG

DeLorme is "way good" at doing up-dates, and listening to customer opinion. But just like the ~Ricky Nelson~

tune ; 'Garden Party'- "Can't please everybody"(you know the rest), they have to prioritize.*

 

As to the allusion to future product, in this business (GPSrs) 'oneupmanship' seems to be the price of progress.

DeLorme hasn't hinted at any new models, but I would think it naive to believe someone there doesn't have some

sketches on napkins at the very least.

 

*Which brings up the old adage : " If everybody gets their way on something, nobody gets their way on anything!"

 

Norm

Edited by RRLover

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I was playing with an Oregon at a demo and figured the thing out on the fly, without a manual in a few minutes. It is very easy to use. Perhaps the easiest, most intuative interface I've seen on a hand held GPS unit to date.

 

The PN40 itself isn't particularly difficult if you are familiar with GPS units. I could figure out the basics after a few minutes (though after 6 months I still can't get it to find an address. Either I'm doing something wrong or it is missing an awful lot of addresses). The interface reminds me of a cross between the Magellan Meridian and Lowrance iFinder interfaces. Not the most intuitive, but not difficult at all if you have a little common sense

 

It's DeLorme's Topo software where the learning curve is. It's interface is very different from most mapping software I've used. I've use a few - Mapsource Topo, National Geographic Topo, Topofusion and others and could figure out the basics in a few minutes and never had to pick up a manual.

 

I spent a full day trying to get Topo working with my PN40 and I spent close to 40 hours between reloads of maps on my replacement units (had to send it back a few times), slow downloads and other issues. It was a good thing I was out of work at the time so I had the time to play with it. I can usually get Topo to do what I want to after playing with it for a while, but sometimes I'm not quite sure how I did it. Clunky is a good word.

 

I'm not what you'd call technologically challenged either. Having been a programmer who has designed user interfaces I can say that the people at DeLorme who thought up the DeLorme Topo software ought to be hung by their thumbs and made to promise not to go anywhere near a keyboard or mouse for the rest of their lives.

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As Briansnat said, it's not really with either of the GPS units (Oregon/PN_40) where the problems lie. It's really the software and proprietary paranoia of manufacturer "D". "Clunky" is a very appropriate word for the software! There is much more that you cannot do, than what you can. (import/export/format conversions,etc)

 

As a PN-40/TOPO 8 user, just try and use multiple 3rd party softwares to import /export convert and exchange data with other GPS users in any one of multiple formats. Delorme doesn't want/allow that. THEY want to tell YOU what you want/need in the way of formats.(and capabilities)....except of course if you want to lay out big$ for more of their (again limited) software.

 

Many 3rd party developers won't even try to work with them due to past experience.

 

If you own a Delorme and are satisfied...Great!

I'm very happy for you and what you have "settled for".

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As Briansnat said, it's not really with either of the GPS units (Oregon/PN_40) where the problems lie. It's really the software and proprietary paranoia of manufacturer "D". "Clunky" is a very appropriate word for the software! There is much more that you cannot do, than what you can. (import/export/format conversions,etc)

 

As a PN-40/TOPO 8 user, just try and use multiple 3rd party softwares to import /export convert and exchange data with other GPS users in any one of multiple formats. Delorme doesn't want/allow that. THEY want to tell YOU what you want/need in the way of formats.(and capabilities)....except of course if you want to lay out big$ for more of their (again limited) software.

 

Many 3rd party developers won't even try to work with them due to past experience.

 

If you own a Delorme and are satisfied...Great!

I'm very happy for you and what you have "settled for".

Give it a breatk GC. It can also be said if you're content with going to all the third party software to do what DeLorme can do with one package, then I'm very happy for you and what you have settled for.

Edited by TotemLake

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Just kidding...this is great input for me/us. We just have to figure out what's best for us now. Thanks so much from you all!

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...I can say that the people at DeLorme who thought up the DeLorme Topo software ought to be hung by their thumbs and made to promise not to go anywhere near a keyboard or mouse for the rest of their lives.
Very funny. YOU can say it because you're a moderator. Anyone else says it, and a more moderate moderator like Robert will tweak their nose for it :)

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...just try and use multiple 3rd party softwares to import /export convert and exchange data with other GPS users in any one of multiple formats. Delorme doesn't want/allow that. THEY want to tell YOU what you want/need in the way of formats.(and capabilities)....except of course if you want to lay out big$ for more of their (again limited) software.
You do know that DeLorme's delbin protocol is in the latest beta for GPSBabel, right?

 

And the best part is ... http://www.gpsbabel.org/download.html -- scroll down to the beta versions...

 

...for a change, the Mac version is out before the PC version :)

Edited by lee_rimar

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Speaking again for the Oregon, the nightmare that Rockin Roddy described for trying to find a cache IS a nightmare, since he didn't read the manual (which I only gave a cursory view myself). I changed my profile for GeoCaching the way I like it, and set up the main menu to show the things I use most often so I can access them with a single press of the screen. That only took a few minutes to do!

 

It is actually VERY easy to navigate to a cache and then go to offroad moad. All you have to do is go to the "Geocaching" profile and select the cache you want to get. Select "Go" and it will navigate you via roads (if you have navigational maps installed like City Navigator, etc) and once you arrive at the parking area, Click on "Where to" and select "Recalculate Off Road". You can either walk to the cache based on the graphical depiction on the screen or close that and choose to use the Compass if you prefer. It's that simple! If you want to view information about the cache, close that screen and select Geocache and there is all the information about the cache!

 

It is VERY simple! I have found over 1000 caches with my Oregon so far (561 in the month of May alone!) If you still have questions about it, PM me and I'll give you my cell number and we can talk about it.

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Speaking again for the Oregon, the nightmare that Rockin Roddy described for trying to find a cache IS a nightmare, since he didn't read the manual (which I only gave a cursory view myself). I changed my profile for GeoCaching the way I like it, and set up the main menu to show the things I use most often so I can access them with a single press of the screen. That only took a few minutes to do!

 

It is actually VERY easy to navigate to a cache and then go to offroad moad. All you have to do is go to the "Geocaching" profile and select the cache you want to get. Select "Go" and it will navigate you via roads (if you have navigational maps installed like City Navigator, etc) and once you arrive at the parking area, Click on "Where to" and select "Recalculate Off Road". You can either walk to the cache based on the graphical depiction on the screen or close that and choose to use the Compass if you prefer. It's that simple! If you want to view information about the cache, close that screen and select Geocache and there is all the information about the cache!

 

It is VERY simple! I have found over 1000 caches with my Oregon so far (561 in the month of May alone!) If you still have questions about it, PM me and I'll give you my cell number and we can talk about it.

 

You're right, I didn't read the manual...but I never read the manual for the PN-40 either. I am trying to figure out how to edit my profiles and I guess I'll need to find the manual for this since it's not exactly jumping out at me (the way to edit that is lol). If I can't figure this out, I will pm you and hopefully we can chat about it? THANKS for the offer!

 

I am trying to make a fair evaluation based on my experiences, hopefully I can figure out how to make things easier and I'll report back when I do!

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Speaking again for the Oregon, the nightmare that Rockin Roddy described for trying to find a cache IS a nightmare, since he didn't read the manual (which I only gave a cursory view myself). I changed my profile for GeoCaching the way I like it, and set up the main menu to show the things I use most often so I can access them with a single press of the screen. That only took a few minutes to do!

 

It is actually VERY easy to navigate to a cache and then go to offroad moad. All you have to do is go to the "Geocaching" profile and select the cache you want to get. Select "Go" and it will navigate you via roads (if you have navigational maps installed like City Navigator, etc) and once you arrive at the parking area, Click on "Where to" and select "Recalculate Off Road". You can either walk to the cache based on the graphical depiction on the screen or close that and choose to use the Compass if you prefer. It's that simple! If you want to view information about the cache, close that screen and select Geocache and there is all the information about the cache!

 

It is VERY simple! I have found over 1000 caches with my Oregon so far (561 in the month of May alone!) If you still have questions about it, PM me and I'll give you my cell number and we can talk about it.

 

You're right, I didn't read the manual...but I never read the manual for the PN-40 either. I am trying to figure out how to edit my profiles and I guess I'll need to find the manual for this since it's not exactly jumping out at me (the way to edit that is lol). If I can't figure this out, I will pm you and hopefully we can chat about it? THANKS for the offer!

 

I am trying to make a fair evaluation based on my experiences, hopefully I can figure out how to make things easier and I'll report back when I do!

 

OK, I see that there is no need to edit the profiles, it changes automatically. This is not helpful (to me) since I still need to follow pretty much the same list of procedures to make a change. For example: I want to find a cache so I scroll back to Profile Change>Geocaching>(scroll the same 3 pages to the front)Geocaches>the cache I choose>maps where I can see myself being routed, but not in the cool automotive mode. So, right back where I started.

 

OR, I can go this route: Since I am likely in Geocahing Profile after my first search (saving me a bit of button pushing), I hit Geocaches>choose the cache I prefer>Profile Change>Automotive (scroll back 3 pages again)>maps(same scrolling of pages to the front page) and route to the cache. When I arrive, I then have to scroll those pages yet again to profile change>Geocaching>compass (after the usual 3 page scroll)>and finally geocaches to log the find. I don't see this as any better, am I still missing something?

 

With the PN-40, it seemed there were a lot less steps, but I cannot recall exactly the procedure...let me try from memory though:

 

Click on menu>geocaches> choose cache>if want to view the info, click the cache description>choose route>go to maps (which I had set up to be the first screen). When arriving, simply hit menu> geocaches>route off road>compass screen. To log the cache, hit menu>Geocaches>log.

 

Now, there is an extra step because the OR does the automotive view when routing, so you can leave that part out if you want to fairly compare the procedure. This means not using the cool automotive feature which, after having to go through all the button hiting, I could see me not wanting to use very much.

 

Maybe I need to edit the menu list? Will see if I can find a way to make it all easier...

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Can't find a way to edit the menu list?

 

Or, I can leave it in Automotive mode and: scroll back to geocaches>choose cache>scroll forward to maps>when at destination hit where to>recalc off road>x out maps and scroll back a page to compass> when cache found, X out of compass, scroll back a page to geocaches and hit log attempt. If wanting to read the hint or description, you still need to follow the same procedure as logging attempt, so I don't see it as being any simpler.

 

Again, I feel the PN-40 is set up to be simpler to operate than this, but in all fairness, I did use the PN-40 longer and had the procedures down...although I think I pretty much summed up the procedures for the OR here.

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I dont think you ahd enough time with it RR. The ease of use of the Or is one of it's strong points. For example, there is no need to have pages of icons to scroll through... the GUI is set up so you can drag all the icons you dont need from each profile. My geocaching profile just shows the bare minimum of icons you need to click.

 

Ok, at home. Automotive mode.

 

Geocache....find a geocache...type in cache name on the screen or click from the "live" list.

 

Automotive view comes up, drive there following real automotive mapping.

 

Get close..profile change..geocaching.

 

Maps switch automagically to topo at a high zoom...compass comes on...feet count down. Icons on main menu switch to the minimal geocaching set I use. All controlled by the one simple profile change.

 

Get even closer, sometimes switch to compass view.

 

Find cache.

 

It's a very simple customisable interface. Sorry you didnt get used to it over time.

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I dont think you ahd enough time with it RR. The ease of use of the Or is one of it's strong points. For example, there is no need to have pages of icons to scroll through... the GUI is set up so you can drag all the icons you dont need from each profile. My geocaching profile just shows the bare minimum of icons you need to click.

 

Ok, at home. Automotive mode.

 

Geocache....find a geocache...type in cache name on the screen or click from the "live" list.

 

Automotive view comes up, drive there following real automotive mapping.

 

Get close..profile change..geocaching.

 

Maps switch automagically to topo at a high zoom...compass comes on...feet count down. Icons on main menu switch to the minimal geocaching set I use. All controlled by the one simple profile change.

 

Get even closer, sometimes switch to compass view.

 

Find cache.

 

It's a very simple customisable interface. Sorry you didnt get used to it over time.

 

Still learning, my friend! However, ease of use was merely one of the problems I have with this unit, there's still the drunken bee dance, the screen (dirty and hard to view in many situations), the waterproof issues I have spoken about (door to the USB isn't too snug) and a few more "quirks" I have noted. Oh, and the MAPS!!

 

Likes for the OR are:

 

Battery life...good!

Touchscreen...nice (but has definite disadvantages as well)!

Routing...like auto mode, but find the routing about the same as the PN!

 

Keep in mind, I NEVER felt the urge to shatter my PN-40, but fought that urge a few times with the OR....learning is NOT as simple as some have led me to believe...IMHO!

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will need some good maps for backroading too.

 

The PN-40 is great for this. You can't beat aerial photos, especially in the SW. Better plan on spending a LOT of time with the software though. It is one of the most difficult programs I've ever tried to learn.

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Hmmm. The version of that "everbody has an opinion" thing that I'm familiar with involves other body parts :) . Anyhow, here's my $.02. I think that the Oregon (or Colorado or Dakota) may be easier to figure out if (a) you are completely unfamiliar with handhelds or (b ) you are familiar with automotive units. The PN-40 is easier to figure out if you're familiar with other handhelds. That is, the newer Garmin units have more of an automotive user interface, where the PN-40 has more of a classic handheld UI.

 

I do agree that the PN-40 "learning curve" rap is attributable to the TopoUSA software, not the unit. Regardless of the merits of that claim (I didn't find TopoUSA much more challenging than Garmin Mapsource), you can avoid the use of TopoUSA entirely -- IF all you want to do is geocache, and if you only want to use the 1:100K topos that come with the unit. The topos can be loaded directly from the DVD without using TopoUSA. Geocaches can be loaded one at a time using Send to GPS on geocaching.com. Or you can use pocket queries with the ($10 extra cost) Cache Register program. Or (coming soon, in beta now) you can use GSAK/GPSBabel to download multiple caches to the unit. You only need TopoUSA if you want to exchange tracks, routes, or waypoints with the unit, or download and use imagery from the library subscription.

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will need some good maps for backroading too.

 

The PN-40 is great for this. You can't beat aerial photos, especially in the SW. Better plan on spending a LOT of time with the software though. It is one of the most difficult programs I've ever tried to learn.

 

I will agree you'll spend a bit of time acquiring the maps (which you can buy for a $30 subscription and the maps you download are your to keep), but learning to download them is as simple as going to the DeLorme forums here and then to the thread with the info here.

 

If I can figure out how to load the entire state of Michigan in aerial, I think most ANYONE can! :D:) If you haven't noticed yet, I am tech slow (or tech disadvantaged to be politically correct lol).

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Still learning, my friend! However, ease of use was merely one of the problems I have with this unit, there's still the drunken bee dance, the screen (dirty and hard to view in many situations), the waterproof issues I have spoken about (door to the USB isn't too snug) and a few more "quirks" I have noted. Oh, and the MAPS!!

 

Likes for the OR are:

 

Battery life...good!

Touchscreen...nice (but has definite disadvantages as well)!

Routing...like auto mode, but find the routing about the same as the PN!

 

Keep in mind, I NEVER felt the urge to shatter my PN-40, but fought that urge a few times with the OR....learning is NOT as simple as some have led me to believe...IMHO!

 

One day there will be a battery-powered bright touchscreen. I think Garmin pushed the envelope on this with the new oregon 550 unit. We are still a few years away from a bright touchscreen. As long as it's bright on the dash (which the Oregons all are) with power, it's fine. I don't have an issue with the brightness except on a bike when I can't control the angle as well. I love the convencice of a touchscreen, made for much faster usage.

 

Maps.. personal preference. I couldn't live without the premium auto maps due to the way I cache. Topo based routing maps for the PNXX are awful. I also travel outside NA. My main beef with the PN-40 and maps, apart from the lack of good routing, was the prep time as well for a spotaneous cache run. But we covered that all before :)

 

Bee dance.. mileage will vary. OR and PN-40 have the same chipset. No problems here at all.

 

USB.. agreed. But I still prefer the convenience of a non-proprietary cable.

Edited by Maingray

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will need some good maps for backroading too.

 

The PN-40 is great for this. You can't beat aerial photos, especially in the SW. Better plan on spending a LOT of time with the software though. It is one of the most difficult programs I've ever tried to learn.

Caveat this. Once you have it figured out (like any software) it begins to make sense. Also, there is up front time for downloading and even cutting maps for the areas of interest. Once done though, the transfer is simple and fast enough when using a card reader to an SD card.

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Bee dance.. mileage will vary. OR and PN-40 have the same chipset. No problems here at all.

 

 

May be the same chipsets, but DeLorme has seemed to figure it out where I note the Garmins have a ways to go! The chipset is only half the battle as some have noted!

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will need some good maps for backroading too.

 

The PN-40 is great for this. You can't beat aerial photos, especially in the SW. Better plan on spending a LOT of time with the software though. It is one of the most difficult programs I've ever tried to learn.

Caveat this. Once you have it figured out (like any software) it begins to make sense. Also, there is up front time for downloading and even cutting maps for the areas of interest. Once done though, the transfer is simple and fast enough when using a card reader to an SD card.

 

While I found the loading time to be faster for the Garmin free maps, I found the procedure to cut the maps was about the same as the DeLorme. With the free maps, you get a good map, but I prefer the maps from DeLorme better. And, we're not even talking about aerial here, just the topo. The topo I loaded was the Ibycus (or whatever) Topo...

 

The CN map is nothing more than a blank background with a bunch of roads on it....not even close to helpful should you wish to see what is on the other side of the trees lining the road IMHO! Great for routing (although I noticed about the same mistakes as I did on the DeLorme maps which come with the unit...the CN maps were $100 extra).

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Better plan on spending a LOT of time with the software though. It is one of the most difficult programs I've ever tried to learn.

Two responses here:

1. Again, the supposedly difficult software is not required for paperless geocaching, and

2. The difficulty is not a relevent in the context of a this or that selection criterion as the other candidate GPSrs do not come bundled with software that can provide similar capabilities; therefore, the software can be considered as a bonus instead of an impediment.

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May be the same chipsets, but DeLorme has seemed to figure it out where I note the Garmins have a ways to go! The chipset is only half the battle as some have noted!

 

It is solely the fault of the crappy Garmin compass. Turn it off and everything will work better in this respect. I've been re-adjusting the compass settings on the older models with everyone I meet for years and they have all been much happier. Unfortunately, the new models don't have the adjustability, so they need to be turned off.

 

As to the rest, as other have stated, you need to customize the profiles to the way you want them and then the workflow is very smooth.

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Now, I realize you can set this up to change automatically through the profiles option, but with all my playing, I never did figure out how to customize the profiles.

Well, there's the problem...editing your profiles probably would have solved Most/All your problems.

 

I don't own an Oregon, I own a Colorado 400t, but one of my geocaching buddies has the Oregon 400t so I have used one a few times.

 

While I do agree that the Oregon seems a little more difficult to use than the Colorado (except that I think the touch screen is a great addition when it comes to logging field notes) they both share the ability to create Profiles.

 

I would be very frustrated with my Colorado if it weren't for the Profiles and being able to change the Shortcuts, too. After adjusting my Shortcuts to add a few frequently used items, I find a simple toggle from Automotive to Geocaching handles all of my geocaching requirements.

 

P.S. I didn't read your review...so I'm not attacking your review, just making an observation based on your comment of not customizing the profiles.

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Now, I realize you can set this up to change automatically through the profiles option, but with all my playing, I never did figure out how to customize the profiles.

Well, there's the problem...editing your profiles probably would have solved Most/All your problems.

 

I don't own an Oregon, I own a Colorado 400t, but one of my geocaching buddies has the Oregon 400t so I have used one a few times.

 

While I do agree that the Oregon seems a little more difficult to use than the Colorado (except that I think the touch screen is a great addition when it comes to logging field notes) they both share the ability to create Profiles.

 

I would be very frustrated with my Colorado if it weren't for the Profiles and being able to change the Shortcuts, too. After adjusting my Shortcuts to add a few frequently used items, I find a simple toggle from Automotive to Geocaching handles all of my geocaching requirements.

 

P.S. I didn't read your review...so I'm not attacking your review, just making an observation based on your comment of not customizing the profiles.

 

One of the features I thought I would like was the touchscreen for logging field notes...while hitting letters on a touchscreen seems the easy route, my fat fingers often hit the wrong one and I had to go back and re-enter the letter I wanted. Also, without any shortcuts to go forward a space between words, I had to hit the field, hit the space and then hit yet another box (checkmark) in order to merely put a space between words...tedious and uncalled for! DeLorme added a shortcut where you merely hit a button and on you went with your logging. I think the overall winner (IMHO) was/is the DeLorme as far as logging goes!

 

I did figure out the editing and will give a better response as to that change after I test it out a bit tonight!

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One of the features I thought I would like was the touchscreen for logging field notes...while hitting letters on a touchscreen seems the easy route, my fat fingers often hit the wrong one and I had to go back and re-enter the letter I wanted. Also, without any shortcuts to go forward a space between words, I had to hit the field, hit the space and then hit yet another box (checkmark) in order to merely put a space between words...tedious and uncalled for!

 

I'm used to typing on my iPhone, where the buttons are a lot smaller, so typing on the Oregon is a snap. Still a lot easier than using the Rock n Roll wheel on the Colorado.

 

BTW, I should mention...I also have fat fingers. The key, which I learned with the iPhone, is to use your finger tip and light pressure. It just takes a tiny bit of pressure to press a key, mashing your finger down covers a larger area and leads to more mis-key (i.e. fat fingered) entries.

 

I don't write complete logs...I'll do that when I get home. I simply put a single letter to indicate who found it (when I'm caching with friends...helps me remember the hide if I know who found it) and I'll also make a short note like WET (if the container was damp/wet), LOG (if the log was full/missing/wet), FOG (found on ground when it's obvious that's NOT where the cache was supposed to be)...these short notes help when I write my logs on-line and aren't terribly time consuming to enter, even with the Rock n Roll wheel on the Colorado...again, these would be even easier with the Oregon.

 

I also put TB/GC numbers I place/retrieve/discover in the log so I can copy/paste them when I'm logging my finds on-line. It's the TB/GC numbers that are time consuming on the Colorado and are an absolute snap on the Oregon.

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One of the features I thought I would like was the touchscreen for logging field notes...while hitting letters on a touchscreen seems the easy route, my fat fingers often hit the wrong one and I had to go back and re-enter the letter I wanted. Also, without any shortcuts to go forward a space between words, I had to hit the field, hit the space and then hit yet another box (checkmark) in order to merely put a space between words...tedious and uncalled for!

 

I'm used to typing on my iPhone, where the buttons are a lot smaller, so typing on the Oregon is a snap. Still a lot easier than using the Rock n Roll wheel on the Colorado.

 

BTW, I should mention...I also have fat fingers. The key, which I learned with the iPhone, is to use your finger tip and light pressure. It just takes a tiny bit of pressure to press a key, mashing your finger down covers a larger area and leads to more mis-key (i.e. fat fingered) entries.

 

I don't write complete logs...I'll do that when I get home. I simply put a single letter to indicate who found it (when I'm caching with friends...helps me remember the hide if I know who found it) and I'll also make a short note like WET (if the container was damp/wet), LOG (if the log was full/missing/wet), FOG (found on ground when it's obvious that's NOT where the cache was supposed to be)...these short notes help when I write my logs on-line and aren't terribly time consuming to enter, even with the Rock n Roll wheel on the Colorado...again, these would be even easier with the Oregon.

 

I also put TB/GC numbers I place/retrieve/discover in the log so I can copy/paste them when I'm logging my finds on-line. It's the TB/GC numbers that are time consuming on the Colorado and are an absolute snap on the Oregon.

 

We do pretty much the same, I put in a small note like found by dead tree or whatever since my memory is horrid and I like to personalize each cache log. I'm not saying the Garmin keypad method is a bad thing, I just didn't see this as a huge advantage over DeLorme's (as some had previously stated and I had always assumed)...in fact, I see DeLorme's better due to the shortcuts. This is just my opinion based on usage of both.

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We want to go paperless! :D We have used a Garmin ETrex Vista HCx and have really not been caching much, partly because we've been busy but also because it's a hassle to print everything to go out. Have been researching and have it down to the Garmin Oregon 400t (or the 300, if I can figure out the additional programming and maps needed to equal the 400) or the DeLorme PN-40. I have read the downfalls of each unit but would like clarification of the "steep learning curve" or the PN-40. My computer skills are pretty strong but don't want too much work setting up the unit. I just want to start using it with as little work as possible. We are planning a trip to the southwest in the fall and will be using the new gps to have some caching fun there...will need some good maps for backroading too. I know there are lots of strong opinions on Groundspeak...that's good1 All advice and input will be appreciated but we are strong on being paperless. Thanks, W & R

 

As far a the actual GPS units go, I don’t think either one has a steep learning curve. Since you’re familiar with a handheld unit already, I’m sure you wouldn’t have trouble with either one, and when it comes to simply downloading maps into your receiver, both companies software is simple and easy to use for that purpose.

 

That said, if you want to get into detailed track analysis, building trail networks, geotagging etc Delormes software can cause frustration, and result in you’re having to look up a lot of stuff to make it work. It’s probably a good value though, and the concept of roads, topo, trails and waypoint management in a single program is great idea, even if it is frustration in implementation.

 

Both units are quite competent for geocaching, and I think you’d be pleased with either one. Myself I find the garmin units a little more polished, and prefer to use them, but the PN-40 is probably the best bang for the buck by far, and there is a lot of good argument either way as to which unit is actually the “Best”

The paperless functions on both units are sweet, and I doubt you would be dissapointed with either one.

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Also, without any shortcuts to go forward a space between words, I had to hit the field, hit the space and then hit yet another box (checkmark) in order to merely put a space between words...tedious and uncalled for!

 

Are you talking about a space? I have a space button right between the Z and the shift button. It doesn't sound like you are even trying.

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Also, without any shortcuts to go forward a space between words, I had to hit the field, hit the space and then hit yet another box (checkmark) in order to merely put a space between words...tedious and uncalled for!

 

Are you talking about a space? I have a space button right between the Z and the shift button. It doesn't sound like you are even trying.

If I know Roddy well enough, you're way off base with your assesment.

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Thank you to everyone for the great info...I can't say I have a clearcut answer for us just yet AND just to make it even worse I looked at the Oregon 550 today! Whoa...some $$ needed there but it makes one think, if you're going to go the Oregon route wouldn't it make sense to spend the extra for the latest and greatest? My head spins!

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Also, without any shortcuts to go forward a space between words, I had to hit the field, hit the space and then hit yet another box (checkmark) in order to merely put a space between words...tedious and uncalled for!

 

Are you talking about a space? I have a space button right between the Z and the shift button. It doesn't sound like you are even trying.

 

WOW, never saw it! That do make things much simpler, THANKS! Wonder why no one else spoke up?? I knew those guys over at Garmin weren't as cruel as not giving a space button. As for not trying, you're right, I didn't hit that as I didn't have a clue what it was for...is that the universal symbol for the space button?

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Some more thoughts after playing with it a bit more....I HATE THIS THING! Went out to maintain a few of our hides, we went after dark and via a route I was unfamiliar with. It led me to within 2' of the first cache and I thought WOW, maybe I am all wrong about this thing (but I should have known, it's done that before...), then on to the next which should have been a mere 90' off the trail.

 

Rounded a corner and the unit said it was 380' in? Being dark, I thought maybe I mistook where it was (that, plus I hadn't been back to that cache in over a year) and FOOLISHLY followed the arrow. It took us into the woods and then spun us around and around in a 270' circle. FIANLLY, it settled down enough to get me within 50' before my son found it...about another 30' away! Fresh batteries, clear sky with medium tree coverage.

 

The final straw for me came when trying to find the Jeep. I marked the Jeep about 100 yards from the actual parking spot, I was standing in the middle of a wide path with an unobstructed view of the sky. Granted, I didn't sit more than a minute before marking the coords, but....

 

As we approached where the unit said I needed to go, we walked on and on down the trail in the right direction before I notice the GPS is counting away from GZ?? Not possible, I KNOW we were standing in a grassy field area and this was a tree area. Well, I FOOLISHLY followed the silly unit again (chalk it up to being after 1:30am) and was led smack into the deepest of briar patches I had been in in some time! Shorts, tank-top...OUCH!! Giving up on following the GPS, we walk on down the trail past where we had been told to turn around minutes before and came to the grassy field, I looked at the GPS and it was counting down the feet where before it was counting up the tenths.

 

And yes, I turned the compass off...still not impressed! Maybe I got a lemon?? This thing is far from stable or I am suddenly GPS ignorant.

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... Maybe I got a lemon??...

 

You know, that could be the case. It's remarkable how varied quality control seems to be with GPSr's as I've heard good AND horrible accounts from people about every GPS model on the market! One guys dream Brand/Model XXX is another guy's nightmare :D

 

As you well know Delorme isn't any different. It would seem your were blessed with a perfectly functioning PN-40 & to bad it went missing. Hopefully if you decide to return to the Delorme camp you wind up with an equally capable unit.

 

I think you said one plan for your current Oregon was to give/sell it to someone? Don't do it if that model is a lemon, get your money back and/or get it replaced!

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... Maybe I got a lemon??...

 

You know, that could be the case. It's remarkable how varied quality control seems to be with GPSr's as I've heard good AND horrible accounts from people about every GPS model on the market! One guys dream Brand/Model XXX is another guy's nightmare :laughing:

 

As you well know Delorme isn't any different. It would seem your were blessed with a perfectly functioning PN-40 & to bad it went missing. Hopefully if you decide to return to the Delorme camp you wind up with an equally capable unit.

 

I think you said one plan for your current Oregon was to give/sell it to someone? Don't do it if that model is a lemon, get your money back and/or get it replaced!

 

Through the help of a good friend, I am now the PROUD owner of a brand spanking new PN-40....se!!!!!!!! I am so happy and can't wait to return the OR. I will return it and get the money back since it does seem to have problems (or is it normal???).

 

Had both units sitting on my deak and, while the PN-40 was still in it's first sat acquisition, it had a WAAS lock of +/- 6' while the OR had a shabby and jumpy reading of upwards of 60'+. The OR has yet to lock WAAS that I have seen...not once in the week or so I've owned it!

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Some more thoughts after playing with it a bit more....I HATE THIS THING! Went out to maintain a few of our hides, we went after dark and via a route I was unfamiliar with. It led me to within 2' of the first cache and I thought WOW, maybe I am all wrong about this thing (but I should have known, it's done that before...), then on to the next which should have been a mere 90' off the trail.

 

Rounded a corner and the unit said it was 380' in? Being dark, I thought maybe I mistook where it was (that, plus I hadn't been back to that cache in over a year) and FOOLISHLY followed the arrow. It took us into the woods and then spun us around and around in a 270' circle. FIANLLY, it settled down enough to get me within 50' before my son found it...about another 30' away! Fresh batteries, clear sky with medium tree coverage.

 

The final straw for me came when trying to find the Jeep. I marked the Jeep about 100 yards from the actual parking spot, I was standing in the middle of a wide path with an unobstructed view of the sky. Granted, I didn't sit more than a minute before marking the coords, but....

 

As we approached where the unit said I needed to go, we walked on and on down the trail in the right direction before I notice the GPS is counting away from GZ?? Not possible, I KNOW we were standing in a grassy field area and this was a tree area. Well, I FOOLISHLY followed the silly unit again (chalk it up to being after 1:30am) and was led smack into the deepest of briar patches I had been in in some time! Shorts, tank-top...OUCH!! Giving up on following the GPS, we walk on down the trail past where we had been told to turn around minutes before and came to the grassy field, I looked at the GPS and it was counting down the feet where before it was counting up the tenths.

 

And yes, I turned the compass off...still not impressed! Maybe I got a lemon?? This thing is far from stable or I am suddenly GPS ignorant.

 

Ok seriously... you are either:

 

A- exaggerating like nothing else

B- Are not operating the thing correctly

or

C- the satellites are seriously jacked up wherever you are... ;)

 

GPSrs are not something that are manufactured with widely varying accuracy from one unit to the next. They are designed to be self-correcting and therefore 99.99999% of them behave the same right out of the factory.

 

That being said, myself and a few others I know have stated a lot of times now that the Oregon is just as accurate as any other GPS out there. It has led me within 10 feet of the waypoint every time now... Even when the stated accuracy was well above that!

 

Not sure whats going on with your situation :laughing:

Edited by Tahoe Skier5000

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Some more thoughts after playing with it a bit more....I HATE THIS THING! Went out to maintain a few of our hides, we went after dark and via a route I was unfamiliar with. It led me to within 2' of the first cache and I thought WOW, maybe I am all wrong about this thing (but I should have known, it's done that before...), then on to the next which should have been a mere 90' off the trail.

 

Rounded a corner and the unit said it was 380' in? Being dark, I thought maybe I mistook where it was (that, plus I hadn't been back to that cache in over a year) and FOOLISHLY followed the arrow. It took us into the woods and then spun us around and around in a 270' circle. FIANLLY, it settled down enough to get me within 50' before my son found it...about another 30' away! Fresh batteries, clear sky with medium tree coverage.

 

The final straw for me came when trying to find the Jeep. I marked the Jeep about 100 yards from the actual parking spot, I was standing in the middle of a wide path with an unobstructed view of the sky. Granted, I didn't sit more than a minute before marking the coords, but....

 

As we approached where the unit said I needed to go, we walked on and on down the trail in the right direction before I notice the GPS is counting away from GZ?? Not possible, I KNOW we were standing in a grassy field area and this was a tree area. Well, I FOOLISHLY followed the silly unit again (chalk it up to being after 1:30am) and was led smack into the deepest of briar patches I had been in in some time! Shorts, tank-top...OUCH!! Giving up on following the GPS, we walk on down the trail past where we had been told to turn around minutes before and came to the grassy field, I looked at the GPS and it was counting down the feet where before it was counting up the tenths.

 

And yes, I turned the compass off...still not impressed! Maybe I got a lemon?? This thing is far from stable or I am suddenly GPS ignorant.

 

Ok seriously... you are either:

 

A- exaggerating like nothing else

B- Are not operating the thing correctly

or

C- the satellites are seriously jacked up wherever you are... ;)

 

GPSrs are not something that are manufactured with widely varying accuracy from one unit to the next. They are designed to be self-correcting and therefore 99.99999% of them behave the same right out of the factory.

 

That being said, myself and a few others I know have stated a lot of times now that the Oregon is just as accurate as any other GPS out there. It has led me within 10 feet of the waypoint every time now... Even when the stated accuracy was well above that!

 

Not sure whats going on with your situation :laughing:

 

You can either believe that I don't lie or stretch the truth nor do I feel the need...or not. You can think what you will about my ability to use a GPS, I think I am fairly well capable of using ANY unit, THANKS! If you believe I can't use the OR, does this mean it's much harder to use than the PN-40?? As for the sats...let's be serious, shall we?

 

I told you the experience I had, I have the battle scars to back my story up too! Still trying to pull a thorn from my finger! KAboom and his friend are also still scraped and scratched up, I think I could take pics if you need further proof! Read my comments in a few other threads about the OR and you'll note I am seeing nothng CLOSE the accuracy I am currently seeing with my PN-40!

 

I'll assume you weren't calling me a liar...

 

ETA a few more thoughts...the last incident where we were led into the briars while supposedly heading to the Jeep, the GPS counted down to feet pointing into the woods where we ultimately did battle with that briar forest....TWICE! Once when I ignored it not expecting to see the countdown at that location and wondering if the path maybe doubles back even though I didn't recall it doing so, and the second when we did enter the woods after going back! We walked back quite a ways, maybe .17mi or so, meaning we definitely gave the double back theory a chance to work out...no trail leading back!

 

Last, are you saying that all those who complained about the DeLorme issues when the PN-40 was young were lying? I mean, by your statement, there must not have been all those problems Briansnat and several others reported...right?

Edited by Rockin Roddy

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Hey, Roddy is back. Thought maybe you were lost in the briars as a result of your difficulties with your Oregon. :laughing:

 

Sorry I haven’t quite compiled everything here yet, but what I’ve found in comparing my Dakota and PN-40 so far would show there is some truth in both sides of the argument here. The PN-40 is indeed more stable, appearing to do some averaging and data buffering in the field, making the compass jump around less, and giving more consistent directions. I’m not sure it’s necessarily any more accurate though, as accuracy appears to be fairly close when you compare the two. Both units are a whole lot easier to use compass page wise than any of the non 3 axis compass handhelds I’ve ever use, but with practice the non 3 axis compass can work quite well.

 

Anyway, got to run. I’ll try to get some track examples up this weekend, which when set for every couple seconds clearly indicates why Roddy is finding units other than his PN-40 appear to jump around a great deal when closing in on the destination. I’ll also be including areas where I’ve made trail networks which in a nutshell is averaging out of multiple tracks which is interesting in it’s own way.

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