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Glonass...How good is it?


basscat5

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I am thinking about upgrading GPSs and am looking at the Garmin Montana 600t and the Oregon 600t.....Both look pretty close to identical as far as technology other than the Glonass capabilities of the Oregon....Does the Glonass acquire satellites quicker and is it more accurate??...A guick search here showed alot of users running with the Glonass off to conserve batteries and other issues.....

 

I like the Montana because of the bigger screen......

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It uses Glonass in addition to GPS. Glonass is the Russian equivalent. By using both, you are able to access more sattellites and therefore be more precise. It may be useful to others, but for geocaching that extra precision is not needed, for various reasons. It, as far as I know, only covers most of Canada, and northern US, not the full continental US.

 

As for batteries-everything your GPS does uses more power-more detailed maps, more satellites, more power used. Since we can get along fine without it, why use it, only to use more power?

 

I'd say ignore the Glonass and look at the other features.

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When you're out in the open and have a clear view of the sky, GLONASS isn't of much use. However, when you are in a challenging situation where your device doesn't have a very good view of the sky, then GLONASS helps out because there's a good chance that the portion of the sky you can see has a couple GLONASS satellites available that your handheld gets a good signal from. Additionally, with GLONASS on, the initial fix time is faster. I think I've read that it's around 20% faster, although that could just be my memory playing tricks on me.

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<< It, as far as I know, only covers most of Canada, and northern US, not the full continental US. >>

 

If that is the case (and since Basscat5 caches in Michigan) Glonass may be to his benefit, especially if he's caching in heavily wooded areas. Glonass is supposed to help with satellite lock under tree cover. It's definitely on my want list for my next GPS.

 

I was under the impression that Glonass had nearly full worldwide coverage. I'm sure someone here will chime in with up-to-date information,

 

Hey, if you don't like it, turn it off.

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GLONASS is worldwide. Perhaps T.D.M.22 was thinking of WAAS?

AFAIK, WAAS are not satellites themselves. They are packages riding on host satellites over the equator in geosynchronous orbits.

 

OK, here is one of many items that I don't know, which is best?

A. Receiving data from 15 US GPSs, or

B. Receiving data from 10 US GPSs and 5 GLONASS.

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A lot of y'all are making this more complicated than it needs to be.

 

Short version: More satellites to work with is a good thing.

 

Longer version: USUALLY, the more satellites your GPSR can see at any given time, the faster it will be able to computer a fix. And the better the apparant geometry (that is, how widely "spaced out" the collection of satellites appear in your view of the sky), the more likely you are to get an accurate fix. The combined collection of GPS and GLONASS satellites improves the likelihood at any goven time of having more sats in view, in a favorable geometry.

 

On the other hand, the entire GLONASS constellation suffered an outage ( see also http://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-26957569 ) early in April, every satellite sending bad data - so every receiver trying to compute a fix with that data went a bit wonky*. As that can happen, being able to tell your GPSR to ignore GLONASS at times is a good thing also.

 

* Which reminds me of a poem by Longfellow...

 

There was a little girl,

Who had a little curl,

Right in the middle of her forehead.

When she was good,

She was very good indeed,

But when she was bad she was horrid.

Edited by user13371
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All great info..Thanks....The link that sussamb posted was a big help......

 

Going to do a little more research and make a move in a week or two.....I just want to try to eliminate any buyers remorse after plunking down 500 bucks...

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In NW Alabama is a wilderness area called the Sipsey. My brother once told me that his Magellan handheld would not get a sat-lock there, so he just turned it off. I finally got to go hike there a few months ago. Something quite weird happened to my Nuvi as we drove to the NW trailhead...it lost signal as we autorouted to the TH.

 

Found this puzzling, so I turned on my new Etrex 20 thinking it always gets an instant lock. No dice. Really strange because I'd never seen that happen with the 20. Even got a pop up asking if I wanted to keep searching. Went into set up and turned on the Glonass. Finally did lock sats in a few minutes, then never lost signal the whole weekend. I think it helps to have it available.

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....Both look pretty close to identical as far as technology other than the Glonass capabilities of the Oregon...

 

This is not entirely accurate. The Montana uses the old pressure-sensitive touch screen. The Oregon uses a capacitive touch screen (reads electrical signals from your fingers just like your smartphone). The Oregon can use multi-touch gestures: pinch to zoom, two finger rotate the map, etc. These are not available on the Montana. While it seems like a minor difference, it can affect ergonomics and how you use the unit.

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....Both look pretty close to identical as far as technology other than the Glonass capabilities of the Oregon...

 

This is not entirely accurate. The Montana uses the old pressure-sensitive touch screen. The Oregon uses a capacitive touch screen (reads electrical signals from your fingers just like your smartphone). The Oregon can use multi-touch gestures: pinch to zoom, two finger rotate the map, etc. These are not available on the Montana. While it seems like a minor difference, it can affect ergonomics and how you use the unit.

Thanks for that info....I just did the side by side comparison at Garmin and must have missed it.......I have heard great things about the new Oregon screens...especially under daylight..

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It uses Glonass in addition to GPS. Glonass is the Russian equivalent. By using both, you are able to access more sattellites and therefore be more precise. It may be useful to others, but for geocaching that extra precision is not needed, for various reasons. It, as far as I know, only covers most of Canada, and northern US, not the full continental US.

 

As for batteries-everything your GPS does uses more power-more detailed maps, more satellites, more power used. Since we can get along fine without it, why use it, only to use more power?

 

I'd say ignore the Glonass and look at the other features.

 

I wouldn't advise anyone ignore a feature that gives them twice the satellites.

 

I have an Oregon 650 and so far, I haven't noticed any difference in accuracy, when walking around outside or inside with GLONASS enabled. This doesn't mean it doesn't work though, since it's intended to give better reception within dense shrubery and canyonesque locations.

 

Sadly, in a suburban area there aren't many places like that to test it out, but it certainly doesn't only work in one part of the USA either. When I have onky GPS enabled, I have around 9-12 satelites locked onto my device. As soon as i enable glonass, i get two rows with about 17-18 satelites, and though I can't tell which are glonass from the satelite screen, there are certainly alot more satelites locked onto the unit. Almost twice the number.

 

It DOES run the battery down though, so zi keep it off generally. Probably (un-surprisingly) about half the battery life I'd say, maybe only 40% less.

 

I'll give GLONASS a bash today when I'm at a shopping centre, though with so much concrete I wouldn't expect even 40 personal satelites dedicated just to me, would really do it.

 

Gotta find a woody area to test it really, but I wouldn't tell anyone to just ignore the feature.

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<< It, as far as I know, only covers most of Canada, and northern US, not the full continental US. >>

 

If that is the case (and since Basscat5 caches in Michigan) Glonass may be to his benefit, especially if he's caching in heavily wooded areas. Glonass is supposed to help with satellite lock under tree cover. It's definitely on my want list for my next GPS.

 

I was under the impression that Glonass had nearly full worldwide coverage. I'm sure someone here will chime in with up-to-date information,

 

Hey, if you don't like it, turn it off.

 

I get the extra satelites, and I'm in South Australia! ;)

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GLONASS is worldwide. Perhaps T.D.M.22 was thinking of WAAS?

No I was thinking Glonass. When I first heard of it I looked at it's coverage, and it wasn't very much. But that must have been quite a while ago.

 

You could not have been thinking about Glonass, as the very nature of GPS makes limited regional coverage impossible.

 

You think the satellites just hang out over a small part of the Earth or something?

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....Both look pretty close to identical as far as technology other than the Glonass capabilities of the Oregon...

 

This is not entirely accurate. The Montana uses the old pressure-sensitive touch screen. The Oregon uses a capacitive touch screen (reads electrical signals from your fingers just like your smartphone). The Oregon can use multi-touch gestures: pinch to zoom, two finger rotate the map, etc. These are not available on the Montana. While it seems like a minor difference, it can affect ergonomics and how you use the unit.

Thanks for that info....I just did the side by side comparison at Garmin and must have missed it.......I have heard great things about the new Oregon screens...especially under daylight..

 

The screens are fantastic in daylight. Doesn't need to be sunlight, even flourescents are great. I never have the backlight on at all on my o640 when I'm oitside, cos there's no need at all.

 

Do it for your dog! ;)

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I am thinking about upgrading GPSs and am looking at the Garmin Montana 600t and the Oregon 600t.....Both look pretty close to identical as far as technology other than the Glonass capabilities of the Oregon....Does the Glonass acquire satellites quicker and is it more accurate??...A guick search here showed alot of users running with the Glonass off to conserve batteries and other issues.....

 

I like the Montana because of the bigger screen......

 

Is the Montana's screen hardened glass loke the Oregon 6xx's?

 

Just posing the question, because of the montana's screen is that softish dull material, it'll scratch and excess pressure will run the LCD, whereas the Oregon feels just like an iphone.

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Have a read of this recent thread :

 

http://forums.Groundspeak.com/GC/index.php?showtopic=321254&view=findpost&p=5371113&hl=&fromsearch=1

 

The debate isn't for the montana vs oregon, but I've listed a few issues that have popped-up since receiving my Oregon 650. None of them are deal breakers, and there're still plenty of firmware updates to come for the Oregon, but it'll let you know of the first-week impressions kinda thoughts I had about it.

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.I will be ordering a new Oregon soon..you guys that take the time to respond to these posts rock..thanks.

I only have one paperless gps now...a 450t...So I want to get another one and hand off my 450 to my daughter...

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...DOES run the battery down though, so zi keep it off generally. Probably (un-surprisingly) about half the battery life I'd say, maybe only 40% less.

Only 40% less? That's huge!

 

I'd really like to see real tests of battery life based on side by side testing to support claims of such a large difference. Have you done any real testing and recorded hours of runtime, or is this just a gut feeling?

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According to this source, GLONASS adds a 15mA drain on the batteries. As a comparison, sitting idle on the main menu without any dashboards or ANT+ wireless sensors active is about a 105mA drain on the batteries. Turning on GLONASS uses more power, but not a lot more. Being connected to a heart rate monitor drains twice as much as GLONASS does.

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...DOES run the battery down though, so zi keep it off generally. Probably (un-surprisingly) about half the battery life I'd say, maybe only 40% less.

Only 40% less? That's huge!

 

I'd really like to see real tests of battery life based on side by side testing to support claims of such a large difference. Have you done any real testing and recorded hours of runtime, or is this just a gut feeling?

 

It's a gut thing :)

 

But, it's a gut thing based on my turning features to medium/battery save, then noting the time I changed to fully charged batteries and switched it on. I've found that without GLONASS disabled, the 650 runs anywhere from 12-17 hours (depending how much time the screen is being actively used, photos taken, all that, and with GLONASS enabled, it runs for approximately the course of the day, reaching about 25% charge by 7pm or so.

 

It's not a scientific experiment, but what I've noticed in use. Of course, I haven't ever really ran it flat, and usually switch batteries at 25% - or 1/4 bars on the indicator, so it could be at 30% for all I know. I just count the first three indicator bars, since once it's down to one, i figure it won't run much longer with almost flat batteries.

 

I also haven't had a chance to use it in any canyons or deep woodland areas, so it's not really needed, and it's possible that since it has 16+ satelite signals out in the open, it may use MORE power than it would in a hole where it only has the signal of 3-6 because of obstructions.

 

It's hard to really *measure* just in every day use, so i just use it and pay attention to the length of time it takes to get down to 1 bar.

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I have heard that the rechargeable battery pack from Garmin is junk.....

 

The pack that came with mine sure does. i get about 4 hoirs from an 8 hour full charge, compared to the Eneloop 1900mAh, ehich tive me up to yeah 17, but not less than a whole day.

 

Other posters here have said theirs hold a charge mich better, and that I should send it back for an exchange, which I moght, but for now i'm pretty happy with Eneloops, and can easily stick a small flat bit of plastic in the battery compartment to charge them from USB just like garmin's pack.

 

So some people have no issues, I do. Even with the same settings as the Eloops use, the Garmin pack barely makes it through a single 2km walk .

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I have heard that the rechargeable battery pack from Garmin is junk.....

 

The pack that came with mine sure does. i get about 4 hoirs from an 8 hour full charge, compared to the Eneloop 1900mAh, ehich tive me up to yeah 17, but not less than a whole day.

 

Other posters here have said theirs hold a charge mich better, and that I should send it back for an exchange, which I moght, but for now i'm pretty happy with Eneloops, and can easily stick a small flat bit of plastic in the battery compartment to charge them from USB just like garmin's pack.

 

So some people have no issues, I do. Even with the same settings as the Eloops use, the Garmin pack barely makes it through a single 2km walk .

 

Why don't you call Garmin and get it exchanged rather than repeatedly post that it's junk? Give them a chance to send you a new one first.

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Okay so I just took this photo of the unit. I switched it on at 7:00pm on the dot...

 

https://psychaesthetic.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/04/image8.jpg

 

This is with the Eneloop XX 2550mAhs, sitting on the desk, inside, switched on the whole time.

 

Edit: I switched it off for the night after taking that snap, since I can't see much point in having it drain all night while I'm alseep, but I'll turn it back on tomorrow and note the time, then see how long it takes to lose the first, then second, then third bar while I go about my business.

 

The 1900mAh Eloops would last till tomorrow evening, so these 2550's should last till night. I anticipate about 20 hours of on time, with a few walks with the dog during the day.

Edited by Psychaesthetic
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I have heard that the rechargeable battery pack from Garmin is junk.....

 

The pack that came with mine sure does. i get about 4 hoirs from an 8 hour full charge, compared to the Eneloop 1900mAh, ehich tive me up to yeah 17, but not less than a whole day.

 

Other posters here have said theirs hold a charge mich better, and that I should send it back for an exchange, which I moght, but for now i'm pretty happy with Eneloops, and can easily stick a small flat bit of plastic in the battery compartment to charge them from USB just like garmin's pack.

 

So some people have no issues, I do. Even with the same settings as the Eloops use, the Garmin pack barely makes it through a single 2km walk .

 

Why don't you call Garmin and get it exchanged rather than repeatedly post that it's junk? Give them a chance to send you a new one first.

 

Because i don't care aboit their battery pack really, since I've got good batteries that do the job .

 

I didn't post that it's junk, well i did, but I stipulated that other users have stated that their batt-packs aren't junk.

 

I didn't buy the GPSr for the free battery pack anyway so *shrug*, the unit itself's pretty good at what it does, so the battery is irrelevant. I will send it back eventually anyway, because Garmin - like every business - should be held to account for their product, But 8'm not exactly jonesin for the replacement pack.

Edited by Psychaesthetic
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The pack that came with mine sure does. i get about 4 hoirs from an 8 hour full charge, compared to the Eneloop 1900mAh, ehich tive me up to yeah 17, but not less than a whole day.

 

Other posters here have said theirs hold a charge mich better, and that I should send it back for an exchange, which I moght, but for now i'm pretty happy with Eneloops, and can easily stick a small flat bit of plastic in the battery compartment to charge them from USB just like garmin's pack.

 

So some people have no issues, I do. Even with the same settings as the Eloops use, the Garmin pack barely makes it through a single 2km walk .

 

8 Hours? I'm not sure about consumer sized like you're using, so that might be normal, but I can charge a 1.7V battery in 20 minutes through USB, or 7.2 5000 MaH in 30minutes. Just curious though-do you recharge the batteries only when they are completely empty, or is there still some power in them? The reason I ask is that depending on the chemistry, some batteries will have a memory. So if you keep charging them before they are empty, they hold less charge. For example if you only discharge it half way before recharging, it will only hold half the charge. If you recharge after only using 10% it will only hold that %10. Occasionally is ok, but doing it all the time will ruin them. It won't happen with LiPo(which you aren't using) and happens less with other lithium types, or NiMh. But with NiCad-well that's pretty likely.

Edited by T.D.M.22
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Pshycaesthetic is not the only person that have said the rechargeable pack that comes with the Oregon leaves alot to be desired....I have googled some reviews and it seems to be a.common theme with owners...

Not even close to a.deal breaker but it is just another reason for me to stick with the 600 since I dont really want the camera..

Edited by basscat5
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The pack that came with mine sure does. i get about 4 hoirs from an 8 hour full charge, compared to the Eneloop 1900mAh, ehich tive me up to yeah 17, but not less than a whole day.

 

Other posters here have said theirs hold a charge much better, and that I should send it back for an exchange, which I moght, but for now i'm pretty happy with Eneloops, and can easily stick a small flat bit of plastic in the battery compartment to charge them from USB just like garmin's pack.

 

So some people have no issues, I do. Even with the same settings as the Eloops use, the Garmin pack barely makes it through a single 2km walk .

 

8 Hours? I'm not sure about consumer sized like you're using, so that might be normal, but I can charge a 1.7V battery in 20 minutes through USB, or 7.2 5000 MaH in 30minutes. Just curious though-do you recharge the batteries only when they are completely empty, or is there still some power in them? The reason I ask is that depending on the chemistry, some batteries will have a memory. So if you keep charging them before they are empty, they hold less charge. For example if you only discharge it half way before recharging, it will only hold half the charge. If you recharge after only using 10% it will only hold that %10. Occasionally is ok, but doing it all the time will ruin them. It won't happen with LiPo(which you aren't using) and happens less with other lithium types, or NiMh. But with NiCad-well that's pretty likely.

 

Too much BatteryGeek Magazine for you Bro!

 

I am not talking about NiCads, or Lithium Ions, OR "turbo" NiMhs here. The discussion was about GLONASS costing battery charge, and how I *stopped* using Garmin's battery pack because the one I got sucked. Garmin's Siamese battery pack doesn't have a turbo option, it's a standard 2000mAh NiMh that can only be charged via USB, whether that cable plugs into the wall plug or a laptop, the battery stays in the device while it charges.

 

Have you seen or handled the Garmin Battery Pack in question?

 

If so, you'd already know it doesn't come with a turbo-charger, you plug in to charge via USB, and that's that. Both cells are flipped on one another so you cannot charge it in a standard AA cradle even if you want to, since they - generally - only charge in multiples of two and since the Garmin Pack is joined siamese-style, yeah. Go have a look at the batteries we're talking about here, and tell me how you would get them charged at a faster rate than several hours.

 

That's about 8 hours using Garmins own 1000mA wall charger mind you, since there's no other way to charge them without at least destroying your Guarantee.

 

Anyone can charge their mobile phone's lithium ion in half an hour, but Li-Ions - sadly - are absolutely irrelevant to the Oregon 6xx series GPSr!

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Pshycaesthetic is not the only person that have said the rechargeable pack that comes with the Oregon leaves alot to be desired....I have googled some reviews and it deems to be a.common theme with owners...

Not even close to a.deal breaker but it is just another reason for me to stick with the 600 since I dont really want the camera..

 

Yeah it's an issue bypassed completely with any good quality rechargables, so it doesn't bother me how bad the garmin pack is, since good, higher capacity NiMh's are readily available.

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Pshycaesthetic is not the only person that have said the rechargeable pack that comes with the Oregon leaves alot to be desired....I have googled some reviews and it seems to be a.common theme with owners...

Not even close to a.deal breaker but it is just another reason for me to stick with the 600 since I dont really want the camera..

 

I saw a news story last night that could make such things as charging no longer an issue anyhow.

 

Apparently, they have uncovered a new battery tech thst allows a battery to be fully charged in 30 seconds. *thirty seconds* can you imagine thst? They say they aim to have it in the market within 2 years.

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Yeah, with how many good quality rechargeable AA cells are out there, I'm surprised Garmin even bothered spending R&D money creating their own proprietary battery pack. And one that has to charge in the GPS unit itself, no less. I'm always leery of manufacturers who want to charge batteries inside a device -- it's just that much more costly if something gets fried. :o

 

Back to GLONASS, I recently picked up an eTrex 10 just to see what all the hype was about. I have to say, informal results running GPS + GLONASS and recording/comparing a bunch of tracklogs has me impressed. The addition of GLONASS has resulted in much better reception, accuracy, and less drift; all the while surrounded by tall trees and high canopies here in the PNW.

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Yeah, with how many good quality rechargeable AA cells are out there, I'm surprised Garmin even bothered spending R&D money creating their own proprietary battery pack. And one that has to charge in the GPS unit itself, no less. I'm always leery of manufacturers who want to charge batteries inside a device -- it's just that much more costly if something gets fried. :o

I'd be keen if they were Lithium Polymer, or at least a good pair of 2500+mAh cells, but 2K is not really worth getting upset about when better batt's are only $20/4-pack :)

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My dog is a geocaching pro....lol...sometimes he gets a little caried away and I have to explain teeth marks on the container in my log...lol...I always carry an extra container for when the cache becomes his chew toy before I can get it out of his mouth..."Bad dog"....lol

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Apparently, they have uncovered a new battery tech thst allows a battery to be fully charged in 30 seconds.

Source? You talking about the StoreDot article? There are certain physics rules that won't be denied. In order to charge that quickly, their battery chemistry will still require that the cell/battery device and charger utilize conductors capable of handling an ENORMOUS amount of current. Should be entertaining to see how that is managed.

 

Assume device is 2000mAh. Charge in 30 seconds, and assuming 100% efficiency = 2A x 120 = 240A.

Edited by ecanderson
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Apparently, they have uncovered a new battery tech thst allows a battery to be fully charged in 30 seconds.

Source? You talking about the StoreDot article? There are certain physics rules that won't be denied. In order to charge that quickly, their battery chemistry will still require that the cell/battery device and charger utilize conductors capable of handling an ENORMOUS amount of current. Should be entertaining to see how that is managed.

 

Assume device is 2000mAh. Charge in 30 seconds, and assuming 100% efficiency = 2A x 120 = 240A.

 

Nah The Feed, a news show on SBS. Their site is sbs.com.au, though you'd need to watch a half our show for the segment, whichw asn't very long, but SBS news is pretty reliable.

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