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Garmin CHIRP is cool! Some suggestions for next gen.

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I just received a CHIRP beacon today, and it is a really neat little device. It is tiny, and it works as advertised.


I got a PQ of chirp caches and there are precious few in my state. I really think this is a cool technology and I wish more people would incorporate them into caches.


What are your experiences with them? Have you found or placed any CHIRP caches and if you have, did you enjoy them, or were they well received?


Forgot to add the suggestions...


I think it would be nice to have more memory for longer message text, and user configurable pin numbers rather than rely on last 5 digits of unit ID. I can imagine some puzzle cache ideas that could benefit from allowing finders to edit the data, for example.

Edited by ThePetrifiedWood
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There aren't many CHIRP caches in my area, I've only found one and to be honest I didn't think the CHIRP added that much to the search, also a lot of GPSRs/phones don't have CHIRP capability so they immediately exclude a lot of potential finders.


The smartest thing I've seen with a CHIRP is twice recently I've been to events where someone has been carrying a CHIRP which broadcasts their personal trackable number, so anyone at the event could discover them, and anyone who doesn't have a CHIRP enabled device can just borrow one from another attendee for 5 minutes.

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What are your experiences with them? Have you found or placed any CHIRP caches and if you have, did you enjoy them, or were they well received?


I've found four. I echo MartyBartfast above me. I didn't think they added anything to the experience. You must get fairly close to receive the signal. Seems like tech for techs sake.


Eventually the battery fails, and then cachers will have long frustrating hunts. Only one owner checked promptly after DNFs, so often there are a number of folks hunting dead chirp before it gets disabled to eventual replacement or archive. Of the 4 I've done, only one cache owner replaced the battery. The other cache owners archive. One tried to fix, but couldn't find the chirp!


There tend to be many DNFs, many because cachers haven't figured out the technology, I wouldn't want to own one for this reason.


An interesting use: one where if you could receive the beacon, you could go from first stage to final, or you could do some tree climbing for a physical tag in tree for a 6 total stages, 5 climbing. The folks who enjoy climbing can find it without Chirp gear, the folks with Chirp can just go get it, and those with no Chirp and who aren't climbers skip it.

Edited by Isonzo Karst
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What are your experiences with them?

I can't do them, so they're dead wood to me. The sum total of my experience with them is ignoring them and once or twice wasting time studying the cache description trying to figure out where the puzzle is before I notice that they're chirp caches.


I keep thinking that now that they've been around a long time, I should be able to pick up some old, used GPSr for a song just so I can use it for chirp, but those models never seem to sell cheap.

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I think they are neat devices but there was only one Chirp cache in this area. When I got a Chirp enabled Oregon I went in search of it to find it had a malfunctioning Chirp. The CO was moving on to other interests so I adopted the cache. Unfortunately, the Chirp was missing - I think it fell out of its tree and was lost in a thicket.


So I got a new chirp and revised the cache. It's a 4-stage with the Chirp being one of the stages. The Chirp gives the coord's for the next stage plus a critical piece of information for the final.


Being the only Chirp in the area I thought it would get lots of activity but it doesn't. The cache has been found five times since published last August (And this is a busy caching area). Of the five finds, it got four favorites, so those who tried it liked it. I think that being a chirp combined with being a four-stage multi keeps people from trying it. I since have gotten another Chirp but haven't quite decided what to do with it yet. I'll watch this thread for ideas!


I'm glad this topic came up as it reminded me to change the Chirp battery before too long. I placed it where it's relatively easy to access, as opposed to being 5 miles up a trail.

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My thoughts are that they probably will end up being discontinued unless Garmin finds out a way to include the technology in entry level GPS handhelds like the etrex 10.


It is a really cool little thing, but if there aren't enough cachers with receivers that can use chirp, then it won't take off.


If it ever gets discontinued I will try to snap up a bunch of them at discount prices. At $25 or so they are not "disposable". Cache contents that are exposed to weather and temperature extremes, rough handling, the occasional unscrupulous finder, animals, etc. need to be priced cheap enough to lose them from time to time. 4 for $100 is too expensive for them to be widespread.


It's a wonder some Chinese company hasn't cloned them for $2 apiece like they do with most R/C hobby electronics. Imagine if you could buy 10 of them for the price of one.


Another way Garmin could support them is with a small pocket sized chirp reader. Just a monochrome LCD screen to receive and display the data. Sell them for $30 to all the people out there who are happy with their phones and etrex 10s and have no intentions of shelling out $300 just to be able to find chirp caches.


I really think the biggest thing keeping this from becoming more popular is the price is too high.

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I was driving by the location of my Chirp cache today and decided to stop and check it. I deployed it last August and it seems to be chirping just fine. This is the first I'd tried my 64s with a Chirp but it picked up the signal from about 20 feet down the trail. I was figuring that the battery would be good for about a year.

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I have been away from caching a couple of years, but I did find 3 or 4 chirp caches when I was active. My favorite was a 2 stage puzzle. The first stage was cipher device needed to decode the coordinates of the final. The cipher device was kept in a birdhouse secured with a padlock. The chirp message gave the combination to the padlock.


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I guess it would be fairly easy to hack one to take a much larger battery. A CR123A 3V lithium cell would probably run it for several years before needing replacement if it gets a year from a 2032 button cell. You could fit the whole thing in a film canister. Quite a bit larger than the chirp alone, but still small enough to hide well.

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