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Cache Canucks

FRS 'Geocaching Channel'

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With the relatively recent introduction FRS handheld radios in Canada (those small, inexpensive, license free, UHF two-way portables with a 1.5-3km range), has anyone considered establishing an informal 'Geocaching Channel' on which fellow geocachers might liaise, compare notes, and/or otherwise just say 'howdy' when in the vicinity of a cache? I know that birdwatchers south of the border have already done this in pursuit of their own hobby and, for many of the same reasons, such an idea might have merit among geocachers. I'm guessing that, considering many a GPS user is also a gadget freak at heart, there's more than a few of us out there who own FRS radios; chances are those same radios are already being used to keep in touch with members of our own groups when hiking, so the idea of a known 'Geocaching Channel' is merely an extension of that use (ie: being able to communicate with *other* geocaching groups and/or individuals who might happen to be within the same grid square as you, doing much the same thing as you are). This isn't intended to diminish 'the hunt', but rather to perhaps make it a little more 'social' now and then. How many times have you passed someone on the trail or spotted them at a trailhead parking area and thought "I wonder if they're here doing the same thing (geocaching) I am?" ...or perhaps you started to hike into a cache site and wondered "Is anyone already there right now ahead of me?"; being able to pull out your handy FRS radio, go to channel 'X', then transmit "This is Cache Canucks, are there any geocachers out there this afternoon...?" to find out would be kind of neat. With the range of these radios and the typical distance between where you park your car and where most cache sites are found, chances are - if there's someone hunting the same cache, at the same time, and monitoring the same FRS channel - you're going to make contact. Clearly, judging by Garmin's introduction of the 'Rhino', someone has already seen a practical connection between the use of a GPSr and an FRS radio.

 

I'm thinking along the lines of a channel that would be common with *all* FRS radios, even the ones that come with only 1 or 2 channels; it would also use 'carrier squelch' only (no CTCSS or so-called 'privacy' tone) for the same reason.

 

Thoughts...?

 

[This message was edited by Cache Canucks on August 18, 2002 at 07:25 PM.

 

[This message was edited by Cache Canucks on August 18, 2002 at 07:29 PM.]

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It would be nice to know if any other "hunters"

are out stumbling around in the woods! icon_cool.gif

 

I think the best thing might be to throw a poll up and ask.... I don't think any one channel is better than another we just have to make anyone who carrys a frs aware if we pick a channel.

 

I pick channel 9....for no reason.... I just like the number 9!

 

Jim

 

Sommes-nous perdus encore?

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It would be nice to know if any other "hunters"

are out stumbling around in the woods! icon_cool.gif

 

I think the best thing might be to throw a poll up and ask.... I don't think any one channel is better than another we just have to make anyone who carrys a frs aware if we pick a channel.

 

I pick channel 9....for no reason.... I just like the number 9!

 

Jim

 

Sommes-nous perdus encore?

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Somewhere I read that channel 1 is informally becoming the Call Channel for FRS. You make contact with your party and move off to another channel.

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Great idea, should we do an online poll to decide on the channel or does someone just want to make an executive decision here and now?

 

I nominate 10, its kinda in the middle so people may not bother to switch that far into the channels to get away from the people turning them on for the first time and "geocaching" has 10 letters so it will be easy to remember.

 

Monitoring a priority channel may not be the answer here as if there were other parties out caching they would already be on another channel, plus if it is just "Bob, go to channel xx" we wouldn't know it was a cacher. I'd suggest monitoring whatever you want but try and switch to whatever channel we decide.

 

They're really growing in popularity and I'd guess only very few have 3 channels, none of the new ones are made that way, but it is definately worth considering, how many of us have 3 channels?

 

Park2

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Sounds good to me, someone do a poll, but how many channels (without counting subchannels) do most people have? Mine have 14 ...

 

I like 10, easy to remember, my second wife was a 10... Well, I've only been married once, but I can dream can't I?

 

There are a lot of judgemental people in the world, and I think all those people are worthless dirtballs.

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I think Channel 10 is the best because if memory serves me, 7-14 on FRS are channels on (I think I've got this right) GMRS as well. Since a number of Geocachers are GMRS's as well, this would work great.

 

Rob

Mobile Cache Command

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Any channel is fine with me. I carry mine while caching/hiking but up until now it is in my backpack with my cell-phone in case of any kind of emergency. If we proceed with establishing a channel I would definately monitor it at all times.

It wouldn't be a bad idea to also start listing some points of etiquette. Back in the good old days of CB radios in every car and every second home it was very frustrating at times with all the long-winded good buddies.

Cheers, Olar {over and out} icon_cool.gif

 

wavey.gif

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Any channel is fine with me. I carry mine while caching/hiking but up until now it is in my backpack with my cell-phone in case of any kind of emergency. If we proceed with establishing a channel I would definately monitor it at all times.

It wouldn't be a bad idea to also start listing some points of etiquette. Back in the good old days of CB radios in every car and every second home it was very frustrating at times with all the long-winded good buddies.

Cheers, Olar {over and out} icon_cool.gif

 

wavey.gif

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One problem with depending on individual cache owners to list which FRS channel to use on their cache pages is that it assumes the owner has an understanding of what FRS is (or even cares); another is that it would lack standardization and invite confusion. Much better - I think - is the idea of informally establishing a well thought out 'universal' channel that would be common to all caches, regardless of location ...then it wouldn't matter whether or not a cache owner chooses to list one (or that they list one that's a good choice). In as far as the cross-band compatibility between FRS and GMRS radios is concerned (GMRS being legal only in the U.S. - which is why Garmin de-activates the 'GMRS only' channels on Rhino units destined for sale in Canada), FRS channels 1-7 are common to both services south of the border. For what it's worth, channels that should probably be avoided are Ch1 (as previously noted, it's already a default call-channel used by everyone under the sun which could require users to 'move' after establishing contact), Ch9 (used by some SAR groups as a default emergency call-channel) and Ch11 (recognized by the American Birding Association as a common channel for North American birdwatchers). It's probably worth pointing out that, in the eyes of both Industry Canada and the FCC, there is *NO* formal allocation of FRS channels for a specific purpose ...but that doesn't mean that we shouldn't try to avoid channels that are widely (if only 'unofficially') recognized for use by various groups of users other than our own.

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Excellent idea! As you mntioned in your first post, most cachers being gadget freaks, well, I guess I would qualify there, since I just acquired a set of FRS radios to use while cacheing so I can talk to my wife when she walks faster than me.....

 

I'm more or less on the same line as most of the others, any channel is fine with me, although once the discussion is ended there should definitely be some posting of which channel we will be using, to make it easier for people who are wading through the posts looking for the final answer....

 

Gord,

Team Bradinn

 

"When I was a young man, I journeyed to the West to find myself......it turns out I had the wrong coordinates."

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Ok, two votes so far for ch. 10. 10 works for for me, so make that 3! (I'm a poet and didn't even know it) icon_smile.gif

 

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

 

sig.jpg

 

"Whad'ya mean you didn't save the location of the truck?..EEEK!!!..."

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Ok, two votes so far for ch. 10. 10 works for for me, so make that 3! (I'm a poet and didn't even know it) icon_smile.gif

 

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

 

sig.jpg

 

"Whad'ya mean you didn't save the location of the truck?..EEEK!!!..."

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I'm changing to 6 because apparently it is 1-6 that overlap, not 7-14.

 

Rob

Mobile Cache Command

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Hello everyone....

 

I have read this thread from start to finish and think that an FRS-Geocaching channel would definitely be a great idea.

 

I think channel 10 would be a good choice as just about everyone else has already agreed to.

 

1 note though. I HAVE a GMRS radio (Was naughty and purchased it in Missouri last month) The difference in channels is that the GMRS radio actually has 22 channels instead of the 14 channels found on FRS radios.

 

Although I already have a Garmin Vista and now a Motorola T6400 I can't wait for the Rhinos to finally be available. The added ability of being able to "SEE" the other persons location on your GPSr display will be be great. icon_eek.gif

 

Imagine having someone else stay a little back from the Cache site maybe where the reception is a little better and be able to "Talk the searcher" into the cache, then once he/she is fairly close the base person can then come up and help in the final search.

 

icon_biggrin.gif

 

I have not lost my mind...........

I left it in a Geo-Cache somewhere..........

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Hello everyone....

 

I have read this thread from start to finish and think that an FRS-Geocaching channel would definitely be a great idea.

 

I think channel 10 would be a good choice as just about everyone else has already agreed to.

 

1 note though. I HAVE a GMRS radio (Was naughty and purchased it in Missouri last month) The difference in channels is that the GMRS radio actually has 22 channels instead of the 14 channels found on FRS radios.

 

Although I already have a Garmin Vista and now a Motorola T6400 I can't wait for the Rhinos to finally be available. The added ability of being able to "SEE" the other persons location on your GPSr display will be be great. icon_eek.gif

 

Imagine having someone else stay a little back from the Cache site maybe where the reception is a little better and be able to "Talk the searcher" into the cache, then once he/she is fairly close the base person can then come up and help in the final search.

 

icon_biggrin.gif

 

I have not lost my mind...........

I left it in a Geo-Cache somewhere..........

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quote:
Originally posted by jpesadilla:

 

Imagine having someone else stay a little back from the Cache site maybe where the reception is a little better and be able to "Talk the searcher" into the cache, then once he/she is fairly close the base person can then come up and help in the final search.


 

The problem with the Rhino (which I had once considered purchasing) is that the 'peer to peer' functionality you describe is *only* possible when you're communicating with another Rhino user; without at least two of these pricey horned critters, you can't transmit/receive a position to/from another person. Also, at the risk of sounding like a party-pooper, the scenario you describe wouldn't work. If the second Rhino is experiencing poor GPS reception, that means that the position it transmits as being its own (being received/displayed by the first Rhino) will also be inaccurate; it would then be difficult for the first Rhino to 'talk the searcher [second Rhino] to the cache', because he/she would have no better idea of the second Rhino user's location than the second Rhino user themselves. As much as I REALLY liked the idea of a GPS that could transmit/receive telemetry by way of FRS, the more I thought about how infrequently this would actually be useful, the more I realized that I would be better off buying a *good* GPS and a *good* FRS (rather than a unit which sacrificed features for the sake of being an 'all-in-wonder' able to do a little-used telemetry trick). In my personal case, that meant purchasing a Garmin Vista and a Motorola T6220.

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I think using these units (with a specific channel alocated) is a great idea. I just feel that the users would have to be carefull about giving out too much info (non GPS coords.) about the cache location over the air.

 

1 - To keep the hunting for it, by fellow geocahers, challenging. icon_frown.gif

2 - To keep non geocachers that would ransack/destroy the cache, and who happen to have a FRS unit monitoring the channel, from being able to locate and destroy it. icon_mad.gif

 

Just my 2 cents.

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I think using these units (with a specific channel alocated) is a great idea. I just feel that the users would have to be carefull about giving out too much info (non GPS coords.) about the cache location over the air.

 

1 - To keep the hunting for it, by fellow geocahers, challenging. icon_frown.gif

2 - To keep non geocachers that would ransack/destroy the cache, and who happen to have a FRS unit monitoring the channel, from being able to locate and destroy it. icon_mad.gif

 

Just my 2 cents.

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Establishing an FRS channel for GeoCaching sounds like a great idea. Something to consider is that many of the FRS channels are being used by commercial, licensed incumbents. This is certainly the case near where I live on FRS ch 2. These licensees have been instructed to vacate the frequencies by a certain time, but I have a good idea that they'll be there long afterwards. Seeing as I work in the wireless realm, I'll go through my Industry Canada database when I get a chance at work and see what channels are in the clear. Actually, this information is available to anyone via the WWW, it's just my work computer has all the links and frequency lists. I vote down channels 2 and 6 immediately due to the above and localized interference.

 

I was camping this weekend and found that pretty much all frequencies are being used. So along with choosing a channel we should agree on a CTCSS tone "aka code" to use as well.

 

Coupar-Angus

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quote:
Establishing an FRS channel for GeoCaching sounds like a great idea. Something to consider is that many of the FRS channels are being used by commercial, licensed incumbents. This is certainly the case near where I live on FRS ch 2. These licensees have been instructed to vacate the frequencies by a certain time, but I have a good idea that they'll be there long afterwards. Seeing as I work in the wireless realm, I'll go through my Industry Canada database when I get a chance at work and see what channels are in the clear. Actually, this information is available to anyone via the WWW, it's just my work computer has all the links and frequency lists. I vote down channels 2 and 6 immediately due to the above and localized interference.

 

I was camping this weekend and found that pretty much all frequencies are being used. So along with choosing a channel we should agree on a CTCSS tone "aka code" to use as well.

 

Coupar-Angus


 

Ok, Couper... what gives with "Licensed" GPS users?!?! AFAIK the whole point behind FRS is that it's NOT licensed! I'm not doubting you... I'd just love a URL to do some reading and learning on my own. If you come across anything let me know!

 

Thanks,

 

Rob

Mobile Cache Command

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quote:
Originally posted by mrcpu:

Ok, Couper... what gives with "Licensed" GPS users?!?! AFAIK the whole point behind FRS is that it's NOT licensed! I'm not doubting you... I'd just love a URL to do some reading and learning on my own. If you come across anything let me know!


 

The Family Radio Service (FRS) is a relatively new band of frequencies allocated for informal non-licensed use on both sides of the Canada/US border (newer in Canada than the US by several years). Prior to the establishment of FRS, many of the UHF frequencies now used as FRS channels were allocated to licenced commercial users. Although I don't know the details of how these commercial users were to migrate to other frequencies once FRS came into being, it's clear that both Industry Canada and the FCC *would* require that they move (you can't have both types of two-way radio usage on the same set of frequencies). It isn't difficult to imagine that there might still be some 'legacy' non-FRS equipment kicking around out there - along with people who are using it (legal or not) - on the FRS band. Here in Toronto, I can sometimes pick up what is clearly 'commercial' use on the lower FRS channels now and then ...usually by people doing building maintenance or folks who clean office buildings at night; the reason that I know they're using commercial rather than FRS equipment is the strength of their signals (when you drive several miles in the city and still hear the same signal 'loud and clear', you *know* that it isn't coming from a 1/2 watt FRS radio).

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quote:
Originally posted by Cache Canucks:

.........Although I don't know the details of how these commercial users were to migrate to other frequencies once FRS came into being, it's clear that both Industry Canada and the FCC *would* require that they move (you can't have both types of two-way radio usage on the same set of frequencies).


We use walkie-talkies(licensed) in my Employer's plant and warehouse. A few years back we had to move to another frequency and were not given any explanation as to why. I'll bet it was to make room for the FRS system and that there are commercial users out there that have not complied as yet.

Olar, over and out.

 

wavey.gif

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I like the idea. Lots of time when caching you wonder if any parked vehicles are cachers out there too. This would be a good way to get in contact or meet other cachers. Another aspect which I like is having someone else doing the same cache as you but from a different starting point. This is a good way to had some kind of a little competition. It's fun to see who is getting closer and closer to it by letting the other team or buddy know how many meters /feet you are from it. You can even exchange return coords and go out the way the other team came in. I also think it should be a regular frequency with no ctcss or other scrambling method since not all frs have that option. Know what channel was that again? icon_wink.gif

 

742_900.jpg

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I like the idea. Lots of time when caching you wonder if any parked vehicles are cachers out there too. This would be a good way to get in contact or meet other cachers. Another aspect which I like is having someone else doing the same cache as you but from a different starting point. This is a good way to had some kind of a little competition. It's fun to see who is getting closer and closer to it by letting the other team or buddy know how many meters /feet you are from it. You can even exchange return coords and go out the way the other team came in. I also think it should be a regular frequency with no ctcss or other scrambling method since not all frs have that option. Know what channel was that again? icon_wink.gif

 

742_900.jpg

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Here they are.....

 

Channels

1 GTA Local Licensees including Club Link etc.

2 Unlicensed user in GTA here (told ya'!)

3 - FREE!

4 - FREE!

5 - FREE!

6 Local interference on this one I've noticed

7 GTA Local Licensees

8 GTA Local Licensees

9 - FREE!

10 - FREE!

11 - FREE!

12 GTA Local Licensees

13 GTA Local Licensees

14 GTA Local Licensees

 

So it looks like 3,4,5,9,10 or 11. Let's rule out 11 if the ornithologists are using that one.

 

As someone else mentioned, many of the licensees are running more than 1/2W. Also they are easy to spot because they are almost always using repeaters. You can determine this because there is a half-second of dead air when they unkey and before the carrier drops. Repeaters are typically 25W to 100W and allow them to retransmit the signal from the walkie-talkie at much greater powers.

 

Cheers! Coupar-Angus

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quote:
Originally posted by Coupar-Angus McAlpine III:

Here they are.....


 

Although only of specific concern to those of us in the GTA, I think your list is probably representative of similar situations across most populated areas of North America. How congested the FRS band seems will vary widely depending on its usage within a 1-2 mile radius of any given location (although, even here in Toronto's east end, these channels can hardly be considered busy ...at least not yet). By design, FRS transceivers are limited to a very short 'real world' range (with almost no ionospheric reflection), so hopefully we'll never see the 'wall of noise' that CB became.

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quote:
Originally posted by Cache Canucks:

By design, FRS transceivers are limited to a very short 'real world' range (with almost no ionospheric reflection), so hopefully we'll never see the 'wall of noise' that CB became.


Thats good to hear. Although I miss the good old days when so many people had CB radios, I do not miss that annoying 'skip' constantly blaring out and having to drive with my fingers on the squelch control knob.

It will be interesting to see if we develop a 'language' all our own like CB'ers did. I can visialize something like:

Breaker, breaker channel 12. We got any cachers out there on the trails?

10-4 good buddy, you got Olar back at you. Whats your '20.

I'm up on the ridge at 43deg 15.349876 min N and 79deg 46.98345 W just off the trailhead with a loose sat-lock and a pointer moving all over the place.

sounds like I'm on your donkey headin' in the same direction. Should be blowin your doors off any minute

10-4. Got to go 10-100 so I'll move out of your way. See ya at the cache.

The above of course is spoken in the pre-requisite southern states truck driver drawl.

Over and Out

 

wavey.gif

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Olar, you do realize you're dating yourself with that "Convoy" talk!! I still own a couple of CB radios, but haven't turned them on in about three years. The last time I did I spoke with a number of operators around Europe. I think conditions are less favourable nowadays.

 

You've given me an idea - although I'm not sure why I made the connection. If one needs a minimum of 4 satellites to accurately determine position (X,Y & Z axis), let us make the (un)official Geocaching FRS frequency of CHANNEL 4. I think with the fact that many 'caches are remote, carrier squelch should be just fine. It will also allow lesser FRS radios to communicate.

 

Let me know if all are in agreement.

 

Cheers!

Coupar-Angus

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quote:
Originally posted by Olar:

Over and Out


 

Are you Over or out?

 

[This message was edited by mrcpu on August 28, 2002 at 04:47 AM.]

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We just returned from a caching/camping trip to Washington State. We stayed in State parks, all of which were packed with kids, many with FRS radios in hand. This is the typical scenario where I envisioned the radios would be useful, and why I recently bought a pair.

 

It turned out that almost every channel was continually in use by other kids/family in the areas where we were. Radio etiquette were non-existent for the most part.

 

So my question is one of clarification. Is the proposed "official Geocaching channel" that MrCPU proposes.. is it a usage channel or just a call channel?

 

I think it is a great idea, but suspect channel surfing my be unavoidable.

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I didn't realize there were other (long) discussions on choosing an FRS channel! When I did my frequency search I was checking the whole country. The frequencies marked "FREE" really are free across the board. The ones that are not, are used in several provinces. If nothing else is decided, you can reach me on FRS this weekend while I hunt down some new caches that have appeared in the Nobleton area......:-) I'll be on FRS:

 

CCCCC H H 4

C H H 444

C HHHHH 4 4

C H H 4444444

C H H 4

CCCCC H H 4

 

Cheers!

Coupar-Angu

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I'll be caching today. So what will be our channel. It started out by number 10 with a vast majority now it seems like channel 4. I sort of like 10 but i'll leave my unit scanning till we decide or maybe we should flip a coin icon_smile.gif

 

742_900.jpg

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I'll be caching today. So what will be our channel. It started out by number 10 with a vast majority now it seems like channel 4. I sort of like 10 but i'll leave my unit scanning till we decide or maybe we should flip a coin icon_smile.gif

 

742_900.jpg

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i am unsure of what advantage the frs will give anyone in this sport. we use them surveying and generally most nearly all the channels have some traffic within urban areas. when ive used them in the outdoors their limited power pretty well limited my communication to the others in my party. it is unlikely that these radios will ever be of use to contact someone to send help when in the outdoors. if within the city i would suspect that even with all the radio traffic it would probably be as easy to ask a passerby for help if it was needed.

if the use was to keep in touch with other geocachers who happened to be looking for the same cache at the same time, then fine. as for true emergency communications i would prefer a sat phone.

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The purpose of an FRS channel wasn't for help (not to say that couldn't happen) but more for the possibility of hooking up with other cachers while out at a cache.

 

Optionally, if you WERE injured and someone came looking for you and knew you would be on channel 2, there might be an advantage there.

 

"Joe, Joe, come in joe..over"

 

"Hey, am I glad to hear you. I think I broke my leg and I landed on my cellphone when I fell"

 

"Ok Joe, where are you?"

 

"I'm at N43 32.032 W 79 53.021, right by a big rock"

 

"Ok. I'm going to call an ambulance. I'll be be back in 10 minutes. Can you hold on that long?"

 

"Yep. I'm not bleeding. I just can't walk and it really hurts."

 

"Ok, hold on"

 

Of course this is only possible IF you tell your lovedones BEFORE you go where you are going AND you keep your radio on a known channel would make that part easier.

 

As we always say, there is no substitute for being prepared and hiking with a buddy. Tell people where you are going! If I'm out on a day trip by myself I call my wife after each cache and tell her the GC I'm going to next. If she isn't home I leave a message on my answering machine at home instead.

 

Safe caching!

 

Rob

Mobile Cache Command

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quote:
Originally posted by G.P.S Trackers:

Make it so.Are those rhino units on the market yet?If so, can someone who owns one share their opinion or rate it.They must suck a lot of battery power?

 

May the angels fly with us down the beaten path!


 

After several forum based votes, Ch 2 was the final choice. As for the Garmin Rhino, it has yet to be brought to market; the availability date posted on Garmin's website has changed several times and keeps being pushed farther back. Personally, if you're looking to acquire an FRS radio to compliment your GeoCaching activities, I think you would be better off to shop for a stand-alone unit (I'm a fan of Motorola's T6220 myself).

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Believe it or not, I just hooked one of my FRS radio's up to my computers speakers. I plan on getting an extension for the mic and speaker cords, and placing the unit above me on the floor, plugged into the wall. Constant listening, and freedom to talk at will.

 

It sounds like fun.

 

tj.jpg

"Make it idiot proof, and someone will make a better idiot"

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quote:
Originally posted by TJWilson1:

Believe it or not, I just hooked one of my FRS radio's up to my computers speakers. I plan on getting an extension for the mic and speaker cords, and placing the unit above me on the floor, plugged into the wall.


 

"above me on the floor"??? icon_confused.gificon_confused.gif

 

Do you often operate your computer from within the sub-flooring???LOL icon_biggrin.gificon_biggrin.gif

 

Now all you have to do is figure out how to get all your stuff(computer, FRS, speakers, mic,etc) out on the geocaching treks.

 

Seriously, it sounds like your getting a nice setup going there.

 

GPSr's...A step in the right direction!

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How many times have you passed someone on the trail or spotted them at a trailhead parking area and thought "I wonder if they're here doing the same thing (geocaching) I am?" ...or perhaps you started to hike into a cache site and wondered "Is anyone already there right now ahead of me?"; being able to pull out your handy FRS radio, go to channel 'X', then transmit "This is Cache Canucks, are there any geocachers out there this afternoon...?" to find out would be kind of neat.

 

That is exactly what we do. We read somewhere in the far corners geocaching.com once the geocaching channel is channel 2. When we go geocaching we always keep the radio on channel 2 and every once in a while we will say something along the lines of "Calling all geocachers, calling all geocachers, this is the BCProspectors speaking. If you can hear me be advised that we are looking for the (insert geocache name) geocache." After that we will give a short summary of what has happened so far. However, we are not sure how many other people know that the geocaching channel is channel 2 so we think they should put it on one of the main geocaching.com pages, not in a corner of the website people rarely go to.

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When I'm out caching alone I leave a placard on the dash of my truck informing that I'm a cacher and the FRS channel I'm on, and some other info on the reverse side in the event the police discover my truck has been there an extended lenght of time.

Edited by Othum

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