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Electronic Compasses & Altimeters


Guest Anton
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Guest Anton

Greetings,

 

Let's talk about electronic compasses and altimeter/barometers.

 

I use a Suunto Vector wristwatch that has a stopwatch, compass and altimeter/barometer. It's built well, and I like it a lot.

 

The Vector is a bit on the bulky side, but not really a problem. At least it's not as big as that silly wristwatch GPS receiver. Now that's what I call a really big watch!

 

I know the Garmin eTrex Vista GPS has a compass and an altimeter/barometer, and there are several non-GPS electronic compasses and altimeters on the market. If you have one of them, let's hear from you. I'd like to hear some opinions and reviews.

 

Anton

 

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Anton Ninno - N2RUD

Syracuse, NY 13210

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Guest mcb

I love electronic gadgettes. I have two GPS, palm pilot, FRS radios and several overgrown HP calculators. This said I have never like the idea of electronic compass and altimeter. I can't say much about the altimeter. I have never used or had need of one. Now the compass is another thing. I have been using a compass and map for navigation for many years now and I think that the good old magnetic compass is as accurate or more so then it electronic counter part. A magnetic compass does not have dead batteries or frozen display. I have a map compass I use laying out route on maps and such. Recently I bought a handbearing compass and that has been realy handy when homing in on a cache.

 

To me the good old magnetic needle compass just seems more reliable.

 

mcb

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Guest GuyMcBeerdrinker

I was very close to buying a Vector, until I actually examined one up close at REI. I quickly noticed that the crystal was not even a crystal or glass at all, is was made out of plastic (perfectly understandable due to its size and shape). That didn't bother me so much, but what did bother me was the the fact that you couldn't read the numbers clearly at an angle, due either to the distortion cause by the curvature of the glass or the led crystal quality. I also noticed that the light was very weak for a watch that size and cost. So at that point I decided not to buy one for those reasons.

I plan on purchasing an electronic altimeter in the future, but since I'm in a fair flat part of the country I'm going to further research them before I buy one in a month or too.

 

What I'm really interested in buying is a home weather monitoring station. I visited this website www.benmeadows.com and I just recently received a catalog I requested. They of course have all their GPS units way over priced, but they had some really cool equipment which I had never seen before i.e. weather stations and portable wind velocity meters. I was wondering if anyone has or had an experience with a home weather monitoring station.

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Guest Anton

GuyMcB-D,

 

My Vector doesn't seem to have those shortcomings, so perhaps they've had an upgrade along the way. Many watches have problems with reading at an angle, but the numbers on the Vector are huge and easy to see - don't need my glasses. My main complaint with this watch is it's overall size, but I got used to it after a couple of weeks.

 

Anton

 

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Anton Ninno - N2RUD

Syracuse, NY 13210

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Guest mfratto

I have a Vista (and after reading another thread may trade it in for a GPSMAP 76) but two things:

 

We use the electronic compass when closing in on a cache, but we *always* end up circling the cache site anyway just to due to inherent GPS error, so the electronic compass doesn't do much for us anyway.

 

The altimiter is a different story, though no better. This was big reason I plunked down $350 at EMS for the Vista. Unfortunately, I don't think it is very accurate. I have found that the altimeter can be as much as 100 feet off from USGS maps. Yes, I calibrated it accoring to the USGS Topo map and still it wanders. Dunno know if that is a problem with all altimeters or not however. Could be operator error.

 

my $0.05.

 

mike

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Guest EraSeek

I have an altimeter on my wrist watch, and a seperate electronic compass. Darn thing's around here somewhere... It's a good one too but I never use it. Don't see a whole lot of sense to it. I use a cheap magnetic thing. The altimeter is great but you know, a barometric altimeter changes as quickly as the weather does, and that can be quick around here. So unless you recalibrate with the weather it will be off. I use the readings off my Garmin 12 as much as I do my Casio pathfinder. The error is no more than 100' or less and seems as accurate as my watch.

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