GPS

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GPS

Postby towbradley » Sun Oct 13, 2013 1:06 pm

im currently thinking of buying my first g.p.s. unit, and wanted to see what the consensus is on them. Actually, my wife's going to buy one for me for an anniversary gift, so I need some idea's on what some of you use.... if any. Wife's afraid i'm going to kill myself or something if I don't get smart about this :roll: ....she's usually right about this. I've bought maps, am good at reading them, but its time for more aggressive trailing, and want to do it right and not scare my better half :shock: . Just a thought, thanks.
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Postby Ed » Mon Oct 14, 2013 9:44 am

If I were buying a new one, it would probably be the Garmin Etrex 20. Mapping capability, good battery lifetime, usb computer interface, plenty of memory, both built-in and add on. But I've never used this model, and would defer to anyone who has.
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Postby climbant » Mon Oct 14, 2013 1:17 pm

First nothing replaces a map and good compass and the skill to use it. That being said for me simpler is better. Something that gives me a UTM reading to confirm a location. I have a garmin etrex legend, WAAS capable, with fairly good battery life. It is more than adequate. While no longer made they can still be found on the cheap. Also a gps isn't going to save your skin but a plb will. If this is from a safety standpoint I would look at the plb.
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Postby Ed » Mon Oct 14, 2013 6:44 pm

If wifely concern is the big issue, get a SPOT. You can send her 'OK' text messages/emails, and an SOS to SAR authorities if you ever need it. You won't, but it is comforting to people at home to know that you can.
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Postby towbradley » Mon Oct 14, 2013 8:46 pm

ok, heres my ignorance .....whats a p.l.b?
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Postby arocknoid » Mon Oct 14, 2013 9:12 pm

Personal Locator Beacon

http://lmgtfy.com/?q=Personal+Locator+Beacon

When you absolutely positively want the best chance for your signal to be heard (vs. e.g. 'Spot'...)

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Postby Hikin_Jim » Mon Oct 14, 2013 9:15 pm

PLB = Personal Locator Beacon. It's a 406 MHz satellite beacon with a 121.5 MHz homing beacon.

PLB's are more reliable for a variety of reasons and are typically a lot cheaper that a SPOT. There are no subscription fees for basic PLB service (although some of the newer ones have a messaging service which you do pay for).

A SPOT on the other hand has more modes than just "off" and "SOS", and a SPOT has an optional, extra tracking service. A SPOT is less reliable and costs more but has more features.

Take your pick.

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Postby towbradley » Tue Oct 15, 2013 7:19 am

once again, you guys are amazing with your knowledge on gear. thanks for your time. we'll talk about shoes for winter and mini cramps that match up later... :D
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Postby Ed » Tue Oct 15, 2013 10:20 am

Glad people's comments are helping.

Regarding the Garmin Etrex 20, I forgot to mention that it is a fairly new model, seems to be selling well, and the price is widely discounted. I'm sure there are plenty of consumer reviews on REI, Amazon, and other websites.

Regarding SPOT's versus PLB's, I have both, but rarely carry the PLB now. Yes, there are very legitimate complaints about SPOT: the customer service, the annual fees, the billing practices. And when they rolled out the SPOT II a few years ago, they had technical problems - I think they were battery problems - that they handled very badly.

But the ability to send an 'OK' message, and a customized message such as 'OK, but running late' are very valuable. They not only reduce stress levels at home, they may deter people at home from triggering an SAR operation that is unnecessary, embarassing, and expensive. For example, you could find yourself in a situation where the wise thing to do is hunker down for the night, but you can walk out on your own when daylight comes. If you have a PLB rather than a SPOT, you can't send a reassuring message home, and may be inclined to blunder your way down in the dark.

Regarding reliability, I accept the opinion of experts that PLB's are more reliable. But I've sent many SPOT messages, every one has been received, and this seems to be the experience of most users.
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Postby arocknoid » Tue Oct 15, 2013 12:15 pm

Reliability (of SPOT) is especially a function of *where* you hike.
Read the WPSMB discussion for broader perspective of SPOT issues that may apply to overlapping areas/zones of interest for hiking.

Regarding reliability, I accept the opinion of experts that PLB's are more reliable. But I've sent many SPOT messages, every one has been received, and this seems to be the experience of most users.


But then I'm someone who rarely carries my Garmin GPS unit anymore, either. Luddite. Maps and notes and pics @ loci of interest.

The ResQlink is especially for spousal reassurance, and I leave a plan with T1 and T2 (and T3!) as well.

The PLB is something I plan (and hope) to never use, whereas those who like SPOT get enjoyment and reassurance from regular use.

horses for courses and so on
kind regards,
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