Like to go way out there? Trust your GPS? Read this... (1 Viewer)

e9999

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I love my GPS. Cool gadget. Handheld, and pretty basic, but neat. Magellan Explorist 200. Late model. The breadcrumb feature is great and has worked flawlessly so I can really get way out there and find my way back easily. Always have several spare batteries so I'm feeling safe. (Although I'll take a compass too if I go for a really serious run.) Easy to get a bit on the overconfident side with a GPS in the desert, though.

The other day I went on a pretty run on a long series of mountain tops and ridges near the ocean. Beautiful around sunset especially. Had the GPS on for kicks, not that I was afraid of getting lost there :doh: but to measure mileage and be able to call in my position if I were to lose the engine or something. Cuz yes my cell phone was actually working for a change (it's T-Mobile, digital, so not great in the backcountry, but there were some towers on a mountain top someplace apparently so it worked).

Well, get this....































....I kept on going and at some point came close to a bunch of radio / microwave / radar / TV towers that were positioned on a mountain top. Lo and behold, the GPS just plain froze over with some sort of Operating System message. I imagine it got zapped. (Good the engine ignition sys didn't get fried too...) Could not turn it off or restart it with the switch. Had to remove and reinstall the batteries, and guess what, all the breadcrumbs were erased! After that it was still working so I knew my absolute position and the direction I was going, but had I had to rely on the GPS to retrace my route to find my way back as in a desert or swamp, I was scre@ed!

Soooo, don't bet your life on these gizmos!
 
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Friend of mine was all proud that he had this fancy nav system on his truck-board laptop and that he gave up maps. Well, you guessed it, the computer crashed and no more nav system. Me, I still like paper maps, 'cause they still work even when wet, torn or the batteries are dead. Of course I pointed this out to my pal and we both had a good laugh! :D
 

spressomon

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I carry both...maps and a PC tablet with Geko 201...for the reasons you both list. Also the GPS manufacturers, at least Garmin anyway, state in their om you need to carry maps and compass as backup...this from the manufacturer!
 
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I carry and use a couple of GPS unit in the rigs and afoot. Sometimes in conjunction with a laptop. And maps. And compass. Generally use them all together when I am covering new trails/routes. And I don't ever depend on any of them to get me back to the trailhead. These are tools for finding your way further afield and exploring new terrain. When it comes time to head home, if you can not - at the very least - find you way back the way you came just using an understanding of the area and the terrain, common sense and your memory of the route in... You're making a serious mistake.

GPS is neat. But if you are really getting away from the road, always always always be able to find your way back without it.


Mark...
 
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GPS is a tool and just like any other tool, it does have its weakness. I am a big fan of GPS, I use one mainly when I am "TRYING" to get lost and have never had a problem with mine, but with that being said, I do carry maps with me because as we all know, technology is great when it works. Good to hear that you didn't need it to get home, but atleast you found out that you may need a backup plan for the future.
 

tabraha

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Yup, got my GPS but I also have the maps on my laptop, and printed out/ folded up just incase I hit a double whammy on the electronics. Compass is as mandatory as vehicle registration and proof of insurance in my vehicles.
 
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Take about front end saturation. That is some serious radio freq interference.

My hand held radios crap out when I travel up to Mount Wilson in LA. There is a forest of antennas for high power transmitters up there.

Good tip.
 

e9999

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the funny thing was that the error message that popped up was something I had never seen before. Went deep into the operating system of the thing and wreaked havoc. Wonder how...
Next time, I'll turn it off when I see a forest of antennas coming up and then again later, that way I should be able to keep my breadcrumbs.
Now, of course, more sophisticated models -this one is close to entry level- may not be as susceptible to losing the info...
And if you have the GPS connected to a laptop, you should be safer, I would think since those are probably shielded much better.

Also, this happened when I was still at least 100 or 200 yds from the antennas...
 
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I don't ever have to worry about that kind of interference. If I've got RF interference then I must be in town~! ;)
About the only thing that causes problems is getting into a steep valley (or worse, a big ravine) where the signal is blocked. Mainly an aggrevation when I am trying to map the route with the software on the laptop or trying to keep an exact measurement of the distance covered.


Mark...
 

e9999

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my little gps didn't work so great in big ole redwood forests either...
 

semlin

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I fail to see the problem here. if you get zapped near a forest of antennas you can always follow the maintenance road out :D
 
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semlin said:
I fail to see the problem here. if you get zapped near a forest of antennas you can always follow the maintenance road out :D
Good answer :grinpimp:

Seriously, it sounds like you got some sort of EM interfence which effected the solid state memory. Redwoods or any other kind of cover effects GPS recievers which need a line of site to the the satelites to get the signals.

Ross
 

e9999

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semlin said:
I fail to see the problem here. if you get zapped near a forest of antennas you can always follow the maintenance road out :D
yea, and you can also cook your dinner by holding it up in front of one.... :)
 

e9999

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semlin said:
I fail to see the problem here. if you get zapped near a forest of antennas you can always follow the maintenance road out :D

oh, and what kind of :princess: would follow a road out when you can get through the bush on your own and risk getting lost...? :rolleyes:
I imagine you ask for directions too...? :rolleyes:

:D
 
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Plus, you'll follow the maintenance road out and find a massive locked gate. Then sit there overnight until by chance one of the generators up there needs fuel....


DougM
 
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e9999 said:
Soooo, don't bet your life on these gizmos!
It's even worse on the water. Everything looks the same. Lost all electronics once on a yacht delivery due to a lightning strike. Was plotting a running fix on paper so it was not a problem. Too many people rely solely on their gizmos, and become hopelessly lost when they experience failure.

Also see a lot of people on the water who have GPS/auto-pilot interface run hard aground as they program their unit to get from point A to point B, and do not check the charts for any hazards to navigation on their route.

I agree that they are indeed a tool, and should not be your sole method to determine if you are lost or not.
 
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I had my Garmin eMap with me in DC last summer- got near the White House and the "you are here" X moved over 3 blocks. That I think was some NSA scrambling rather than radio interference. Just thought I'd share. Luke
 

e9999

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LukeZero said:
I had my Garmin eMap with me in DC last summer- got near the White House and the "you are here" X moved over 3 blocks. That I think was some NSA scrambling rather than radio interference. Just thought I'd share. Luke

weird, how the heck could they do that?
 
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they can do it quite easily. There are two flavors of GPS, regular and differential GPS. Plain ole consumer GPS, where they "inject" errors (mathmetical algorythym variation)to purposely fuzz your position a bit. Also,notice you dont lock onto 12 simultaneous satellites that your GPS manufacturer says you can. The feds mandated a maximum to reduce the pinpoint.

Differential GPS doesnt have the algorythym injection, so it is as close to sayin 'YOU ARE HERE DIPSHIT1!!!!" Mainly a military toy, but it is gettin out to commercial channels.

What happened to your GPS is probably that you got close enough to all the towers (microwave stuff), and it grenaded your OS with noise/transient surges of juice. There cant be much shielding inside a consumer GPS. Radio stations put out 100,000 watts of power, I'm not sure about TV and microwave/line of sight microwave, etc. Ever had your cell phone next to your radio when you get a call? Thats 1/4 watt max if you have a GSM phone. 3-5 watts if you have one of them old old old motorola analog microwave head heaters from the late 80's.

Do you guys ever feel the radiation hittin your head while youre talkin on your cell phone? I swear I can feel it.......

Have ya grown a third nut yet, or have glowin poop in the bowl from your trip to the towers? Do ya have unmarked ford crown vic's cruising behind ya in traffic and parked across the street now? Black helicopters flyin around? Or some shiny piece of metal from the anal probin by aliens(the non-mexican kind)?
 

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