Forum: Questions And Answers About Geocaching
Topic: What GPS is right for you?
started by: Quinn
Posted by Quinn on Nov. 23 2001,7:53 pmI am sure that you can find the following information scattered all over the web as well as right here in certain places on the Navicache website. But I think it is important enough that for you new people that are just about to jump into the sport of Geocaching and have not clue one as to which type of GPS to buy, to know up front all the facts that will help you make that big buy of your own equipment.
There are several types of GPSR's (Global positioning System Recievers) on the market today that just looking at them can drive you crazy. Each company has claims of having the "god like" reciever, when in fact just about every GPSR maker out there has at least a few models that are what would be considered a true Geocaching tool.
If you ask questions you will most likely get answers, if you ask someone what kind or model GPSR is the best you can almost count on them telling you that the one they own is the perfect unit. This may or may not be true but to be sure you have the right info lets start by figuring out just where you intend on Geocaching.
Many states in our country as well as other countries period have very open and flat lands with little tree cover to worry about, Places like these you can get away with just about any GPSR you see sitting behind the counter at your local outdoors store. But for those people that live in areas where most land is covered by heavy or even medium tree growth, you will need a GPSR that can hack through the coverage to find the sats that will guide you on your way. Once of the most important features on a GPSR is the Antenna, if your unit does not have a very receptive antenna system then all the other toys it came with will be useless. Make sure that if you do live in tree covered areas like I mentioned above that you invest in a unit that has a Quadrifilar antenna, this is one of the most receptive types of antenna you will find on any GPSR unit on the market today. If you intend on doing all of your Geocaching in the flat lands of the world where sun shines all day and coverage to the sky is a rare problem, then feel free to grab the closest GPSR that strikes your fancy, pretty much all the units on the market today are good when it comes to reception in an open area, but where I live in upstate NY this is a very rare thing to find, thus I was forced to look for units that gave me that extra boost so I could keep locked on the sats above. One of my very first units i bought was the Garmin Vista, this is a very hot looking item with tons of bells and whistles and a price to match at just around 300.00 , but after using it for Geocaching in some near by woods and gorges lost sats pretty much every step I took. It didn't take long for me to admit defeat and head back to the GPSR market. My next GPSR was the IIIPLus by the same company, this unit has the external Quadrifilar antenna I mentioned above, and what a hotty this toy turned out to be. I ran test after test using this unit along with three others all at the same time while out caching in the woods, not once did the IIIplus lose contact with the sats and I wish I could say the same for the Vista and yellow etrex that was used at the same time. Another nice unit that has this same style antenna is the Magellan 315 and 330 series, either one of these units would be a great choice for buying, but if you wish to take just one more step up the ladder go with the 330 as this unit also offers WAAS ( Wide area augmentation system) which is land bases that correct small errors in the information the sats are sending before the signal gets to you.
GPSR's come with so many options that I could sit here all night and explain them one by one, but the best way for you to get just what you need and are looking for is to research before you buy. Use what I mentioned above as a few of the first steps in the right direction, just remember to look for Antenna first and then pick the add on toys from there.