I'm back with some more to say about the Vista that I own and the III+ that I'm borrowing. Over the last few days I walked a dozen or so miles with both units.
For the majority of my travels, the Vista performed adequately in the woods. It did require some attention to the satellite screen and it lost lock occasionally while the III+ kept on tracking. It has never lost lock for long but when it does near a cache, the hunt becomes a bit more challenging. This might sound weird, but I kind of like the challenge. When I'm placing a cache, my good ol' 12 XL with an external antenna assists in getting a trustworthy position.
Due its diminutive size and weight, the Vista rides comfortably under my hat, in my hand or pants pocket. The cranial mount consists of a wide brim hat with a small piece of foam padding added for comfort. In hand, the III+ was tiring to hold for any length of time. I tried carrying the III+ in my pants pocket and was reminded of its presence with each step. I preferred to keep the III+ in my pack when covering an distance. Its shape and movable antenna made it easy to keep the birds in view. The Vista requires some creative packing to prevent if from rolling over when logging in a pack pocket.
When the Vista is stowed, the GPS receiver can be shut down while it continues to log elevation for later viewing on the built in display. This is one feature that makes the Vista a very useful tool when hoofing up and down mountains.
My trail journal entries, somewhat cleaned up, are presented below.
Friday afternoon both units were taken on a walk in Mendon Ponds park. The journey began west of the dog kennels. The tall trees did not result in any loss of lock condition for either unit. I marked a waypoint and entered the same coordinates into both GPSR's. Repeated attempts to return to the marked position were successful using both units. The Vista had me about 80 feet south of the spot on one attempt, the III+ sent me east 50 feet north on one attempt. Just before I exited the woods the Vista pointed 30-50 feet west of the car, the III+ was dead on. Once in the clear both were directing me to the driver's seat.
The next stop was the cache along Canfield road. I shut down both units before entering the woods. While walking I fired them both up. The Vista would not acquire, the III+ locked on the birds in less than a minute. The Vista needed to get a fix on a bird below 45 degrees in order to acquire. The satellite geometry above 45 degrees group of birds in a nearly straight line. If I stopped and tilted the Vista, it would get me a position but once I started walking it tanked. I repeated this process a few time until I got to the cache site. I did not observe any loss of lock with the III+. I used the Vista to guide me to the cache. The internal compass kept me on track between position fixes. Once at the cache site, the III+ was pointing me 35 feet west when standing over the box and the Vista told me to go 55 feet further west. While looking for the cache, the satellite geometry improved and the Vista had no problem taking me out of the woods.
Saturday I took both units to High Tor while placing a new cache. The Vista remained lock on birds throughout the hike. At my first snack stop I pulled out the III+ and it had a hard time acquiring. It was last on only 20 minutes ago. At the new cache sit, the III+ and Vista consistently reported positions within a 10 foot radius.
Monday at lunch time I checked up on my Lunch Box cache. A limb had fallen onto the rotting stump exposing the loot. After a quick repair job to the cache, the Vista and III+ were switched on. Both had just gotten their almanacs updated in an open field a short distance form the Lunch Box. The III+ acquired only a few seconds before the Vista. The III+ locked onto three birds close to the horizon that the Vista could not see. Four waypoints were saved in each unit as I wolfed down my lunch. The Vista required some effort to keep satellites in view while the III+ was far more forgiving.
Back at the lab I fired up MapSource and analyzed the results. Even though the III+ had more birds to work with than the Vista, it logged a couple of nasty outliers. One 83 from the cache and the other 61 feet away. The Vista captured one stray point 35 feet from the Lunch Box. The rest of the points form both units fell into a 16 foot diameter circle centered 53 feet from the cache.
It's not going to be easy handing over the III+ to ArtCriticNY. Should I place an order for a III+ or wait for the V? Something only a truly obsessed GPSR would write.
May your outliers be few,