GPS failure

7 07 2010

Did it have to happen? On Sunday evening I had downloaded the maps of southern Sweden on to my Garmin eTrex Legend Cx without any difficulties. We are going to Skåne on Thursday and I will be hunting for a number of caches on the trip to allow me to be eligible for a Swedish challenge cache, which is one find in at least 100 boroughs in Sweden. I have 65+ so need another 35 to be certain I meet the requirements. On Monday morning when I got in the car and turned on the GPS it was dead. At first I thought it was just dead batteries but after putting in freshly charged batteries and still not getting the GPS to work, I started to believe that the spares were uncharged and bought a pack of alkaline batteries. Nothing worked – the GPS was well and truly dead. As I was on my way out to Hakenberget to hunt for a cache that has been there for years and this was a day where I HAD to find a cache as I had an empty day in my caching calendar, there was nothing for it. I had to use my seven year old eTrex Legend, which feeds my Kenwood TM-D700 that is the heart of my APRS setup in the geomobile. Luckily I had the cache details on Smart GPX for my Nokia E90 so I could plug in the coordinates manually. Found the cache after a brisk walk up the hill. After finding the cache I popped in to the local electronics store and found that they had two suitable GPS’s. A Garmin eTrex Legend HCx (1995:-) and a Garmin Oregon 400t for 4390:-. It didn’t take long to work out that, as the geomobile AC had packed up there would be some heavy bills coming in for it’s repair, and that the Oregon was out of the question.

So now I have a brand new Garmin etrex Legend HCx and can compare it with my old Garmin eTrex Legend Cx. Is there a difference? You bet! I started up the new GPS indoors and it got an accurate fix. That never happened with the old GPS. It has worked really great so far in the forests of which there are many in Sweden. I DO miss the full geocaching notes and hints that the Oregon can provide but I can get that functionality on my Nokia E90 in a clunkier fashion. At the moment I am rather tired with the Trimble Geocaching application not working as it should. It’s a real hassle. Something tells me that my new GPS will last around three years before I need a renewal. I wonder what will be available then?

I have two days in July to grab caches: 7/7 and 12/7. If I can do that I will have found a cache on every date in May/June /July (although not necessarily in the same calendar year. Until May this year I hadn’t the faintest idea, nor care, for when I had found my caches. Now I am trying to fill in every day of the year with a find. There are loads of empty dates so I have plenty of reasons to get out there and hunt Tupperware!




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