Nexus 7 and Oregon 450 combo

8 02 2014

When I bought my Nexus 7 a few months ago I started to load various geocaching applications on to it but even today don’t really have any that I like to use. My primary tool out in the field is my Oregon 450 as it is much more rugged and of course far more accurate as a dedicated GPS. The Nexus works far better as the “back office” and may replace my Acer Netbook that I have been using for the past few years.

What I ended up doing with the Nexus was to use it as a 7 inch car GPS. A suction mount on the windscreen and the application OsmAnd worked perfectly in the summer on both my trip around Belgium, Luxembourg and France followed by the two week tour of parts of California, Arizona, Utah and Nevada that was made a few weeks later. The only time the map refresh was a little slow was when we were in Las Vegas and I repeatedly wanted to zoom in and out. Otherwise it worked perfectly.

Of course, I also use either my Garmin Oregon 450 or iPhone to keep track of geocaches and while I am in the car I can be followed on APRS.

Nexus 7 running the OsmAnd app using the built-in GPS.

Nexus 7 running the OsmAnd app using the built-in GPS.

I still would have like to be able to run GSAK on the Nexus or at least some way of storing and managing various .gpx files and then being able to transfer them to my Oregon 450. I didn’t delve too much into the practicalities until I read an article in the February 2014 issue of Radio User. I know it’s not geocaching but it did open the door for finding a solution. I have been successfully using an RTL2832U DAB, DAB+, Digital TV and FM dongle covering 24MHz to 1700MHz connected to my laptop since an earlier article from the same magazine. The software I used was SDR# for general reception and RTL1090 for ADS-B flight information.

RTL2832U dongle running RTL1090 ADS-B software and Flightraadar 24 on the PC

RTL2832U dongle running RTL1090 ADS-B software and Flightradar 24 on the PC

The new article was on how to use the same dongle with a tablet such as the Nexus 7 through the use of an “On the go” or OTG cable. The article referred to the OTG cable as just costing a couple of pounds but sometimes it’s easier to visit the local Kjell and Co store here in Sweden and front up with 99SEK (about £9) for the same item. At least I knew that if it didn’t work I could easily return it. I installed SDR Touch and the RTL2832U drivers, connected the OTG cable then the dongle and it all worked immediately.

When I then listened to the Geogearheads podcast #109 with the title GPRS Loads I and the success had by debaere in using his Nexus 7 with en eTrex GPS I knew I just had to try it.

Nexus 7 connected to my Oregon 450 with an OTG cable

Nexus 7 connected to my Oregon 450 with an OTG cable

I try to get by on free software as far as possible but sometimes the offerings are really worth the little cost that is involved so I do support some developers by buying their apps. I don’t use Field Notes at all as I prefer to write my logs in GSAK and upload them to the geocaching site from there. As a consequence I found Chrome on the Nexus 7 to be quite adequate for downloading PQ’s from the geocaching site. I then followed the suggestions from debeare and installed ES File Explorer and Nexus Media Importer.

I have looked at Locus on previous occasions but found that I was quite happy with OsmAnd. However, with the addition of both geocaching4locus and Locus – addon GSAK Database it has become a viable alternative. I will field test it in the car over the next few days and post my findings.

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