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Thread: GPS? It's what they don't tell you?

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    Default GPS? It's what they don't tell you?

    Just wondering how many gps users out there have trouble getting a strong, any signal ,when you need it most? Planing a trip to the north slope and I am wondering if it's worth packing the weight, backpack hunting?? I have had trouble on the east coast ane they don't seem trustworthy to me, I always carry a compass. We have tried diffrent brands and at times, same thing not enough signal!! Anybody out there had any experience , good or bad? Thanks in advance. Bill.

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    Default location

    is key. gps signals are inherently weak ; and standing under trees or near buildings will only degrade the signal more. my garmin works great given the right chance. i also use a centimeter grade dual frequency gps sensor for work that we have to be vigilant about the location, which also relates to the handhelds.

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    I never had trouble getting a GPS signal while up on the slope or out on the tundra. GPS is a good tool but like other tools can fail. A compass and map should always be used and if you do carry a GPS, I always do along with the compass, carry a set of spare batteries. Learned that the hard way too.

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    New member fishnhuntr's Avatar
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    Default gps

    I haven't had any problems using my handheld on the slope, works well if you're doing the 5 miles. luck

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    Default GPS info

    The GPS system has 24 birds (4 backups) in a Polar orbit, ie the further north you go in the U. S., the more satillites are in view of your unit. So, Alaska is a good place for GPS. The signal is line of sight, and since the birds a few thousand miles, about 11K, out in space the signal is weak no matter where you live. Like they say, trees, buildings, mountains etc can block you out of service volume, in other words, your unit won't be able to trianglulate your position. Good luck.

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    Default gps

    I have owned 2 Garmin in the past 5 years and neither was worth an empty pail of water. the first unit i threw into the fire after it would not contact the necessary signal callers. the second unit i have in the original box from cabela's. the 2nd unit, and i stood in the middle of a 25 acre field and after 2 hours only had 1 signal. under any tree, forget it. don't know what to do. in my opinion they are a rip off especially GARMIN.

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    Man I dont know what some of you guys are doing but I have had several models from Garmin over the years. The one I use now is a plain jane Etrex and I have never so much as had a single problem picking up satellites. I usually pick up 4-7 satellites and thats in less than 1 minute from start up. I know several guys that use Garmins and they all like them as I do. Maybe you guys are talking about the older models cuz I aint seen a newer model that wouldnt link up several satellites pretty quick??? To me they are worth their weight in gold when their use is required.

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    Member Erik in AK's Avatar
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    If you don't initialize your GPS correctly, especially an older Garmin such as the 38 or 40 you will be frustrated to say the least.

    Also for you Garmin owners--buy the data link cable so you can download software updates to your unit from Garmin's website

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    I had my Marine unit (garmin) updated at Northern Lights Avionics here in Anchorage. I have being using them in both Marine and Aviation for over 15 years with any probems, other than masking, which is standard with any line of sight receiver.

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    Member Daveintheburbs's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by LongHunter7 View Post
    Just wondering how many gps users out there have trouble getting a strong, any signal ,when you need it most? Planing a trip to the north slope and I am wondering if it's worth packing the weight, backpack hunting?? I have had trouble on the east coast ane they don't seem trustworthy to me, I always carry a compass. We have tried diffrent brands and at times, same thing not enough signal!! Anybody out there had any experience , good or bad? Thanks in advance. Bill.
    Two quick comments 1. On the north slope interference from trees is not going to be an issue. 2. While nothing can replace map / compass and good head work; being out on the Tundra is about like being at sea. I would bring your gps. Know how to use it, dont forget to mark camp and bring spare batts.
    Last edited by Daveintheburbs; 08-30-2006 at 10:26. Reason: spelling

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    The only time I've had problems is in heavy coastal forest, especially when the trees are wet. If you can see the sky, I can usually manage a bunch of satelites very quickly.

    I'm betting there's a lot to what Erik says about initialization. My Garmin is the best I've used, and it's sold itself to friends in the field when theirs didn't work as well. Even converted some Magellan customers.

    Wouldn't consider heading out without it, but I always carry spare batteries, a compass and quad, too.

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    Smile My Garmin Etrex...

    works great, never had a failure on me 'cept when the battiers die on me...I've used it on the Yukon & the Tundra many a time...

    I bought mine off ebay for $30 LESS than retail...>

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    Member Dirtofak's Avatar
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    I have 2 GPS units (one in my boat and one for my wheelers). No problems with signal, even while running. As said before... carry spare batteries! They seem to be battery hogs. Always have a compass and map for backup.

  14. #14

    Default dont doubt

    dont ever doubt the accuracy of your GPS. if you have a signal which you will on the north slope, the numbers are true. dont doubt them or you may find yourself lost.

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    Member fullkurl's Avatar
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    Thumbs up right on...

    Bone. You get the gold star. You are so right.

    Every time I've doubted my Garmin Etrex Summit I was wrong.

    My wife wont even let me try to go anywhere other than the readouts, anymore.
    Too many nights of carrying sheep meat back to a spot that I thought that our camp "was".

  16. #16

    Default Best invention on the market

    I have one of the basic Garmin e-trexs and I never leave home without it. Hunting, fishing, or atving....It always gets me back to where I started.

  17. #17

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    My Garmin Etrex Legend saved my butt last week on Kodiak. Thick fog rolled in when I was packing a goat back to spike camp. Couldn't see 20 yards. GPS led me right to the door of the tent and I was thankful I had it!

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    Moderator Alaskacanoe's Avatar
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    Default GPS Garmin

    My old 12X Garmin is still doing great and never failed me. it is about 15 years old.. I bought the Garmin 60 series last year with the color map and also bought the down load map of the Northwest and loaded alaska on it... Man what a cool thing to have.
    last week when I was running my boat on Tustemena in Fog, I just set it for Bear creek and closed my eyes. your comments about trusting your GPS is right on. Its like when they put the hood on me when I was learning to fly with instruments in the plane,, I was sure I was falling from the sky but my instruments said otherwise.. It drove me crazy and I actually leaned my body to the upside from where I thought I was falling.. My instructor told me to trust my instruments but I would not believe and kept trying to level the plane from a roll to the right. I would have been dead from going vertigo in the first cloud I flew thru If I were to trust my instincts.
    GPS has always been dead on... just like my airplane instruments.
    I wish I would have been at your camp when you threw your gps in the fire, I would have dug it out before flames ruined it and went to using it.
    darn..
    Max

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    Thanks, looks like it's well worth taking the GPS with me.Being able to find your camp in fog/storm conditions seem to make it very useful. Bill.

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    Member Alaska Gray's Avatar
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    Never had a problem up there except the cold weather suck the baterry juice right out. I carry extra battieres when I go up there or anywhere else. there are no trees and buildigs to interfear with the gps recption. Just a rule tht I use never now when the gps might not work so I always carry a compass as back up.
    Living the Alaskan Dream
    Gary Keller
    Anchorage, AK

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