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[pct-l] GPS, Walkie-talkie

I have never been on the CDT and cannot comment whether a GPS is needed or
useful there.  I have read the CDT is not nearly as well marked as the PCT
with which I am familiar.  We did not use GPS on the PCT nor did we miss it.

What can you do with a GPS?

Find where you are within 60 feet or less if you are not deep in canyon
where satellites are blocked.

Use the altitude feature in connection with barometer (either on the unit or
off) to make weather predictions.

Get bearings and headings to your next waypoint.

Display map of route with lakes, ranger stations and, perhaps, the trail.

To use efficiently, you should have basic knowledge of grid systems, either
UTM or lat/long so you can translate the info on your unit to a place on
your map and vice versa.

I am most familiar with Garmin, having used marine units for marine
navigation for many years.  The etrex models weigh about 6oz with batteries
and are very functional, provided you take time to understand the
terminology and capabilities or are already familiar with marine or
aeronautical navigation.

You can find the cheapest model by using yahoo shopping.  There are many
good GPS information sites which explain how they work.  I was somewhat
skeptical that a map on such a small screen could be useful at a 1=100,000
scale but it is extremely useful and relatively simple to use.  I have the
Vista which has a barometric altimeter in it and does not display the gps
calculated altitude except after manual recalibration.  It would be better
to have both altitudes to simplify weather predictions if you are into
falling barometers.  Garmin just announces a combo walkie talkie/gps which
can transmit your location to another similar unit.  Certainly useful for
search and rescue operations or coordinating meetings as the unit can be
made to display the relative bearing to the transmitted location easily.

Hope this is helpful

-----Original Message-----
From: pct-l-admin@mailman.backcountry.net
[mailto:pct-l-admin@mailman.backcountry.net]On Behalf Of Joanne Lennox
Sent: Saturday, January 12, 2002 9:24 AM
To: Don Erickson; CDT; pct-mailing list
Subject: [pct-l] GPS, Walkie-talkie

I do not consider a GPS necessary for the PCT.  I do not know about the
CDT.  the guides are written in tens of a mile and some waypoints are  very
easy to miss.  The talk on the list about GPS units has gone right by me
because I do not know a thing about them; I have never used one and there
is nobody around to teach me.  Nevertheless, I am thinking about launching
off into GPS space.  So...

How helpful is a GPS for the CDT?

What kind of features are necessary and what just make it too complex or
burdensome for a neophyte to operate?

What is the weight and expense of these puppies?

Can somebody recommend a specific brand and an inexpensive place to buy it?

I plan to have a friend shadow me with my horse trailer and truck part of
the time on the CDT.  I am less concerned with my navigational skills, than
I am with trying to coommunicate and find my driver, especially in a lot of
places that may not have cell phone use.

How much of New Mexico near the CDT has cell phone coverage (Verizon);

I am looking for a small walkie talkie that may be helpful.  I thought you
search and rescue types might have some experience with this.