CacheCrazy.Com: Tools of the Trade: My PN-40

Friday, May 3, 2013

Tools of the Trade: My PN-40

I first read about geocaching in July of 2009.  Being the geek that I am, I was drooling at the thought of combining two of my favorite things, nature and nerdy gadgets.  The more I read about it, the more I wanted to go out and search for a geocache.  I had one problem:  I didn't have a GPS unit.

Back then, I had what I'd call a quasi-smartphone.  It did more than your conventional flip phone, yet it wasn't an iPhone.  It took me some searching to find a program which was capable of running on The Little Phone That Could.  I ended up finding a program called BasicGPS for Geocaching.  It was free, and compatible with Windows Mobile.  Works for me!  I was so excited, now I could finally get out there and hunt some caches!

BasicGPS screen shot. 

In all fairness, BasicGPS worked very well for what it was.  There weren't any bells & whistles, as you seen in the current geocaching smartphone apps.  It allowed me to search for a cache, get me within a few feet (or meters, as I could never figure out how to switch the measurements) of the cache, and let me build up my geosenses in making my first few dozen finds.  There were quite a few drawbacks, as I'd find soon out.  There was no mapping feature.  All you had was a compass and a directional arrow.  I had to load caches one at a time, as the program didn't understand pocket queries.  Multi-caches were out of the question, because it didn't allow you to add or enter waypoints.  Lastly, and most importantly, it was an OK program on an otherwise lousy phone.  I soon came to the realization that I wouldn't want to be stuck out in the woods with this thing.  It was time for an upgrade.


Enter the Delorme PN-40.  I decided to break down and buy a PN-40, used, off of eBay.  The unit was opened, but never used.  Immediately I could tell I've been missing out.  I built my first pocket query, and loaded up the unit.  The painstaking work of having to individually load caches was a thing of the past.  A click here, a click there, and I had 500 geocaches in my PN-40, ready to be found!  At the time, I marveled at the mapping feature.  I'd used GPS units at work before, but never one with a map.  And, what's this?  It's tracking my route?  Now I'm guaranteed to never get lost in the woods!  (/sarcasm)  I soon tried, and found, my first multi-cache, as well as puzzle cache.  I was even able to hide my first cache, as I learned how to mark and average a waypoint.  Not to mention, the sucker is durable!  I've dropped it out of a tree, into a stream, on to concrete, and it still works like a charm.  Take that, Timex!

My traveling companion, the PN-40.

I still have my PN-40.  Perhaps one day I'll trade her in for a newer model, but for now, she's the cat's meow!  What do you use to sniff out those caches?  Have you had a similar experience?


Lindsay said...

I am pretty certain if I drop my GPSr it will still work. Pretty certain if I drop my husbands iPhone that he caches with he will cry, as it won't work anymore.

After seeing my Magellan explorist, my dad dumped his ancient e trek (it held 50 caches) and bought one too. Now he is an out of control caching machine. Nothing like a good GPSr.

Kevin Bloodhounded said...

Lindsay, I totally agree with you.
I've grabbed a few with my Droid but I still bring my GPSr and prefer to use it. It's like fishing and me. Sure I can cast with the best of them with a spinning rod BUT, I still prefer my flyrod because I like the feel of it in my hand. And, I know I'll catch something with it. my chances of catching the fish (or finding the cache) seem better to me. Or so I think.
Thanks for commenting here. I like to know our readers and you my friend are a regular, thanks!

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