Well, what the hek is a a Garmin Chirp anyways.
It’s described physically as a small electronic beacon about the size of a quarter, black in colour. It has a user replaceable button battery that lasts about one year and it’s waterproof.
I don’t have one yet, because you need an ANT device that is Chirp enabled. Currently, the Garmin Oregon 450, higher, Garmin Dakotas and the latest versions of the Garmin GPSMAP units are the only ones that have the firmware released to do so.
Even though my Garmin Colorado is an ANT device, they haven’t worked on a firmware upgrade to this unit for over a year. Even though my model is less than two years old. It’s officially discontinued and from some sources on the internet, will probably not be supported.
Personally, I’m not going to be very happy, if they don’t.
I have e-mailed Garmin Support and inquired. If you have a Colorado and in the same situation as I am, please do send Garmin a message of your concerns at the following link: Contact Garmin Support
The ANT is a part of the GPS that will allow GPS users to wirelessly share information between one another while in the field without having to connect to a computer. Example, waypoints, geocaches, etc.
We just recently went out for a local cache event here in Ottawa, called Go and Get’em. In short, we call it GAG. While out, we decided to try a couple of Chirp enabled caches.
Now before I get into how well it worked for us, I’ll tell you a little bit more about how the people at Groundspeak and Geocaching.com approved the use of this. In short, it took them a few weeks to decide whether to allow this or not, even thought that Garmin had already announced the Chirp’s release. In the end, it was approved. As long as the beacon symbol is placed in the attributes of the cache page. It is also preferable that Cache hiders also provide an alternative to those that do not have a Chirp. However, it doesn’t say they are required to do so.
Back to our Chirp cache story. We decided that we would go after this cache called “A Long Shot” by Pokaroo (GC2GJ7K). When we get to our first way point, we have a to do a puzzle in order to find the projection from the current waypoint to get to the next or we let the Chirp ‘tell’ us. Within 10 meters/40 feet of the first waypoint, Gord’s Oregon beeped and said that a Chirp was detected, and asked if he wanted to download the information. He did of course and it automatically downloaded a new set of coordinates called “Next Stage” into his GPS. Cool! And off we went to find the cache.
Images directly linked from the Garmin Blog site.
So, yeah, this is like multi-caching. But instead of looking for a small little Dymo label tag, the GPS and the Chirp will be looking for each other.
In any case, a multi waypoint chirp enabled cache would be very costly. For example, my Bill Mason multi cache is seven waypoints in total. That would cost me in excess of $140 to put up that cache. Now, even though that the Chirp is assigned a PIN (Personal Identification Number), so that no one else can change the information on it. It doesn’t stop people from stealing it. This could get costly, it you hide it in a high muggle area. Just take a look at this cache “Chirp it Up” by Burt Gummer (GC2H4C5). They have since, placed a memorial cache for their missing Chirp, “Who took the Chirp?” (GC2HQCE).
Well, I hope this answers some questions about the Chirp for some of you.
Till next time.
Is it just me or does anyone else hate these LPC hides?
There’s a number of names for these caches, Lamp Post Cache, Skirt Lifters, Drive-By Caches, etc.
Drive by skirt lifters.
I mean, yeah, they’re there for you just to go and grab up and increase your numbers.
But there’s not imagination to it. As Steve (Model12) would say, these people are just out there placing a cache, just for the sake of placing a cache.
Notably, they are usually hidden in parking lots of shopping malls. I’m pretty sure that these people did not place them with permission from the property owners. Well, it’s public property, you might say. Just because it’s a shopping mall, doesn’t make it public property. Legally speaking, a shopping mall is deemed private property, with an invitation extended to you, as long as you have the potential of doing business on the property.
When Gord (KeeperofMaps) and I were looking for a quick cache to do that neither of us had done. We look at our GPS and then the watch (I forget what I had to do, but had to be back home for a certain time), and saw that there was one not too far away from my home coordinates. GC1FRVV Diamond in the Rough.
We both agreed, after find this cache, that it was a bit dangerous. Since when I went to retrieve the cache, I was feeling around the base of this post and was able to feel electrical wires. Also, when I pulled it out, it was a little metal container, great, something else to conduct electricity. The cache container, was little baggy, were in no way water proof.
There were plenty of trees behind this post, they could’ve hidden a film canister in a tree (AMIAT, Another Micro in a Tree), and that would’ve been ten times better.
Also, let’s not hide these things on private property, they tend to draw a lot of attention, especially when the skirts of those posts squeak when you raise and lower them.
Not too long ago, a skirt lifter was placed on the pedestrian bridge above a major city road and to a major bus station. The noise had probably alerted the nearby nosy neighbour that thought they were doing their civic duty and calling in something suspicious.
Long story short, the bomb squad was called out and they eventually had to neutralize the ‘package’ with a high pressure water gun.
My thought’s on this, please take the time to think about what kind of cache you are putting out there. Will it potentially get the notice of too many on-lookers and/or draw the attention of the local constabulary? Please don’t put a cache out, just for the sake of putting a cache out. Put some thought into it. The finder’s will appreciate a well set up cache.
BTW, there are requirements and guidelines on placing a cache, please go and read them.