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DeLorme Earthmate PN-60w - 2.2 in. Handheld GPS Receiver
DeLorme Earthmate PN-60w with SPOT Satellite Communicator pairs SPOTâ€T 82;s renowned lifesaving Satellite Communicator with... Read More
DeLorme Earthmate PN-60w with SPOT Satellite Communicator pairs SPOTâ€™s renowned lifesaving Satellite Communicator with DeLormeâ€™s high-performance PN-60w GPS. Imagine typing freeform text messages on the go, sending messages to multiple user groups, and managing your contacts via a contact manager in yourSPOT account online. Communicate with family and friends from locations worldwide. Cell phone coverage can be unreliable, but the SPOT Satellite Communicator distributes your message dependably via satellite.Works Where Cell Phones Donâ€™tThe SPOT Satellite Communicator receives custom text messages and more sent from your PN-60w GPS, and transmits them wirelessly, EVEN OUTSIDE OF CELL PHONE RANGE. This provides a vital line of communication with friends and family when you want it, and emergency assistance when you need it. Minimize
1 Review from Epinions.com
Sep 14, 2011
DeLorme Earthmate PN-60w Handheld GPS Receiver - One Device For All My Outdoor Needs
Pros: instinctive to manage, holds many waypoints or caches, many functions
Cons: SPOT device additional activation cost, directions not always easy to follow
The Bottom Line:
There's room for improvement but in geenral this is a great device for a safe & fun day in the great outdoors.
Since I took up Geocaching a year ago (see: http://www.geocaching.com/guide/default.aspx for more information on that) the goal was to get as much accuracy as possible out of a handheld GPS. I had an old Garmin that was just a bit better in terms of accuracy than using the app Geocaching puts out for my Droid phone. I was also concerned with communicability since there were areas I'd hike to where I didn't get cell service. My track record in terms of injuries isn't all that great, and I was worried about being stuck somewhere with no cell service and no way to call for help.
After checking out what other Geocachers used, I settled on the DeLorme Earthmate PN-60w Handheld GPS Receiver. The reviews were generally pretty positive and it had features I wanted. The price tag was a bit hefty at $370.00 including the SPOT satellite communication device, but safety and accuracy was my main goal.
There are actually two separate devices in this package, the GPS Receiver and the SPOT Satellite device. Both are made of heavy black plastic casing with the cover for the battery compartment on the back being rubberized. They are both definitely water resistant and beyond that I can't say for certainty. The plastic did take on a bit of damage when I accidentally sprayed it with insect repellant one time when I was out. You can see where paint peeled a bit from the effect of the repellant. Other than that, I've found it to be durable and resistant to damage.
The actual GPS receiver is a good fit for my hand. The rubber on the battery compartment also provides a good gripping surface meaning it's less likely to drop. On the battery compartment are hooks to which I attached a lanyard so it can hang from my neck.
The first thing to note is that there's a set of Energizer Ultimate Lithium Batteries included with the initial shipment for use in both the GPS Receiver and the SPOT Device. This is what DeLorme recommends for use and after testing the waters over the past few months, I agree. I tried regular Duracell Copper Top Batteries and they were drained on the GPS Receiver in 2-3 hours. Rechargeable batteries just drained completely in a matter of minutes. I usually get several days out of the Ultimate Lithium Batteries, so even at the hefty price tag they end up being more cost-effective than Duracells. I want batteries I can depend on too as getting back safely can depend on them.
I use my DeLorme Earthmate PN-60w Handheld GPS Receiver mainly for geocaching & hiking. However, it has multiple uses with functions for just about everyone. There are tidal charts for boaters, hunting & fishing applications as well as sun & moon charts. I haven't had to use them, but the fact that these are included with the device makes it a single device for people who have multiple reasons to want a GPS Receiver. The menus are icon based and very instinctive to use.
There's 16gb of flash memory inside the DeLorme Earthmate PN-60w Handheld GPS Receiver. This helps it hold numerous waypoints and/or geocaches so I don't have to keep deleting what I've logged. Route planning and the like is also easy. I find using the GPS Receiver for driving directions to sometimes be easier than using my GPS in the vehicle, particularly when I am driving from cache to cache.
When hiking I put it in compass mode. The maps are very good and show features in great detail including the elevation and trails. I loaded in the maps from the discs included with the GPS Receiver for the northeast and I get some great satellite imagery as well as the topography.
For geocaching, I like that I can download caches I want to look for right to the device. Using a DeLorme program called Cache Register that I installed in my computer, I can synch up my finds with the geocaching website and upload field notes to compose for my log. I find actually putting notes in my logs in the field to be cumbersome, though, due to the method of keying in. I have to use the arrows to move among the letter, number & symbol display then hit ENTER as there is no keyboard. I wouldn't want a keyboard with the device, really, but it just takes away the practicality of using the GPS Receiver as a place to store notes on caches or waypoints. I've also used it to learn how to do other orienteering functions that sometimes come along with geocaching such as projecting a waypoint.
Despite it been WAAS-enabled I have had accuracy be hit or miss. There was a recent update which seems to have helped in this regard, but there have been times when I am being pointed to a location that is quite a distance (up to 100 feet) from where I really need to be. It didn't seem to be that way when I first started using the GPS Receiver and the update has seemed to alleviate the issue for the time being.
Before venturing off of a trail or into the woods I frequently mark a waypoint to find my way back. This is easily done right from the face of the GPS receiver which has a button dedicated to marking a waypoint. This is also great for kayakers who need to find a way back to their launch point. There are also quick features to zoom in or out from the viewing area as well as changing viewing options or toggling to the menu. The screen isn't the largest, but I feel that's acceptable for a device that is supposed to be hand-held and not cumbersome.
Using the software that comes in the package with the DeLorme Earthmate PN-60w Handheld GPS Receiver I can plot a trip out and have the GPS Receiver set up for a trip complete with parking coordinates & various waypoints. The software does have a bit of a learning curve and I did find it was more of a trial and error situation than actually being able to use the directions that come with the device. I do think it pays to be technically savvy or have someone coaching you who knows about these devices rather than be a novice and try to operate it.
SPOT SATELLITE COMMUNICATOR
This was one of the features that sold me on the DeLorme Earthmate PN-60w Handheld GPS Receiver. Too bad that when I went to activate it before a trip the satellite device had been recalled. There was no provision to send me out a new one until they had received the old one and I didn't get an email back from DeLorme customer service until I had already left on my trip. I do appreciate that they actually have customer service that is based in the United States, but don't expect it to be 24/7 availability.
Once I had my new device and it was activated, I found it to be fine for texting and the like. I used it more as a test run than anything else as I don't feel the need to be constantly connected to people especially when the whole point of being out in the woods is to get away from the stress. I tested it for Facebook as well and it worked fine. However, my perspective on it is using it in an emergency situation and some basic communication rather than a need to be connected. If you're the type that feels the need to be connected via text or on a social site, I think you'll be happy with the SPOT Satellite Communicator. It will share your location with friends and family when you contact them so there's no confusion even if you are calling for help on a cell phone - you can just send coordinates through the SPOT Satellite Communicator to whatever rescue agency you're in contact with.
Activating this device is an additional $99.95 per year which I thought was a bit steep. I wish they had cheaper plans that were basic emergency only use for people like me. Still, less than $10 a month for this service isn't bad at all.
I like DeLorme Earthmate PN-60w Handheld GPS Receiver. It's definitely an improvement on what I was using before and is quite versatile. If you have multiple purposes for using a GPS outdoors, you can have it all in this one device. The accuracy tends to be good when the software is current. Updating it isn't instinctive and I do think you need to have some technical abilities to manage it.
Still, I've learned how to do a variety of things using the DeLorme Earthmate PN-60w Handheld GPS Receiver that I didn't know how to before. It helps quite a bit with learning how to manage in the woods and other remote areas. Along with the SPOT Satellite Communicator it goes a long way to allowing me to go out for the day up in the mountains and return home safely.
© 2011 Patti Aliventi
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