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Old April 29, 2013, 03:22 AM   #26
Death from Afar
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I don't know if this explains what happened, but there are a number of magnetic anomalies in this wonderful country, and a well known one in the top of the South, by Nelson. I had a geologist explain to me once why this was, and he used big words so my eyes glazed over.
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Old May 1, 2013, 10:34 AM   #27
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I live on the Minnesota Iron range and worked in that industry for 35 years.
SSMagee is right to say there is magnetic influence from the ore but it is a very minor influence unless there is Lodestone(natural magnet) nearby.
The early explorers carried large "Dipping Needle" compass to map out the boundary of an iron ore formation. There is Hematite (Non-magnetic) ore and Magnetite (Magnetic ore) here and the magnetite is very low grade and the most abundant.
We have a State Wide Program that started in the County I live in that provides compasses to all Firearms Safety Students; Here
Tennison Memorial

After their son's disappearance, Jim and Mary Tennison worked with the DNR to set up the Jamie Tennison Memorial Compass Fund. The fund buys compasses and provides survival training for Minnesotans completing DNR's firearms safety training.

Questions or donations may be addressed to:

Jamie Tennison Memorial
Compass Fund
Grand Rapids Area Community Foundation
201 NW Fourth Street
Grand Rapids, MN 55744
This program provided training and compasses for all Itasca County FAS participants but is now a State Wide program. In the early years the compasses were low quality but today the compasses are top line A-10 SUUNTO although I would prefer a simple Fisheye.
My favorite method is the cloudy day one.
Using a very small twig or stem of grass, or a knife as in this illistration The shadow cast on my thumbnail will tell in which direction the sun is. I work with this with my Grand Children all the time, and here in the Northwoods we can use the fallen tree method.
All our BIG storms come straight out of the west, therefore if we see snapped off trees (as in numerous) they will point East.
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Old May 1, 2013, 05:02 PM   #28
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I have a great deal of experience with GPS. Mostly for being a heavy equipment operator. Most of our heavy iron had GPS grade controls. I don't trust it. It go's out to much. When we hit Iraq after 9-11 our GPS was out for months. Every time there's a solar storm we'd loose signal and have to calibrated.

Any of you recalibrate your GPS? Probably not.

I use it in my car and hunting but always carry a compass for backup( on the hunt, not in the car).

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Last edited by Boomer58cal; May 1, 2013 at 05:56 PM.
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Old May 1, 2013, 08:31 PM   #29
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Boomer, my GPS always seems to get me to where I am going and back again. I plot home in it. I plot way points, and it always gets me within a few yards of where I am supposed to be. I don't really need it walking, but I am terrible out on the water. My sense of direction sucks when I am in a boat.
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Old May 2, 2013, 08:22 AM   #30
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Beautiful country you live in David.
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Old May 2, 2013, 08:23 AM   #31
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That said, I always used 2 compasses, AND a topo map, in conjunction with each other. In teaching students to use a compass, I included the precaution to be aware of magnetic influences, such as the presence of iron objects (rifle, pistol, trucks, railroad tracks, overhead power lines, hand grenades hanging off your web gear, etc.) The army even specified exact "standoff distances" for each object, and included several questions in the end of course test to be sure the students understood/learned that a compass needle is sensitive to magnetic distractions, some of which are not obvious.

The kevlar helmet was a great invention in land navigation.
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Old May 2, 2013, 02:08 PM   #32
Brian Pfleuger
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Originally Posted by Boomer58cal
Any of you recalibrate your GPS? Probably not.
"Recalibrate GPS"?

GPS is based on the time delay between the device and the satellites. The satellites are in geosynchronous orbit. There is no way of "recalibrating" and no way for them to lose calibration.

I have used a large number of GPS products over the years, from $100 units bought at WalMart to cell phones and units built into aircraft communication equipment that cost $15,000+.

I have never seen a single unit that was wrong, beyond reasonable accuracy errors of a few tens of meters.

The only calibration that needs to be made is the receiving units internal clock. It does that automatically by adjusting time until the signals that it's getting from at least 4 satellites create 4 spheres that overlap at a single point. It's pretty much impossible for that calibration to be wrong.

MAYBE there's something about military units that require that time calibration to be done manually, I don't know, but I do know that no civilian units I've ever seen have any such thing.
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Old May 2, 2013, 04:38 PM   #33
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Ewwww. Did you ever reset the field on it? Be a good way to fix compasses if you can not go buy one.

I hope that doesn't happen to my compass. Sucker was $50. I highly recommend it though.

edamned - I never understand why fellow soldiers fail during land navigation, but I always manage to find the coordinates no problem. Then again it was funny watching how some would read their compasses.

Then again I did forestry judging for 6+ years. So pace count was already muscle memory.
Training pays keep active with your firearm. It could save your life one day.
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Old May 2, 2013, 05:20 PM   #34
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I am enjoying reading the various comments even if we have wandered slightly off the original topic of reversed polarity in a compass.

Whether you actually use the compass depends a lot on the terrain you are in. Here in the South Island of New Zealand it is quite difficult to be "lost" in the high country as you should know which valley you are in and you would surely have noticed if you had climbed out over an 1800m ridge! The bush runs out around 1000m so you have a clear view when on the "tops". The problem is more likely to be finding a safe route back to your base around bluffs, gorges, glaciers etc. especially in fog. I make a habit of building a small cairn when I reach a ridge or other prominent feature so that if returning in fog I know where to descend or can get my bearings - it is reassuring even if you were 99% sure of where you were. A topo map is essential in this country - I am continually surprised at how a route traced off a topo map is feasible in practice. Conversely I can only think of a couple of instances when I have actually used the compass in such terrain.

In the North Island or in the flat front country of the South Island it is easier to get lost as the hills are lower and the bush covers them so that you can cross from one watershed to another without noticing. And it is easy to lose your sense of direction in bush in flat terrain. Here a compass is essential. There are many times when I have been "temporarily confused" and taken the advice of an old bushman "Stop. Sit down. Have a cup of tea or roll a smoke and THINK!"

As for GPS their main problem is batteries. The typical 2xAA barely last a day if the unit is left on to record your track even with the backlight turned off. And GPS accuracy is markedly reduced in thick bush, or the bottom of a valley. Their topo maps are pretty limited too because of the small display.

Beautiful country you live in David.
I agree, 2damnold4this. If you want to see some pictures of a 6 day chamois hunt we did in March I have posted some on this forum.

We can hunt deer, chamois and pigs here all year round though it gets a mite chilly in winter.

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Old May 3, 2013, 10:48 PM   #35
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GPS ? Ha, Ha, Ha. Nobody can find my house with a GPS and it has been sitting here before the Civil War. It is unbelievable trying to get something delivered. You tell people not to follow the GPS and they will not listen to you.
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Old May 4, 2013, 02:52 AM   #36
Sure Shot Mc Gee
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buck460XVR brought up a good point. If you know which way the compass is actually pointing towards. Lets say (EAST) By lining up its compass face with its pointer (East) You should still be able to figure out which way you want to walk. Just use it knowing its pointer will always point East or whatever instead of true North as it should but doesn't. Kind of like a GPS behaves like on low battery's_.

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Old May 4, 2013, 07:42 AM   #37
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Originally Posted by Gunplummer View Post
GPS ? Ha, Ha, Ha. Nobody can find my house with a GPS and it has been sitting here before the Civil War. It is unbelievable trying to get something delivered. You tell people not to follow the GPS and they will not listen to you.
Not being able to find your house is a mapping problem, not a GPS accuracy problem. Give someone the coordinates instead of a street address and they'll find your house just fine.
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Old May 4, 2013, 01:00 PM   #38
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During last year's Elk hunt, I found myself in unfamiliar territory while hiking in to retrieve the last load of meat. After arguing with one of my brothers for 15 minutes, about our location, I pulled out my compass (while he continued to insist that we were short of our objective).

The reading was about 90 degrees off from my natural sense of direction and neither the compass nor my own sense of direction matched the visible landmarks in the area. Being well aware of the affect certain natural deposits can have on a compass, I kept my eye on it, while hiking another 100 yards or so. As we moved away from a collection of large rock formations, the compass came into agreement with local landmarks (not so much with my own sense of direction).

My brother's response to the compass: "It's wrong. That thing is broken. Let's keep going." .....

I was much more familiar with the area (as a whole), and simply laid it out for him: "I have the gun. You have a knife and a pack that smells like dead elk. If you want to keep hiking that way, where we know there are several bears, you go right ahead. I'm turning around, because I think we overshot the top of the ridge and walked right around the meat about half a mile back. Neither of us knows where we are, but the compass agrees with the peaks I can see. I'm turning around."

He went about 50 yards, before hearing a twig snap and returning to the guy with the compass and the gun.

Later that night, one of the two members of our hunting party that were using the latest and greatest Garmin Rino GPS units showed up in camp about 4 hours after dark. As he dropped his pack, he lobbed the Rino across camp, into the back of a truck, stating "That damned thing sent me 2 miles that way [motioning over a really nasty mountain], and then reset and told me camp was behind me."

Later, he freely admitted that his gut was telling him the Rino was wrong (he had studied my topo maps), but he followed it because he hadn't had one let him down before.
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Old May 4, 2013, 03:00 PM   #39
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We used a compass when I would go coonhunting with my friends down in the bootheel of Missouri, fellas there are a bunch of big long deep hollows, in that Mark Twain National Forest. We would generally head out out about 9:00 pm and hunt til about 5:00 am. My friend would hand the compass to me and say dont let us get lost, and we never did, and this is why: When we got ready to leave truck I would take a reading, and coordinate our travel direction from the truck, for instance the truck set in a parking lot at 30 degrees south and we knew that to find this truck at 2:00 am or whenever we would have to use this first reading and triangulate off large topo features and record direction. Large topo features can be anything you can see from a distance like highline poles, lookout towers, cellphone towers, bluffs,,, etc. we called our coonhunting party "lost in the dark"...
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Old May 4, 2013, 03:31 PM   #40
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Just look at an old tall chimney. They all slope to the south.
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Old May 4, 2013, 05:37 PM   #41
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originally posted by skywag:

Just look at an old tall chimney. They all slope to the south.
I'll remember that next time I'm lost in the woods.....

Similar to the tall trees here in Wisconsin all leaning to the south. I've been told it's because Illinois sucks.
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