When I started out geocaching in 2003 the gear listed below was pretty much state of the art. Compare it with the gear I have from 2008, which is modern but not the latest available. I have left this section in so you can see how things have developed in five or six years.

My first GPS was a Garmin eTrex Legend.

eTrex Legend

 I couldn't justify the higher price of the Vista but it would have been nice. The unit came in a set with the Mapsource European Metroguide 4.0 and in order to connect the GPS to my PC I bought the Garmin GPS - serial port cable. The GPS is still in use but not for geocaching. It is used for APRS tracking in my car and has been in constant daily use for the past couple of years.

After the usual learning curve I quickly found that what I had read about batteries was true. They didn't last long. Rather than buy alkaline batteries I opted for rechargeable batteries. A charger that came with two sets of 2000mAh batteries was purchased.

I have seen solutions where external battery packs are used, but I can't see myself trailing around a handheld GPS connected to an external battery pack located in a pocket or rucksack. It seems a little clumsy. For some people it can be a good solution.

For my Cantenna project I had read that Halfords had a suction holder that could be modified for use with the antenna. I bought one and quickly replaced the vent mounted GPS holder with this new holder. Much superior and easy to transfer from one car to another. e.g. rental cars when I am travelling. It is still going strong six years on and has travelled around the world in various cars.

The next item to buy was a cable to connect the GPS to a 12V power supply so I could use the GPS in the car on longer journeys. Again, this was a Garmin item but I have since discovered that many other companies make their own lower priced cables. I don't know if a combined PC and power cable would have been a better investment. Certainly, from a price point of view but it seemed a clumsy solution if I should only use the GPS in the car and not connect it to a PC at the same time. I do from time to time but that is another story - wardriving.


My laptop is an IBM T40 which has no serial port so the accessory I had to buy was a USB/serial port converter. This was a Targus unit. and came with the appropriate drivers. In my case for Windows 2000. In practice, I only use my laptop to obtain geocaching info and manipulate it in such a way that it can be used with my GPS and Palm Pilot.

My Palm m515 is used to store geocaching data. Originally I had plans to use the Palm with my GPS to get a bigger display but the connection between the GPS and the Palm is a problem. The solution is not a practical one but itís cheap. I had a spare USB docking station for the Palm. This was modified to be a dual USB/serial docking station.


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