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24052Application-Silva Digital Base Plate Compass-Ralph Ditton

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  • Ralph Ditton
    Sep 30, 2006
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      Hello Thomas,

      I submit an application for the Silva Digital Base Plate Compass for your


      Ralph Ditton

      Application for the Silva Digital Base Plate Compass
      Ralph Ditton
      Date: 30th September, 2006

      Survival Guide.
      I have read and understood the current requirements in the Survival Guide
      (version v. 0609 ), all of the appendices and Chapter 5. I agree to comply
      with all these requirements as a tester. I have also signed a tester
      agreement which is on file with Shane Steinkamp dated 7th March, 2005 and
      has been acknowledged by Stephanie Martin on the 27th April, 2005.

      I have graduated from being a Newbie in January 2006.

      Carrying out multiple test reports has not been a problem as I usually am
      testing four items at any one time. All of my reports have been submitted on

      Personal Details
      Name: Ralph Ditton
      Age: 55
      Height: 1. 76 m (5 ft 9 in)
      Weight: 77 kg (170 lb)
      Email: rdassetts@optusnet dot com dot au
      City: Perth. Western Australia. Australia

      Backpacking Background
      I have been walking the Bibbulmun Track over five years and the Coastal
      Plain Trail. My goal is to complete the 964 km (603 mi) Bibbulmun Track and
      become an End to End walker. I am nearly there.
      I have evolved from being a heavyweight backpacker of approximately 28 kg
      (62 lb) including all my water and food to a mid- weight backpacker
      averaging 18 kg (40 lb). I am still trying to get lighter with better
      equipment. My trips range from overnighters to five days duration.

      Testing Locations
      Bibbulmun Track : Sea level to 585 metres elevation (0 to 1,920 ft). Within
      this region I backpack along old forestry roads, sandy tracks, and purpose
      built walking tracks.
      Temperatures will range during the testing period, from a minimum 3 C to 38
      C (37 F to 100 F) during October to January, 2007. Overnight temperatures on
      average during spring and summer range from 3 C to 25 C (37 F to 77 F).
      Prickly Bark campsite on the Coastal Plain Trail is roughly 80 m (262 ft)
      elevation. The trail from the eastern terminus to the campsite is a sandy
      track that is mostly flat with a steep climb up a sand dune over the last
      half a kilometre (0.31 mi) to the campsite.
      Temperatures can range from 2 C to 40 C (35 F to 104 F) during October to
      January of 2007. Overnight temperatures on average during spring and summer
      range from 2 C to 30 C (35 F to 86 F).
      I will be venturing into the Avon Valley for off track geocaching and
      camping. Actual details still to be worked out as to exact location, but it
      will be in October/November.
      It is predicted by the Weather Bureau that the weather will be the wettest
      spring and summer on record following the driest winter on record. Our
      weather pattern is changing.
      Snow does not occur in the areas that I hike, just heavy frost with fog.
      The areas that I hike in have kangaroo ticks, huntsmen spiders and various
      species of snakes.

      Testing Activities
      I will be going on overnighters and extended trips ranging from two to five
      days backpacking, sometimes walking solo and/or with one or two friends.
      I will be undertaking day geocaching trips using my GPS in conjunction with
      a paper map and backup oil filled compass.
      I will be camping out between eight to twelve days and nights between
      October and January 2007. There will be five days and four nights in
      October in the dept of our spring. The month of November has been allocated
      three nights and four days, and in January I want to do at least three days
      and two nights. Nothing is planned for December as I work seven days a week
      up to Christmas Eve. I may grab an overnighter between Christmas and New
      Years Day.

      Testing Conditions
      It is now the beginning of our spring. In September/October the overnight
      temperature in the field regularly ranges from 3 C to 12 C (37 F to 54 F)
      and the day time temperatures can reach a maximum of 29 C (84 F). Day time
      temperatures have in the last week been consistently in the high teens to
      low 20's (62 F to 68 F+). UV ratings have been at the medium range of 6.
      Spring is traditionally the start of our moderately dry season but this year
      it is expected to be very wet. The average night time minimum over the
      summer months in the field is around 15 C (59F). Day time maximum average
      temperatures for October and November usually reach an average range of
      between 17 C to 33 C (63 F to 91). Day time maximum average temperatures for
      December/January range between 26 C to 34 C (78 F to 93 F).

      Testing Intent
      I have been doing a lot of off track bush bashing whilst geocaching. I go
      from cache to cache many kilometers (miles) apart through the scrub on foot.
      I have to rely on my GPS for the "go to" and my paper map to keep checking
      features to make sure that I am where I should be.
      When not using the GPS, I use my Silva Voyager compass which is equipped
      with an inclination scale for determination of vertical angles. The map case
      hangs around my neck for easy access to refer to.
      I do not blindly follow a straight path to a distant object due to obstacles
      in the way. I have to deviate around them, sometimes in dense scrub and lose
      sight of the target of the bearing.
      I would love to test the Digital Base Plate Compass in this environment.

      Test Plan

      * Can I change the data from imperial to metric?
      * I notice on the photo of the compass that the leading edge is scaled
      in miles, is there a metric version? I admit to rarely using this feature on
      my compass, so it is not critical. Our maps are all metric.
      * Will the digital compass work anywhere in the world? Some manual
      compass needles are weighted at one end to remain horizontal for the
      hemisphere or zone that it was intended for. In other words, have the
      manufacturers created a variation in the digital compass to reflect the
      Northern hemisphere as opposed to my Southern hemisphere settings? I would
      test the digital compass against my compass.
      * Is the electronic compass reliant to forward movement for it to
      function accurately?
      * What happens if I stop to take a sighting with the digital compass?
      * Is the back light effective enough for me to read the display at
      * Can I read the display in strong sunlight?
      * Will the unit suffer from condensation/moisture getting into it?
      * Are there a set of operating instructions which come with the item
      that show clear and easy to follow instructions or is the web site the only
      * To recalibrate the compass, does it normally take two rotations of
      approximately 10 seconds in a clockwise direction or will I have to repeat
      it a number of times to get the "speed of rotation" correct?
      * How often will I have to recalibrate the compass?
      * For what reasons will I have to recalibrate the compass?
      * Will I always be alerted to the presence of electrical or magnetic
      interference by a WARN display? I would test this around electrical motors
      and known magnetic rocks in areas that I walk.
      * Does the compass automatically turn off if not used for a while?
      * How long do the batteries last?
      * Is it possible to accidentally bump the control buttons and alter
      the display information without realising it?
      * Will the compass live happily in a plastic map case hung around my
      neck whilst switched on?

      I will report on any other aspect that may come to light during the test
      that was unforeseen by me.

      Thank you Silva and BGT for the opportunity to apply for this product.

      My owner reviews and test series are listed below.
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      Mentor Programme
      I am a mentor for two aspiring gear testers in the Mentor Programme.

      I am currently awaiting a new allocation of duties.

      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
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