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46888FR- TIMEX EXPEDITION- RALPH DITTON

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  • Ralph Ditton
    Jul 1, 2008
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      Hey Coy Boy,

      Here is another instalment for your delight and to learn a bit of proper
      English <g>

      A copy is at:

      http://tinyurl.com/5xh4ao



      Cheers



      Ralph



      FIELD REPORT

      DATE: 30th June, 2008



      My first field trip was north of Perth on the Coastal Plain Trail. This

      trip was a three day, two night adventure. Elevations ranged from 40 to

      60 m (131 to 197 ft). The soil was very sandy. Temperatures ranged from

      an evening low of 9.9 C (50 F) to a daytime high of 23 C (73 F).

      Relative Humidity over the trip went from the mid 40's to 93%. It rained

      on the second morning for a few hours curtailing any hiking as I had two

      small children with me.



      I carried a printout of the weeks tide times from our Bureau of

      Meteorology and I checked the indicated tide times by the watch against

      my printout at various intervals. I used the silver end of the indicator

      hand to read off the tide positions. There was only a slight difference

      between what the watch indicated and the official time. E.g. I took a

      reading at 1720 hours and the watch indicated a low tide in two hours

      which is the 4 o'clock position. The official Low Tide was at 1943

      hours. I took another reading at 1925 hours and the watch indicated Low

      Tide. I can live with an eighteen minute difference. I have received

      similar results for a rising tide also. However, I will continue to

      monitor the tides to see if there is any major blowouts of time difference.



      I am still getting differences with temperature results as indicated by

      the watch to the official temperature and my Kestrel 3500 weather

      station. Out in the bush they are all converging to a closer result.

      E.g. I had readings from the watch at 1400 hours of 23 C (73F), the

      Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) 21.6 C (71 F) and my Kestrel unit 21.4 C

      (70.5 F). A further reading at 1604 hours gave the following results:

      watch, 23 C (73 F); BOM, 22.1 C (71.7 F); Kestrel unit, 22.9 C (73.2 F).

      Later that night at 2240 hours I took another reading of the units and

      recorded the following: watch, 13 C (55 F); BOM, 13.3 C (56 F); Kestrel

      unit 14.3 C (57 F). So they are reasonably close. It would appear that

      the cooler it gets the more accurate the watch's readings become. I had

      left the watch off my arm for many hours resting on a wooden table.



      I carried my own personal compass with me as a check against the watch's

      indication of magnetic north. It lined up accurately with my compass

      magnetic north heading. The declination angle on the Coastal Plain Trail

      is 1 degree. I did not have to use my compass or watch for any bearings

      as the tracks are well marked.



      The watch has kept reasonable time and I have worn it constantly when

      exploring away from my base camp. I did get sweaty under the band and I

      had to loosen it off a bit as my wrist did swell from the exercise. I

      found this operation relatively easy to do when walking. At night I

      could tell the time reasonably well due to the luminous paint on the

      hands. When I used the Indiglo Night-Light I did not find it much of a

      help when trying to read the temperature, as a matter of curiosity. I

      had to use my headlamp. I am still in two minds as to how effective this

      light is.



      My second field trip was over two days and one night south east of

      Perth. This trip was an off track exploration of granite Monoliths in an

      area hardly visited by anyone. My group was looking for Gnamma water

      holes. This was all compass and map navigation.

      Elevations ranged from 320 m (1,050 ft) to 423 m (1,388 ft).

      Temperatures ranged from an evening low of 12 C (53 F) to a daytime high

      of 21 C (70 F). The night was clear and the Relative Humidity on the

      evening reached 89 %. The Dew Point reached a low of 10 C (50F). This

      meant that condensation on and inside my tent was a fact of life. I took

      a temperature reading from the watch at 2100 hours. It showed 17 C (63

      F). The BOM recording was 16.1 C (61 F). I had taken the watch off so as

      to get a much more accurate reading. I took another reading at 0700

      hours the next morning and the watch indicated 12 C (53 F). The BOM also

      showed 12.0 C (53 F). A perfect match. I did not carry my Kestrel unit

      on this trip. I was cutting weight to carry. I did not take any tide

      readings. I did from time to time take compass bearings with the watch

      as a follower in the group. However, I used the main compass and map

      when it was my turn to lead a section walk as it was much quicker to use

      and it did not cut out after twenty seconds.



      A few observations came out when wearing the watch. The very first

      problem that I encountered was that when I was putting my back pack on,

      the watch buttons would catch on the left shoulder strap. I have always

      hauled the back pack up onto my right knee and inserted my right arm

      through first. Then I put my left arm through. After getting fed up with

      getting the buttons caught on the strap after every rest and meal stop,

      I tried doing my left arm first. This worked without the watch buttons

      getting caught, but it went against the grain of putting the pack on. I

      guess it is a matter of getting used to doing it differently. Also, I

      left the cuff undone so that the material covered the watch. When I had

      the cuff button done up, the sleeve would ride up my wrist, exposing the

      watch to the scratchy vegetation.



      Since I set the time on the watch when I received it on the 25th April,

      2008, it is now roughly two minutes slow some fortnight later.



      My third field trip was a day walk with the Perth Bushwalkers helping a

      leader with an Introduction Bushwalk. The hike was over 18 km (11 mi)

      with 90% off track using a compass and map. Here I got a chance to use

      the compass facility. By obtaining magnetic north I could then orientate

      the map and pick out the land features around me as depicted by the map.

      More importantly, I could then proceed to the next feature at a tangent

      to magnetic north. I only did this for a few monolith outcrops as the

      leader took over leading with his compass and map. At least I could

      navigate using the compass feature on the watch for short distances of

      approximately 2 km (1.2 mi).

      Again I got caught out nearly every time when putting my day pack on.

      The watch got caught on the pack shoulder strap. I had to consciously

      put my right arm through the strap first before my left one.



      On the fourth trip, I was away for three days and two nights at Boyagin

      Rock exploring the granite monoliths in the area. The Boyagin Rock

      bushwalk was all off track using a map and compass. I led sections of

      it. From time to time I used the watch to find magnetic north and

      checked it against the compass. It was accurate at all times.



      I did not worry about tide times as I was hundreds of kilometres (miles)

      inland.



      The weather was very wet on the Saturday as it rained all day. The

      Sunday and Monday had heavy fog until the sun burnt it off around ten

      am. Temperatures ranged from a low of 5 C (41 F) to a daytime high of 18

      C (64 F). The Saturday high did not get over 9 C (48 F). The

      temperatures were taken using the watch after it had been off my wrist

      for a good hour so that it could acclimatise to the surroundings.

      I found that if I took a temperature reading with the watch on my wrist,

      there is a discrepancy when I remove it and let it cool, so to speak to

      the surrounding environment.



      I did this on my next trip to Queensland. The temperature reading with

      the watch on was 23 C (73 F) and when I took it off and read it about

      twenty minutes later the temperature reading was 16 C (61 F). That is a

      big variation, some 7 C (12 F). The colder the environment, the bigger

      the discrepancy as the watch is being heated by my body temperature.



      The trip to Queensland involved a two hour time difference and I had no

      difficulty in turning the watch forward on the plane. I did not have the

      instructions with me but I just pulled the centre crown button all the

      way out and adjusted the time. I did the same process when I was

      returning home. I also set it to the correct time as it had lost a few

      minutes again.

      Again I did not check the tide movement of the watch to the tide times

      as I was inland on top of the Great Dividing Range some 100 km (62 mi)

      from the sea.



      When I wear the watch, I have had no difficulty with my left hand shirt

      cuff being too small to accommodate the watch. What I have found though

      is that I do perspire under the band and my skin becomes itchy. This

      usually occurs after about four hours of wear. If I am active, my wrist

      expands slightly so I have to adjust the setting of the watch buckle to

      make it looser. In addition, the hairs on my wrist around and under the

      watch band get irritated with being tugged when the watch slips around

      on my wrist combined with slight perspiration. Sometimes it gets so

      irritating that I have to take the watch off to give the hairs a rest

      and let the skin settle down.



      My last trip during this reporting period was a day walk of 16 km (10

      mi) in the John Forrest National Park in wet conditions. It rained on

      and off during the hike. The temperatures during the hike fluctuated

      between 8 C to 15 C (46 F to 59 F). Elevations fluctuated between 90 m

      to 280 m (295 ft to 919 ft). It was quite hilly.

      The poncho I was wearing had sleeves that came down to the elbows only,

      so my wrist and watch were exposed to the weather.

      I was the leader of the group so I had ample opportunity to use the

      compass function to keep checking where magnetic north was and orient

      the map accordingly.

      The rain did not affect the watch in any way, nor was there any fogging

      under the glass face. What did happen was that rain got in under the

      band and after a few hours started to slightly irritate my skin, so I

      took it off, wiped my arm and band and then put it back on.

      Members of the group that I was leading constantly asked how far we had

      gone and when would we reach the end. I used the watch time keeping

      function to calculate time elapsed from a known point to where we were

      to ascertain distance travelled say from the morning tea spot and when

      we would reach the lunch spot. I was only four minutes out in my

      estimation of arriving at the end of the hike. I put this down to the

      hilly terrain which slowed our progress. The watch kept accurate time.



      Summary

      I am pleasantly surprised that the bulky size of the watch does not

      cause any problems with my cuff. I do tend to wear my cuffs a bit loose

      anyway and I can adjust the setting of the cuff as it has a hook and

      loop arrangement in lieu of buttons.

      The only thing I have to remember, and make a very conscious decision,

      is to place my left arm first through the shoulder strap of my backpack.

      Otherwise, if I do it as per habit, right arm first, the buttons catch

      on the strap when I go to put my left arm through.



      The functions are all working as they should. However, there is very

      limited use for a tide function when most of my bushwalking is done away

      from the coast and I am not wading across tidal creeks/rivers. I can see

      a use for it when I do beach sections along the southern part of the

      Bibbulmun Track and the Cape to Cape Track with beach and tidal

      rivers/creeks which I plan to do in September.



      I am still having difficulty reading the watch at night using the

      Indiglo night-light. I find it hard to distinguish what hands are what

      and the light only shows a tiny cross section of the hands. And I am

      wearing glasses. The luminescent hands are not very distinct. Just a

      very dull outline.



      Good Points



      * Easy to remember the button functions without resorting to the

      instructions.

      * Functions work as advertised.

      * Watch band is easy to adjust when my wrist swells.



      Not so Good Points



      * Uncomfortable to wear for long periods when active outdoors.

      * Very difficult to read the watch face using the Indiglo night-light.

      * Compass function does not stay on long enough when the button is

      released.



      This concludes my Field Report. The Long-Term Report should be completed

      by the 9th September, 2008. Please check back then for further information.





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