46888FR- TIMEX EXPEDITION- RALPH DITTON
- Jul 1, 2008Hey Coy Boy,
Here is another instalment for your delight and to learn a bit of proper
A copy is at:
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
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)
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
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.
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.
* Easy to remember the button functions without resorting to the
* 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
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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