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John's Journal... Entry 241, Day 2


Be Lost No More

Editor's Note: Global Positioning Systems (GPS) is a system of satellites that circle the earth and give off signals. Each GPS satellite transmits its precise location (position and elevation) and the start time of the transmission. A GPS receiver acquires the signal and then measures the interval between transmission and receipt of the signal to determine the distance between the receiver and the satellite-a process called ranging. Once the receiver has computed range for at least three satellites, the receiver's location on the surface of the earth can be determined. Each satellite transmits two types of data, almanac and ephemeris. Almanac data, general information on the location and health of each satellite on the constellation, can be collected from any satellite.

A receiver with a current almanac in its memory knows where in the sky to look for satellites, given its last known position and the time of day. Ephemeris data is the precise satellite positioning information that is used for ranging. Each satellite transmits its own ephemeris data. Both almanac and ephemeris data are required for a GPS receiver to locate and acquire satellites quickly and compute your position. GPS produces accuracies of about 27 yards or better, bringing you within visual range of a destination or a target. Most GPS receivers allow you to log waypoints, either by number or name, which remain in its memory until you either delete it or change it. Regardless of your distance from a waypoint, the computer can calculate the direction you need to travel and the distance from it. This week, Don Taylor, a longtime turkey hunter from Alabama, shares the experiences he's had hunting with his GPS receiver.

Until I acquired my first GPS receiver, I got lost about three times every turkey season. Although I considered myself a good woodsman, I hunted turkeys in several states each year, rarely hunting the same place twice. When my host dropped me off at my hunting location before daylight, he usually told me, "You can hear the bird gobble from here. We'll pick you up about 11:00 a.m." Having a compass didn't help me if I didn't know my location, which way the roads ran or where I needed to go. But when and if I do hear a turkey gobble, I'll go after him. I'll often have to reposition myself three or four times or perhaps even hunt for a bird that doesn't gobble.

By 10:00 a.m., I can't find the road where my host dropped me and may spend much of my hunting time trying to locate my pick-up point. However, since I've used a GPS receiver, I don't get lost. When I climb out of my vehicle in the morning, I locate my position on my GPS, and I store that position as a waypoint in the receiver. When I get ready to come out of the woods, I simply pull up the waypoint and hit the "Navigate" button. The GPS receiver informs me of the distance to the car by the shortest route, and an arrow points to the direction I need to walk. As I move toward the car, the GPS receiver tells me how long walking to the car will take me at that speed.




Check back each day this week for more about SPACE-AGE GOBBLERS WITH DON TAYLOR ...

Day 1 - GPSing Albert
Day 2 - Be Lost No More
Day 3 - Hunt Non-Pressured Gobblers And Create A Hunting Plan Using Your GPS
Day 4 - The Slue-Foot Gobbler
Day 5 - Give A Turkey To A Friend

John's Journal