Things I can’t believe I don’t need anymore – Garmin eTrex Euro

I still can’t quite believe this day has come. I no longer need a piece of kit that was once a vital tool for my work and have admitted that it is time to say goodbye. But it’s not going in the bin… If you rush to eBay and put in a bid.

Dear reader, may I introduce you to a longtime friend and collaborator, the Garmin eTrex Euro handheld GPS receiver. This basic GPS Device has a 12-channel Satellite Receiver and, according to the manufacturer, offers ‘A modest size and great performance’ and is your ‘ideal travel companion.’ The GPS information and extensive ‘Placemarks’ are displayed on its ‘crystal clear LCD screen’. But that’s not all, if you’re out adventuring and decide it’s time to return home, you can just follow the ‘TracBack’ electronic crumb trail back to your starting point.

Garmin eTrex Euro, handheld basic GPS device with 12-channel satellite receiver with RS232 interface lead, extension cable and USB adapter.

When it comes to GPS, this is ‘Old skool’ – no maps, no satnav, no touch screen, no voice control. It is just a receiver and datalogger that you manually operate using buttons. It does, however, connect to a computer and combined with monitoring software, a hydrophone, and an admiralty chart… did everything required by me and my friends in the South Wales Porpoise Project.

Chart of our survey area with our survey tracks overlayed.

Back in the ‘Noughties’ I, and a group of friends were investigating the habitat use of Harbour porpoise (Phocoena phocoena) in the Bristol Channel. Over the course of two years, we combined boat-based constant effort visual surveys with towed hydrophones and static dataloggers to help build our understanding of the way the porpoise were using the habitat.

Where were those sneaky porpoises? When were they there? What were they up to? In other words, how important was our little patch of the Bristol Channel to this hard-to-study cetacean?

If you’d like to know more about what we did and what we found, you can download our report.

Sadly, I have not needed to use the GPS since 2005 and have therefore reluctantly decided that it is time to find a new home for this delightful piece of porpoise research history.

If you would like to own this fully functioning yet for most purposes obsolete piece of hardware, you’ll be delighted to know that it is currently available on eBay now. Quick, click, click, and bid. You know you want to. All proceeds will be used to fund the purchase of food and electricity during lockdown.