Start of Day Setup for Garmin eTrex

1  Turn unit on – press and hold the PWR button for two seconds. You will see the Welcome page followed by the Satellite Page.

2  Obtain a satellite fix – Ensure the sky overhead is relatively clear of obstacles. Simply wait till the eTrex communicates with 4 satellites. An accuracy value will appear at the top of the Satellite Page.


3   Check battery – Press the PAGE button until the MENU screen appears. At the bottom of the MENU page is a battery icon. If batteries are low then consider replacing. Ensure you carry a spare set of fresh batteries (2xAA).

4   Check Position Grid Reference format and Datum – Go to MENU  SETUP  UNITS. The formats should be as follows:

  •  Position format – UTM/UPS
  •  Map Datum – This should be the same as the map you are using. This is commonly Aus Geod ’66 although more recent maps may appear as GDA94 (use GDA on the eTrex).
  •  Units – Metric
  •  North Ref – Magnetic (you will now be given magnetic bearings)

5   Confirm your current location – press and hold the ENTER key for 2 seconds to obtain your current Grid Reference. Ensure it matches your expected current location.

You are now ready to proceed – generally leave the unit showing the POINTER page (the one showing a sample compass) or the MAP page.

Leave the GPS unit on at all times while you are searching and on the move. Leaving the unit on improves accuracy in obtaining a Grid Reference and provides a log of your travels. To conserve batteries, turn off the unit while at search base or during long stops.

Carry the GPS high – your body will block the satellite signal if carried below the waist. Attach the carry case to your pack’s shoulder strap or place the GPS in the top pocket of your pack.

Additional optional checks you can do

6   Check Date and Time – Press PAGE button until MENU screen appears. Check date and time at bottom of screen is correct and it 12 hour time. If time is not correct adjust by going to MENU  SETUP  TIME. The format should be as follows:

  • Time Format – 12 hour
  • Time Zone – Sydney
  • Daylight saving – adjust to match current time

7   Check battery save mode – Go to MENU  SETUP  SYSTEM. The mode should appear as BATTERY SAVE rather than normal. Batteries will last approximately 22 hours in battery save mode.

8   Check interface mode
– Go to MENU  SETUP  INTERFACE. The I/O format should be GARMIN.

Clearing track logs and stored waypoints

On the 1st day of a search only – Go to MENU  TRACKS  CLEAR. Then go to MENU  WAYPOINTS  DELETE ALL.

Last Updated on February 17, 2021