d. Moon Navigator. Like the sun, the moon rises in the east and sets in the west. Use the same method of the shadow stick as you did during the day. However, lunar illumination is not consistent and can be obscured by clouds.
5. IMPROVISED COMPASSES. There are three improvised techniques to construct a compass. We will cover them in order of most reliable to least.
a. MAGNET TECHNIQUE. The magnet technique works best. The magnets you are most likely to have available to you are those in a speaker or headphones of a radio. Keep the end of the needle on the battery for a minimum of 2 minutes. But of course you could keep the needle attached to the battery as long as needed.
1. A small piece of iron or steel that is long, thin, and light. Aluminum or yellow metals won't work (only things that rust will do). A pin or needle (the smaller the better) is perfect, but a straightened paper clip, piece of steel baling wire, or barbed wire could also work.
2. Float the metal on still water using a piece of isomat, wood chip, or leaf. Gather some water in a non-magnetic container or a scooped out recess in the ground, such as a puddle. Do not use a "tin can" which is made of steel. (an aluminum can would work.) Place the float on the water, then the metal on it. It will slowly turn to orient itself. Repeat the process several times to confirm your direction.
(a). You could also hang you're needle from a thread. There must be no drafts. This method is not very reliable.
b. MAGNETIZATION THROUGH A BATTERY. A power source of 2 volts or more from a battery can be used with a short length of insulated wire to magnetize metal. Coil the wire around a needle. If the wire is non-insulated, wrap the needle with paper or cardboard. Attach the ends to the battery terminals for 5 minutes. You must tightly coil the wire around the needle for it to work, and the battery must not be weak or you will encounter the same problems as the synthetic technique.
c. SYNTHETIC TECHNIQUE. Does not magnetize the metal strong enough to hold a true reading, especially if there is any wind. Might give one correct reading out of five and it could be off up to 45 degrees.
d. ASSOCIATED PROBLEMS WITH IMPROVISED COMPASSES. The following are common problems with all improvised compasses.
(1) Soft steel tends to lose its magnetism fairly quickly, so you will have to re-magnetize your needle occasionally, though you should not have to do this more than two or three times a day.
(2) Test your compass by disturbing it after it settles. Do this several times. If it returns to the same alignment, you're OK. It will be lined up north and south, though you will have to determine by other means which end is north. Use the sun, stars, or any other natural signs in the area.
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