Question about the markings on the Orca-Pioneer deck compass
My question has to do with the direction markings on the Orca-Pioneer compass, which is a very old product. It hasn’t been made in years. I reached out to Suunto about a user manual but they don’t have one, and they said that they would respond to my question, but so far they haven’t. This was a couple of months ago.
On the compass, direction “E” or east is directly above the 270 degree mark, which is normally west, and the “W” is above the 90 degree mark, which is normally east. On all compasses I’ve used, 270 degrees is west, and 90 degrees is east. Similarly, the pointed part of the arrow, which on most compasses points north, or 0 degrees, is above the 180 degree mark, which is south. Why are these markings different on this compass? It creates some confusion when I’m paddling my kayak. A photo of the compass should appear below. Thank you for your time.
@psychopengy that’s because you are not supposed to look at the degrees straight from above. See the attached image; you mount it in front of you and you look at the degrees from the side where there’s that notch and a line. From above you can see N E S W, but the degrees are supposed to be read from the side.
In another words, from the side you can see your bearing in degrees and from above you can see the magnetic north.
Just like any other ship compass. In this compass you can see that zero degree is opposite to the north N.
Thank you for your reply, and for the photos of the marine compasses. I can see that the markings are the same as on my Orca-Pioneer. The markings are the opposite of those on my Silva brand hand held compass. When I hold the Silva compass with the needle and housing pointing north, the marking 90(E) is on the right (indicating east), and 270(W) is on the left. This makes sense. When I rotate the Orca-Pioneer compass in different directions, the numbers, or degrees, indicate the correct heading. It still doesn’t make sense to me that the “E” is above the 270 degree mark, and the “W” is above the 90 degree mark. There must be a logical reason, I just don’t know what it is.
@psychopengy for a short moment let’s play with an idea that your Orca-Pioneer was marked just like your handheld Silva: imagine that zero was right below N and 180 was right below S. Now imagine securing this kind of compass to the bow of your kayak so that the compass window and that notch in the housing faces back, towards you.
If you were paddling straight towards north with a compass like this which number would be there under that yellowish or reddish line in the housing? It would be 180 but that’s wrong!!! You were heading north, but the stupid marine compass says you are going to the direction of 180 degrees!
That is why the N E S W letters and their corrensponding numbers must be on the opposite sides. This is the logic: marine compasses are always secured in place on the vessel so that the colorful line in the window faces back (or aft). You can look at the marine compass straight from above and you’ll see the compass rose (direction of north, east, south and west), but the numbers under that colorful line ALWAYS indicate which way your bow is pointing!
Just mount your Orca-Pioneer to the bow of your kayak (not right under your nose, but really to the bow) and start paddling. The number under that line keeps showing the direction you’re headed. When moving north it’ll show zero while the letter N on the compass rose is on the opposite side.
I hope this explained the logic. Back in the days I used to have a scuba diving compass on my wrist and that worked just like marine compasses. There were actually two windows, one above and one on the side. From the top window I could see the compass rose and raising my wrist right in front of my face the side window indicated my heading.