A compass is an instrument used by people when they have to navigate a particular area. The mechanism of a compass is possible because of the earth's magnetic field. A common compass has a magnetized needle or pointer placed in a face that looks similar to a clock. The face has the four directions - North, South, East and West. Other compasses will include the secondary directions like northeast, southeast and so on.
A lensatic compass is a type of compass that consists of a magnetized dial and not the usual simple needle. It is the magnetized dial that indicates the directions and the compass' face contains the numbers that indicates more specific directions. A lensatic card is always joined to it. The lensatic card lets the user to view the results from the compass without looking down directly at the face of the compass. These parts of the compass are important when learning how to use a lensatic compass. A protractor is also needed when checking with the map.
The lensatic compass has a circumference that is divided to 6,400 units and is measured as: One unit = one meter of separation at 1000 meters of distance, and, One mil = one yard at 1000 yards (military system).
Here are simple tips for beginners on how to use a lensatic compass:
In using a compass when getting a bearing, the user should unfold the upper cover so that the lensatic compass is positioned at 90 degrees angle. The lensatic lens should be raised at a 45-degree angle. Be sure that the thumb hook is pointed down.
Place the thumb in the compass hook so it would remain steady. Face the object which is the target then place in the center its sighting wire.
Read and interpret the degree indicators in the compass card while holding the compass toward the direction of the target object. A user can do this by carefully moving the compass lens upward and downward. The bearing could be read in degrees or through military system.
In setting a bearing with the lensatic compass, make sure that the target object is faced by the person holding the compass. The moving marking should be turned and aligned with the magnetized north as seen in the compass card.
If the directions are determined via the magnetized north and the markings, the compass will provide the user familiarity to the place being navigated.
In following the bearing of a compass, the user who is already familiar with the directions must pick a marker from a distance and set it as a reference point during travel. In case the reference point becomes out of sight (possible causes could be thick clouds, trees, fog, etc.), the user should stick to the bearing given by the compass. In few occasions, it is advisable to determine the current direction and location by getting another bearing to the reference point.
As a beginner who is just studying on how to use a lensatic compass, please spend some time getting familiar with the compass and do not try out immediately in an unfamiliar territory such as forests. Once able to follow the simple tips on how to use a lensatic compass, a traveler would be more confident trekking the woods, forests and mountains.