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Advice on Handheld GPS

Old 11-19-2002, 08:17 PM
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Default Advice on Handheld GPS

Looking for advice on a resonable priced handheld GPS. I have a 17' dual console, with a Ritchie Explorer compass and charts of the areas I frequent. (Upper Chesapeake and South Jersey Bays) Main purpose for GPS would be to get me back to favorite fishing spots, and spot check compass. Also would like it to be user friendly so that I could teach the family to use it. Thinking that I don't need map function, looking at Garmin 76 or Garmin 72. I was also considering the Garmin eTrex Mariner sold at West Marine. Any thoughts?
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Old 11-20-2002, 02:11 AM
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I find I use a simple Megellan 320 GPS and a paper chart, more than anything else. I have had the 320 for 3 years or so. I have enough confidence in this unit that I returned through New River Inlet in SE North Carolina once with a tarp over me the GPS, and the controls just to prove it was that dependable and accurate. Of course this was after "SA" was turned off, and I had someone that was watching to make sure that I didn't get into trouble. They said I stayed right in the channel, not only that, but I stayed on my side of it also. [img]/infopop/emoticons/icon_biggrin.gif[/img] ( Of course it was a calm sea.)

I have five boats and I used to change the GPS and DGPS receiver between the boats. But I found out from use that the GPS is accurate enough by itself for me to use it to navigate the Channels, ICW, etc here in eastern NC at night with minumun use of lights. Now I just leave the DGPS on my big boat. The GPS by istelf is accurate to about 3-4Yards at all times here. When used with the DGPS receiver, and my Laptop, I find that it is accurate to less than 1 yard. If I had some remote controls, and there were no one else on the water I could operate the boat from the Galley. [img]/infopop/emoticons/icon_razz.gif[/img]

As the auto industry says, "your milage may vary", but out on the water where it has a clear shot at the satillites (usuall 8 or more working ones) it does great.

And the newer ones are even more accurate. I will probably buy a newer one the first of the year. BTY did I mention that the Megellans are waterproof. I know, mine has bee dropped into the water several times, once at the dock in five feet of water. It has been used hard, the glass over the screen is scratched, but I love mine.
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Old 11-20-2002, 02:30 AM
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Red Rider, why are the newer ones more accurate?

Also how does the auto averaging feature of the 320 affect navigating at slow speeds and how did you determine your accuracy to be within 1 yard.

Cheers, Kerry.

I never get lost, everybody tells me where to go!
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Old 11-20-2002, 04:44 AM
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Take a look at 'search' above; alot has been said about GPS unit. Also www.garmin.com will give you more information. www.GPSdiscount.com is a great place to buy. I prefer Garmin, I currently have four GPS units, and I like the Garnin GPSMAP 76S the best, if your talking handheld. They also have comparable fixed mount units. Most all new units have WAAS which gets the accuracy down to three feet or so. The BlueCharts are second to none; you'll soon be using those paper charts to start a fire... Hope this leads you in the right direction. [img]/infopop/emoticons/icon_wink.gif[/img]
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Old 11-20-2002, 06:40 AM
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If you're trying to keep the price down, which is a sensible thing to do of course, I think you are going in the right direction considering the GPS-72. Its the replacement for what I've come to think of as the best GPS ever made, the Garmin 12, and it will give you all the features you need. I will say this however, if you were to think that you might be better off with the GPS-76 I would tell you not to buy it. Instead I'd say just save up the additional cash and get the GPSMap-76 instead. Its about $100 more but its worth the difference in my opnion. As it is though for a basic GPS that will get you home and find those fishing spots for you the basic model 72 will be just fine and it will sure keep a lot more green in your pocket than the others.

Thom

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Old 11-20-2002, 08:33 AM
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Try these guys. Best prices on everything marine related. Their forums are also great. Go with the 76 MAP. You won't be dis-appointed.

http://www.boatfix.com/

Cheers!!
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Old 11-20-2002, 04:56 PM
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Thanks for the input. Not sure that I can justify the extra cost for the GPSMAP-76. Did a product compare at the Garmin site. Seems that the GPS-72 is comparable with the GPSMAP-76 with the exception of the map feature and the number of pixels in the display. The 72 comes with the nautical navaids factory loaded and I know that is no substitute for MAP, but this will be my 1st. GPS and I am somewhat price limited.
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Old 11-20-2002, 05:10 PM
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The Garmin GPS 72 is a great unit...you won't be diapointed. [img]/infopop/emoticons/icon_razz.gif[/img]
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Old 11-20-2002, 06:41 PM
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quote:Originally posted by jgl64:
Thanks for the input. Not sure that I can justify the extra cost for the GPSMAP-76. Did a product compare at the Garmin site. Seems that the GPS-72 is comparable with the GPSMAP-76 with the exception of the map feature and the number of pixels in the display. The 72 comes with the nautical navaids factory loaded and I know that is no substitute for MAP, but this will be my 1st. GPS and I am somewhat price limited.

The GPS 76 and the GPSMAP 76 have an external antenna input, the GPS 72 does not. Otherwise the GPS 72 is identical to the GPS 76 except for screen size. If you feel the need for a larger screen or an external antenna you should get the 76 otherwise the 72 should work fine.

Ed
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Old 11-21-2002, 11:39 AM
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The most basic Garmin handheld is all you need to get from Point A to Point B. I've owned a Garmin GPS-12 for many years and the unit is simple to operate and very reliable and I'm prettys sure I paid about $129 for it. The GPS-72 is an upgraded version of the same unit and I saw it for $159. It's all you'll ever need. [img]/infopop/emoticons/icon_smile.gif[/img]

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Old 11-21-2002, 12:02 PM
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Just a second note. I believe the screen size for the 72 and the 76 series is the same, or nearly so, its the screen resolution that is considerably less on the model 72. That shouldn't bother you at all though because you don't need the detail provided by the higher resolution screen because you won't have maps. Beyone that I am in complete agreement with Fishin'-Finatic about the 72 being all you need to serve. Easy to use, inexpensive, and all the bells and whistles you need. Sounds like a winner to me.

Thom

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(--Teresa Nielsen Hayden)
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Old 11-21-2002, 03:54 PM
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Thom is correct - the screens are the same size - only the resolution is different. I got by for a long time using a Garmin 48 as my primary GPS - that had a smaller screen and only 100x64 resolution.

Ed
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Old 11-21-2002, 10:35 PM
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After looking at the specs, why would one buy the GPS76 (about $220) over the GPS72 (about $150)? They appear to be about equal in capabilities...

Thanks,

Ed P., St. Pete., FL
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Old 11-22-2002, 05:48 AM
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The 72 is the way to go...see 'Thom' two post above. [img]/infopop/emoticons/icon_wink.gif[/img]
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Old 11-23-2002, 06:49 AM
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Yesterdays mailbox had a promotional announcement from Phillip Morris brands. There's a handheld etrex that will be offered as part of the 2003 Marlboro Miles program. [img]/infopop/emoticons/icon_biggrin.gif[/img] By the looks of the photo, it's not one of the fancy units with mapping, nor waas.

My Garmin is the etrex Legend (the blue one), and my regret is not getting a larger screen size. When I use it at night, especially, it's kind of hard to see details up close with these old eyes. [img]/infopop/emoticons/icon_frown.gif[/img] ymmv.
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Old 11-23-2002, 07:39 AM
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jgl64, you mentioned "Also would like it to be user friendly so that I could teach the family to use it."

IMHO when you are trying to teach someone to use a gps, there is nothing so handy as being able to look at the screen and see something that they recognize. Many times a bunch of numbers or just a couple of points just does not seem to make sense in the mind of some people. A mapping GPS is just so much more user friendly than a non mapping GPS to the user.

With that said, I have to agree with Thom, if you don't have the money for the Map76, then you might be better off and wait a little bit and save up the difference until you can. The GPS Map76 is a very good unit.
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Old 11-26-2002, 10:19 PM
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jgl64,

Your needs are modest, except the part about the compass. If you want a GPSR with a built-in
compass, you'll spend a lot more, but that unit will also have more features. The compass feature in most handhelds is only accurate WHILE YOU'RE MOVING.

If you heppen to like the eTrex line by Garmin,
I suggest you don't consider the low-end yellow eTrex. Not only is it more limited in features, but does NOT include the data cable to be able to update your GPSR 's firmware. Garmin does provide nice updates to these units over time! By the time you by the cable, you're only a few dollars away from the next model up.

I bought an eTrex Venture last year. The 'novelty' still hasn't worn off. It's a nice toy and has all my fishing 'waypoints' in it, and can store 20 tracks, which is good if you're fishing in an area you're unfamiliar with and want to get back to. In my case, it's in the saltwater marshes on the coast that I'm still learning my way around.

As Mumblerone suggested, check out gpsdiscount.com. In fact, I just got their quarterly emailing and they currently have a sale going on.

I'm seriously considering upgrading myself to the eTrex Legend as it has the features of my eTrex Venture, but also has mapping capability
with 8meg built-in memory. Also, Garmin is offering a $50 rebate on the Legend and a couple models above (sorry, can't remember which models). With the rebate and buying online,
I can get the Legend for about the same price
as the Venture!

I looked into the Magellan SportTrak series, but from what I've been reading, the Magellan has better reception under tree cover , which is great if you're geocaching, but the downside is that it seems their customer service lacks a lot compared to Garmin and that their units seem to be more 'fragile'. Not speaking from experience here, just what I've gathered from what I've read over time.

If you want to get the family involved, I suggest you check out geocaching.com.

Hope this helps,

-Jim
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Old 11-27-2002, 04:58 AM
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Welcome aboard RogueWave...you're correct on the compass being there only when your moving; with the exception of the Garmin GPSMAP 76S. It has both. The 'S' model is different than the 76 in at least three ways...more MB of memory (23), barometer, and a 'regular' compass, too. I believe this is the only handheld GPS with this compass feature...I find it has limited value, unless your a hiker. [img]/infopop/emoticons/icon_smile.gif[/img]
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Old 11-28-2002, 08:29 AM
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I have narrowed my selections to the Garmin Legend or the GPS 72. The Legend appears to provide almost the same features as the 72, except will get mapping and an pc interface cable. With the current $50 rebate on the Legend, the price is about equal. What the comparison charts do not provide is owner feedback. Any opinions?
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Old 11-29-2002, 03:40 PM
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I've decided i'm getting the gps76map. And if i like it i'll keep it, if not i'll take it back and get another model. But why wouldn't anyone want the map76, seems to me unless your a boat captain and really know your stuff, being caught in fog would be easier with a map??? I got caught in fog the other morning on the bay, i tell you what- i was shaking in my rubbers, compass and my horn kept me safe it turned out. A Garminn76map sure would have been nice, its a bad feeling when you hear a horn from the stern louder than yours.
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