VHF and GPS
Does anyone ahve any information on VHF Radio and/or GPS. I started sailing last summer about mid July. I am interested in collecting any and all type if information that I can about the different types of VHF and GPS...what do people prefer? Why? Anything! I am about to take a VHF course via The Canandian Power Squadron in Montreal. Any info that would help me out while taking various courses would be greatly appreciated!
I prefer Icom VHF's. They're a big player in 2-way radio in general. Avoid Panasonic. My first VHF was a Panasonic, and it failed three times without warning in my first 5 years with the boat. Icom got good marks in Practical Sailor, too. I like the models with the remote speaker/mic. My remote is mounted at the helm, so I can use the radio (such as when coming into a marina) without having to give someone else the tiller.
Consider getting an handheld VHF as well. I've got an Icom handheld and an adapter that will connect the coax for the mounted radio where the rubber ducky on the handheld would normally be. Good backup system, because antenna height is a big factor in your transmit/receive range on VHF. (A handheld with its rubber ducky is only good for a few miles.)
I've got a 10 year old Magellan handheld GPS, and a five year old Garmin. The newer technology makes a big difference in time to first fix. Newer unit is much easier on batteries, though real-world battery life is much less than advertised.
If you're considering a GPS with charting functions, something to think about is to use a notebook PC with nav software instead of a chart plotter. It's a much more versatile setup, IMHO.
Hope this helps,
One Step Closer
Lake St. Clair, MI
Go to the Practical Sailor web site (URL copied next)
You can order back issues that will give you a wealth of information about both of your topics of interest. Even if their conclusions do not match your best candidate, there is plenty of good information to be learned about technical specs, manufacturers, prices, etc. I've just looked at back issues and the following two should give you what you are looking for.
Best Fixed Mount VHF: July 15, 2005
Handheld GPS Test: October 15,2004
Don't count on Garmin
I am cruising the north coast of Venezuela to the canal. I spent two thousand dollars on Garmin products, regrettably. Thirty minutes on the phone to Kansas (or wherever) with no 800 number from there in Grenada got me this:
Their Garmin data cards were defective, according to "Scott" with no last name in their tech department. so my 192C at the Nav table will not read their charts.
Also, I was sent an old serial port adapter instead of the USB connection for my handheld 76CS and they promised to ship me one that works with a modern computer when I reached Aruba. Guess what? I am in Aruba, no adapter was sent. No emails returned from "Scott" or Garmin. Big bucks wasted.
No response from Garmin after a dozen emails across the islands. I have no Garmin charts that I paid big bucks for.
Message: Garmin doesn't always work and they don't care. Don't buy Garmin.
Tomatillo:( :mad: :confused:
Power Squadron also does a quckie GPS navigation course too. They may also offer the basic and advancd courses near you and are are some of the best there are and free or low cost. Take as many of the courses that they offer that you can. A lot of naviagtion courses are home study straight from the book but the PS courses have real navigators as instructors that meet over a period of weeks as you do workbook stuff at home. If you need a real instructor to help you this is the best way to go. My wife took the basic course and did very well.
Chapman Piloting is just a flat out a great book and covers about all you need to know on basic through slightly advanced navigation and a whole lot of other things. It's a big thick book with tons of drawings and pictures. If you could only buy one book I would pick this one.
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