Join Date: Aug 2007
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Re: Handheld GPS Advice Needed...
I have a 76csx which is actually more than I need. It is connected to a Clipper Marine Speed Log for a larger SOG display, and to a DSC-enabled VHF, both using simple direct-wired NMEA 0183 protocol. My GPS does have the Garmin Bluechart G2 map chip, but frankly I find mapping near-useless in a handheld as the screen is just too small.
If I were buying again I'd pass on any pretense of mapping in a handheld and simply look for one with NMEA 0183 outputs for the speed log and VHF... you're probably under $150 new and maybe well under $100 used on eBay.
Note though, that I always daysail in very familiar waters so we never encounter "where am I?" issues. In the rare event that might happen, I also keep a GPS-enabled Android tablet with the MX Mariner app and free NOAA charts onboard that'll give a fix if ever needed.
You can score a perfectly adequate used GPS-enabled Android tablet (like an 8-inch screen Acer A1-810) on eBay for under $100, MX Mariner application is $7 and NOAA charts are free... voila, you have a quasi-chartplotter. It is not weather-proof nor easily viewed outdoors... figure on using it belowdecks, but it will provide an accurate real-time fix on the chart image.
Note many here will poo-poo the notion of using an Android tablet as primary navigation device... and they are right. But for my good-weather sailing in familiar waters, a handheld, paper charts and GPS-enabled tablet backup are fine.