Handheld GPS Advice Needed... - SailNet Community
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post #1 of 42 Old 07-01-2014 Thread Starter
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Handheld GPS Advice Needed...

I am looking to purchase a handheld GPS. I need it for basic offshore navigation like waypoints and reverse nav. I prefer it to be a handheld as I do not have the space or the money for a permanently mounted model. I was hoping that I could figure out a way to load marine charts in to my Garmin NUVI, but I have had no luck in figuring that path out. Any suggestions that are under, say, $200?
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post #2 of 42 Old 07-01-2014
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Re: Handheld GPS Advice Needed...

West Marine currently has the excellent Garmin 78sc that has a compass, barometer/altimeter and US GS coastal charts including usa and bahamas...for $250. The fact that the price is the same as I paid for my 76Csx several *YEARS* ago with *NO* charts makes this a no brainer. Oh, btw, it also is rugged (IPX7) and it floats.

Sure the screen isn't as big, bright, or fancy (no touchscreen) as the consumer grade garmins...but this is a gps that is meant to be in a marine environment. It can be in the big boat, it can go in the dink, and it can go in the ditch kit.
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post #3 of 42 Old 07-01-2014
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Re: Handheld GPS Advice Needed...

Bump on all of the above. I recommend it.
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post #4 of 42 Old 07-01-2014 Thread Starter
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Re: Handheld GPS Advice Needed...

I've got a WM two blocks from my work. I think I'll run down there this afternoon and take a look. Thanks for the advice!
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Re: Handheld GPS Advice Needed...

The annoying thing is that I paid $500 for my 78sc when they first came out.

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Re: Handheld GPS Advice Needed...

The basic Garmin 72 is still available for even less. $150

Does the job for me and I prefer the nav screen options.
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post #7 of 42 Old 07-02-2014
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Re: Handheld GPS Advice Needed...

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The basic Garmin 72 is still available for even less. $150

Does the job for me and I prefer the nav screen options.
The older 76 is still available on eBay, and many people swear by it. If you get the optional cable you can even connect it to your 25 watt Station VHS for DSC reports to the USCG.

Only black and white. But many people who have had both the 72 and the 76 say that the 72 is a down run from the 76. The 76S model can be had for about $100 on eBay(I got one because I'm too cheap to spring the a $500 new one. The 76s was about $450 back in the day. The S model has more memory)

None of them are terribly user friendly, but Garmin doesn't really have much competition. you could also try your iPhone(there's probalby at APP for that).
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post #8 of 42 Old 07-02-2014
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Re: Handheld GPS Advice Needed...

+1 for the 78sc

Garmin Glo for $99 is a good option to hook up to an iPad or similar via bluetooth. That way, one can use iNavx with GPS. Lots of posts online on this.

Last edited by andyselzn; 07-02-2014 at 01:43 AM.
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post #9 of 42 Old 07-02-2014
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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.
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post #10 of 42 Old 07-02-2014
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Re: Handheld GPS Advice Needed...

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Originally Posted by hriehl1 View Post
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.

What he said! I have the Garmin 76cx (or whatever the letters are) and it's great. I also have a Samsung tablet and loaded it up w/ Nav stuff and Weather apps. Great to have.

CS 36M DIANTHUS
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