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tadd16 07-01-2006 09:04 PM

cheap GPS
i want to try using GPS and want some feedback on the cheaper, under 100 bucks, handheld models. any and all repleys will help

trantor12020 07-01-2006 10:27 PM

any Garmin or Megellan won't be a mistake.

camaraderie 07-01-2006 10:31 PM

Tadd...The cheap GPS's are just as accurate as the expensive ones so if all you need to know is your lat/long then they will be fine. Most of the small handhelds are designed for hikers etc. rather than mariners so lack the larger multi-data readouts (course, velocity, SOG, etc.) that you get on the slightly larger units (Garmin GPS72,76 etc.) and of course, color screens and charts won't be found on the sub-$100 stuff. Some allow you to store waypoints...others don't permit direct entry. Many times the # of storable routes is not very high. You also generally get a small, less readable screen and may not be able to output NEMA data to other electronics. Some of the above may be important to you...or not. Even the $99 stuff outperforms and out-features units from just a few years ago and can take you anywhere in the world if you have enough batteries! (Get one that can take an adapter!)
Once you get to know your cheap GPS and lust for something more can always stash the cheap one in a waterproof box with a bunch of batteries as your backup...I have two like that now! :D

gsheath 07-02-2006 02:23 AM

My intro to GPS navigation has been through a recent purchase of the Garmin GPS60. Although a little over your $100 limit, I have found this to be a very usable budget GPS, with quite a number of mariner related features. It is powered by battery, but has an input to hook into your boats power system via an optional extra connector.

I think suitable mounts can aslo be purchased if you didn't want it to be strictly hand held.

As camaraderie says, these cheaper options are no less accurate, but often limited in capability eg no inputs, outputs, chart plotting etc. GPS60 is an example of this, but I have found it suits me fine using paper charts.

Check it out for yourself . . .

pluscard 07-02-2006 10:06 AM

Going the other direction, I use a Garmin 369 on my airplane. It has a feature that may not be widely known in the sailing community, so I thought I'd mention it. It downloads real time doppler radar using an XM satelite radio feed. It cost $2195, but can really keep you out of the weather. The montly cost for the XM data is $25 for doppler and other weather reports, or $50 if you want lightning strike data. You can change your level of service at any time, but you do pay 3 months in advance. Being a pilot, weather was the one thing that always concerned me - now I am much more confident about longer trips.

ps: I'm pretty sure garmin makes a marine version of the 396 at a lower cost, and there are also other devices which can display the weather from XM if you already have a gps.

Ronbye 07-02-2006 11:22 AM

I would suggest the Lowrance H20, it is relatively cheap and has mapping capability, and memory card for maps, less than $200.00

tadd16 07-02-2006 11:28 AM

thanks alot for all the responses

sailingdog 07-02-2006 11:47 AM

The real problem with some of the cheaper GPS units is not the accuracy, but things like the software and user interface, the ability to download maps, add waypoints and routes via computer, and things like that. Also, some of the cheaper ones aren't all that rugged either from my experience.

wumhenry 07-02-2006 01:21 PM

This looks pretty good for a little over $200:

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