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post #1 of 4 Old 03-05-2007 Thread Starter
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GPS for SF Bay

We are looking for a hand held GPS to use in SF Bay and can also be used as a back up for the South Pacific next year.

There are soooo many out there.

Are we better off just getting a simple and inexpensive one to use in the bay and then buying a better one later?

Any suggestions for a particular one?
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post #2 of 4 Old 03-05-2007
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LL....The Garmin GPS 76 series is very nice and cheap. You can get them very basic or with chartplotters. I would suggest the very basic and get the chartplotter on a big screen later. I recommend you wait on the big screen since it will be costly and technology and mapping keeps changing...while prices tend to drop! Wait on the big stuff till you are nearly ready to go...but get it soon enough so that you can practice in-shore before going off-shore. I made the mistake of installing a lot of stuff at the last minute and was actually running circles to set-up my auto-pilot as we left to head south! A little learning time would have been nice!
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post #3 of 4 Old 03-05-2007
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I like the Garmin GPSMap 76 series. They use two standard AA batteries, and can be powered off of DC from 3-36 volts, with an optional cable. They have USB and serial NMEA 0183 connectivity to other equipment. They can be loaded with Bluechart charts of the area you're in. They're relatively rugged, water and dust resistant and the unit floats.

If you're on a limited budget, try and get a GPSMap 76C, which has a color screen, and longer battery life than the monochrome version. If you have a bit more money, it is worth getting the newest GPSMap 76Cx, which uses replacable memory cards (mini or micro SD cards), instead of a fixed bank of flash RAM.

With the optional NMEA/Power cable, you can connect it to a DSC-capable VHF, an autopilot, a laptop, etc... The computer software is relatively easy to use, to setup waypoints, routes and such. The user interface on the unit and button placement is relatively intuitive.

Also, you do want to get all the bugs out and learn all the necessary features and how to use them without referring to the owner's manual before you head out.


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post #4 of 4 Old 03-05-2007
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SF Bay & Beyond

I use a Garmin Map76 (B/W screen....yes, older but still working fine) on the bay with Bluechart loaded for west coast. Other buddies use the same locally. I do not use that often but usually carry it with me just in case.
I have used it everyday on foreign charters along with paper charts.
Shop around & sure You will find a good deal on this (or other Map76s)very reliable & user friendly unit.
Suggest waterproof/cushioned carry case w/see thru window that has a roll top that can be clipped to pedestal for easy/protected view underway.
Happy customer

Last edited by Chuteman; 03-05-2007 at 03:56 PM.
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