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Old 05-22-2008
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Garmin eTrex H Handheld GPS- Any good?

My GPS has died suddenly and I want to go sailing this weekend. The etrex is the only cheap one available at Wallys that looks like it might suffice.

I live 50 miles form civilization so Wal-mart is my only option.

thanks
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I have used an e-trex legend for five years...It is a little small for sailing, but was able to use it for other purposes (hunting). I would buy it again...Hope that helps.
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Since you aren't going offshore, do you really need a GPS? Sure it's nice to know your position, but there aren't a lot of obstacles where you'd be going, and you'd be in sight of land the whole time.
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eTrex

Are decent GPS's, BUT....No mapping features OR preloaded maps. This is pretty much a basic relationship Where-Am-I and Where-Was-I gps unit. It does have a BackTrack feature that allow to retrace tyour steps. I think for sail/general boating, this device (eTrex H) is pretty much useless, unless maybe you're kayaking.

Why not get a better one sent via mail order overnight that has maps/charts navaids? There are several at WM or TigerDirect that are handhelds for under 2 boatbucks that will do these things.

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I have a yellow etrex that worked fine on my trailer sailer. Is now used as a backup on my big boat. They are programmable with waypoints and has a handy feature that tells you how far to go to the next waypoint, etc.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PBzeer View Post
Since you aren't going offshore, do you really need a GPS? Sure it's nice to know your position, but there aren't a lot of obstacles where you'd be going, and you'd be in sight of land the whole time.

This is the first trip with the family where I did not have a more experienced sailor aboard. I may fumble everything else but I will always know exactly where I am.
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More Etrex H GPS

While I agree that the eTrex is an okay device for sunlight sailing, within sight of land, and using it as a auxillary device to a good chart, one problem is that you need to first go to the point to create a new waypoint, whereas one with base map or a map that you can upload (this unit does not allow that), you can create waypoints without going to them first. Very desirable if creating a route that you want to follow before you head out.

If the OP just wants a GPS to have as a back up to a chart or basically use it as an odometer, this unit may be fine. If they actually want to use it to help follow a premade route, so that they do not have to constantly use the chart, this is not the unit.

DrB
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If you're just going down river (which I suspect) the visual landmarks are plentiful, and there's only a few markers down to the Ablemarle. More like sailing on a long lake. The Garmin, will certainly give you your position, but there are much more useful handhelds. There are WM's in Washington and Nags Head.
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Part of the problem with the eTrex is that it also won't interface with DSC, since it doesn't have an NMEA 0183 output port, as it is USB only. That makes it less than useful for a lot of things.

I'd recommend going up to the GPS72. which has NMEA 0183 output, is IPX7 water resistant and most importantly, FLOATS.
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SD has a good recommendation,....

along the lines of what I was saying. The Garmin GPS 72 is better choice than the eTrex for the reason that SD points out. The GPSMap76 is even better than the 72 because it comes with maps and NavAids already preprogrammed in, as well as Tidal Info. I have the Map76 and it works very well for a handheld GPS plotter unit. You can get it for $200 or less.

DrB
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