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>> Handheld GPS [topic: previous/next]
PostPosted: Tue Feb 14, 2006 6:57 pm
big one


Posts: 81

I've been researching the Megellan and Garmin handheld GPS systems, and was wondering if anyone has input regarding these devices. I mainly want to use it around Santa Cruz, San Pablo Bay, and the Delta for storing coordinates and to find our way back to point A. I understand that a marine CD is needed for more detail for water, but is it really necessary? Can i just use the Megellan Explorist and still pinpoint locations in the ocean and delta? Also, there are PDA handhelds capable of GPS and was wondering how those compare to Megellan. Do I still need a marine CD for that? Sorry for all these questions, but i have done quite a bit of research and figured first-hand users may be better than reading reviews on these products. Thanks in advance!

~ big one
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 14, 2006 8:52 pm
pescare


Posts: 87

If you're sure of your needs and wants, you'll do fine with one of the low-end units. No need to pay for features you won't use. I've had the Garmin Etrex for about five years and it works beautifully for what you described. Very solid, and it tracks well even on hikes in the forest. Firmware updates are easy. Batteries last like fifteen hours. Price is under $90 now in many places - Amazon among them.
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 15, 2006 8:17 am
hikingjay


Posts: 93

I also have the Garmin eTrex, the model I have is the Legend which lets you upload maps into it. I would agree with Pescare in that if all you want to do is mark waypoints and then find your way back to them then one of these low-end models will work great. Depending upon the amount of accuracy you are looking for, you may want to get one that is WAAS enabled. This basically means it uses ground stations to correct for atmospheric differences you get using sattelites only. The Legend is WAAS enabled and has been extrmemely accurate for me in my old life as a backpacking/canyoneering guide in Arizona. Actually, if I remember right I think that WAAS was originally developed to help people using GPS on the water.
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 15, 2006 10:56 am
salty nick


Posts: 1111

I also have the Garmin E-trex legend, which is fairly easy to use (for the basic things I do, anyway). Last year I got it to use on the rental skiffs out of Santa Cruz, and it really came in handy. I used the waypoints of some popular reefs to start with, then we'd drift around until we hit some fish. Once we started getting bit, I marked the spot, and we would drift back over it. I think it really helped finding/marking where the fish were. Once-in-a-while, when it was really foggy, it was a little slow to pick up the satellites, but other than that it worked well.

The Legend has a small amount of memory (8 MB?)for storing background maps, and has basic streetmap background already installed. I think the regular E-trex is same but no internal memory for map storage. If you want some guidance on handheld GPS, sometimes the people at REI are pretty helpful, but then their prices were high. I think I ended up getting it at Circuit City or Best Buy. You can probably get them even cheaper online.

Salty.
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 15, 2006 5:07 pm
big one


Posts: 81

You guys just saved me a few hundred dollars, and thanks for the useful information. You guys are right, for mainly storing waypoints I wouldnt need an expensive GPS to do the work. I fished SC a couple of times without a GPS, and wasnt able to find the same reef for the life of me. We were able to drift over good areas that produced fish but couldnt find the exact spot. Thanks again!

~ big one
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 16, 2006 1:21 pm
grammar police


Posts: 441

big one wrote:
You guys just saved me a few hundred dollars, and thanks for the useful information.


I learned a nice lil trick from good 'ole Alan Tani on how to mark a reef prior to the GPS days. A two pound ball weight, some beefy mono or dracon ~100yds and a plastic water bottle were all it took. The water bottle we used was the 20 ounce version and I could image a 2 liter more visible, but beside the main point.

He had these pre-rigged; the dracon (80#) was tied to the bottle then wrapped around it and then the free end was tied to the weight. As we drifted and spotted the top of the reef on the finder we launched the bottle. With quickness, it spun around and around as the lead ball fell to the sea floor/reef. Then we had a constant visual on the tip of the reef each time. We had a much better time setting up drifts as the late season tide was unpredictable and seemed to change every other drift.

Please be sure to police up your bottle at the end of its intended use. It was fairly easy to drift by it on the last run and snag it using a small hand gaff.

Though I do use a GPS (Etrex Vista), the combination of the two was a good match. We could track each drift and make slight adjustments as we went along.

The visual marker setup worked for 3 reefs and the weight was lost on the fourth if memory serves me right.

Hope this helps... Good luck and tight lines.

p.s. If you have access or know someone who does, Moffett Field has GPS Etrex (All versions) handhelds at the NEX fairly cheap and tax free.

_________________
Joey3
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 17, 2006 11:08 am
bcooney


Posts: 122

If anyone is looking for a good handheld GPS I have one for sale- it is a Magellan SportTrak Map- all the specs:

http://www.magellangps.com/en/products/product.asp?PRODID=98


It comes with the USA 3d topo street level maps. I currently have loaded from the coast out to sacramento and from santa cruz up to north marin and that fills up the memory- but this is down to street level detail.

It does not have a lot of marin level detail in these maps but for the purposes you are talking about in this thread it works great and is kind of nice to have a map overview for checking your location relative to the coastline map.

Comes with all cables and manual and map cd and original set-up cd and a west marine blue neoprene case.

$75

e-mail me at cooney@kingscap.com if interested.
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 17, 2006 12:06 pm
hikingjay


Posts: 93

I have a friend that has a Magellan Sport Trak like yours that we have used successfully while elk hunting. $75 is a pretty decent price and would work well for what you are wanting.
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