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Discussion Starter #1
Ok I know absolutely nothing about GPS.
But after playing with one, I'd like to get one.
What should I get? Features? Used mostly for hunting.
 

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From a guy who is starting and know little about gps

This summer I was working with a guy in both Utah and Oregon who's job was to map large forest fires using a gps. He is also a hunter. I asked him what he recommended for me. He recommended the basic Garmin eTrex. He is a hunter and said that would do the job. I noted at the time that he had two Garmin gps units of his own. An eTrex and a GPSIII. Note the Garmin GPSIII is now out of production and they are selling the GPSIIIPlus.

In this area you can buy the etrex for $89.00. The recommended price is $149.00. I went to the Garmin site and found they are having a rebate offer on certain models. I also used the comparsion chart they have. I bought the Garmin Legend. It has a North America base map already installed and can be updated. It comes with a cable to hook into your computer to upload Garmin's Map Source software or the free updates. I travel through out the West and want to update the topo maps to area I am in from my laptop. This is nice but not a requirement. I think the legend cost me $179.00. I recieved the rebate in about 8 weeks. I recommend rechargeable batteries. Battery life seems good but could be costly.

Another friend and I have been out hiking and practicing using his and my gps. He uses his on a sail boat. He is going to purchase a GPS76 to meet his needs. His old one has an exteral antenna that was broken when a drunken friend set on it.

I have not purchased the MapSource software yet, waiting for a deal. But I have download the MapSource Manual from the Garmin site. The software offers a lot. I need to check out my learning curve.

The key is that I have set my home as a "waypoint." It could be my pickup or my campsite. I have established a number of "waypoints" in the area I walk. I can setup the gps to having an arrow pointing the direction of my home all the time. In one of the area's I hunt I get a couple of miles from my pickup. Normally the last half hour before dark is when I get a nice buck on the move. I will hang the buck and return in the morning light. Now I will create a "waypoint" where the buck is hanging. The country is steep and very broken with a couple of old mine shafts. I will also mark them as "Waypoints" and identify them as hazards. I understand that I can create custom maps using the software.

I do not think the gps is a requirement. It is another tool to go along with my compass, first aid kit, signal mirror, and topo map. BUT a couple of years ago I ended up in the Idaho back country and I travelled inside of a 360 degree circle to get there. I was not lost but I kept checking my map because North was in the wrong location. A lady had one of those little yellow low end Gramin eTax gps units. She sold me.

One of the keys is not to pay recommended retail for a gps unit. There are a lot of sales. I cannot believe some of the major retailers are selling the unit for 40% more then the next guy. I suspect that Wolf will have good advice for you. I am just a new owner who is learning.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
The Garmin etrex is the one I was playing with. Nice compact unit.
There are cheaper models though. The Magellan GPS 315 for example.
Is it any good?
 

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Magellon vs. Garmin

Frankley I do not know. In this area the retailers are offering good deals on some Magellon models. One outfit had a Magellon, carrying case, and software CD for less then two hundred bucks. I would had been tempted if the offer had been around when I bought. I retired from the outfit before gps units became common. I am around a few weeks during the summer and the Garmin units are the most common. I noticed an announcement the other day for an Inhouse training session for folks wanting assignments to map large fires with gps units. The announcement said the trainee must bring a Garmin GPSIII with them. I notice that some of the Agency folks have issued GPSIII. I understand that unit is no longer on the market and has been replaced with the GPSIII PLUS.

I think the key is the base map that comes with the unit. Check it out in a store. See if you can find local land marks and your hunting area. See if brand A, B, or C fits your local needs.

P.S. ran into a fire crew in Oregon last summer from Ontario. They were a nice group, a little concerned about what wildlife they may encounter on the fire. Told them posion oak was their biggest concern. Then a Mt. Lion killed a horse on the same property as the helibase and tried to take it over a fence. They quit worrying about posion oak. :shock:
 

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Johhny

Easy decision if you are looking for a GPS stricktly as a hunting unit. Get the Garmin Etrex. It locks up the fastest, is easy to use, don't drain batteries, and for the price, it's one **** of an instrument. Since you already use a compass, it's the perfect match.

You can get high end models like me & Siskiyou have, they are fun, have a lot more features including topo maps in them. If you enjoy navigating the back country and do it year round the high end unit may be what you want.

The Etrex is every bit as accurtae as the high end units and since it has less features it drains batteries much less. I can run a whole hunting season on a set of AA batteries.

I believe it's safe to say that Garmin is the leader in the GPS market. They have the technology, and they are not bashful about bringing in new models knowing they will kill a lot of sales in inventory. Myself, I like that. I want cutting edge technology as soon as it's available in navigation.

I'm so sold on Garmin that I tried to get a dealership with them. The $10,000 inital investment slowed me down. But I've had 7 units now and none have ever had a glitch. Simply put, I trust them.

Coug
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Seven units??
Because they broke, or because you wanted something different?
 

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I started out using the Garmin ETrex Venture and have since upgraded to the Magellan SporTrak Pro. The Garmin is a good unit, no doubt about it, but I wanted a mapping GPS, hence the Magellan unit. According to many comparisons and tests, this is the most accurate handheld GPS available to date. Here's a link for the comparison: http://joe.mehaffey.com/
I also like the fact that I can upload topo/street maps into the Magellan. It's the main reason that I bought it. Now I've just got to find a new home for my Venture, since I don't need two units. MI VHNTR
 

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Garmin

I bought a Garmin II Plus for up on the Yukon and love it.

Last summer a charter captain loaded his Navtec computer charts on my computer for me to use. Curious I bought a cable to hook the GPS and computer together. WOW! I can load way points back and forth, chart trips on the computer and move the track to the GPS. After a trip I exchange information between the two and label the new points. If I ever loose the GPS, I will still have all my data too.

My next unit with be a Gramin Chartplotter.
 

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John Y Cannuck said:
Seven units??
Because they broke, or because you wanted something different?
Johnny

None ever hiccupped :lol: No, there was a dead spot there for a while, then of a sudden they started to make technolical advances like overnight. I bout a Garmin 12, then the 12 XL. Then Etrex came out. Got the low end Etrex and saw a BIG difference from the 12s. Well that led to going up in models and doing side by side comparrisons in the field and woods.

I did sell the 12s but have all the etrex models :D

Coug
 

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The one major drawback to the Garmin Etrex is the small text they use for the coordinates. My eyes aren't that bad yet but people with older eyes hate the squinting and trade up to a model with larger text in the display.

Garmin has the best customer service. Magellan's reminds me of the state DMV.

I'm still chugging along with a Garmin GPS III+. I'll upgrade to the Garmin GPS V as soon as the price drops. I just love the mapbase in them. Lost's of raves about the Garmin 76 and 76S.

The newer models that are WAAS capable and have the electronic compass are the cat's pajamas.
 

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I could use some advise too.

I bought a Magellan GPS300. It's my first experiance with a gps and I'm slowly getting the hang of it but I'm still a little confused about one thing. I bought it mainly for hunting thinking I could mark my possition at my truck or camp, go about my hunt for the day and then bring up my current possition and plot a corse back to camp. Well it will do it but the problem is you must be moveing at least 2 mph. for it to give a reading. Did you ever try to walk through the woods at 2 mph plus..... you wont last long! :shock:
 

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Re: I could use some advise too.

grnoah said:
thinking I could mark my possition at my truck or camp, go about my hunt for the day and then bring up my current possition and plot a corse back to camp. Well it will do it but the problem is you must be moveing at least 2 mph. for it to give a reading. Did you ever try to walk through the woods at 2 mph plus..... you wont last long! :shock:
Hee hee, they gotcha! And, they got me too! That's why i really got into GPS and found ways to get it to do what I want it to do.

Forget that foolish 2 mph arrow. All you need to do is get a bearing from the point you are to where you want to go. Dial that bearing into a Silva Ranger or a Sunto model and it will work just like you thought it would!

Coug
 

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The Magellan SporTrak Pro only needs to be moving at .5 MPH for the compass to work correctly. This was/is part of the reason that I upgraded from the Garmin ETrex Venture. I also carry a Brunton compass at all times. MI VHNTR[/u]
 

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Garmin Legend???

I am a brand new member to Greybeard, so take pity on me.

Okay, I've read this string of commentary and now I am a little confused on a specific point or two. Shame on me for not having gone to the store and played with one. I have surfed the net for info. I think that has led me to decide on the Garmin Legend. One, because I have one of their fishfinders and like their quality, and Two, because it is in my price range.

Now, to my confusion. According to the Garmin website, the Legend does not have a built in electronic compass. How important is that? I read where the fellow programs in his truck or other location (deer, stand) as a waypoint and an arrow will point toward it no matter where he is (I like this). Then somewhere else, I think I read that will only work if you are constantly walking at least 2mph (not so good).

My use for GPS is that I hunt a large tract of heavily forested mountain-side. I only really get to spend one week a year on it hunting, so I don't know it really well. I sometimes have to find my way in low light or bad weather and don't want to mess around. I like the idea of just locking in where my truck and stand locations are and following the arrow. I am reasonably electronically inclined, but no techno-geek. I would like a few bells and whistle to experiment with. I can read a compass and will always have one for a backup.

Long-winded too. Will the Legend let me plug in a waypoint (truck, stand, deer, etc.) and just follow the arrow (is the arrow the electronic compass the Legend does not have, or something else?) back without having to hump along at a constant 2mph?

Am I looking at the right thing (Legend) for my stated use?

Thanks[/i]
 

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Thankyou Siskiyou - 2mph???

Siskiyou, thank you very much for you kindness. The one unanswered question, do I have to maintain a 2mph pace for the arrow pointer to work, and why?
 

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agdexter:

I'll check it out in the next few days. I am currently taking advantage of good weather to work on the boat. The dog is mad at me and wants to go for a walk so I will check it out Monday and get back to you. There is a screen on which I can monitor my speed and the arrow at the sametime. I do not think I have to be going two miles and hour. When I get on the dam I check the arrow/pointer and I am hardly moving at that time. Not positive because my normal pace is about 2.5 to 3 miles per hour. I might even check the Manual, heaven forbid.

Siskiyou
 

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The 15 minute half time test.

agdexter:

Quick answer .9 miles per hour. I do not know the why.

But, Clearly directional miles per hour are a misnomer in this case. I had my Legend pre-set to the Trip Computer Page. Taking advantage of the Options I had SPEED & POINTER set next to each other. Canopy was about 40% at the site. Approximately 2030 Hours. I found that motion did not have to be in a direct line. I could walk relatively slowly in a tight circle and obtain .9 mph. The pointer would adjust the to the waypoint on which I had set as a GOTO. When speed of motion had dropped to .7 all movement of the POINTER stopped.

If I had been hunting this would have put me on the correct bearing. I could set my magnetic compass. If I could not see a bearing point out ahead when hunting or looking for my vehicle at night I would stop in a few hundred yards and check my bearing again. Moving at a speed of .9 mph is hardly moving in the context of this experiment. In the context of still hunting it would have very little impact. Because you are hunting, not checking the gps all the time. Need a bearing walk a quick tight circle.

I think that the biggest disadvantage may be the loss of signel under heavy Canopy. Again the Magetic Compass would fill the void.

Thanks for help keeping the mind active.

While the Legend has an internal light most likely I would not use it to save the AA's.

Siskiyou
 

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Many thanks

Siskiyou, many thanks for your kindness and advice. I think I will go with the Legend.
 

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learn how to use it

I have an older garmin 12,works great simple to use once you figure it out.has the basic features I needed.thats the important question.what are you going to use it for?the gps's in the $150 range are great for hunting and fishing.but what ever you get take time to use it,and remember it has limitations.a friend has had two,one in the $150 range,one in the $300 range.he was not happy with either one because he did not take the time to learn how they work,and expected to much.I love mine,but I know its not going to get me within a foot of my tree or fishing spot.it will get me close enough to find it,and it will get me back to my truck if I am in an unfamiliar place.
 

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If you don't want to spend much money the Magellan 315 or the Garmin Etrex are both good simple to use units. If you want to spend a bit more you might get one with map capabilty.
I personally believe the Mag is a more durable unit. I've seen Etrex's with damaged casings and missing buttons. I recently upgraded to (won) a Sportrak Map. It's amazing!
The general consensous among my GPSing friends is that the electronic compasses are a pain (you should be packing a normal one anyways). WAAS is nice when playing some games IF you can get it.
Maps on those little screens can be confusing, the new coloured ones may make things easier.

I few folks who have been through a variety of units have ended up with Garmin Rino's. They combine a GPSR with an FRS radio. Not only can you talk to others but you can also track and display there location. A really good safety feature.
 
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