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Thread: GPS?

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    Member alaska_pike's Avatar
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    hi im looking to buy a gps any information would be helpful. i have been considering the oregon 450 by garmin and am just wondering if anyone has reviews on this product or any other advice would be helpful. also do i need to buy an alaska mapping system to go along with a gps or do they come equipped with sufficient alaska topography

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    Moderator LuJon's Avatar
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    I get along fine with a 62ST or the previous model 60CSX. The bells and whistles on the new ones usually sacrifice battery life which is more negative than I want. I could see the bigger screen being an advantage for boating though. Both my 60 and 62 are accurate enough that I have been able to retrace my steps to find a game trail through alders on mountainsides. May not seem like much but for anyone who has either found or cut a narrow trail up above tree line and tried to find it again on the return trip you likely know what I am getting at! The biggest thing to me is the gyro compass. Many early units rely on your movement to identify which way you are looking, when on foot alder bashing they struggle to stay oriented. I also use mine I the winter and can operate the buttons on the 60 or 62 with my glove liners on and I don't trust the touch screen units for that.

    The 62 has easier (or less goofy) electronic compass calibration. With the 62 you spin then flip the unit. With the 60 you have to physically spin around holding it. Several times over the years I have been getting weird readings and had to stop and start calibrating my old 60. Always seemed weird to be spinning around in the woods when the goal was to get oriented. Spinning is a much better way to get DIS-oriented!

    I have not aged with the Delorme options so they may be better. I have the huntinggpsmaps chip for my system and it works great. It isn't a replacement for quality topo maps in but planning but it gets me around in the field. The only other system I would really consider is if I had regular hunting buddies and we all bought Garmin Rhino GPS/Radios.

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    Moderator kingfisherktn's Avatar
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    There is a screaming deal on Garmin.com for the Oregon 550T for $299.00. I think the deal is good till 11/27. If you can't find it right away just do a search on their site.

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    I am VERY happy with my Oregon 450. Anything like that or newer would be a very good choice IMO.

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    Member martentrapper's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kingfisherktn View Post
    There is a screaming deal on Garmin.com for the Oregon 550T for $299.00. I think the deal is good till 11/27. If you can't find it right away just do a search on their site.
    Who has one of these or similiar? I am still searching for a unit that works well in below zero cold. Have had my garmin 296 out in slightly under 0 and it did good. But it needs a better map. I know.......I could download a better map in to it.
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    Moderator kingfisherktn's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by martentrapper View Post
    Who has one of these or similiar? I am still searching for a unit that works well in below zero cold. Have had my garmin 296 out in slightly under 0 and it did good. But it needs a better map. I know.......I could download a better map in to it.

    MT, I do have one, but have only used it to about 15 and worked fine at that temp.

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    I have the 400T and love it. I have had mine for a couple of years also with no problem. I would buy another.

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    I have an Oregon 450 and it has been a good unit, the base map is fairly basic. I use the Alaska topo and Alaska PLAT maps in mine. I can use it with my gloves on, not like my iphone. Make sure to lock the screen before you put it in your pocket or it may end up in Russian language mode, don't ask me how I know.

    I bought the new Dakota for the larger screen to use in my boat for my Koyukuk trip and really like it. I added the street maps and a voice mount and use it in my truck for turn by turn navigation like a Nuvi, so it serves double duty. Kind of big for backpacking, but my old eyes love it in my boat. Was worth the cost for the Koyukuk trip alone.

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    Hi I've been running the 276c for years with Alaska maps down loaded love it use it my muskox hunt in march went from galena to nome then over to candle and back -31 twice mounted on the dash of my snow machine no problems

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    Member barber8605's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by alaska_pike View Post
    hi im looking to buy a gps any information would be helpful. i have been considering the oregon 450 by garmin and am just wondering if anyone has reviews on this product or any other advice would be helpful. also do i need to buy an alaska mapping system to go along with a gps or do they come equipped with sufficient alaska topography
    Sportsmans has them on Black Friday for $199

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    another thumbs up for the 62st.
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    Member alaska_pike's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kingfisherktn View Post
    There is a screaming deal on Garmin.com for the Oregon 550T for $299.00. I think the deal is good till 11/27. If you can't find it right away just do a search on their site.
    thanks for the info, i just looked up this 550T and it seems to be what ive been looking for, i think im gonna go for it

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    I have the Oregon 450 T and like it. Duckdon
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    Member JOAT's Avatar
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    Garmin for sure. The exact model depend entirely on what you want to do with it. If you're mostly backwoods and off road, forgo the touch screen types (Oregon et al) and get something from the 60, 62, 76, or 78 models. If you just want to get to a spot and back without a huge investment, the newer eTrex units are decent and economical.

    I personally hate touch screen devices. They are less responsive, harder to use, and not nearly as durable as a good old mechanical switch (button). But that's just me. If you like touch screens, then the Oregon series might be OK for you. Just be careful with it. They are not nearly as durable as the other models mentioned.

    Over the years, I've used Garmin 40, 12XL, eTrex Vista, 76CSx, and now 62STC. The 76 will run for at least 24 hours straight on 2 NiMH batteries. The 62 has more bells and whistles and only gets about 14 hours out of the same set. For running around in the woods, the 76 is great. Large display, stupid simple menu navigation, and long battery life. The newer 62 sacrifices battery life and the menus are not as intuitive as they are now more "computer like". The reason I picked up a 62 series is for the GPX file capacity and the 3-axis compass. GPX files are Geocaching thing and I can quickly load a single file from my computer with up to 5,000 geocaches in it (there are about 5,120 geocaches in the state of Alaska right now). The older 76 model required me to filter geocaches through a 3rd party application and then through MapSource software to build a batch of up to 1,000 individual waypoints. If you're not into geocaching, then either get into it or disregard this feature when choosing the unit that is meant for you.

    I should point out that the 60 and the 76 are the same unit in a different package. The 62 and 78 are the newer versions of these and are also basically the same unit in a different package. The 60 and 62 have buttons below the screen and a helix antenna sticking out the top. They are designed to be held in a more vertical position. The 76 and 78 models have buttons above the screen and a flat patch antenna. They are billed as a "marine model" because they float. They are designed to be held in a flatter orientation where you would be looking down at the GPSr.

    Compasses... note these don't have "gyro" compasses in them. They are simple magnetic field detectors. The single-axis electronic compass will only be accurate when it has been calibrated correctly and the unit is held perfectly level. Tilting the unit at all will throw off the compass. You can calibrate a single axis compass by "spinning" it on a non-ferris surface (e.g. a wood table with no metal hardware within a couple feet) or by holding the unit perfectly level and slowly turning in place for 2 complete rotations. The 3-axis compasses must be calibrated in all 3 directions, hence the spin, rotate, flip procedure. Once calibrated, it will be accurate even if you are holding it up in front of you as the other 2 axis magnetic sensors will account for the angle that the unit is being held.

    Units without an electronic compass (the "C" in the model means it has an electronic compass) calculate your compass headings based on your direction of travel and your changes in position. If you are standing still, it doesn't know which way is up. The faster you are moving, the more accurate the compass will be on these types. So if you are walking very slowly, the best you can count on it an estimation of the cardinal points.
    As to the maps, if you buy a Garmin with the "T" designator in the model, it comes with awesome maps. If there is no "T" in the name, it has only the world basemap, which is worthless (especially in Alaska where there are places that map is off by up to 2 miles). The topo maps that come with the "T" models are basically the same as a USGS 100K paper map. They also have most of the roads and a lot of trails, plus a ton of POIs (points of interest). If you get a no-T model and want to add the topo maps, the 100K set for the USA is about $100. There are more detailed 24K versions of the topo maps that you can buy, but the cost is higher as you have to buy multiple smaller map sets to get the whole country. I'm not convinced that the added detail gets you very much at all.

    In any case, you'll probably want to add the NorthWest Trails overlay to whatever unit that you get. It has tons of user-submitted trails that transparently overlay whatever map you have in the unit. Download (free) from http://www.switchbacks.com/nwtrails/
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    Member mainer_in_ak's Avatar
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    i'm going with the new etrex 30. It's the revamped version of the etrex vista hc that I've been using for the past 6 years. Mine has literally fallen apart, and lost it's waterproof ability (still works though).

    Running a freighter canoe, I need one hand operation while running the motor, because of the location of all the important buttons, it looks like the updated version offers this. They fixed my complaints.....the weak lanyard, added a barometric altimeter, and a real compass.

  16. #16
    Moderator LuJon's Avatar
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    If the new etrex has a real magnetic compass then it will be hard to beat for a budget system! I used one for a year before I bought my 60 CSX and my only complaint was that it wouldn't orient when moving slow. I like the topo on the higher end models to get an idea of terrain ahead when planning routes in the mountains but for most trips all I really need is some extra assurance that I will find my wheeler or camp and be able to backtrack if needed. I don't need a background map for that.

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    Member Alaskan22's Avatar
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    60CSX, top chip in it. GREAT GPS, battery life is great as is the ability to acquire satellites quickly. Probably the best all around GPS i've owned.
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  18. #18
    Moderator LuJon's Avatar
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    Just looked up that new etrex... Not quite as "budget"'as the old ones!!! A used 60CSX purchased from a gear nerd so had to have the latest greatest would be the best thing going. The 62 adds a 3 axis compass so you can hold it upright to look at the screen and it still knows where north is to orient it. I like that feature but it isn't worth a pile of extra dollars since I still seem to hold mine flat anyway.

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    Member iusckeeper's Avatar
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    The Rino series is pretty sweet! Battery life sucks tho.

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    Member JOAT's Avatar
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    The Rino is a 60 with an additional radio transmitter/receiver to allow direct radio linking of multiple units. Unless you are doing something that requires 2 or more people in separate spots to know the exact location of the other party, there is no need for that feature. Battery life sucks because you are running a GPS plus a walkie-talkie radio at the same time.
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