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Thread: Garmin Vista HCx gps (anyone familiar with it)

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    Member danattherock's Avatar
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    Default Garmin Vista HCx gps (anyone familiar with it)

    I am looking at getting a new gps unit and wanted to know if anyone has used the Garmin Vista (or Legend) HCx. I see the Alaska chip is about $80 and that is convenient. But the altimeter/barometer is what I am most curious about. Is it a worthwhile feature. Reason I ask is that I read in a review of the unit that the alitmeter had to be calibrated. If you don't know the sea level, that would be useless. Or am I reading into things to much. Is the calibration an automatic operation. Any insights on the Garmin Vista or Legend HCx. Or for that matter, on the Garmin Alaska sd chip? Thanks for any thoughts.
    The two loudest sounds known to man: a gun that goes bang when it is supposed to go click and a gun that goes click when it is supposed to go bang.

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    Moderator LuJon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by danattherock View Post
    I am looking at getting a new gps unit and wanted to know if anyone has used the Garmin Vista (or Legend) HCx. I see the Alaska chip is about $80 and that is convenient. But the altimeter/barometer is what I am most curious about. Is it a worthwhile feature. Reason I ask is that I read in a review of the unit that the alitmeter had to be calibrated. If you don't know the sea level, that would be useless. Or am I reading into things to much. Is the calibration an automatic operation. Any insights on the Garmin Vista or Legend HCx. Or for that matter, on the Garmin Alaska sd chip? Thanks for any thoughts.
    I would not purchase the mapsource AK preloaded on the SD chip. For the same $$ you can buy the Topo USA DVD and have the entire country, all you need then is a $10-$15 micro SD card and you can custom load up any maps you need (I have the whole state and room for ALOT more!). As to the bennefit of the HCX model it is not so much the altimeter/barometer as it is the electronic compass. The E-compass needs to be calibrated and I do it at least once a day and anytime I question the validity of the north indicator. I have not had it drift after calibrating through the course of a day so far on my 60 series.
    The non e-compass units use your movement and telemetry to orient the map as to which way you are facing. This works better the faster you are going and proves to be far less accurate at a slow walk and useless standing still. The electronic compass is a dream come true as long as you calibrate it. It makes slowly navigating thick alders a breez and keeps you dead on course when using the trac back feature. There is nothing as disconcerting as following a pointer that keeps spinning as the unit struggles using telemetry to define which direction you are traveling.
    I have found that my Altimeter has been consistant with indicate elevation on my topo maps within ~30' vertical and I have never tried to calibrate it.

  3. #3
    Member danattherock's Avatar
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    Default Thanks...

    Lujon,

    Thanks for the quick reply. Sounds like a nice unit. I may just get the Legend HCx. I use gps for float trips mostly and the compass is not so needed. But I thought the barometer would be handy. Just wondering how dependable it was. It would be nice to keep tabs on fronts coming in and such. Thanks for the suggestions.
    The two loudest sounds known to man: a gun that goes bang when it is supposed to go click and a gun that goes click when it is supposed to go bang.

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