Jump to content

What unit should I buy? (Best under tree cover)


GeoTripper
Followers 0

Recommended Posts

I'm trying to find the best GPSr for my needs and was hoping that some of you could help me narrow down my options and offer some advice.

 

I need a GPSr to make track logs of trails so that I can make maps. I use a Mac and so would prefer to get a Garmin due to the availability of MacGPS Pro (http://www.macgpspro.com). What I really need is unit that gives me the best chance for good reception under tree cover.

 

I've got a Magellan GPS 315 that seems to hold lock fairly well under trees, but it's not a Garmin and doesn't work with my Mac. Yesterday I borrowed a friends eTrex Summit and took it on a bike ride through a local park. When it was out in the open it seemed to do fairly well marking my position on trails but it kept loosing signal as soon as I got under tree cover. Some places that I was sure I'd get a good-okay signal with my M315 were completely zero with the eTrex Summit. (But there was no side by side comparison).

 

So, a couple quick questions. I'm looking to minimize costs (under $500 would be ideal). I'd really prefer Garmin (due to software). A cheap PC is not really an option for my workflow.

 

Which GPSr would be best? (GPS V, Vista, GPS 76, GPSMap 76, GPSMap 76S, other?)

 

Is WAAS an extremely important feature? (not going to work under trees anyway)

 

Any body have experience with active re-radiating antenna - such as those at http://pc-mobile.net/gpsant.htm ?

 

Any specific active antenna that can be recommended (for hiking/biking - not a car)?

 

Or should I just go get myself a backpack style Trimble DGPS? icon_smile.gif

 

Already looked at the Garmin comparison page, gpsinformation.net and the myriad links, and done several searches on this and other forums. The most important thing for me to figure out is the Garmin with the best reception/track log and if the active re-rads can help at all. If Garmin really won't fit my needs, what model should I get that would - obviously neglecting the Mac/Software aspect?

 

Thanks for any hints or references.

Link to comment

quote:
Originally posted by GeoTripper:

I use a Mac and so would prefer to get a Garmin due to the availability of MacGPS Pro (http://www.macgpspro.com

Which GPSr would be best? (GPS V, Vista, GPS 76, GPSMap 76, GPSMap 76S, other?)

Any specific active antenna that can be recommended (for hiking/biking - not a car)?


 

Based upon your questions, I'd recommend the V or 76(s) series because both have very good standard antennas and both can use an external antenna.

 

I have a 76S and when I go into DEEP cover I use an inexpensive antenna I picked up from gpsgeek on ebay and get very good results from this antenna. Having said that, I almost never use the antenna unless I have to and never in the car or open country.

 

The choice between the V and 76s is your based upon features, not reception.

 

"Never have a philosophy which supports a lack of courage..."

Link to comment

From what I can tell the V, 76, Map 76, and Map 76S all have the quad helix antenna.

 

But this brings up another question: if the quad helix antenna is so great for deep cover, why do the majority of external antennas seem to be of the patch variety? And would an external antenna on any of these models really help? And which antenna do you use?

Link to comment

quote:
Originally posted by GeoTripper:

From what I can tell the V, 76, Map 76, and Map 76S all have the quad helix antenna.

 

But this brings up another question: if the quad helix antenna is so great for deep cover, why do the majority of external antennas seem to be of the patch variety? And would an external antenna on any of these models really help? And which antenna do you use?


 

It's probably cheaper, or at least easier to desing into a small GPS case. The patch is better near vertical surfaces than a Quad Helix.

 

=====================

Wherever you go there you are.

Link to comment

I agree with Renegade Knight. The antenna on the GPS V works great under most all conditions.

 

We live in Alaska so I like to carry my GPS under my coat or in a hip pack to keep it out of the elements. I purchased a Micro Mouse active external antenna. It's about the size of a quarter, has a magnetic base & comes with a small ground plane that I velcro to the top of my backpack, run the cable to my GPS and it never misses a beat. The Micro Mouse draws the least amount of current of any active antenna I've seen - can't tell any difference in battery life with or without it attached.

Link to comment

I own the V and I have to say it is a hell of a lot better under trees than the Venture I used to own. I'm not saying I never lose signal, but if I do, its mostly because my body is blocking the signal. I'm a tall guy and I find myself carrying it at waist level alot.

 

I have an external amplified patch antenna I use, but only in the car. I have never tried it under tree cover, I have never needed to icon_wink.gif

 

Kar

Link to comment

quote:
Originally posted by GeoTripper:

I've got a Magellan GPS 315 that seems to hold lock fairly well under trees, but it's not a Garmin and doesn't work with my Mac. Yesterday I borrowed a friends eTrex Summit and took it on a bike ride through a local park. When it was out in the open it seemed to do fairly well marking my position on trails but it kept loosing signal as soon as I got under tree cover. Some places that I was sure I'd get a good-okay signal with my M315 were completely zero with the eTrex Summit. (But there was no side by side comparison).


 

No surprise here. I've said it many times that the Etrex isn't as good under tree cover. I got a lot of arguments from people who haven't used them both in dense trees, but I have and it sounds like we've had the same experience. Some say it's the patch, some say it's just that the patch isn't as big on the Etrex. No matter, the fact is that the Etrex just isn't as good in the trees.

 

As far as which Garmin, I haven't used the other models so I can't say, but a lot of people seem to like the V and the 76 series. They should do the job just fine.

Link to comment

It sounds like the V and the 76 Series are both equally suited in terms of reception. If this is correct then it just depends on what features I want and the quality of the track it records. I haven't found any side by side comparisons of signal/track quality (anyone done/seen this?), but I'm thinking either the GPS 76 (for lower cost) or the GPSMAP 76S (for compass/barometer and more track points).

 

A quick note about this forum: you guys are AWESOME! Extremely fast and very helpful responses. Thanks to everyone.

 

(Great - now I've found another hangout to spend more time at...) icon_smile.gif

Link to comment

Holy Amazon! These prices are a lot lower than I've seen elsewhere. I know I can go eBay or a couple shady places out there, but I'm happier making sure I get it when I want and from a place that I trust.

 

We've narrowed it down and are almost done! Which GPS should I get:

 

GPS 76: $179.99

GPSMAP 76S: $359.99

GPS V Deluxe: $375.19 (before a $75 mail-in rebate)

 

I'm leaning towards the 76S even though it's a little more expensive. It's got the compass and barometer, it will hold 5000 Tracklog points (76 holds 2048, V holds 3000), and weighs a little less (7.7 oz vs 9 oz). It's battery life isn't nearly as long (76S:10hr, 76:16hr, V:25hr), but I'm assuming I could make it a little better by turning off the compass if I don't need it (I know you can on the eTrex Summit) plus I always carry spares. Is there anything that I'm overlooking in my leaning towards the 76S? (I know there seem to be plenty of happy V users out there).

 

Thanks guys!

Link to comment

I have 2 Vistas and recently bought a GPS V. I love the Vistas for their size and easy one hand operation. However, the autorouting capability of the V must be seen to be believed! It is well worth the price and weight difference over the 76S, especially when you consider that the V includes the CitySelect CD with great US and Canadian maps. To get full value from a 76 or a vista, you must buy MetroGuide, which is great, but pricey. I recommend you check out a V on the road before you rule it out.

Link to comment

Another recommendation for GPSV. It's great.

 

And oh....keep yer Mac. ;D It's all I use and with Virtual PC and OSX I'm able to use just about any of the PC utilities out there. Even EasyGPS, the Delorome stuff, whatever.

 

In fact VPC on my Dual Processor desktop runs software faster than the older PC I have at work.

 

Jolly R. Blackburn

http://kenzerco.com

Link to comment

Doesn't the V have auto-routing? Would be nice.

 

I have not been crazy about the reception of my 76S. On city streets, I've gotten "Lost" messages, and it happens all too often when under tree cover -- in the winter!

 

Maybe that's standard, I don't know.

 

Overall, though, I've been pretty happy with the 76S. The only real shortcomings it has are size (much bigger than the eTrex units with similar features), and short battery life, especially if the compass has been running.

 

I am Arrowroot, son of Arrowshirt. I have many names, you know

Link to comment

Looks like everyone's got it covered so I'll just comment on the Vortech Re-Radiator antenna. I have 2 of them now because they work so well.

 

If your going to use the GPSr in your car, it's a good investment to get a Re-Radiator. I got mine for about $50 each for the kit. Even with open sky and no obstruction, I would double and usually triple my reception.

 

Even on the dash, a great big chunk of the sky is being blocked by the roof, frame, etc. Anyway, enough talk.

 

Vortech Antenna OFF

fc7a8a66.jpg

 

Vortech Antenna ON (just a few seconds after the first picture was taken. I just turned on the Antenna see the difference)

fc7a8a64.jpg

 

The Re-Ratiator is good for using your GPSr in and out of your vehicle since there is no physical hookup. I just grab and go, no antenna to unhook.

 

It works to about 3 feet away so you can have your GPSr in your hand right and use it while driving without losing any signal too.

 

The 76 series is HUGE, the V is medium. The way to go is the GPS V in-car and Etrex for outside your car. I've owned a Magellan but sold it and switched to Garmin simply because they are much smaller. I'm not going to get into a debate of which is better. I simply switched because Magellan didn't have any small enough for me. (Both great companies)

Link to comment

quote:
Originally posted by Greatwhite6:

If you had a real computer you wouldn't be so limited on in your options......Get rid of the mac


 

Um, right. I think I hear you mama calling. It must be your bedtime.

 

As a slightly different opinion on Garmin, I have an eTrex Vista and an eMap. I find that the eMap is much better under tree cover than the Vista. Personally, I'd opt for the V, since it has the most memory and has routing.

 

Truth be known, I've been considering switching from Garmin to the Meridian but since I've got 3 Garmins and a bunch of Garmin software, I just can't bring myself to do it. I like the SD card expansion on the Meridians. I really, really hate the proprietary card on the eMap and StreetPilot.

 

-E

 

--

N35°32.981 W98°34.631

Link to comment

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...
Followers 0
×
×
  • Create New...