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Garmin 76S and Vista


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Greetings All,


New guy here.


I discoverd this site while trying to find some information about GPS's, and I find this geocaching to be quite interesting.


So I am looking for a new toy/tool to get and try this Geocaching, and have something for fishing, hiking, things like that. I think I have narrowed it down to these 2 units.


The banker (my wife) will allow me to spend around $350.00 but not much more if any, (pretty good to let me have that much).


I have been looking at these 2 units and not knowing much about them other than what the specs say, or any other GPS for that matter, could I get some feedback on these from some people who actully use them?.


One thing that I would like is ease of use, and be able to read relativly easy, I dont plan on mountain climing, (to old for that) or doing any thing extreem really, again my uses would be just some fishing, hiking, and to do some of this Geocaching. I have looked through the FAQ for the new people also which is how I came up with these units.


So any feedback (good or could be better) regarding these units or anyother one that someone feels like talking about that I should be looking at also would be greatly appreciated. I am looking at buying something in about 2 weeks or so.


Thanks in Advance for your time.


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The 76s should be the better unit. Better antennea for picking up the signal and keeping the signal a bit better under tree cover, much easier to read with the larger screen, also with the 76s you can personalize the data fields you want to use to a greater extent. With the 76s you will hold it straight up and down for best reception, unlike the Vista, which you should hold horizontal because of the type of antennea (patch). I think this is the only drawback of the 76s, because when you want to use the electronic compass in the 76s you will then need to hold it flat (kind of conflicts).



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I just order a GPS and thought I wanted a Vista but the Platinum is priced the same as the Vista and I my opinion you get more for your money. So it should arrive on Tuesday. I can't wait. The Platinum has a better antenna than the Vista and unlimited memory (SD cards). The Platinum is also $100 less than the 76S.

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Thanks for the quickness in the replys.


The 76S seems to be the better (between vista and 76S) for what I am looking for as far as ease of operation and larger screen for viewing according to the reply's.


As for the external antennea, do many of you use an external antennea for hiking and outdoor things, or is that for more (in the car) navigation ? Having the best reception possible does seem to be a plus.


When using the compass on the 76S it was menchend that it should be used in the flat possition, but in that possition antennea alinment is at the least favorable possition. Do you who use the 76S find this to be a big concern when not using the external antennea? Do you use the compass much ? and if so when would it be used the most ? I hope that isnt to dumb of a question. I am trying to figure out if I will have myself in a position to where I will be needing it alot.


Have you found the other options that the 76S has over the Vista to out weigh this thing with compass and position of unit with out external antennea?


I looked up the Meridian Platinum and that seems to be an other unit to take a closer look at also. the Platinum and the 76S could be on the same playing field or am I trying to compaire apples to oranges with these two. If possible would be nice to hear from more people who use the meridian products as well to get a general feeling about those two (76S and Platinum).


I do a bit of travel so being able to switch from one geographical area to another as easly as possible would be a plus also, I should of menchen that in my origional post also.


This is a great forum, I want to buy now, but know from experiance to wait and make the best informed desision I can. Would be a big plus to see some of these in action befor buying one, but I dont know anyone in my area that uses handhelds so I will have to make decision based on feed back from this forum.

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I would agree with montythemule wholeheartly. I have a external that I used with my old gps (garmin 12XL) but with this new 76S I haven't seen a real need to use it anymore because of the better internal antenna on the 76S. Love the larger display also. The compass works great when you are moving so slow for whatever reason (looking for a cache when close or the terrain makes it impossible to keep moving) that the gps starts to vary position too much for good accuraccy. Have a great time and welcome to geocaching. IMHO




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I chose the 76S over the others because of the external antenna capability. I use it all the time when hiking and geocaching. It greatly improves reception under tree cover and allows you to stick it in your pocket or belt case and still get a good record of your track. You can also use it in the car and not have to worry about having it up on the dash to "see" the satellites. The Meridian line doesn't have an external antenna jack except for the color model I believe.

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I got the Garmin GA 27C. It comes with a right angle mcx connector so you don't have to worry about adapters. I use a short lightweight aluminum pole (Home Depot clothesline prop) with a small sheet of steel plate attached to the top with marine 5200 adhesive (quick set, from a marine supply store). I attach this to my backpack by slipping it through the hole for the water bladder hose. Cut it so it is about level with your head.

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If the price on the MAP76S is on the high side,(especially if you want to add the cost of an external antenna), take a look at the MAP76.(No S).That too is a really nice unit, with a few less bells & whistles than the S. I also used the Garmin ga27c antenna, till the connector broke, after quite a bit of use. I picked up a couple of nice external antennae off E-Bay for the price of 1 ga27c. I at one time owned a Vista, & much preferred my MAP76 over it. Vista is a handy, small size, with some nice features, but had much better luck with the MAP76. The only time I use the external antenna, is under some real thick tree cover on an overcast day. Most of the time, it's not neccessary to use it, but always handy to have along. Just another option to think about. icon_smile.gif


Monday is an awful way to spend 1/7th of your life.


[This message was edited by Gimpy on February 23, 2003 at 04:59 PM.]

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The MAP76S does double duty for me. I use it for near shore navigation and inland(BlueChart and Topo). The tide tables, and sun & moon data are very useful. The compass is used when stationary or moving slowly. The external antenna(27C)is an avantage on the road or under a dense forest canopy. When the antenna is in use the GPS can be carried in a pocket. The 76S has many navigation data display options. Try TVNAV.COM for a good price.

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I have a Vista. I haven't used any 76, but I've seen it, and I manufactured a mock-up of a 76, just to see how big it is.


I found out that a 76S is probably better in some aspects (antenna, easier to see the display when you don't hold it in your hand), but when it comes to handheld use, it can't beat the Vista. I frequently run and go on inlines, holding my Vista in my hand. It has just the right size for that. If someone would give my a 76S for free, on the condition that I trade in my Vista, I wouldn't take it. But if you more frequently just walk (don't run), use it stationary (car or boat) or have problem seeing the display of the Vista (aging, maybe), then it's something else.

Also, if the external antenna is a must to you, then it's a lot easier with the 76S. But I don't buy the argument that you can carry your GPS in your pocket. Why? Because there are no pockets in catsuits... icon_biggrin.gificon_razz.gificon_biggrin.gif



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Like Anders, I wouldn't trade my trusty Vista for anything currently out. But, if your activities are not especially physically active, I'd go for the 76s.


If nothing else, you can stick an external ant. on it and use it in a car, plane, or boat. But still, the unit isn't so bulky that it is not practical to use as a handheld for day hiking.



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Thankyou all for your imput on this, I will be getting the 76S as it seems to have more of the features what I am looing for in a GPS.


I did find one at actiongps.com for $362.00 does this seem to be a good price from what people are seeing out there ? If so I will get it on order by end of week.


Spoke to my banker (wife) and she gave me the ok to go little over my $350.00 limit. icon_biggrin.gif


Since I am maxed out on funds at this time the external anennea will have to wait for awhile.


With any luck I will have my new 76S by middle of nexed week so I can start learning how to use it and be geocaching by that weekend. So much to learn about all of this, I will be busy going through all of the forum to figiure out how to go about setting up the 76S to find my first cache


Thanks again all





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Reception has almost never been a problem for my Vistas, but the small size and light weight have been critical for my habit of taking one with me everywhere I go. Also, the Vista fits well in standard cell phone accessories that I use on my belt, in the car, and on my bike. Do not assume the display is too small - check it out, then decide. The resolution is so crisp, I find it easy to see.


The MetroGuide CD is essential - it gives you address look-up on the unit and auto routing on a PC which you can upload to the unit, not to mention much better map detail and point of interest data. If your funds are truly limited, I would save the price difference and get a Vista and MetroGuide.

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Thanks for the heads up on ebay.

I just took a look at GPSgeek on E-bay and see the antenna for the 76S for $19.89 not to bad of a price and a long way from $90.00 from other vendors. I will be keeping an eye out for maps also.


At them prices I may be able to get maps and external antenna sooner than I think.


I was able to find a sports store that carried both the 76S and the vista. Comparing them side by side, in the store at least they are both nice units. The vista is no slouch, and is very compact which can be a good asset in some applications. I did like the 76S better as it was little easyer for me to operate the buttons and bigger screen, and the larger size is ok with me.

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