GPS REPORTS

 

Eagle AccuNavII

By Dave S

This unit whilst being a little old now, has proved to be very reliable. I am still getting used to all the functions that it can perform but seems reasonably accurate. Compared to modern GPS units this one has five channels and uses four satellites to keep track of the positioning and updates itself every second. I particularly like the plot screen which shows where you have been, going to and where all the nearest way points are in the area depending on the scale you are using.
It is capable of connecting to a DSC radio to provide automatic positioning in the case of an emergency. Would I have another? Yes but would buy a plotter if buying a new unit.


 

Garmin 126

By Dave H

I changed from a Garmin eTrex hand held GPS to a Garmin 126 in April 2003 after using the eTrex for about a year. Both units are mounted outside the small cuddy on my boat and so had to be completely waterproof. I also had no room for an separate GPS aerial, so the 126 with it's built-in aerial was the obvious choice.

Comparing the positioning accuracy on both units, there was a .003 of a second difference between the units. I had also tested my eTrex against a Garmin 128 with it's external aerial and found the difference to be identical.

Initial installation is very easy. I just connected 2 of the leads in the multi-core cable to the battery and away she went. The other leads are the NMEA connections to link it to a DSC radio or another plotter.
It was a simple if slightly time consuming task to manually enter my marks from the eTrex to the 126. It may have been easier via the optional PC connector, but as a one-off task, it only took 20 mins or so

When in 'Goto' mode, I can't cope with the default 'Highway' mode, where you drive down a virtual road on the screen towards the selected mark. Luckily it can be set to a compass pointer instead, which I find much easier to keep on track.
I have tested the accuracy many times by logging a known fixed mark, such as a buoy, then using the directions from the GPS to guide me there. It always gets to within 10ft of the mark (and often closer) when the distance countdown figure hits 0.00nm

I use the 'Track' function when drifting a wreck, and having the larger screen over the eTrex is a real bonus. However, the lines are relatively coarse compared with the size of the screen and I have to clear the tracks after every 10 drifts or so, to stop the screen getting too cluttered. The screen also scrolls automatically if I go 'off the edge', which is a feature lacking on the eTrex.

The 126 is showing it's age a bit now, compared with more modern units. The screen resolution is a bit 'blocky' and smaller than the 152 for instance.
However, it's still one of only a couple of fixed GPS units with a built-in aerial, it's been sat all day in pouring rain and not even misted the screen, and it's totally accurate - what more can you say


 

Garmin 128GPS

By Ian

Good, basic budget model. Easy to use, adequate performance. The GPS is a Garmin 128, chosen because of its separate antenna - We didn't want to have one with a built-in antenna because once the Sheltie's sprayhood was up, the unit would have to "look" through it to receive satellite signals - and a wet cover might attenuate the signals just when we needed a good fix - that's the logic there.
Otherwise the 126 would Probably have done us fine; it's the same unit as the 128, with a stubby built-in antenna. We mounted the "mushroom" for the 128 on the stubby mast over the cabin roof where the forward light's mounted.

As a get-home-safely device we've only needed it once when caught out suddenly by a fogbank that rolled in superfast - we'd already plotted a series of trackback points to home harbour to seaward of the crab-pots that festoon the bay - otherwise we'd have run the risk of getting crab-pot ropes round the prop.

Its main use is to relocate previously identified fish-holding spots. For this it's much like any other GPS unit I guess - this is the only one I've any experience of, so can't comment on its performance relative to market competitors. But other users seem to think it's fine, no reason to disagree.

I've been told that there's a "wobble" on GPS signals provided by positioning-satellites to prevent *exact* position finding being possible by domestic-grade gear like this - but I'm prepared to be corrected if this is wrong. Certainly we've not found that blind obedience of the positioning of a marked spot is too helpful; we use the echosounder to fine-tune the boat's position once roughly in place.


 

Lowrance Global Nav IIA GPS

It has a 6" screen and can be connected to an NMEA interface. The reciever is mounted on a short pole on the stainless steel bridge on the roof of the cuddy.
As can be seen in the photo it has four buttons on the bottom row under the screen these select the following:
GPS - to show the position screen
Plotter - This shows the route plotted
Steer - This shows a highway to follow to the waypoint
Windows - shows a number of windows giving details as position, speed of ground, course over ground, distance to go, bearing, time to go to next waypoint or destination, time of day and date etc.

The buttons on the left hand side operate:
Alarm - sets the alarms
Route - Allows you to select which ever route
Waypoint Save - Saves a position you may want to return to
Waypoint Recall - Recalls previous waypoints
Waypoint Quick Save - Instantly save your position
Menu - Allows access to set up the unit to your format

The buttons on the right hand side are:
Man Overboard - which will save that position when the button is pressed so that you can track back if someone falls overboard.
Event Marker - To mark a location on the plotter screen

Differant alarms can be set for arrival at a point, anchor drift and cross track error if you drift off your course too far.

It also stores up to 200 waypoints and a number of routes.

I have found this unit to be very good, easy to use, and excellent performance.
The screen, due to its size, is easy to read and very customable to whatever the user wants.
Whilst the unit is a bit old now, I would have no hesitation in getting another if this unit failed and if I could purchase another.


 

Garmin 152 GPS

By John S

The 152 is one of the cheapest fixed gps on the market.
The display is pretty good even on bright days and is adjustable by altering the backlight and contrast.
I've had the unit for just over a year and so far its worked fine.
The acquisition time in the open is about 10 seconds, the unit has WAAS capability which I believe has just become operational in the UK for increased accuracy.

On the outside, the GPS 152 comes housed in a waterproof case thatís about four inches high and five inches wide.
A large four-inch diagonal, high-contrast display features 100x160 pixels for readability.
A simple keypad at the bottom of the unit makes entering information easy, without blocking your view of the display


 

Magellan Sportrak GPS

By Nigel

I have a Magellan Sportrak GPS, It a portable GPS with an external power source option.
The screen is a little small but it has all the options of the bigger models.
It does not come with any maps, but you can connect it to a computer. It was brought just to keep co-ordinates.
With this and a echo sounder you can return to any fishing spot the you want, I have found that it is accurate to less than 9 meteres.
Any one who has a fishing boat should buy a GPS and Echo sounder.

Would I buy another one Yes but a larger model with a bigger screen, but the Sportrak is cheap and it will get you started.

Specification:

The SporTrak finds your location with a super-sensitive quadifiler helix antenna that tracks up to 12 GPS satellites simultaneously. Assisted by the U.S. Wide Area Augmentation System (WAAS), the SporTrak is accurate to within 3 meters or better.
An intuitive interface and large keyboard provides direct access to key features.
Start navigating right away with a database of 11,000 worldwide cities. Easily upload thousands of additional points of interest with Magellan DataSendTM software.

Nine large customizable graphic navigation displays show a map, compass, speedometer, and text readouts of heading, bearing, speed, direction, ETA, and more. Choose from 12 built-in coordinate systems and 76 datums including Latitude/Longitude, Universal Transverse Mercator, and Military Grid Reference System.

Store up to 20 routes, 500 way points and 2,000 track-points.
The unique, Save Track-to-Route feature allows you to convert complicated track files into easy to follow routes. Save hundreds of routes by transferring them to a PC with Magellan DataSendTM software.
SporTrakís NorthFinderTM technology shows your direction even when standing still.
SporTrak shows you when the sun will rise and set, as well as the phase of the moon, for any date and location in the world.

Monitor the GPS satellites in view and get information about their status.

Large backlit display
Rubber armored, impact resistant plastic allows you to confidently take SporTrak on that next great adventure.

Waterproof, SporTrak is sealed to IEC-529 IPX7 specifications and it floats!

Built-in help database
Multiple language support

1 year warranty


 

Disclaimer: Everything written in these reports are based on personal experience and the individual's opinion only. I have tried my best to present the facts correctly, but I/we take no responsibility for any mistakes or omissions.