Best priced GPS for the money?

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CALL911

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Oct 29, 2009
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Columbus AFB, MS
What is the best portable GPS system to get without spending a fortune?

I've been looking at the Garmin 296 (used since they don't make them anymore), but don't know much about the smaller aircraft GPS systems.

Ideally I'd like to keep the bill under $700. Preferably under $500.
 

bmcj

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Apr 10, 2007
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Fresno, California
We picked up a bunch of Garmin 255W's for use by the Sheriff's Air Squadron. They are not aviation specific, but when set in "off-road" mode, they work reasonably well by giving a visual track and actual track display. They can also be updated with overlays, etc, and the tracks can be downloaded for analysis later. Not sure how the internal antenna responds to a high metal wing yet.

I wouldn't recommend it if you are looking for a serious air navigation unit with airspace overlays and other features, but for $140, it gets you from point A to point B.

Bruce :)
 

CALL911

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238
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Columbus AFB, MS
^ Yeah, looking for something more aviation specific so it would have overlays on it.

Ideally it would be nice to have something universal that also works on the ground for general GPS use (as if you are off roading somewhere).
 

Dana

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For ultralight flying (and for hiking, hunting, and driving) I use a Garmin 60CSx to which I've added airport and airspace information. Not a true aviation GPS, but more than adequate for my purposes.

-Dana

Thinking for yourself is like most addictive behaviour. It is frowned upon by all right thinking people and is bound to get you killed sooner or later.
 

Toobuilder

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Mojave, Ca
You can pick up a used Garmin 196 for under $200... It is a very powerful tool for the money. I'm hanging on to mine until it dies.
 

wally

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southwest TN.
I use a Magellen 315. It is from 1999 era but works just dandy. It has a database with medium and large cities already in it and a user database you can add your own waypoints to. It does not have a moving map or much in the way of whistles and bells but it navigates, does give groundspeed and heading, and bearing and distance to waypoints. In conjunction with a sectional, it is very adequate.

I am thinking you could find one less than $100 used, maybe even less than that.

An $8 sectional alone will give you pretty good navigation information. People used to use them all the time.
Wally
 

Toobuilder

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What all does the 196 do? I know thats the one that is black and white, right?
Sorry about the tardy reply...

The 196 is in greyscale, but that slight downside is offset by the very fast refresh rate of the display (compared to some early color models). What all does it do? well, in short, a LOT! My most commonly used features are the moving map, HSI, flight instruments display (the six pack), flight log, vertical navigation, and about a hundred different ways to display ETE, ETA, distance, speed, etc.

About the only thing it does NOT have is color, XM weather and detailed terrain alerting that is common on today's devices.

I don't know exactly what features you are looking for, but if you are like me, you would find this unit to be far more capable than you really need.
 

etterre

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Aug 30, 2006
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St. Louis, MO, USA
I have a 196 as well - it does everything I need and the price was right... biggest downside to me is the 9-pin serial cable. Since I don't have a computer with a serial port, I haven't updated the maps or the firmware. Mine is actually old enough that it doesn't have the "panel" page. At some point I'll probably buy a serial card to stick in one of the PCI slots in my desktop.
 

CALL911

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Oct 29, 2009
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Columbus AFB, MS
Okay so this has been a while. I like the Garmin 196 and all that it offers. But what about something on a smaller scale? What if I just wanted something basic that I could plug a lat long into (my home) and give me directions to other known airfields?
 

DarylP

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Mar 22, 2010
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CO
For ultralight flying (and for hiking, hunting, and driving) I use a Garmin 60CSx to which I've added airport and airspace information. Not a true aviation GPS, but more than adequate for my purposes.

-Dana
I just picked one up at Christmas time for $199.99 online and must say that it is a cool unit. Glad to see you are using the way I would like to someday.
 

rheuschele

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Jan 12, 2010
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Location
Chicago Il. USA.
Okay so this has been a while. I like the Garmin 196 and all that it offers. But what about something on a smaller scale? What if I just wanted something basic that I could plug a lat long into (my home) and give me directions to other known airfields?
Iv'e got an older Lawrence I'd be willing to part with.
 

autoreply

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Rotterdam, Netherlands
I have a 196 as well - it does everything I need and the price was right... biggest downside to me is the 9-pin serial cable. Since I don't have a computer with a serial port, I haven't updated the maps or the firmware. Mine is actually old enough that it doesn't have the "panel" page. At some point I'll probably buy a serial card to stick in one of the PCI slots in my desktop.
There are serial to USB convertors you can directly plug in.

10US$ or so.
 

wally

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926
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southwest TN.
Magellan 315. Several on ebay for $35 and up. It is as accurate as any of them, it has a cities and towns database and you can put in your own waypoints and some other fun stuff.
Wally
 

CALL911

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Oct 29, 2009
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238
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Columbus AFB, MS
Well, I do like the Garmin 60CSx, and honestly the Magellan 315 is a great price, but I don't know if it does everything I want. I guess I should have been more specific.

What I want; moving map, the ability to plug in user lat/long waypoints and have the ability for it to tell me what heading to turn to (along with showing distance to and from), a digital compass, and the ability to pick up navaids and airports. What would also be nice is to keep on the cheeper side, and have an altimeter, and airspeed indicator as well.

The 196 seems to be great but I can find out if you can plug in your own waypoints or not (and even a used one is still $300+, granted it seems to be an excellent model). Any help?
 

zk-jkw

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Apr 20, 2009
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136
Location
NZ
If you have an iPhone, the software Air Nav works nicely for US$10 for the standard version or ~US$35 for the pro version. I use it as a backup to my paper maps...

Air Navigation for iPhone

The catch with the iPhone is GPS only works when you have reception.
 

CALL911

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Joined
Oct 29, 2009
Messages
238
Location
Columbus AFB, MS
Well although the Megellan 315 doesn't have "everything" I want. At the price I can get it for, I may end up just getting that for the time being to help with simple VFR navigation. I could use a chart, but in a little plane, there isn't much room. Later down the road, I would really like to get the Garmin 196. I just don't know that it is in the budget this year.

Does anyone else have any GPS suggestions?

(BTW, I don't have an iphone)
 
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