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Garmin GPS


Evening all
I am in the market for a new GPS (early adopter - GPS38 single channel used for verification of locator square, very heavy and long in the tooth now hence the change) and fancy a colour mapping unit. I don’t usually buy the latest electronic gizmo’s due to price, preferring a recommendation of older (= less expensive) kit.
There are good deals around on Garmin 60CSx and Vista HSx units at present, can anybody recommend either, or an alternative? The idea is to use it for verification of position on the ground to back up a paper map and traditional navigation. It needs to be weatherproof, easy to use with gloves on and give good battery life.
I like the idea of memory map on the PC, and a base map on the GPS unit with the route uploaded, rather than dedicated and fragile pre-loaded “factory” cards with maps on them.
I had a look in George Fishers yesterday at the Oregon range, they look quite good, but had a price tag to match the looks, and didn’t appear to do anything that the older 60CSx could do unless I missed something?
Any ideas/advice etc as always gratefully received.

BTW the cloud inversion viewed from Helvellyn yesterday morning was spectacular (pictures on the ytd web site later)!


In reply to G4YTD:

I have a Garmin Vista HCx. I use it to back up navigation done with map and compass so I don’t bother with downloading maps to it. I like to know where I’m and hence don’t rely on the GPS. I do download my route waypoints etc. from Anquet. The combination works very well. The other reason for not downloading maps is that I can’t see these displays anymore without glasses! I simply print the Anquet 1:50000 map at double size and this is easy to read! I find it easy to hold a piece of A4 paper in a map case and you can see a huge area of ground which you’ll never be able to see on a handheld device.

My HCx has stunning ears, it will work inside the office which has a steel roof. Acquisition from cold is fast (IIRC it has 256K correlator channels) and it’s easy to use. With 1800mH NiMH cells battery life is excellent, probably somewhere around 16hrs with the electronic compass turned off. It has USB and uses a standard miniature USB plug so no special leads are needed. I would reccommend the Garmin case as it works well but it’s not cheap. I have a 1GB micro-SD stuffed in for saving route data. I think that at the rate it is recording trackpoints I will have to clear it in 2025!

It’s weatherproof and easy to use with my big podgy paws in gloves. I know Jom G0CQK has a CS60x. That has a physically bigger display and a better antenna. But the SiRFIII chipset and the patch antenna in my Vista surpasses older GPS units.



In reply to G4YTD:

It’s not really what you want to hear but I have found electronic mapping to be virtually useless on the hill,zooming in for detail makes me lose a ‘feel’ for the situation, zooming out to a reasonable area reduces detail too much.
Maybe when we can get 'e’paper maps I’ll change my mind.

I use a Garmin Foretrex 101 and am very happy with it, many reviews say the 201 is better but I don’t like the idea of clipping it into a cradle or having to rely on a permanently installed rechargeable battery.

I load route & alternative/escape route info onto it from memory map & find that this is more than enough info…along with a map & compass.

It is very small & light, runs from 2 AAA batterries all day & interfaces easily with a THD7 for APRS.

Having said all that, I was tempted for a long time by the 60cx (couldn’t justify the cost/battery consumption of the ‘s’ sensors) but eventually went for the foretrex, which I picked up used for £40 on Ebay.

All the best,


In reply to MM0FMF:

“My HCx has stunning ears”

Thats interesting, my older b&w Vista seems relatively deaf, with slow acquisition. I have been wondering if the newer ones were any better.

Nigel. g6sfp.


I’m not keen on computer mapping with GPS/OS 1:25000 in the field - I have tried Memory Map on a PDA but would rather use a paper map and compass. I prefer to use a GPS with topographical data on SD card. Like Andy MM0FMF I have the Garmin Vista HCX model which takes an SD card. The H model is a must. For an extra 20-30 quid, it makes all the difference. I bought mine new at a good price from an e-bay trader who has a textiles shop in Leeds. Collected in person no problems. I used a Garmin Etrex summit (monochrome display) before I got the Vista Hcx for two years, I’ve had the Vista for 18 months. What a difference in sat signal acquisition and battery life when I upgraded, and the Vista has a colour screen.

George Fisher’s in Keswick is a good and long established shop, but things like computer mapping and GPS in there are very expensive.



In reply to G6SFP:

I have been wondering if the newer ones were any better.

Chalk and cheese. IIRC worst case cold start to fix is less than 45secs. But it is the increase in sensitivity which is best. Non ‘H’ models will frequently lose lock in dense pine forest whereas mine is now sat on the floor plugged into the pc, it’s under a desk (covered in junk) in a downstairs room and it can see 6 satellites. I put in the “SOTA grab box” in the back of the car after a walk without switching it off. That box is full of walking gear and handies etc. When I retrieved it later from the bottom of the box it had tracked the full route home.

The eBay fabric shop vendor in Leeds sold me mine. Spot on customer service, fast delivery and a very good price. Recommended A+++++++++ :wink:



In reply to G4YTD:
Good evening,
I’m using a Garmin etrex venture HC with colour display and maps from Garmin (also paper maps). I got it for 150 EUR. The 24 MB internal memory is enough for me. The logged tracks I upload to www.gpsies.com.

73 de Harald, DL2HSC


In reply to G4YTD:

Give me a call when you can, I just upgraded to the Oregon in Nov last year and have some hardly used Garmin equipment that would be perfect for you and cheap as well.


01200 453820 office
07772 444422 Mob


In reply to M0LMP:
Hi Lee
Ok, will call you in the morning for a chat.


In reply to MM0FMF:
Thanks for the advice Andy. I agree with the failing eyesight and not relying on small screen electronic devices. it is to be used for convinience and backing up the paper map skills.


In reply to M0EIQ:
No problem Dick, I have the forerunner 201 to assist with long distance running, it has some good features and can tell you pace and distance travelled. The battery lasts around 16 hours which is ample for the 1x and 2x marathon distances, and you can download the routes later for training analysis. I only need the mapping GPS to back up location and as you suggested escape routes. Thanks for the info.


In reply to G4OBK:
Evening Phil
Thanks for the info. GF’s is pretty expensive and I would shop around for the kit (a difference of nearly £100 on a 60CSx). They are very helpfull though and you can play with the kit there which is good. My old staem powered 38 can take up to 30 mins to lock on, not ideal.


In reply to DL2HSC:
Thanks for the info harald.


In reply to MM0FMF:

Hi, Andy.

I’ll second your comments having recently upgraded from my older and rather deaf Summit. My only dislikes are the loss of the ability to follow a route in either direction and I find the snail trail slightly less easy to follow. It just means I have to remember to download routes for both directions.

A minor point, though. It’s a super unit. The Rx sensitivity, colour, SD card, proximity waypoints and warning tones are all big steps forward.

Oh, like you, I also take paper maps as well - or should that be I take the GPS as well as paper maps? They compliment each other very well.

73, Richard


In reply to G4ERP:

I have read this thread with interest. I have an old Garmin Geko that I only use very occasionally to check a position. In consequence it always does a cold start. On a recent trip in poor viz (Sharp Haw) I had occasion to use it and it failed to get a lock after 10 minutes. It finally worked after switching it off and on again. It is always quite slow to download the satellite almanac.

Maybe I need to ask for a modern GPS for my birthday? What’s the cheapest good non-mapping GPS?




In reply to G3CWI:
I think that all the Garmin GPS units that end in an x have the high speed SIRF III chip in them so just find the cheapest that ends in x. Correct me if I am wrong.
67 jim


In reply to G0CQK:

I thought ‘H’ was high sensitivity, ‘C’ was colour and ‘x’ for SD card (eXternal storage).



In reply to G0CQK:

Sri, correction on that. Only etrex´s with H “in the call” have that SIRF3 built-in.

73 Norby


In reply to G4ERP:

loss of the ability to follow a route in either direction

If you have a route selected and are navigating with it and then you display the route details and you hit the bottom LHS button a menu pops up that allows you to select “reverse route” amongst many other things.



In reply to MM0FMF:

Oooh thanks, Andy.

73, 'ERP (off home to try it. Sad or what?)