[amsat-bb] Re: GPS for dx-expedition

Patrick STODDARD (WD9EWK/VA7EWK) amsat-bb at wd9ewk.net
Wed Sep 1 21:39:08 PDT 2010

Hi Jim!

> I am looking into purchasing a Garmin "eTrex Vista HCx"  GPS to use for
> dxexpeditioning in working different grids.
> Has anyone got any reviews on this gps?
> Does anyone suggest a better one to use for dx-expeditioning?

This looks like a viable GPS for grid expeditions.  It has a
screen with both the latitude/longitude and the accuracy
figures, so it could be used to satisfy VUCC documentation
requirements.  Maybe a little on the expensive side, but it
would work.

I use a Garmin GPSMAP 76S to find the grid boundaries.
I can quickly go between latitude/longitude and Maidenhead
locator, and can show that accuracy figure on the same
screen as the latitude/longitude or Maidenhead grid.  It is
capable of having updated maps loaded on it, to augment
the base map it comes with - something I have not done
with mine.  On the QSL cards you've received from me, you
see photos of the latitude/longitude display of this GPS.  It
has been discontinued, but the GPS 72H is a successor to
my unit.

The GPS 72H doesn't have all the bells and whistles that
my unit has, but the price is not as steep as the unit you
are looking at.  It does have the same sort of display as
my unit has, with the latitude/longitude and accuracy
figure on one screen.  If I needed to replace my current
GPS for my grid expeditions, I would probably go with this
unit to avoid separating myself from more of my money to
get another GPS.  With the mapping capabilities in GPS-
equipped smartphones, I do not see a huge need to have a
GPS with detailed mapping.

There is some advantage in making use of smartphone-based
GPS applications for reasons like those Drew mentioned, but
I still like having the GPS that will meet all requirements for
VUCC documentation.  None of the GPS-related apps on my
two phones (Nokia N900, iPhone 4) nor my VX-8GR show
that accuracy figure.  The VX-8GR will show a count of the
number of GPS satellites it is using to determine my location,
but I have not seen any documentation that could translate
the satellite count to an accuracy figure in feet or meters.
I've never been asked by ARRL to provide documentation
for my grid-boundary activities, but I want to be able to
meet those requirements if I am ever asked to provide the
photos and other proof I have.



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