When I originally kitted out my Big Game I wanted the largest fishfinder display, within reason!, that I could find.. mainly because it was going to be situated past my feet and I wanted it to be clearly readable.
I also wanted the combined GPS unit but the cost with maps was prohibitive, plus I wasn't happy about losing both facilities if the unit/battery should fail.
So I settled on the Humminbird 565 which has turned out to be a good choice and I relied on an aging Garmin Etrex to provided a limited GPS service (no maps). I'd been researching GPS units for some time and I've finally taken the plunge by purchasing a Garmin 60CSx. I didn't want something dedicated to the yak, it had to be good for hiking, cycling, etc.
Various reasons why I chose this unit, but to summarise:
- Reasonably sized display if suitably positioned.
- The ability to load Garmin BlueChart maps.
- Electronic compass facility when stationary.
There are stacks of other functions, such as 'drag anchor' alarm ,etc.As for maps the unit ideally requires the Garmin BlueChart maps which can be purchased on CDROM for PC use, though unlocking codes are required to unlock individual maps for GPS use.
Now this isn't cheap!, the Atlantic CD literally has hundreds of charts, the Solent chart unlock cost around £100. Though..... if you know where to look you can get them, for nothing. The above photo shows the scale set to 800ft, though you can zoom down to 120ft and more.The charts are extremely detailed both on the PC and handheld GPS, they are in fact the same on either unit. The detail is simply awesome and I'll be trying it out for the first time tomorrow.
From experience with the Etrex I know the batteries don't last a fantastic time when the unit remains on, especially in cold weather. Hence I took the opportunity to fit a DC power lead and it's wired into my main wiring loom fed by the 12ah battery. If the DC battery feed is interrupted it reverts to internal battery supply with only a cautionary warning.
Comparing to my Etrex, the satellite sensitivity is excellent,.. I can sit indoors and get a sat lock. Time will tell, but initial impressions are very encouraging.
Below is a screen shot of the BlueChart mapsource as viewed on the PC showing the details available, though it's shown somewhat zoomed out here. The PC also allows charts to be printed out, laminated and stored on the yak for quick reference if required.
The 60CSx comes with an internal memory card, 64MB I believe, though I've upgraded to 4GB which if I chose would allow me to fit all charts for Atlantic, Pacific and Americas in one go... with loads of room to spare!
I still carry my old Etrex and handheld compass for backup of course.
Having used this unit for several weeks now I'm tremendously impressed with. Not only is is handy for marking fishing spots, monitoring drift at anchor, etc.. the map detail is simply superb and accurate. The electronic compass only works in the horizontal position which is a pity, though if required for that purpose it's quickly removed from its mount. Operation when on the yak is easy enough, switching between screens, selecting waypoints, etc. I've navigated in extremely thick fog, using the GPS to recover to my launch site, worked a treat!.
No regrets whatsoever.
Please feel free to comment.