Leap Year Day 2008 Rave!
Normally, this place on the site is for me
to whine on and on about something that got under my skin. But, THIS time, I’m not going to RANT about anything; I’m
going to tell you about something I think is absolutely GREAT!
Like some of you, I’m a real “tech-geek”.
I LOVE stuff that’s electronic. And part of the research that I’m involved with individually, and with a great
group of others, sometimes involves the use of audio recording, photography, video and the use of night vision equipment.
As well, many of us own FRS/GMRS radios. Oh, and don’t forget portable GPS devices too!
So recently, I was out in some unfamiliar
places following up on some leads that have been given to me, when I pulled out my Magellan Meridian Gold GPS to keep track
of where I was and to mark a couple spots for future reference. While I ‘like’ my GPS unit, and it seemed like
I paid a pretty penny for it just 3 or 4 years ago, it reminded me of what I “wished” I had in a GPS unit, but
didn’t. When I came home that evening, I started doing some looking around for the latest in GPS, and since I already
owned a Magellan (www.magellangps.com), I started with their website. The ONE, single most important thing I was looking for in a handheld GPS unit,
was the ability of the unit to immediately point to north when operating, which surprisingly, is NOT a standard operation
of “most” older units, and not in many newer units of lesser price. As is the case with my Meridian Gold unit,
and most others, once the satellite signals have been found and a sufficient number are being “seen” by the handheld
GPS, you can see on the built-in display, exactly where you are, and what altitude (elevation above sea level) you are at.
But, to get the built-in compass display to register North, you have to start moving at least 2 miles-per-hour. Now, Magellan
has a few handheld models that have what they’re calling “3-axis electronic compass” which shows you North,
whether you are moving or standing still. YAY! These can be found in their Triton series of handheld GPS units.
Then, just to compare a leading competitor,
I went to Garmin (www.garmin.com) to look at their selection of GPS handhelds to see where the two companies differed in features and price.
Basically, Garmin has the same range of price and features (for the price) in their line-up, and for their higher-end units,
the better featured units also register real-time direction finding (without having to be in motion) with what Garmin simply
calls an “electronic compass”. Of course, as you spend a few more dollars, you get a few more features. Then it
I saw a series of GPS units WITH FRS/GMRS
2-way radios built into them. As I looked into those further, I learned that the top end one could even do the following:
Barometric altimeter pinpoints your precise elevation
Electronic compass tells you what direction you’re headed, even when you're standing still.
Position Reporting lets you send your exact location to other Rino users in your group so that everyone can
see your position on the map page.
External temperature recording
NOAA Weather Radio
VOX / Voice Scrambler / Vibration Alert
Removable, rechargeable lithium-ion battery pack – 14 hour battery life
Waterproof – High Sensitivity Receiver – USB computer interface
There’s a lot more to see at their
website, so if you’re as interested in having BOTH a GPS unit, and a 2-way radio all-in-one, you’ll likely be
looking at Radio Shack and Wal-Mart to see what one of these babies cost. Suggested retail is $535.70, but less at Radio Shack
and even cheaper at Wal-Mart. The model I just gave you all these cool specs on is called the Rino 530HCx. You can see all
the handheld GPS with 2-way radios at this link: http://www.garmin.com/garmin/cms/us/onthetrail/rinoseries
Look, I’m NOT a Garmin sales rep, so
please don’t think I’m trying to sell you anything: I’m not. But, if you’re into quality gear, from
what I’ve read online, both Garmin and Magellan offer some great stuff. And though I’m REALLY thinking about getting
one of these babies myself, it probably won’t be until we get a little closer to Spring and my “impulse to buy”
has be tempered a little more. (and I get my tax refund…) *wink-wink*
So there you go… my first “Rant”
for 2008, and on a Leap-Year-Day none-the-less, isn’t a rant at all… it’s a “Woo-Hoo!” for something
out there I think a few of us would really appreciate having “out there” when we’re on that illusive hunt
for our big friend, Sass.