Garmin GPSMAP 76

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Garmin GPSMAP 76

For an affordable GPS receiver that works well on land or water, the Garmin GPSMAP 76 is a good selection. It's a 7.5 ounce handheld, in a waterproof, 2.7" W x 6.2" H 1.2" D case. It comes with maps built in, but it also has internal memory for the addition of map or point of interest details.

The Garmin GPSMAP 76 comes with a basemap that shows cities and interstates, along with lakes, rivers and coastlines. It also includes U.S. tide data and a database of marine navigation aids. If you need more detailed map data, you can download it into the unit's 8 MB of memory. Garmin offers a range of maps, from those showing topographic detail to others with hot spots for fishing. Using the supplied PC interface cable, transfers from your computer to the receiver are simple and quick. The map coordinates are selectable and charts with loran fixes can be converted to GPS readings.

Not only is the case of the Garmin 76 GPS receiver waterproof, but the device actually floats. As a sign of its versatile nature, you can get mounting brackets for use on a boat or in a car when not carrying it with its lanyard. And if you have trouble getting good GPS signal reception using its internal antenna, there's an optional remote antenna you can connect and use.

Basic accuracy for the GPSMAP 76 receiver is a position error of less than 49 feet. This can be improved to less than 10 feet, when Wide Area Augmentation System signals (WAAS) are received. Location accuracy can also be enhanced with Differential GPS (DGPS), but DGPS does also require a radio beacon receiver.

Using just nine keys, you can enter and edit up to 500 waypoints with the Garmin 76 GPS receiver. And with its menu system, getting the specific information you want is always simple. There's a trip computer to keep track of your movement, including time, distance, and speed. And the automatic tracking log acts as a trail marker, so you can retrace any path you took. The receiver has storage space for saving up to 10 tracks and 50 routes.

The Garmin GPSMAP 76 presents all its information using a 2.9" (diagonal) high-contrast LCD. The images are shown as a 4-level grayscale display with adjustable contrast for best readability. There's also adjustable backlighting for night or low light situations. A zoom key lets you change a map's scale to see either greater detail or more coverage area.

Power for the Garmin 76 receiver is supplied by two AA batteries with an expected life of up to 16 hours. For boats you can use an optional power cord to hook up to any battery of 8 to 35 volts. And for use in cars or other vehicles, there's an optional cigarette lighter adapter.