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The Benefits of Portability
For small boat outings, dinghy sailing or hiking, one of the many pocket-sized, handheld GPS units are ideal. In addition to being conveniently portable, these battery-operated receivers provide an additional measure of safety should a larger vessel’s electrical system fail. They feature a smaller display screen and internal antenna while providing an amazing amount of functionality for such a small device.
Many handhelds are designed for crossover applications including automotive, marine and backcountry use. Few products that we carry have the range of cool accessories that handheld GPS receivers do. There are a myriad of accessory choices that can add to their usefulness and enjoyment.
Handheld GPS Accessories
The handheld GPS models of today feature full-color displays, powerful processors and bright backlights that can chew through even the most energy-efficient batteries. Power accessory options such as cigarette lighter power cords, USB power cords and rechargeable battery kits help conserve battery life.
Some cables have molded connectors for your PC’s USB or serial port. Those that have PC in the name either a serial or USB connector prewired. If your computer only has a USB port, you will need a serial cable to USB port adapter to connect to most GPS units. Street Navigator models now include USB cables.
Power/Data cables generally have a connector for the GPS and bare wires with an in-line fuse at the other end. It’s up to you to make the connections to your electrical system and NMEA devices. Power/data cables are needed if you want to interface your handheld with your fixed VHF radio (for DSC), your EPIRB, autopilot or other navigational instruments.
You can even purchase dash mounts, bike mounts or even bean bag mounts to secure your GPS while in tow. These handy mounts will locate your portable where you can see it, reach it, and it will allow you to tilt it to just the right angle for the best visibility. Friction and adhesive mounts are also great for dashboards where you’d rather not get out the cordless drill and punch holes in them. Marine mounts feature screw-down bases.