No announcement yet.

Is multi-band technology worth spending an extra $100 on for a recreational GPS?

  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • Is multi-band technology worth spending an extra $100 on for a recreational GPS?

    I've been using older-generation GPS units for years without complaint. However, I'm also starting to feel extremely limited by the storage space (or lack thereof) on older GPS models- 1,000 points and 25 routes isn't cutting it anymore. So I'm in the market for a new GPS with modern-day storage abilities.

    One model I've been looking at is the Garmin GPSMAP 66 series. This seems to be roughly equivalent to the InReach but without the satellite messaging ability (although there is an option to add that). There's 2 specific models I'm looking at- the 66SR, which has multi-band technology, and the 66S, which does not.

    For waypoints, multi-band technology seems to be not worth the price- I can just set the GPS down and let it average points for a few minutes to get a waypoint that is accurate enough for my purposes.

    But for tracks, averaging of points is a non-starter for obvious reasons. I do like to record tracks and I would like for those tracks to be fairly accurate. I have noticed in the past that tracks recorded on older GPS units aren't great in some spots where there can be interference. Can anyone here comment from experience on whether the multi-band technology really makes a different in producing more accurate tracks?

    Another consideration- the 66SR comes with a built in rechargeable battery, while the 66S takes AA batteries. Obviously, the built in battery might not last for longer trips (I'm often out for 5 days at a time), but I usually carry a USB charger on longer trips anyways. It would be nice also to cut down on the number of disposable batteries I go through as well.

  • #2
    Hmmmm.... I just noticed the 65S, which has multiband technology yet is $100 cheaper than the 66SR. It's also got slightly more limited space (5000 pts vs. 10000 pts, 200 tracks vs. 250 tracks) but that's still a substantial improvement over what I've been working with.

    The 65S also takes AA batteries and has a shorter battery life on a single charge than the 66SR. But I also notice that you can buy rechargeable battery packs that you can use in the AA slots in Garmin GPS units, and that you can in fact even recharge these battery packs in the GPS itself via a USB cord.

    Decisions, decisions...


    • #3
      The more I compare the two the more I think I'm leaning towards the 65S. The added memory and built-in battery of the 66SR would be nice but a lot of the added cost also appears to be justified by bells and whistles that I don't really need... like a built in flashlight and the ability to download the weather forecast via an app on your phone.

      But also... a 65S plus a couple of battery packs would only be about $50 cheaper than the a 66SR.


      • #4
        I have no idea on any of this, but I'm sure you can convince yourself of anything you want!


        • #5
          You decide how accurate you need your tracks to be, but when they claim 1.8m vs 3m accuracy it basically means that the more expensive unit will not be more than 40% more accurate.
          Someone put out a review, if you've not seen it.
          Feverishly avoiding "a steady stream of humanity, with a view that offers little more than butts, boots, elbows and backsides". (description quote from Joe Hackett)


          • #6
            Originally posted by timberghost View Post
            Someone put out a review, if you've not seen it.
            Oooh, thanks, this is exactly the sort of information I was looking for. I did google reviews but all the ones I found and read weren't very helpful.


            • #7
              In regard to batteries, I have been using eneloop AA rechargeable batteries for about 12 years now, both for my headlamp and flashlight and my old camera, and in my radio earmuffs that I wear for some hours almost every day, and they are great. I have never had a set wear out yet, even after many (hundreds, probably of) charging cycles. They were not terribly expensive back when I bought them, and I have about a dozen or so. They seem to last quite well in use, though I suppose a GPS might draw more power. Likely there are even better AA rechargeable batteries now, I haven't looked in a long time because I haven't had to replace them.


              • #8
                I have a Garmin GPSMAP 76CSx, but haven't used it since I got my iPhone with GAIA on it.


                • #9
                  I have a GPSMAP 76CSx, but haven't used it since I got GAIA on my iPhone and computer. I can import the old Garmin GSX files into my GAIA account and display them on my phone or computer.


                  • #10
                    A dual frequency L1/L5 solution allows the receiver to directly calculate the largest contributor to the GNSS error budget, ionospheric error.

                    It will absolutely result in better position accuracy. The L5 signal will also have a much greater recognized signal strength at the receiver, which means you will track L5 in situations where you will not track L1, like heavy tree cover. I'm not privy to the implementation details of the position solution algorithms in the Garmin receiver, but it SHOULD be able to do an L5 only position solution as well. Major drawback to L5 right now is the number of satellites that have the capability. Believe the current count is 12/31 satellites with the capability. They are launching new birds relatively quickly, but it's likely going to be over a decade before the constellation is complete.
                    (Edit: You will have a full constellation of Galileo satellites with E5 though)

                    I'm surprised the receiver doesn't have SBAS capability. Although SBAS does broadcast ionospheric corrections for L1 only solutions, which would be ignored for L1/L5 satellites, but still utilized for L1 only sats, it also allows you to mitigate the majority of the next two largest sources of error in the budget, satellite clock and orbits. You're gaining a major advantage in the L1/L5 capability, but immediately giving one up without SBAS. In some situations the benefit would be cancelled out. SBAS also gives you integrity, letting you know satellites are operating nominally, and can be trusted. Without you use the satellite blindly even if it's sending you garbage.

                    I'd also be interested to know if the receiver utilizes the new CNAV signal from L5 when available, since that would also give some accuracy benefits. It may just continue to use the Legacy NAV (LNAV) on L1.
                    Last edited by ndoggac; 05-12-2021, 01:15 AM.