Garmin’s eTrex Vista HCx handheld GPS unit has all of the advanced features necessary for the most difficult outdoor trips. In addition to the onboard high-sensitivity WAAS GPS receiver, the HCx features a barometric altimeter and an electronic compass to provide incredibly accurate location and bearing readings.
The onboard microSD card slot allows you to update maps on your HCx without ever connecting it to your computer. Garmin offers maps from its online store that can satisfy any navigational needs. You can order these maps on a microSD card that can be inserted directly into the slot inside the GPS’s waterproof battery compartment. The unit will automatically recognize and use these maps. You can also download the maps from Garmin’s website and transfer them to your device using a USB cable and Garmin’s MapSource software. Keeping your maps up-to-date is important for ensuring their accuracy.
The HCx uses two AA batteries instead of an onboard rechargeable battery. This allows you to easily replace expended batteries while on your trip as long as you have spare batteries. Nonetheless, it is always important to conserve power, particularly if your GPS device is your primary navigational tool. There are a number of ways to ensure that your device lasts as long as possible on one set of batteries. Garmin recommends that you use Alkaline, NiMH or Lithium batteries for optimum performance. You can configure the battery type in the “System Setup” menu to ensure that the HCx displays the proper amount of remaining power. You can also adjust the backlight brightness by pushing the power button, then pushing down on the rocker button to decrease the amount of power being used.
In addition to its routing and location functions, the Vista HCx features highly specialized software that can be found on the Main Menu. Jump master is a skydiving jump computer intended for experienced skydivers. It helps divers to calculate the jump parameters necessary to reach a certain landing zone. The Vista HCx tracks phases of the sun and moon automatically. It uses the same sun and moon predictions to make estimates about hunting and fishing locations. It can use solar and lunar calculations to forecast hunting and fishing conditions for any given location. The HCx also features a basic calendar, calculator and stopwatch.
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