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Old 07-12-2010, 14:55   #1
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Solid USB GPS Antenna

Hey guys can anyone recommend a good USB GPS antenna that I can run up onto the cabin top and permanently mount? I am looking for something waterproof that won't cut out with cloud cover etc. I really need the USB so that I can pull the laptop out when the boat isn't running.
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Old 07-12-2010, 15:21   #2
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I recently purhased one of these,

New GlobalSat BU353 BU-353 SiRFIII USB GPS Receiver on eBay (end time 24-Dec-10 09:01:14 GMT)

The link is from ebay's UK site but as they're shipped from Taiwan, i'm sure you'll find it on the US one as well.

So far it has proved to be very reliable, is waterproof and has a magnet built into the base for exterior mounting as well. However, I've found that there is no real need to mount it outside at all as I get very good reception from INSIDE my boat, even on a cloudy day. I'm using it with a Windows 7 laptop and the Open CPN software.
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Old 07-12-2010, 15:54   #3
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Though it's not external, I've had a Garmin GPS18 USB for almost 5 years and it has yet to loose a signal. We use it inside a fiberglass cabin or stuck to a window with suction cups. It seems to work fine either way.
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Old 07-12-2010, 17:08   #4
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We purchased the USB GPS for our laptop to use with opencpn at USGlobalsat BU 353 USB GPS receiver at The GPS Store, Inc.. I believe it cost about $40 US and I recieved in a couple days after ordering. As stated above I put the puck inside in a window and have not had any issues with locking on or loosing signal. This unit starts up and locks on as fast as the computer boots up.

I have had very good luck with this and would recommend to anyone.
PS I don't have any ties with this company.
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Old 07-12-2010, 19:03   #5
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My BU 353 is velcroed to the outboard corner of the nav table (under the fiberglass deck) and always finds a signal.
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Old 07-12-2010, 19:51   #6
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ditto the bu353. grabs a signal instantly and never loses it from inside the cabin. $36 on Amazon.com.
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Old 08-12-2010, 12:41   #7
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FWIW, a USB GPS is not a gps antenna. It is the whole GPS in one unit, including an antenna, and you'll be limited by the USB cable length, which is offhand something like 15 meters.

A GPS that uses an external antenna is something else again. Unlikely to plug into USB but able to run longer coaxial cable runs to the antenna.
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Old 09-12-2010, 10:26   #8
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Anyone have one of these? Rose Point Fixed-Mount Marine USB GPS Sensor with WAAS | Rose Point Navigation Systems
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Old 09-12-2010, 10:40   #9
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Unbusted, you realize they're charging you an extra hundred bucks just for the waterproof case? I could see sixty bucks, 80 bucks, but $150 is just "A YachtsMens Price".

Fifty feet of cable, ten bucks. SirfStar-III GPS chip or similar, ten more bucks. Case molding, ten bucks. Double the cost to allow for a fair profit, and it should be able to sell for sixty bucks. I suspect these folks are just buying too high up the food chain. Or, marketing to YachtsMen.
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Old 09-12-2010, 13:40   #10
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And like has been said already, the above items that myself and others mentioned do claim to be waterproof as well, plus the fact that they seem to work fine from within the cabin anyway. If mine can work from inside the main saloon with a flybridge up above me and on a cloudy day, then I see no reason to mount it outside at all. Your average sailing boat will just have a thin GRP layer between it and the sky. $150? That'll be the old 'marine price hike' again!
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Old 09-12-2010, 14:43   #11
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"our average sailing boat will just have a thin GRP layer between it and the sky."
Two layers of GRP with a balsa, foam, or Bruneel Plywood core in between them. And Bruneel Plywood is damned solid stuff.

A first or second generation GPS won't work through even one sheet of GRP though. It wasn't until the 3rd gen stuff like SirfStar-III deployed that you could take a GPS below. 4th-gen is current now, even more sensitive.
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