Garmin Montana New User Thoughts

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PearlyGates59
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Garmin Montana New User Thoughts

Post by PearlyGates59 » Sun Aug 13, 2017 11:51 am

Hi all

A couple of weeks ago I purchased a 2nd hand Garmin Montana 650; note for newer members it is club policy to have a dedicated GPS system for off road use (not a phone app), and the Garmin Montana is the weapon of choice for most. I thought I'd share a few thoughts now that I've got to grips with it.

1. This is not initially a simple system to use. It's a very professional, robust piece of equipment with enormous capability, but does require some setting up to get the best out of it (indeed even to make it at all useful!).

2. The first step was to read the guidance contained elsewhere in this forum from the dear departed and much-missed Desert Dawg, who's done a huge amount of work in making user guides, building maps etc. Without his help I would have been lost!

3. Having read his various guides, the first step was to download the Basecamp Software (free from the Garmin Website). After that it's a case of registering your handset, opening a Garmin account, and downloading whatever maps you want (some of which cost, such as the Birdseye satellite imagery, which in my view is actually not essential.

4. As per Desert Dawg's advice, a very easy was to plan routes and waypoints is to use Google Earth, which is free, contains up to date maps and satellite imagery etc - as per point 3 above, I didn't really need to get the Birdseye subscription as I do all my planning on Google Earth, but it's a nice to have.

5. Also contained in DD's advice is clear instructions on exporting from Google Earth into Basecamp, then onto the Garmin itself. Once you've done it a few times it all becomes clear.

6. Using the system in the field, once correctly setup, is very simple and very clear. I opted to use the Compass View to navigate between waypoints, which I found to be the best way to go rather than trying to slavishly follow a route; another tip would be to space out waypoints enough - I found around 3-5km between waypoints worked well on a 30km looping drive.

7. Once back at home, the Basecamp software really comes into it's own, providing a wealth of detail about your trip including nice graphs and images of your journey.

I've learned a lot over the last couple of weeks of getting to grips with the system. Without wishing to take anything away from DD's excellent work, I'd be very happy to talk other users through some of the features / techniques I've found useful.

Anyway, I thought I'd share my thoughts - bottom line is that the Montana is a superb piece of equipment which does need setting up properly, but once done so provides really good navigation tools and loads of data for us geeks out there!

Cheers all - see you in the sand!
Matt
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Allan
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Re: Garmin Montana New User Thoughts

Post by Allan » Mon Aug 14, 2017 8:38 am

Well said Matt!
As you correctly state - once setup the way you prefer it, with well defined shortcuts and profiles, you don't need to worry about it anymore. It simply works.

You can also download BirdsEye maps which will assist you identify landmarks when navigating.

Finally, you are able to share waypoints wireless, vis Bluetooth, which is handy in many situations.
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Garmin Montana New User Thoughts

Post by Zeebzog » Mon Aug 14, 2017 1:07 pm

Hi Matt,

Generally I no longer set that many ways points, maybe 1 for where I want to finally get to and one for where I want to exit. Potentially I have some exclusion alarms for places where there are rocks etc.

Have fun. Everyone develops their own style of navigation.


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Garmin Montana New User Thoughts

Post by scotchyl » Mon Aug 14, 2017 2:01 pm

My one thought re Birdseye is from a safety view.

I carry maps as I can view terrain and assess potential emergency exit points or obstacles ahead if you have the imagery present. I don't keep it all on device, only areas I regularly drive.

Also gathering your own waypoints is a big yes for all levels, from meeting points, deflation points, if you see gates, trees, high dunes, dangers - keep adding them, they will serve you well when leading.

As Zeebzog said, I use waypoints just to judge a distance and how much time I may need to get there. Rest is by sight.


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Re: Garmin Montana New User Thoughts

Post by PearlyGates59 » Mon Aug 14, 2017 6:29 pm

Thanks guys - all good stuff! I'm loving it - especially the post drive stats geekery I can bore my wife with!
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Re: Garmin Montana New User Thoughts

Post by Ancient Mariner » Mon Aug 14, 2017 9:17 pm

and don't forget to download Garmin Express https://www.garmin.com/en-US/software/express so you can keep your firmware up to date.

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Garmin Montana New User Thoughts

Post by Omar Farouk » Tue Mar 13, 2018 6:23 pm

Hello all

I have friend having Montana 650 with canada maps.... he just relocated to our area and need to add GCC ones!

Any advise?

Is it free?

Thx

Omar


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Garmin Montana New User Thoughts

Post by abu al3bed » Tue Mar 13, 2018 10:00 pm

He can contact a ameet shop
It’s located end of the fish market way.
Abu Dhabi
Bakheet from ameet shop.
‭052 859 4418‬


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Re: Garmin Montana New User Thoughts

Post by DesertDawg » Fri Apr 06, 2018 10:07 am

Is it free?
If he still needs it, PM for "data sheet" :twisted:

Dave
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