September 2012 Issue
Garmins ADS-B WX: One Box Amidst Many
Garmins GDL 39 receiver for ADS-B weather and traffic works well. However, its not the smallest or cheapest, nor does it play with the most popular apps.
The GDL 39 is robust in more ways than one. Its a solid performer, starting up fast and picking up ADS-B ground stations as soon or sooner than any of the systems weve tried. As youd imagine from a Garmin product, the GPS is built in. Reception was flawless on our test trip from Portland, Maine, to Oshkosh, Wisconsin, paired to both a Garmin 796 aera and an iPad. While we didnt test it, the GDL 39 can pair with two devices via Bluetooth and one via a cable all at once. The aera currently requires the cable, but the 796 has Bluetooth built in and will connect wirelessly in the future. The GDL 39 is also big. The unit is about the size of a sardine can, and the optional battery almost doubles that size. This is noticeably larger than the popular Stratus and could be a shipping box for a pair of Sage-tech or Dual ADS-B receivers.
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