Garmin Modernizes the Nav/Comm
January 15, 2013 - Despite the overwhelming popularity of GPS, many airplane owners still want a nav/comm, as in a comm that covers all ATC frequencies, and a nav that receives VOR and ILS. What can be done to make the basic nav/comm more useful? It turns out, quite a lot.
The new Garmin GTR and GNC series radios replace the SL line that the company had built for many years. The new radios have the same compact size, but have more powerful transmitters, and very importantly for European pilots, the comm can operate on the 8.33 kHz spacing that will soon be a requirement in Europe.
The GTR and GNC nav/comms contain a database of frequencies much like those stored in the GPS navigators that can call up all frequencies associated with an airport or facility by simply entering the airport or facility identifier. The radios remember the most recently used frequencies, and can also store the frequencies you use most often overall. That means the frequencies for your home airport, for example, will be quickly available without dialing in all of the numbers.
There is also a reverse lookup feature so that you can see the identifier of the airport, FSS, or navaid associated with a frequency you have tuned. All models in the series have a "monitor" function so that you can listen to a second frequency without leaving the primary frequency you have selected. So, you can listen to ATIS while remaining on the assigned channel to communicate with controllers.
The normal flip-flop frequency feature is included so that you dial a frequency into standby and then transfer it to active. The new radios also include a voice-activated two-place intercom that saves money, of course, but also simplifies wiring compared to installing a standalone intercom.
The GTR and GNC line covers a wide range of models with the basic GTR 225 being a comm transceiver only, with 10 watts of transmit power and 25 kHz channel spacing priced at $1,995. You can opt for other models of the GTR that have 8.33 kHz spacing, and also up the transmitter power to 16 watts. The GNC models are nav/comms that include a VOR/ILS receiver plus the options for higher transmitter power and 8.33 kHz channel spacing. The base GNC 255A nav/comm is priced at $4,496.
The radios have received FAA TSO approval and Garmin will begin shipping the GTR and GNC line in February.