Garmin Rino 120

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Garmin Rino 120

The Garmin Rino 120 is an example of the whole being greater than the sum of the parts. The device combines a powerful two-way radio with a GPS receiver in a simple to use, handheld unit. The radio lets you communicate with any radios on the same frequency, but when it's with one or more Rino users, the GPS receivers can exchange location information.

The name for the Garmin Rino 120 is an acronym for Radio Integrated with Navigation for the Outdoors. And the radio part of the device is a 14-channel Family Radio Service (FRS) transceiver with a range of up to two miles. In the product sold in the U.S., there's also eight General Mobile Radio Service (GMRS) channels and eight GMRS repeater channels. Use of GMRS requires a FCC license but can extend the range up to five miles.

The GPS part of the Rino 120 consists of a 12-channel GPS receiver which can use Wide Area Augmentation System (WAAS) signals or Differential GPS (DGPS) information. For DGPS processing, a beacon receiver is also required. GPS position accuracy is less than three meters when a WAAS signal is present and less than five meters when using DGPS. The receiver has a built-in basemap showing general U.S. road detail. Also, 8 MB of memory is available for downloading map data of your choice using the supplied PC interface cable.

The radio and receiver are contained in a waterproof case measuring just 4.5" H x 2.3" W x 1.6" D. And the radio antenna adds another 2.5" to the height. The Garmin Rino 120 uses a high-contrast, 4-level grayscale LCD. The 1.4" square screen has adjustable backlighting and contrast to make it readable under all light conditions. A large rocker button controls the menu pages and selections displayed on the screen.

Operation of the Rino 120 revolves around four main information pages. The radio page shows your user ID and symbol, the channel you're using, and the squelch code. Your chosen ID name and symbol are also displayed on other Rino units when you communicate with them. Squelch codes let you communicate only with people using the same channel and code, while blocking others on the same channel. On the radio page there's also a scan and monitor option. The scan option searches user-selected multiple channels for voice activity. And the monitor option checks only one channel.

The map page shows your present position along with the geographic details of the area, such as roads and towns. Zoom keys on the Garmin Rino 120 let you adjust the map scale for greater or lesser detail. Also on the map page is a wide range of optional navigation information. You can choose to have displayed such things as your heading, speed (horizontal and vertical), distance traveled, and the time to your destination.

The navigation page of the Rino 120 gives you a snapshot of basic guidance details. A compass shows the direction to the next waypoint and your current heading. This page also contains optional data fields, like the map page. You can choose to display up to five types of navigation information.

Like the navigation page, the trip computer page has default settings for distance, speed, and time information. But once again, you're free to have different data displayed.

The main menu page of the Garmin Rino 120 lists the sub-menu pages, which let you set up and use various features. Among other things, you can check on the GPS satellites, create waypoints and routes, set an alarm clock or stopwatch, find the best times to hunt or fish in the area, or relax with a video game.

Special features of the Rino 120 include a voice scrambler and position reporting. The voice scrambler garbles the transmission to any regular radio or other Rino unit with scrambling turned off. When position reporting is turned on, your location is automatically sent to another Rino user when you talk to them. Other Rino users who are monitoring the channel and squelch code will also see your location information.

All the features of the Garmin Rino 120 have been packed into a device that weighs less than eight ounces including batteries. Three AA batteries power it for up to 14 hours, if the radio and GPS are both used, or up to 41 hours if only GPS is used. There's also an optional cigarette lighter adapter and mount for use in vehicles.