Garmin Rino 130

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Garmin Rino 130

The Garmin Rino 130 may be the ultimate outdoor recreational tool. The combination radio and GPS receiver lets you communicate, navigate, keep an eye on the weather, and even play video games. All this and more is crammed into a tough, small, waterproof case.

With a case width of 2.3" and a 4.5" height, the Garmin Rino 130 is small enough to slip into your shirt or pants pocket. Only the dual antennas sticking out will give it away. The stubby antenna of the pair is for the 12-channel GPS receiver. With Wide Area Augmentation System (WAAS) capabilities, you can determine your location to within three meters. If a WAAS signal isn't available, the receiver is also Differential GPS (DGPS) ready. So if you have a DGPS beacon receiver, you can get an accuracy of within five meters.

The accuracy of elevation calculated with GPS isn't usually very good, so the Rino 130 has a barometric sensor to determine altitude. In addition to giving your current elevation, you can also find out your rate of ascent/descent, and get a display of elevation changes over distance or time, or pressure changes over time.

Another weakness of GPS positioning is its inability to show your direction when you're not moving. And to overcome this, the Garmin Rino 130 includes an electronic compass. It gives you a visual display of a compass ring and needle to determine your heading, whether you're still or in motion.

Direction, elevation, and other GPS or radio information for the Garmin Rino 130 is shown on a square high-contrast LCD screen. The 1.4", 4-level grayscale display has backlighting and adjustable contrast for optimum viewing under bright light or total darkness.

The other main function of the Rino 130 is provided by the Family Radio Service (FRS) radio. The 14-channel radio gives you a two-way communication range of up to two miles. There are also eight General Mobile Radio Service (GMRS) channels and eight GMRS repeater channels for U.S. Rino models. The GMRS channels can extend the radio's range up to five miles. A squelch code is a type of filter which keeps you from hearing the transmissions of anyone on the same channel, but using a different code. This eliminates unwanted chatter from others using the same channel. The Rino has 38 squelch codes available for each channel.

One thing you might want to communicate to someone else is a change in the weather. The Garmin Rino 130 lets you do that with its seven NOAA weather channels. And you can set an alert to notify you when any weather warnings are issued. If a warning is detected the weather radio is automatically turned on so you can hear the message. Checking the barometric sensor plots can also alert you to sudden weather changes.

The Rino 130 has a detailed basemap of North and South America including cities, roads, railways, rivers and lakes. If you need more detailed map data for your favorite city, lake or wilderness area, there's 24 MB of internal memory available for storage. With map data loaded to your PC from a CD or the Internet, it can be transferred to the receiver with the PC serial interface cable provided.

Although the Garmin Rino 130 can communicate with any radio on the same channel and squelch code, there are unique benefits if it's another Rino user. With two or more Rino users you can have what Garmin calls, "Peer-to-Peer" positioning. Every user's unit can store a unique name and symbol as that user's ID. And whenever you communicate with other Rino users, you can see each other's ID on your display. Position information is also automatically exchanged, so everyone can be aware of each other's location.

Both your position and that of other Rino users is shown on the Rino 130's map page screen. The page shows the geographic features of the basemap along with any details you downloaded from other map data. To adjust the view you can scroll the map or use the zoom feature to change the map scale for more or less detail. You can also alter the text size, map orientation, or the amount of detail. Four optional data fields on the map page let you monitor your choice of 32 pieces of navigation data. Example data include your speed, the estimated time until your destination, how far you've traveled, and your current elevation.

The navigation, altimeter, and trip computer pages of the Garmin Rino 130 also let you choose the types of information displayed. The navigation page shows your heading and direction to your destination with an image of a compass. GPS provides the direction readings when moving and the electronic compass provides them when you're stationary. The page has five data fields for other items of your choice. The altimeter page lets you create your choice of plots relating to elevation or air pressure. Two optional data fields display your choice of altitude or pressure items. The trip computer page has seven fields for your selection of data.

Other features of the Rino 130 include memory space to save 20 routes of up to 50 waypoints each. There's an automatic tracking log to record and save the path you took, to retrace or follow the same steps later. You can send short text messages or use the voice scrambler for private messages. And there are pages with an alarm clock, calendar, calculator, sun and moon rise/set times, best times for hunting and fishing, and some video games.

About the only way you can get lost with the Garmin Rino 130 is if you let the batteries die. And with an icon on the display to show their remaining charge, even that's difficult. The three AA batteries can power the device up to 14 or 41 hours, depending on if you use both the radio and GPS or just the GPS alone.