Garmin Rino 650 GPS Radio

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#1
I have been interested in the Garmin Rino GPS radio since I first heard about them. I bought a pair at Cabelas a couple of days ago and decided to give them a try. I topped off the batteries for both of them, selected a GMRS channel and PL Code. I also made sure that each one had selected 5 watts.

Tonight I decide to try the Notes feature. Since none of the other family members were around, I figured that would give me a way to test the range by myself. I drove on streets near my home and sent a Notes message with my location. I figured that be a great way to test.

Unfortunately, I was very underwhelmed by these. I sent a number of Notes messages and only two were received. Both locations were less than a mile away.

Although I can't find it now, it seems like I read in the past that Garmin steps down the power to 1/2 watt when sending Notes messages. Does anybody here know if that is correct?

I will be returning these to Cabelas. I hoped that these would work better than they did with regards to range. Perhaps I was expecting too much.
 
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#2
It could be due to forcing only FRS use with that feature. Garmin has had to get permission for the location data to be transmitted when the Rino series first came out. At that time it was not legal to send data over FRS/GMRS. FRS is lower power.

That was a while back though, I bought my Rino 120 in 2004 and Rino 530 in 2007.
 

robertmac

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#4
Depends what you mean by repeater capable. They have all GMRS frequencies so have the GMRS input frequencies. They are not repeaters in themselves. Garmin has brought out the Rino 700 series as well. As in your other post, they would only be as good as how far apart people are. That is simplex 1 to 2 miles.
 

mm

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#5
Your radios are working normally according to RF propagation theory

The rino6xx and 7xx radios are repeater capable of transmitting on gmrs repeater frequencies.

The rino 7xx are also capable of connecting and viewing live video from a Garmin virb camera, this is great for sneaking up or monitoring a virb remotely mounted near a trail or hunting stand.

I am the beta tester for garmin rino 6xx and 7xx radios and with all rino models you have to remember that notes will not be sent immediately but at some random time at up to 1 minute after transmit is initiated so if you are driving around inside a vehicle you don't know when the note is transmitted unless you are watching the display indicator.

As a result multipath fading and other analog users on the same channel can and do interfere with data packets resulting in a 50% success rate in a fast moving vehicle.

Also my test in a vehicle show an additional loss of 10 to 20 db in transmit and in receive due to surrounding metal from the vehicle causing multipath degredation.


Also when transmitting with notes only 1 transmission is sent so if you have even a small amount of multipath fading the receiving radio can loose enough of the data packet to where no text is decoded.

My mobile test in a truck only resulted in 3/4 of a mile range at ~15 to 35 mph vehicle speed and worse at higher speeds.

Holding the radio up near the center of a vehicle window for at least 1 minute to let the random timer count down typically results in a 10 to 15 % improvement in note range while in a moving vehicle again depending on speed and position between radios.

Outside in a standing position while fishing and hunting in Central Oregon, which is near where our design facility for some Garmin RF products is and where the beta testers live, my test resulted in 3-5 miles range in rolling hills with a fair amount of douglas fir trees in between.

In a more open hunting environment with moderate trees, pine and fir, the range was up to 7 miles.


But this is very important to achieve a higher success rate and reduce the effects of multipath it is best that the transmitting radio user stop and then stay stationary and initiate the sending of notes while holding the radio as high as possible and away from the users body and other nearby sources that can cause multipath issues.

While you cannot guarantee both users are stationary, at least having one user reducing multipath does increase the success rate of receiving the single random time transmitted data packet.

In these kind of tests I have had up to 95% success rates talking to and between rino 6xx and 7xx radios at several miles.

Our rino 6xx radios are being used by some Border patrol agents in Southern Arizona with these same techniques to reduce the effects of multipath fading with great success at similar ranges as mentioned above between the agents.

If the FCC had permitted a sending routine where the radio would transmit several data packets in a row instead of one single data packet burst then these techniques would not be required.
 
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#6
Mm, thats good to hear that they are repeater capable. And 5-7 miles is good, was that to another person on the ground? Im wondering this for distance to an antenna for a repeater mounted somewhere around the 70-100' range. Just trying to see if they are definitely usable in the application that I want them for.
 

mm

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#7
My comments about one user being stationary to increase notes success rate applies more to older rino 6xx radios which were cross tested with the new rino 7xx radios.

All tests were to another tester at ground level and with a human tester and a tracking dog, since it is sometimes hard to coordinate a 2nd human tester I had to improvise and the dog was always ready to go out testing with me.

I just completed a new run of test the past 3 weekends and these enabled our SW engineers to make a SW mod with great results.

After Many months of outdoor test with both testers moving around and then one stationary which had great test data, I decided to see what improvement could be made with both testers, man and dog in this case, moving.

In the last several tests I was pinging a Rino 7xx attached to my dog and as a result of the dog not being able to sit still I was able to obtain some good test data that enabled the software engineers to make some mods to the sending of the notes routines which give a success rate of over 95% when the human and the dog are moving.
 

mm

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#8
Also one other thing, i don't recommend using a dog to check range of the radio, use a human helper.

I made the mistake of letting the dog wander for a few hours all the time paying attention to the receive response when pinging the dogs radio but I failed to not pay attention to the distance between me and the dog and believe me after 4 miles, even though it was in moderately rolling hills, it was a long trek to retrieve dog and radio.

In retrospect I should have attached one of my Alpha dog trackers set to make the dog return but of course I didn't do this because I was thinking of the Alpha dog tracker interfering with the Rino tests.

If you do use a method to check range do it with another human, it makes retrieval much easier.
 
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#9
Garmin Rino Base Station

MM can you help me convince Garmin to develop a Base Station Stand alone unit instead of relying on the user attaching their portable 600 or 700 unit to a computer. I have written to Garmin and asked them to consider dropping the FRS channels from this stand alone base unit. This would allow the use of an external antenna on the GMRS channels. This would free up the use of an expensive portable unit for use in the field.

It is not practical for the use of a base station unit inside a building. We have a hunting cabin and when we are out in the field, the base unit would be much more effective if we could attach it to an external antenna. I would ask that this base unit also should have a large 15 inch or so screen. Therefore all units in the field could be monitored for safety purposes. I am involved in emergency management and advocate the use of the Rinos in search and rescue operations. Again, tying up a portable unit to attach it to a computer is a waste of a valuable field unit.

To meet the FCC requirements Garmin could design a base unit that attaches the FRS section of the radio to an antenna attached to the unit. The GMRS channels would be transmitted through a section of the radio with a detachable antenna.

Garmin continues to develop their Rino series to meet the demands of the outdoorsman. We appreciate their dedication to refining the product. I hope that these suggestions will be passed on to their R&D department for further enhancement of a remarkable product.
 
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#10
Garmin Rino 700 GPS Radio

MM, have you used the newer Garmin RINO 700 radios yet? If so, how do they compare to the 650's?
 
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#11
MM, have you used the newer Garmin RINO 700 radios yet? If so, how do they compare to the 650's?
Does the 700 have DCS in addition to CTCSS? I recall the early Garmin Rino radios had CTCSS/PL only and didn't do DCS. Also, if the 700 has DCS, can it use separate transmit and receive DCS codes on a repeater channel?

I'm just thinking of ways to keep this cr@p from showing up on my GMRS repeaters.
 
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