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GMRS / FRS - Discussions related to GMRS (General Mobile Radio Service) and FRS (Family Radio Service) communications

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  #1 (permalink)  
Old 07-10-2018, 10:30 AM
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Default FRS repeater for Garmin Rino GPS ?

First off, thanks to everyone for their knowledge in this subject..

I am in law enforcement and we specifically use the Garmin Rinos for sharing GPS coordinates on each other's position. It's not the securest, but it's what we all use. Is it possible to have a repeater to extend the signal for these? The range is usually only about a mile and where we work, we might be 2-10 miles away from each other. What would it take to set up either a mobile(vehicle attached) or a base repeater for extending the sharing of GPS coordinates on these radios? (we do not use them for regular radio traffic)

Thanks to all!
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Old 07-10-2018, 5:09 PM
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No, FRS does not allow for repeaters.
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Old 07-10-2018, 5:13 PM
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Yea, I just read that after I posted this. They did up the wattage to 2w, but it's still difficult getting a signal to each other.
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Old 07-10-2018, 5:51 PM
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In looking at Garmin's website and the Owner's Manual for one of the current radios, it appears that the Rino series are being sold as 5 Watt GMRS radios, not FRS radios. There Is no mention of FRS anywhere although they do appear to be cable of operating on the seven FRS-only channels (8-14). I find this confusing since they do not mention operating at 0.5 Watts on those channels. Perhaps someone can clarify this.

They *do* support GMRS repeater use, however, that is for voice only, not location data. See the section labeled "Repeater Channels" on Page 4 of the Rino 7xx Owner's Manual.
http://static.garmin.com/pumac/Rino_7xx_OM_EN.pdf

Of course with any GMRS-only radio, the FCC license only covers the licensee and their immediate family.
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Old 07-10-2018, 5:53 PM
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While FRS is out, there are ways to do this.
Most newer digital LMR radios will support this, however having the map isn't an option.
Many of the modern digital radios have built in GPS's and can be programmed to send out the radios latitude, longitude and altitude with each transmission or at periodic intervals.

There are ways to display this on a computer, or in your dispatch center, or a mobile phone, etc.

For an all in one tracker, it's hard to beat the Rhino's. But, as you experienced, the range is an issue.
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Old 07-10-2018, 8:29 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mmckenna View Post
While FRS is out, there are ways to do this.
Most newer digital LMR radios will support this, however having the map isn't an option.
Many of the modern digital radios have built in GPS's and can be programmed to send out the radios latitude, longitude and altitude with each transmission or at periodic intervals.

There are ways to display this on a computer, or in your dispatch center, or a mobile phone, etc.

For an all in one tracker, it's hard to beat the Rhino's. But, as you experienced, the range is an issue.

Yes, the Rino is pretty widely used among our agency. The convenience of quick sharing of coordinates and mapping is hard to beat. I just looked on mine and the FRS channels we use are listed on the radio as 2w. I was just hoping there was a booster or something similar that would help, doesn't look like it. Our current radios do have gps, but no mapping.

I appreciate the help on this.
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Old 07-10-2018, 8:37 PM
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Originally Posted by DarinTx View Post
Yes, the Rino is pretty widely used among our agency. The convenience of quick sharing of coordinates and mapping is hard to beat. I just looked on mine and the FRS channels we use are listed on the radio as 2w. I was just hoping there was a booster or something similar that would help, doesn't look like it. Our current radios do have gps, but no mapping.

I appreciate the help on this.
Which Rino models are you using?
The current 7xx series all output 5 Watts and are advertised as GMRS radios, not FRS.
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Old 07-10-2018, 8:52 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DarinTx View Post
First off, thanks to everyone for their knowledge in this subject..

I am in law enforcement and we specifically use the Garmin Rinos for sharing GPS coordinates on each other's position. It's not the securest, but it's what we all use. Is it possible to have a repeater to extend the signal for these? The range is usually only about a mile and where we work, we might be 2-10 miles away from each other. What would it take to set up either a mobile(vehicle attached) or a base repeater for extending the sharing of GPS coordinates on these radios? (we do not use them for regular radio traffic)

Thanks to all!

Wouldn't Smart Phones work for that?
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Old 07-10-2018, 9:11 PM
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I use the 650(sat maps). It's a 5w on GMRS, only 2w on the FRS channels.

Smart phones would, but the rinos are faster and everyone has them without worrying about having the same app or not having a signal. It's nice seeing everyone on 1 map and their routes.
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Old 07-10-2018, 9:25 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SteveSimpkin View Post
Which Rino models are you using?
The current 7xx series all output 5 Watts and are advertised as GMRS radios, not FRS.
Therefor you will need a FCC GMRS License for each operator.

And NO Data is allowed on GMRS.
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Old 07-10-2018, 10:16 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by iMONITOR View Post
Wouldn't Smart Phones work for that?
Yes they would. Smartphones plus a good PTToC (Push to Talk over Cellular) app would work nicely. There are free apps and paid apps available. PTToC / PoC apps have come a long way over the past 5 years. The performance of 4G LTE networks over older 3G and 2G networks has helped a lot.

Given that the OP and his team members are in law enforcement, the best smartphone app for the job is ESChat (Enterprise Secure Chat). FirstNet Certified too! $4.95/month per subscriber.
www.ESChat.com

I would love to be able to use ESChat for my PTToC needs but I'm ineligible to get ESChat because it's not offered to lowly individual consumers like me. The ESChat app is free from the Google PlayStore but the activation is not. You have to be in LE or have a legit business to qualify for activation. ESChat has a free 30-day trial period where eligible users can get activated and try it out before subscribing.

For my PTToC needs, I use AT&T Enhanced PTT @ $5.00/month and Zello (free version).

Good luck.
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Last edited by n1das; 07-10-2018 at 10:40 PM..
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Old 07-11-2018, 6:15 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cmdrwill View Post
....And NO Data is allowed on GMRS.
Better check the 2017 part 95 rules update. You can now do limited text & GPS data applications on GMRS. See the last sentence in the page linked below:

https://www.fcc.gov/general-mobile-r...k-menu-block-4

Quote:
In 2017, the FCC updated the GMRS by allotting additional interstitial channels in the 467 MHz band, increased the license term from 5 to 10 years, allowed transmission of limited data applications such as text messaging and GPS location information and made other updates to the GMRS rules to reflect modern application of the service.
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Old 07-11-2018, 7:02 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by n1das View Post
Yes they would. Smartphones plus a good PTToC (Push to Talk over Cellular) app would work nicely. There are free apps and paid apps available. PTToC / PoC apps have come a long way over the past 5 years. The performance of 4G LTE networks over older 3G and 2G networks has helped a lot.

Given that the OP and his team members are in law enforcement, the best smartphone app for the job is ESChat (Enterprise Secure Chat). FirstNet Certified too! $4.95/month per subscriber.
www.ESChat.com

I would love to be able to use ESChat for my PTToC needs but I'm ineligible to get ESChat because it's not offered to lowly individual consumers like me. The ESChat app is free from the Google PlayStore but the activation is not. You have to be in LE or have a legit business to qualify for activation. ESChat has a free 30-day trial period where eligible users can get activated and try it out before subscribing.

For my PTToC needs, I use AT&T Enhanced PTT @ $5.00/month and Zello (free version).

Good luck.
If the op is somewhere with somewhat decent cell coverage ESChat or Zello paired with one of these would be a pretty nice setup. Gps, maps, email, and comms all in one https://network-radios.com/index.php/shop/
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Old 07-11-2018, 9:55 AM
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While those are cool, it's really not practical for my situation. If it were only a few of us it would be one thing, but were talking hundreds. The nice thing about rinos is that they are somewhat tactical(silent mode, ptt shares location without looking). And everyone pretty much has rinos already.

Sent from my SM-G935V using Tapatalk
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Old 07-11-2018, 1:55 PM
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Someone else can probabaly shed some more light on this but would a store and forward simplex repeater work? I know repeaters aren't allowed on frs but is a store and forward a "repeater" by definition? And even then I'm not certain that it could record the gps data and rebroadcast it reliably. I've used them while working in areas where simplex just isn't good enough. I would put the store and forward in the middle and have it hooked to a radio with a different input tone. If needed I would just switch channels and announce I was using the repeater. It worked good but it was for something where there wasnt a ton of radio traffic. One could easily be interfaced to a frs radio but that may not be legal.
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Old 07-11-2018, 2:12 PM
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95.587 FRS additional requirements.

Each FRS transmitter type must be designed to meet the following additional requirements.

(a) Transmit frequency capability. FRS transmitter types must not be capable of transmitting on any frequency or channel other than those listed in 95.563.

(b) Antenna. The antenna of each FRS transmitter type must meet the following requirements.

(1) The antenna must be a non-removable integral part of the FRS transmitter type.

(2) The gain of the antenna must not exceed that of a half-wave dipole antenna.

(3) The antenna must be designed such that the electric field of the emitted waves is vertically polarized when the unit is operated in the normal orientation.

(c) Digital data transmissions. FRS transmitter types having the capability to transmit digital data must be designed to meet the following requirements.

(1) FRS units may transmit digital data containing location information, or requesting location information from one or more other FRS or GMRS units, or containing a brief text message to another specific FRS or GMRS unit or units.

(2) Digital data transmissions must be initiated by a manual action or command of the operator, except that FRS units may be designed to automatically respond with location data upon receiving an interrogation request from another FRS unit or a GMRS unit.

(3) Digital data transmissions must not exceed one second in duration.

(4) Digital data transmissions must not be sent more frequently than one digital data transmission within a thirty-second period, except that an FRS unit may automatically respond to more than one interrogation request received within a thirty-second period.

(d) Packet mode. FRS transmitter types must not be capable of transmitting data in the store-and-forward packet operation mode.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

(4) (d) prohibits what you want to do legally.

There are no type accepted units or combination of devices that permits this.

Craig
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Old 07-11-2018, 2:31 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DarinTx View Post
While those are cool, it's really not practical for my situation. If it were only a few of us it would be one thing, but were talking hundreds. The nice thing about rinos is that they are somewhat tactical(silent mode, ptt shares location without looking). And everyone pretty much has rinos already.

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Just be aware that there are some legal issues with how you are using these. If they are on one of the 8 GMRS primary channels and using more than 2 watts, the FCC requires that each family have a valid FCC issued GMRS license.
There is no exemption for public safety users.

As you've noted, the industry has kind of ignored the usefulness of these radios.
They are useful, but the GMRS licensing requirements make it a not-so-good choice for public safety use. There are ways the manufacturers could meet the needs, but while there are a lot of users, it's probably not enough to make it financially feasible.

Using one of the MURS frequencies would be a good choice.
Making a version that could be utilized on a Part 90 frequency with proper licensing.
Or a manufacturer making a public safety specific and affordable solution.

While there are ways to do this with higher end radios, it's going to require an external display.

Using cellular PTT and available tracking tools would be a good option, but as noted, the cellular coverage is lacking in most areas. Even with FirstNet coming, it's going to continue to be an issue.

As an all in one GPS location beacon, mapping tool, locator as well as having the two way voice radio function, it's hard to beat.
While Garmin makes some MURS capable units for tracking dogs, they don't have the two way voice capability. Probably wouldn't be hard for Garmin to produce a VHF version. Question would be if they see enough profit in it (unlikely).
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Old 07-12-2018, 2:54 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mmckenna View Post
Just be aware that there are some legal issues with how you are using these. If they are on one of the 8 GMRS primary channels and using more than 2 watts, the FCC requires that each family have a valid FCC issued GMRS license.
There is no exemption for public safety users.

As you've noted, the industry has kind of ignored the usefulness of these radios.
They are useful, but the GMRS licensing requirements make it a not-so-good choice for public safety use. There are ways the manufacturers could meet the needs, but while there are a lot of users, it's probably not enough to make it financially feasible.

Using one of the MURS frequencies would be a good choice.
Making a version that could be utilized on a Part 90 frequency with proper licensing.
Or a manufacturer making a public safety specific and affordable solution.

While there are ways to do this with higher end radios, it's going to require an external display.

Using cellular PTT and available tracking tools would be a good option, but as noted, the cellular coverage is lacking in most areas. Even with FirstNet coming, it's going to continue to be an issue.

As an all in one GPS location beacon, mapping tool, locator as well as having the two way voice radio function, it's hard to beat.
While Garmin makes some MURS capable units for tracking dogs, they don't have the two way voice capability. Probably wouldn't be hard for Garmin to produce a VHF version. Question would be if they see enough profit in it (unlikely).
I don't think the radio will do location on the GMRS freqs, only the FRS because at the time they where developed and tested for their type GMRS didn't allow data.
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Old 07-12-2018, 3:54 PM
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I ran across this old article that mentions an exemption from the FCC for the Garmin Rhino with GPS.

GPS Locating Over FRS
https://www.rocketryforum.com/thread...er-frs.115878/
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Old 07-13-2018, 5:49 AM
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I know many police K9 units in multiple states that do this so your not alone. In the SAR world there are also many who use the Rhino. While I have found no good solution you are right that the LMR system does not fit the bill, nor does a cell phone app. The only good luck we had was putting someone at a high location with a single radio to be a "relay" point and see all the users. Not always an option. It would be nice if they incorporated MURS into the Rhino, or a programmable option to add a "user" frequency of choice.
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