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Garmin Rino 530

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Garmin Rino 530 unitI am one who loves new gear and gadgets to play with in the field, and I must say that the Garmin Rino 530 is one of my favorite and most important gadgets I added to my hunting gadgets collection in 2006. The Garmin Rino has a unique feature that other GPS units do not have, a 5 watt radio(US version), and an on screen display of other Garmin Rino users on the same radio frequency. That alone is a very useful tool that can enrich your hunting experience. Imagine being able to see your hunting parties on a screen coupled with topographical maps, and an ability to chat.

The Garmin Rino 530 is tough and waterproof. I have had a couple 530 units that had bad microphones in them but Garmin replaced them at no charge to me and explained that it was a faulty batch of microphones they had installed but now the problem is rectified. GPS reception is good as long as you have a clear view to the sky, even through a windshield you will be able to get a solid connection to satellites. I do encounter spotty service through heavily treed areas but Garmin seemed to rectify this problem with the updated version(Garmin Rino 530 HCX) that can even get satellite reception indoors. I know because 3 of my hunting partners have them. The Garmin Rino 530 HCX version also has a removable micro SD chip capability that can hold a lot more topographical maps than the previous Garmin Rino 530.

Some other unique features is the ability to; save routes, waypoints, upload to Garmin waypoint manager, and Google earth. It is neat to see your waypoints appear on Google earth, it is an excellent way to scout terrain out from above. The unit also has a weather radio to hear weather reports and get warnings. Garmin has put a ton of bells and whistles on the Rino 530: alarm clock, games, altimeter, barometer, navigation capability, compass, optimal hunting/fishing hours, sunrise and sunset times,etc. As you can see there is many ways that the Garmin Rino 530 can increase your hunting experience but do not rely on them as a sole source, make sure to carry and compass and large forest/area maps along to refer to.

On one hunting trip I was following a logging road that my GPS said would connect back to camp. Well, 8 hours later, empty of fuel, and we were stuck in a creek after seeing the GPS was expecting us to cross a river in Northern BC. Luckily we got out of that bind by finding a mine with a satellite phone but it taught me a very valuable lesson, topographical maps on GPS units are handy but they do not have the updated roads that a current forest service map will entail.

I realize these units are pricey but they sure are handy and the warranty is great.

Posted October 29, 2009 by Justin Ott

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