Radios for avalanche emergency

I am sure this has been posted before but I tried searchjing and couldn’t find an answer.

I am a back country skier and would like to purchase a radio that is capable of communicating with the Park Ranger repeater in Banff in case of injury or avalanche emergencies. Is this possible? I had a guide last year that had one but I am not sure if he was employed by the National Park or not.

Would the new Garmin Rhino radios suit my purpose? With the altimeter, GPS and map features they would be ideal for me.

Thank you

Edit: Pertaining to Canadian radio laws

TTT. Danny? Anyone?

It is very likely that we carry a radio that would work with that repeater, but before I could suggest a specific model I would need to know what frequencies it uses. Do you have a way of finding out?

The Garmin Rino’s are perfect radios for what you are describing. We just started carrying them this week. They are repeater capable, but only if the repeater is using a GMRS frequency.


Repeaters are licensed and authorized only to the licensee. As such, communicating with this system would most likely be in violation of some regulation or law. If the rangers are part of an official law enforcement agency or government entitiy, you could face severe penalties.

That being said… now to actually tell you something you can use :slight_smile:

Now… you could simply go to a ranger station and ask to speak with the communications officer, or other responsible party. If they are okay with your plan, then you could get frequency information, and everything else you need to get started on this project.

Repeaters could be VHF, UHF, conventional, trunked, analog, digital, etc.

Danny and the folks here can’t act until more information is provided. Each radio and radio system is different and they need more details on what to provide you.

Ahhh…okay. I didn’t realize it would be so complicated. Thanks for the reply!

I know nothing about radio communication so maybe I should back track…

If I were to buy some radios (FRS, GMRS), regardless of brand, are there certain frequencies that would be emergency only channels, that are monitored?

I have always relied on timed call-backs to the ranger station for emergencies. I know very little about the radios but I would like something I can use (not cellular) for emergency communication in the back country.

Are the Rino’s programmable?

I believe there is a standard GMRS emergency frequency/tone, but I don’t believe you can count on it being monitored.

The Rino’s are not fully programmable radios. They will only work on FRS/GMRS frequencies. You have the option of switching the GMRS channels to transmit through a repeater, but with GMRS the repeater frequencies are standard.

The best move for you may be to contact the park ranger office for the area you will be skiing. Ask them to suggest the best method of communication in emergencies. You may find that they do monitor the GMRS emergency freqency, which would be ideal for you.


Thanks Danny.