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Two Barrels
PostPosted: Mon Jan 08, 2018 8:30 pm  Reply with quote



Joined: 11 Dec 2015
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Location: Upstate, SC

18 months ago my male setter just vanished. I had a Dogra 2500 T&B on him at the time. We were hunting quail in open pines adjacent to a river bottom. He ended up being gone for two days. My suspicion is he chased after a deer and ranged out farther than the beeper could be heard. Thankfully, we got him back. The next day I ordered a Garmin Astro 430. It has been great for both of us. He now wears the Garmin tracking collar as well as the Dogtra T&B.

The Astro has actual buttons without the touchscreen of the Alpha 100. I prefer the buttons, especially when wearing gloves.
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Chicago
PostPosted: Wed Jan 10, 2018 12:44 pm  Reply with quote
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Two Barrels wrote:
18 months ago my male setter just vanished. I had a Dogra 2500 T&B on him at the time. We were hunting quail in open pines adjacent to a river bottom. He ended up being gone for two days. My suspicion is he chased after a deer and ranged out farther than the beeper could be heard. Thankfully, we got him back. The next day I ordered a Garmin Astro 430. It has been great for both of us. He now wears the Garmin tracking collar as well as the Dogtra T&B.

The Astro has actual buttons without the touchscreen of the Alpha 100. I prefer the buttons, especially when wearing gloves.


The Alpha 100 works with gloves, but it is sometimes hard to get back to the home screen wearing them. For anyone interested in purchasing a Alpha 100 there are a few quirks you need to get use to.

The main issue is the transmitter has a touch screen, with buttons above the screen for correction and tone (if you want to set it up that way). The screen is sensitive to touch and if you carry it in your pocket you pretty much have to lock the screen (more on that later). Locking and unlocking the screen is easy but is frustrating if you want to make a field correction of the dog.

There are two main screens to use in the field 1) will show multiple dogs and location/distance and each dog is color coded and 2) the other screen has a compass with arrows for direction/distance for at least two dogs and maybe three (again color coded). It is slick because the arrows point where the dog is relative to your position. You can toggle back and forth between dogs if running them together. I only use the compass screen because the arrow tells me where the dog is in thick cover and how far I have to walk once he points.

I like to carry the transmitter in my vest pocket and if you donít lock the screen the unit easily changes screens and settings as it gets bumped while hunting. So I use the compass screen with a two dog setup and I lock the screen. So if you want any function besides the screen you are on it requires first unlocking the screen, including the training buttons (if set up that way).

The training buttons can be set up to be locked when the screen is locked or to still operate. To avoid the dogs being accidentally stimulated (folks tell me easy to happen) I have the buttons inoperable when the screen is locked. The problem is when you take the unit out of your pocket you have to unlock it to do anything other than look at the compass for the dogs direction and distance from you. If you are working a young pup and want to make corrections you have to be thinking ahead to get the unit out of your pocket and unlocked so you are ready to make that correction if pup moves from point, doesnít come in when called, change direction etc.

I donít use the system for training my dogs, I still use my Tri-tronics Pro 100 for that. It is easier to change stimulation levels and I can carry it in my back pocket and never accidentally stimulate the dog. I set up the Alpha for 2 stimulation levels and a tone. There are three buttons so you could make it three stimulation levels if you wanted to. Theoretically you can have extra screen pages added for more stimulation levels but you would never get there fast enough.

There is definitely a learning curve for the Alpha 100 and I donít begin to use all the functions it has. You can have a buddy be able to see your dog on his Alpha 100 transmitter and if you want give him the ability to correct the dog. You can set up to communicate with other folks in the field with you. You can set up fence area and the unit can tell you when the dog leaves or re enters the area.

The biggest problem I have is trying to remember how to change something. The manual is not very helpful, at least for me. Garmin does have a great customer service area and those folks are mostly pretty good.

Good Hunting,
Mike
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rdja
PostPosted: Thu Jan 11, 2018 3:26 pm  Reply with quote
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This is great information, thanks to everyone for posting their experience. Several years ago I was hunting ducks in N. Dakota on my own. Sent my dog for a duck I had shot and when she arrived it "woke up" and started swimming away. I thought it was hit pretty hard and would be a weak cripple that she could catch. I was wrong and she could not catch it. Once I realized she was not going to catch it, starting blowing my come in whistle but the wind made it too hard for her to hear while swimming. She disappeared out of sight. I had walked in 45 minutes from the road to this spot, and getting to the other side of the pothole would have taken hours. I sat down thinking I had lost my dog. Mind spinning on what to do, if I left and she swam back what would she do, if I didn't leave and she was on the other shore, and on and on. I was somewhat frozen as to what to do. Several minutes passed and I saw a black dot on the horizon of the water. My dog swam back to me, gave up on the duck. I felt I had some extra "divine" help that day. Was never more thankful. I now will NOT send a dog on a cripple until I have it dead. Rather lose a duck than a dog. Thought about this when I first saw the tracking collars. Might be a good idea. Never had that situation before or since, but it only takes once to be a disaster.
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eng-pointer
PostPosted: Sat Jan 13, 2018 7:59 am  Reply with quote
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Thanks for all the information. I went ahead and ordered a Alpha 100. It came yesterday. Now the learning curve begins!

James


Last edited by eng-pointer on Sat Jan 13, 2018 8:56 am; edited 1 time in total

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Dave Erickson
PostPosted: Sat Jan 13, 2018 8:19 am  Reply with quote
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I think you'll really like it. As a slow learner of techy devices I've come to really enjoy mine. I went whole-hog and picked the Fenix 3 watch (which you can find used on eBay). My Alpha transmitter stays in my pocket and a glance at my watch gives me immediate distance and direction to the dog. It vibrates when the dog goes on point, and I can easily feel it vibrate. My hearing has gotten terrible, so beepers have become unreliable for me. Enjoy!
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rdja
PostPosted: Sat Jan 13, 2018 9:28 am  Reply with quote
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Dave Erickson wrote:
I think you'll really like it. As a slow learner of techy devices I've come to really enjoy mine. I went whole-hog and picked the Fenix 3 watch (which you can find used on eBay). My Alpha transmitter stays in my pocket and a glance at my watch gives me immediate distance and direction to the dog. It vibrates when the dog goes on point, and I can easily feel it vibrate. My hearing has gotten terrible, so beepers have become unreliable for me. Enjoy!


Seriously, your watch vibrates on a point. That's awesome.
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Cold Iron
PostPosted: Sat Jan 13, 2018 12:47 pm  Reply with quote



Joined: 09 Mar 2016
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Dave Erickson wrote:
I think you'll really like it. As a slow learner of techy devices I've come to really enjoy mine. I went whole-hog and picked the Fenix 3 watch (which you can find used on eBay). My Alpha transmitter stays in my pocket and a glance at my watch gives me immediate distance and direction to the dog. It vibrates when the dog goes on point, and I can easily feel it vibrate. My hearing has gotten terrible, so beepers have become unreliable for me. Enjoy!


I agree Dave, but no surprise there Very Happy IIRC you had the watch first then the Alpha. I went the other way around. Even though I hunt flushers in the grouse woods often can't tell where the dogs are even 20 yards away. I turn off the vibration for point for obvious reasons. But almost never have to touch the hand held anymore just look at the watch and have peace of mind. Well worth it to me.



Not only has my hearing been going of course the eyes too without readers for up close work. When it is time to head back to the truck I toggle to that on the watch also and just make sure the arrow is headed in the right direction from time to time.
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Chicago
PostPosted: Sat Jan 13, 2018 4:54 pm  Reply with quote
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Cold Iron wrote:
Dave Erickson wrote:
I think you'll really like it. As a slow learner of techy devices I've come to really enjoy mine. I went whole-hog and picked the Fenix 3 watch (which you can find used on eBay). My Alpha transmitter stays in my pocket and a glance at my watch gives me immediate distance and direction to the dog. It vibrates when the dog goes on point, and I can easily feel it vibrate. My hearing has gotten terrible, so beepers have become unreliable for me. Enjoy!


I agree Dave, but no surprise there Very Happy IIRC you had the watch first then the Alpha. I went the other way around. Even though I hunt flushers in the grouse woods often can't tell where the dogs are even 20 yards away. I turn off the vibration for point for obvious reasons. But almost never have to touch the hand held anymore just look at the watch and have peace of mind. Well worth it to me.



Not only has my hearing been going of course the eyes too without readers for up close work. When it is time to head back to the truck I toggle to that on the watch also and just make sure the arrow is headed in the right direction from time to time.


Cold Iron,
I had no clue Garmin offered such a product. That would solve one of the frustrations I have with my Alpha. Having to pull it out to locate the dog in the grouse woods for a good part of the season because the leaves are up on the understory and you canít see pup. The bell usually gives me a pretty good idea but as I get older the direction of the dog via a bell is less reliable and that is why I bought the Alpha. I ran a point only beeper for years but I hated the sound of the thing. Trying to figure out the direction of the beeper in any type of wind was worse than the bell.

How accurate is the arrow for the direction of the dog? How long have you been running the watch? How long can you run the watch before charging/replacing the battery? Any other useful hints?

Thanks and Good Hunting,
Mike
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Cold Iron
PostPosted: Sat Jan 13, 2018 5:37 pm  Reply with quote



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Mike I find the arrows are dead on accurate. When I get out of the truck I mark the truck on the alpha handheld then almost never look at it again. I set the watch GPS to mark it also so that I have double redundancy. Then switch to the dog screen and that is usually all I use until I return to the truck.

How many times you use the watch GPS itself has a lot to do on how long the battery lasts. Of course in the woods hunting I use it all day. Normally have about 60% battery left at the end of the day. More if I don't use the watch GPS function and just slave off the Alpha. I charge it and the collars every night but have had it last 2 days when I have forgot to charge it.

Picked it up last fall before hunting season and used it everyday hunting this year. It has so many features and functions not sure I could ever use them all. For what I use it for I am more than happy.

Any tips I could offer would be the common sense one. Use it quite a bit before going into the woods. You can download tons of additional screens some free and some for a dollar or 2. I like to keep it simple though and everything as large as I can so the defaults work for me.

They have newer models and versions but the 3 seems to do everything I need and then some. They go on sale often and as Dave mentioned you can find them on ebay used as people upgrade to the newer versions.

Good luck Mike, I liked your write up on the Alpha earlier. The first thing I learned to do is lock the screen. Now I almost never have to even unlock it. Think I use it a lot like you do and I basically just want to know where the dogs are in the thick woods of early season. But it has come in handy when the dog chases a cripple and heads off a couple hundred yards and I really don't have any idea where he is without the Alpha.

Mike
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Chicago
PostPosted: Sat Jan 13, 2018 11:28 pm  Reply with quote
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Cold Iron,
Thanks so much for the response. Very helpful and I am going to noodle on picking one up. I checked e-bay and the Fenix 3 is available there, some claim to be new and a couple hundred off the original retail price. I didnít see new 3ís at the Garmin site, just the 5, but I did find a Garmin page mentioning all the watches that interface with the Alpha and I think the procedure for doing that. If anyone is curious here is the link.

https://www.garmin.com/en-US/blog/fishandhunt/connect-fenix-3-garmin-alpha-astro-dog-tracking-device/

Good Hunting,
Mike
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UncleDanFan
PostPosted: Sun Jan 21, 2018 4:09 pm  Reply with quote
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That watch is awesome! I lost my setter in the eastern Oregon desert for two days when he was two years old, and then he just showed up back at the ranch house. I've owned an Astro since, and it was the best $600 I've spent. The ideal system would be an all in one unit with beeper and tracker, and the watch. I do wish I didn't have to put two collars on my dog.

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Gil S
PostPosted: Sun Jan 21, 2018 4:22 pm  Reply with quote
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A vendor on Amazon offers the Fenix 3 HR with Sapphire crystal for $299 delivered. Mine came in Friday just in time for my DC40 collar for Abby to give up the ghost. Anyone know if the Astro 320 can run both the DC50 and T5 simultaneously? Willa's DC50 still works and I need to replace the DC40 for Abby. Gil
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S Hillis
PostPosted: Mon Jan 22, 2018 5:14 pm  Reply with quote



Joined: 29 May 2016
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[qoute=eng-pointer] I wish I knew what happened. Something completely freaked her out. [/quote]

You will likely never know. Remember, dogs have the ability to see, and sense, things humans do not. i'm not trying to weird anybody out, but there is a spirit world that is unseen by us but very real. Dogs sense these things sometimes. Everything cannot be explained.

SRH
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Gil S
PostPosted: Mon Jan 22, 2018 5:43 pm  Reply with quote
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Gil S wrote:
A vendor on Amazon offers the Fenix 3 HR with Sapphire crystal for $299 delivered. Mine came in Friday just in time for my DC40 collar for Abby to give up the ghost. Anyone know if the Astro 320 can run both the DC50 and T5 simultaneously? Willa's DC50 still works and I need to replace the DC40 for Abby. Gil


The Astro 320 can run the T5 and DC50 at the same time with the latest software update from Garmin Express.
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Gil S
PostPosted: Mon Jan 22, 2018 5:45 pm  Reply with quote
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S Hillis wrote:
[qoute=eng-pointer] I wish I knew what happened. Something completely freaked her out.


You will likely never know. Remember, dogs have the ability to see, and sense, things humans do not. i'm not trying to weird anybody out, but there is a spirit world that is unseen by us but very real. Dogs sense these things sometimes. Everything cannot be explained.

SRH[/quote]

My late Aussie acted strange for no apparent reason one day. Next day we read in the paper that we had experienced a measurable earthquake on the Richter Scale on the date and time of Roscoe's apparent upset. Gil
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