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mudbatt

Making The Garmin Alpha Leap?

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mudbatt

Have a new Brittany pup and thinking about making the leap to the Garmin Alpha.  I have always run the Dogra t&B's (have three currently). Any thoughts from folks who have made the transition to the Garmin set up?

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Lurch

I'm not the most technologically savy, but I made the leap this summer from an old tritronics unit. Between the tips listed on here and the various videos on uTube. it's been pretty easy to figure out. My only regret is I bought mine a week too early for their Alpha & Chip $150 rebate and too soon for their current $100 off deal. 

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boutdoors4

Bought one and am happy with it. Wish they had stayed with replaceable batteries on hand held. Like being able to download onto Google Earth and see the dogs tracks, but I could do that on my 320 unit.

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doodlecrazy

Never looked back.

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Bluegill68

My hearing is waning and I was having trouble hearing the location beep on the DT Systems collar, I went with the Garmin Alpha and a tt15 mini fro my Brit and it has been a great unit. 

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Allen McCallie

While I own and use and am impressed by the Alpha, I find that I just as often use a two-collar rig with my Dogtra T & B 2002 with my old Garmin 320 instead on the Alpha unit.

 

I think the main reason is the Dogtra is just easier for me to use if electronic stimulation/correction is needed, and what I really want the Garmin for is location and tracking. The 320, and the newer 430, are just great at tracking, and lack the complication of the combined unit (tracking and stimulation) of the Alpha.

 

If you can find a used 430 or 320 at a great price, I would continue using your Dogtra and just add a tracking collar. the dogs don't seem to mind the extra jewelry!

 

Allen

 

 

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dogrunner
1 hour ago, doodlecrazy said:

Never looked back.

Me either. 

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E.Young

It is not nearly the best tool for the job for training, but it is unsurpassed for hunting. 

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WMassGriff

I'm an amateur trainer and love the alpha for hunting and there are a lot of helpful videos on it's use. That said, I dislike it intently for training and prefer a tube type that can change stim levels quickly and easily.

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Flush

I've been using Garmin' since they first came out, Astros and now an Alpha, and while they certainly have their issues, I can't imagine going back to running dogs without a tracking collar.

 

I agree with others that since you already have an e-collar setup you like, you probably only need an Astro.

For pure training purposes the Alpha can be used but most people find a dedicated e-collar more convenient.  

 

The only real downside to an Astro and E-collar (vs an Alpha) is you'll need two collars on the dog when hunting but it's not that big of a deal even on smaller dogs. I have plenty of friends with Britts and they do exactly that.

 

Either way, Astro or Alpha, I suspect you will like the peace of mind it brings.

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Hub

For guys who don't like trying to use the shock collar buttons on the Alpha, Garmin came out with the Pro 550 model which basically looks like an old Tritronic's canister transmitter but it shows an arrow and distance to the dog only along with the larger stimulation buttons.  It has none of the other GPS or functionality or mapping etc.  It  can be pair with the Garmin Watches and vibrates and displays a point indicator and an arrow for direction and distance, which is my favorite part about my Alpha.  Garmin messed up on the price on the 550.  It's only $50 difference for giving up the additional functionality and it still can't operate an accessory beeper.  I think the alpha is good for open country guys, grouse guys will do a lot of walking in circles and wishing that the 'tone' button on the collar was a little louder or that the wind would die down.  Compared to the average smartphone the Alpha's screen stinks for navigating.  I much prefer pulling in offline google maps and using my phones GPS to navigate.  I almost never look at the Alpha screen.  I use my phone to navigate and my watch to close in on the dogs.

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Flush

The other problem I have with the Pro 550 w/tracking is the rated range is only 2 miles. If it were legitimately 2 miles, that would be ok, but the Alpha's range is rated at 9miles. In the real world the Alpha will very often lose communication anything over 600 yards, sometimes even less in hilly/rocky country. 

 

If the Pro 550 really only has less than 1/4 of the range of the Alpha that could be a major problem for a lot of people.

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406dn
13 minutes ago, Flush said:

In the real world the Alpha will very often lose communication anything over 600 yards, sometimes even less in hilly/rocky country. 

 

If the Pro 550 really only has less than 1/4 of the range of the Alpha that could be a major problem for a lot of people.

 

John, Is the Alpha losing signal that close with the extended antenna? I use a 430 and used to lose signals more than I preferred. That largely went away when I put the longer antenna on. It is now very seldom that I lose a signal, and most of the time then, if I hold the unit overhead, the signal reconnects.

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Flush
26 minutes ago, 406dn said:

 

John, Is the Alpha losing signal that close with the extended antenna? I use a 430 and used to lose signals more than I preferred. That largely went away when I put the longer antenna on. It is now very seldom that I lose a signal, and most of the time then, if I hold the unit overhead, the signal reconnects.

 

Just completely depends on the terrain, and yes it can be with the extended antenna. I often (but not always) use the extended antenna and it certainly does help. There are also aftermarket antennas for the collars too that are longer, and they help a little bit too. 

In some country, like rolling prairie country, I will have no problem keeping constant contact with the dogs all the way past a mile. Not that I usually let them roll that far, but you know how it goes... But in more broken country you just can't seem to stay in contact consistently past say 600 or so no matter the antennas. The worst by far is chukar country, which I hunt quite a bit.

 

I know a lot of grouse guys worry about overhead tree cover with gps reception but in my experience trees are a non-issue with the new GPS systems. The issue I have is solely the radio comm between the collar and the handheld, and the trees don't seem to effect that much. 

 

By far the biggest issue is when I'm down in a deep canyon and the dogs are in the next canyon over and there is a lot of earth and/or rock between you and the dog. I know Doug has the same issue in chukar country with Garmins, I don't even think he uses a Garmin anymore, just sticks with a Tracker.

 

 

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406dn

For the needs of a chukar hunter, I can see the advantage of the tracker units. In those canyons, a guy could get pretty good at interpreting the various signal echoes and sussing out the right signal. There is a good feeling knowing that when you turn on the receiver, you've got a signal.

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