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Author Topic: Alpha Reviews?  (Read 3706 times)

Offline CementFinisher

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Alpha Reviews?
« on: February 07, 2016, 02:04:32 AM »
Been hearing mixed reviews on the alpha system. For those of you with an alpha for hound hunting please share your feeling on the system vs astro. touch screen vs buttons. getting to the tone and shock correction. range in cover. anything else

Offline HighCountryHunter88

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Re: Alpha Reviews?
« Reply #1 on: February 07, 2016, 03:45:00 AM »
I am about to walk out the door heading south to run the dogs today so tagging for later. We run alphas almost exclusively unless testing something new on the Astros. When I get home later I can start working on a write up. It might be tomorrow if we get back late. Also feel free to shoot me a call any time with questions
-Matt

Offline WA hunter14

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Re: Alpha Reviews?
« Reply #2 on: February 07, 2016, 01:01:27 PM »
in real hutning conditions i had astro 220 and alpha side by side and drove away from the dogs(running a lion) and my astro lost signal almost exactly 1mile away and the alpha lost signal at a mile and a quarter. i have not figured out the alpha completely yet and honestly i dont like it. It may some be operator error but it randomly zooms way out sometimes, I dont understand how to tone a dog but shocking them is easy, the shocking buttons though can be pressed if you put the handheld in your pocket. I love that the alpha shows when the dog is barking, i dont know how to make the alpha show dog stats wich pisses me off. Astro is so easy to use and figure out but doesnt have as good of features. Astro has so close of real world distance and is so much easier to use, im not buying the alpha for myself unless somehow i figure out all the issues i have with it.

Offline HighCountryHunter88

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Re: Alpha Reviews?
« Reply #3 on: February 08, 2016, 06:56:37 AM »
in real hutning conditions i had astro 220 and alpha side by side and drove away from the dogs(running a lion) and my astro lost signal almost exactly 1mile away and the alpha lost signal at a mile and a quarter. i have not figured out the alpha completely yet and honestly i dont like it. It may some be operator error but it randomly zooms way out sometimes, I dont understand how to tone a dog but shocking them is easy, the shocking buttons though can be pressed if you put the handheld in your pocket. I love that the alpha shows when the dog is barking, i dont know how to make the alpha show dog stats wich pisses me off. Astro is so easy to use and figure out but doesnt have as good of features. Astro has so close of real world distance and is so much easier to use, im not buying the alpha for myself unless somehow i figure out all the issues i have with it.

so your auto zoom needs to be turned off, go to your map, hit the 3 bar menu button at the bottom, hit setup map, hit advanced setup at the bottom and turn auto zoom off, it should be the first option at the top.

to use tone, select the dog on the touch screen under the button, three options should come up, usually its CMV or CMT, if you have V for vibrate instead of T for tone go into your setup menu and go to training, hit training buttons and change mode until you see T instead of V. you will then have the tone option.

you can also set up your training button lock on this page so your buttons cannot be pushed when its in your pocket. in actuality, you run the risk of accidentally hitting the shock buttons on every training device not just the Alpha

What stats are you wanting to show? it probably can be set up. let me know if you have any other questions or shoot me a call if youd rather chat about it.


matt
-Matt

Offline HighCountryHunter88

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Re: Alpha Reviews?
« Reply #4 on: February 08, 2016, 07:20:16 AM »
For the OP, Here is a quick rundown of the differences in the Alpha vs Astro systems. I will also attach a couple reviews of some GPS systems out there. 

Firstly the obvious, Astros are buttons and Alphas have a touch screen. The only real problem with the touchscreen is in super cold temps, a lot colder than here. Iíve been hunting from snow machine all winter in the Oregon cascades and havenít had any sensitivity issues. I tend to receive more broken Astro screens in our shop for repair than Alphas.
The Alpha has both tracking and training features, you can train your dog as far as you can pick them up, this comes in handy if your dogs are tone trained to work back to the road and they are way out there. there are 18 stim levels on the alpha, 18 is the same as a 6 on a tri tronics EXP they just put in more levels in between to help find the right training level for your dog. 
The Alpha has 8 G of memory on board where the Astro 320 only has 1.7, the Alpha has US 100k Topo pre loaded and you can add your own mapping as well. The Astro 320 has no maps and you will need to purchase additional mapping.
Range is roughly the same on paper,  the FCC is who regulates how much power can be transmitted in these using MURS frequency so Garmin pretty much tries to max them out. We have noticed the Alpha squeaks out a little more range on average and shows better gain when tested on our Spectrum Analyzer here in the shop. I think this is due to more advanced hardware components.

Probably the most underrated and possibly most important difference, since the Alpha can transmit a signal, you can change all of your communication settings while the dog is out on track. This means your can change ID #s, update rate, ect when dogs are miles away. this is handy when you need to cut your dogs off on a road or they are going into an area where you may not get to them for awhile, you can change the update on their collars to either stay right on top of where they are every 2.5 seconds or dump them down to 2 minutes to conserve as much battery as possible. 

Alpha handhelds can also track each other real time just like the dogs, which is nice for hunting with other people.  You will also get less interference with others than the Astros because you can have twice as many ID # in the same area without causing an issue.

The Astro system is a great system too, there are just some things the Alpha does that the Astro cant and you need to ask yourself if those features are worth the extra $ for you.

Sorry if this reads as rushed as Im typing this at work. If anyone has specific questions please ask and I an answer as I come back to check this thread. I test and run both Astros and Alphas daily and am happy to help anyway I can.   

here is a link to our product testing reviews, as you will see we dont hold back when we like something or when we dont like certain products

http://www.dusupply.com/info/product-reviews/
-Matt

Offline CementFinisher

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Re: Alpha Reviews?
« Reply #5 on: February 08, 2016, 09:04:32 PM »
Thanks for replying. I'm looking for opinions on ease of use, practicality, durability, what you like more or less, just first hand accounts while hunting. some friends and I have been thinking of upgrading from astro's but have heard mixed reviews from people we personaly know. just looking for more input, not features listed on the box or from the manufacture or suppliers. thanks all
« Last Edit: February 08, 2016, 09:30:04 PM by CementFinisher »

Offline NW-GSP

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Re: Alpha Reviews?
« Reply #6 on: February 08, 2016, 09:37:28 PM »
I use the alpha for my bird hunting dog. I hunt waterfowl and upland with him and he is a pointing dog so I spend plenty of time hunting without seeing him. The alpha I'd pretty easy to learn how to use and the customer support is nothing short of amazing. My dog will be as far away as 3/4 of a mile from me and I have never had issues with reception. I think  You can also get a antenna for your vehicle to extend the range.

Offline plottwalker

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Re: Alpha Reviews?
« Reply #7 on: February 09, 2016, 12:54:32 PM »
i choose the alpha over the astro, plan and simply because i wanted to shock and track together, traded the 220's and all my tri tronics for the alpha and am over all happy with the deal. it takes some getting used to if you ever need to shock / tone dogs. the touch screen can be a pain if its raining out, but still loads the map and works faster then the 220 or 320 scrolling with the buttons. i have had all the Garmin gps/collar options over the years and say the alpha is the way to go. when it comes to collars i would stick with the tt15's the minis i have had trouble with. but the full size tt15s work awesome.

Offline WAcoyotehunter

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Re: Alpha Reviews?
« Reply #8 on: February 10, 2016, 05:15:11 AM »
They are a good unit, with good range.  I have three tt15 mini collars and one regular tt15 and get equal performance.
Maneuvering through the shock/tone for four dogs can be a hassle, but I have one dog and its usually set on her ;)
The touch screen is pretty nice, I put a good cover on it immediately.  When its wet it can act up a little. 
The buttons and screen are a little touchy when the unit is in a pocket.... I have erased hunt logs, made waypoints.... Accidentally while hiking and inadvertently hitting buttons. As long as the unit is set not to correct, it doesn't bother me.  I don't think I have every accidentally corrected a dog.

Overall, I like it better than the alpha and get better performance.

Offline CementFinisher

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Re: Alpha Reviews?
« Reply #9 on: February 10, 2016, 05:53:12 PM »
WAcoyotehunter care to elaborate a little further on maneuvering through the shock/tone for multiple dogs being a hassle?

Offline WAcoyotehunter

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Re: Alpha Reviews?
« Reply #10 on: February 12, 2016, 10:25:31 PM »
You have to choose each dog via the screen "buttons", which are pretty small and can be tough for me

Offline NW-GSP

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Re: Alpha Reviews?
« Reply #11 on: February 15, 2016, 09:19:06 PM »
You have to choose each dog via the screen "buttons", which are pretty small and can be tough for me

I have the same issue.

Offline Huntin Hounds

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Re: Alpha Reviews?
« Reply #12 on: September 13, 2018, 02:43:24 PM »
I am finally considering upgrading from my astro 220 gear to the alpha. Do these units need to be tuned off like the astro to talk on a vhf radio without burning them up?

Offline idaho guy

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Re: Alpha Reviews?
« Reply #13 on: September 13, 2018, 03:13:45 PM »
I upgraded and having the train and track combined has been great. I don't know the answer but I assumed the marine type radio would fry it so I have treated mine the same as the astro when it comes to radios

Offline Huntin Hounds

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Re: Alpha Reviews?
« Reply #14 on: September 13, 2018, 05:35:34 PM »
I figured it was the same since they both run on MURS but was hoping they found the magic fix. My shockers are not reliable anymore so I gotta do something.

 

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