The GARMIN Alpha; An Expensive Mistake.

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Re: The GARMIN Alpha; An Expensive Mistake.

Postby GONEHUNTIN' » Fri Jan 18, 2019 4:19 pm

Coveyrise, that is the ultimate, perfect example, of one of the oh so many things wrong with the Alpha. To train a dog you need a program that is FAST, EASY, FOOLPROOF. The Alpha is none of those things. It takes a total nitwit to design a dog training tool with a touch screen. I have this same post on several other Facebook Groups and for every person that says they like it, there must be 10 that hate it or are very disappointed in it. Almost to a person, the ones that like it have one dog or never change stimulation levels.

I absolutely love the Garmin GPS units and own six of them total. They should get the hell out of the collar business OR LISTEN TO THEIR FIELD TESTERS.

It'll be interesting. Steve Snell at gundogsupply said the Gizmo with screen saver would fix many of my problems but get this: to work it in the Gizmo I apparently have to use a plastic peg to get to the touch screen. GRRRRRRRRRR........

THE ALPHA SUCKS!!!!!
I just hate seeing birds die of natural causes unless I'm that natural cause.
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Re: The GARMIN Alpha; An Expensive Mistake.

Postby AverageGuy » Fri Jan 18, 2019 4:48 pm

GONEHUNTIN' wrote:I absolutely love the Garmin GPS units and own six of them total. They should get the hell out of the collar business OR LISTEN TO THEIR FIELD TESTERS.

THE ALPHA SUCKS!!!!!


Garmin did listen - Hence the 550 Plus transmitter. Which they made sure was compatible with our existing ecollars we bought with our Alphas. It only hurts when you buy it and then the pain stops.
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Re: The GARMIN Alpha; An Expensive Mistake.

Postby GONEHUNTIN' » Fri Jan 18, 2019 5:24 pm

AverageGuy wrote:
GONEHUNTIN' wrote:I absolutely love the Garmin GPS units and own six of them total. They should get the hell out of the collar business OR LISTEN TO THEIR FIELD TESTERS.

THE ALPHA SUCKS!!!!!


Garmin did listen - Hence the 550 Plus transmitter. Which they made sure was compatible with our existing ecollars we bought with our Alphas. It only hurts when you buy it and then the pain stops.


But just think what a great unit the Alpha COULD have been had they not made it touch screen.
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Re: The GARMIN Alpha; An Expensive Mistake.

Postby AverageGuy » Fri Jan 18, 2019 5:45 pm

The touchscreen was a combination of uninformed and lazy on the part of Garmin. The uninformed part was inexcusable given they acquired TT (the best training ecollar on the market for decades).

I bobbed and weaved my way through 6 corporate mergers, acquisitions and spinoffs in my career. The acquiring company, (Garmin) always assumes they are smarter than the acquired company (TT) whether it is true or not, was what I saw.

I can see the fingerprints of that type of behavior all over the Alpha design.

If Garmin becomes convinced there is enough market for the 550 type training handling features combined with the full handheld GPS features of the Alpha, they may address it at some point. They just need to be convinced the market will buy it at a price they can make money at.
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Re: The GARMIN Alpha; An Expensive Mistake.

Postby Coveyrise64 » Fri Jan 18, 2019 6:53 pm

~
Apparently they were smarter! Marketing strategy move on Garmin's part....HLS. Many now own both.

AverageGuy wrote:The touchscreen was a combination of uninformed and lazy on the part of Garmin. The uninformed part was inexcusable given they acquired TT (the best training ecollar on the market for decades).

I bobbed and weaved my way through 6 corporate mergers, acquisitions and spinoffs in my career. The acquiring company, (Garmin) always assumes they are smarter than the acquired company (TT) whether it is true or not, was what I saw.

I can see the fingerprints of that type of behavior all over the Alpha design.

If Garmin becomes convinced there is enough market for the 550 type training handling features combined with the full handheld GPS features of the Alpha, they may address it at some point. They just need to be convinced the market will buy it at a price they can make money at.
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Re: The GARMIN Alpha; An Expensive Mistake.

Postby mtlhdr » Fri Jan 18, 2019 8:11 pm

I rarely use the mapping page on my astro 320 and definitely don't use it for personal navigation (I use an app on my Galaxy S9 phone) so the 550 Plus is intriguing. Can you track total miles? That's a feature on the Astro I check during/after every hunt.

I think for a person starting from scratch, a stand-alone GPS collar and stand-alone e-collar is the way to go. Over the course of a year, the dog probably wears the e-collar 5-8 times for every one time he wears the GPS collar, which we've really only used hunting. I will add that at this point I would hunt without the e-collar, but I wouldn't hunt without the GPS. The one time the GPS battery ran out on me within 20 minutes (forgot to charge or left on, can't remember which) I quit chukar hunting and just headed down to the flats to chase rabbits and kept the dog within view. I really can't fathom how people hunted (efficiently/effectively) certain species without out GPS...
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Re: The GARMIN Alpha; An Expensive Mistake.

Postby AverageGuy » Sat Jan 19, 2019 7:49 am

No the 550 Plus does not store any hunt statistics. I only had a 2 year period where I have ever had any hunt statistics, I seldom looked at them and they have never come into play in any meaningful way in my hunting.

My dog is trained better than average compared to the masses, but I will never hunt him without an ecollar on. Stuff happens is why and there will always be instances where having an ecollar on a dog is fortunate and essential is my experience. Chance fur encounters are one major recurring theme and some of those animals are mangy, sick, or porcupines ...

But the even more compelling reason for me is the silent range control recall I get using the ecollar tone. I love hunting and handling my dog in silence. Hunting heavy cover and relatively small parcels of private lands, surrounded by private land we do not have permission to be on creates the need to stay in contact with the dog more often than in bigger and more open country, that we also hunt frequently.

I hunted for decades without GPS on my dogs and yet now it feels essential.

If a guy already owned an ecollar that they like I could see buying an astro GPS add on as a money savings. But if starting from scratch I would go 550 Plus and enjoy one ecollar on the dog and one transmitter on me.
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Re: The GARMIN Alpha; An Expensive Mistake.

Postby GONEHUNTIN' » Sat Jan 19, 2019 8:30 am

AverageGuy wrote:
If a guy already owned an ecollar that they like I could see buying an astro GPS add on as a money savings. But if starting from scratch I would go 550 Plus and enjoy one ecollar on the dog and one transmitter on me.


I think that's pretty good advice. IF I had to start all over again, it would be a 550+ and a non- touchscreen GPS in a pocket.
I just hate seeing birds die of natural causes unless I'm that natural cause.
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Re: The GARMIN Alpha; An Expensive Mistake.

Postby Buck Dancer » Wed Mar 27, 2019 4:55 pm

I have been trying to decide between the 550 Plus and the Alpha 100.

I am not concerned about the weaker training e-collar functions of the Alpha 100 because I have the 550 e-collar without gps for training and would just need to nick on the rare occasion in the field hunting.

I guess all one really needs is direction of dog and how far, but it would be nice to mark honey holes, truck, and download path traveled by dog, I love tech gizmos. I guess if I can get it closer to $600 than $800 I would go with the Alpha 100.

A lot of Alpha haters here but some of the FB hunting groups I am in love it. Tough decision.
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Re: The GARMIN Alpha; An Expensive Mistake.

Postby Coveyrise64 » Wed Mar 27, 2019 7:40 pm

Buck Dancer wrote:......I have the 550 e-collar without gps for training and would just need to nick on the rare occasion in the field hunting.

I guess all one really needs is direction of dog and how far, but it would be nice to mark honey holes, truck, and download path traveled by dog.

A lot of Alpha haters here but some of the FB hunting groups I am in love it. Tough decision.


I have a Pro 550 I use for most foundation training and an Alpha. I like my Alpha and use it much as you described for 2 dogs but would have no problem using it for training if I had to.

cr
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Re: The GARMIN Alpha; An Expensive Mistake.

Postby Buck Dancer » Fri Mar 29, 2019 12:01 pm

Coveyrise64 wrote:
Buck Dancer wrote:......I have the 550 e-collar without gps for training and would just need to nick on the rare occasion in the field hunting.

I guess all one really needs is direction of dog and how far, but it would be nice to mark honey holes, truck, and download path traveled by dog.

A lot of Alpha haters here but some of the FB hunting groups I am in love it. Tough decision.


I have a Pro 550 I use for most foundation training and an Alpha. I like my Alpha and use it much as you described for 2 dogs but would have no problem using it for training if I had to.

cr


Thanks for your input. I set up a price alert on the Alpha 100. I refuse to pay $799 but I think I will pull trigger at $699.

I am thinking of getting the smaller collar with the Alpha. I think they work the same, the smaller collar just has a bit less battery life and bulk. Do you think the smaller collar would work with a 70 lb Puddelpointer?

Just yesterday I was walking some nearby woods and my dog got in some thick brush that I could not attempt to get into. I heard him moving around then could not hear anything. Was worried for a moment that he was getting too far and was thinking of recalling him. Then Boom! A rafter of about 10 turkeys busted out of the thick brush. That moment definitely showed me the value of GPS.

I kind of wish he caught one of the wild Turkeys. I would have sneaked it to the truck and cooked it up this weekend! No matter, have the liquid Wild Turkey to fill the void.
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Re: The GARMIN Alpha; An Expensive Mistake.

Postby Coveyrise64 » Fri Mar 29, 2019 4:23 pm

Buck Dancer wrote:Thanks for your input. I set up a price alert on the Alpha 100. I refuse to pay $799 but I think I will pull trigger at $699.

I am thinking of getting the smaller collar with the Alpha. I think they work the same, the smaller collar just has a bit less battery life and bulk. Do you think the smaller collar would work with a 70 lb Puddelpointer?


I use the mini collar for my two GSP but the largest is only 60lbs. I think AverageGuy uses the smaller unit on his 70lb GWP. You might reach out to him. I don't use the tracking features very often but was able to recover a lost item using the function.

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VC TJ's Miss Filson MH, UTI R.I.P. 5/13/03-10/15/14

Thunderhead's All Jacked Up R.I.P. "My Buddy" 9/9/09-1/27/14

"I'd rather train for perfection than fix the problems of mediocrity" ~ Me

"There are always going to be those who prefer to freeze in the dark rather than put forth the effort to light a fire." ~ Lvrdg07
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Re: The GARMIN Alpha; An Expensive Mistake.

Postby Dakotazeb » Sat Mar 30, 2019 10:08 am

I've had the Alpha now for a couple of years and for me it works just fine. I only have one dog so I believe that helps. I can see where using it on multiple dogs that it could get complicated with the touch screen. I just set the 3 buttons on the top (Nick, Constant & Vibrate) to the desired levels and use the compass to track the dog. Once everything is set I lock the screen so it doesn't accidentally change when bumped. Yes, the Alpha has many features that I will never use but the ones I do use work well in the field with one exception. The tone and/or vibrate on the handheld unit when the dog is on point are so weak that they can't be heard or felt unless you have it by your ear or in your hand. I think it's a good unit in the hunting field. For training I have a separate e-collar that I can easily adjust the stimulation levels.
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Re: The GARMIN Alpha; An Expensive Mistake.

Postby Fun Dog » Sat Mar 30, 2019 1:12 pm

I have the pro 550 for training and the alpha for hunting. I have two dogs and have the alpha set up so one dog has the middle button and the other the outside. That way I don’t have to look. I seldom need to use the buttons as I’m running finished dogs. I have dabbled with the 550 plus, but am not sure I like it. Battery life is short, must be paired each time you use it, it’s heavy. But if you need to train with the same unit with a gps, it’s probably the way to go.
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