Sunday, March 18, 2012

Garmin Alpha 100 dog tracking and training system

Garmin Alpha 100 GPS dog trackerGarmin has announced the Alpha 100 dog tracking and training system, the first product to integrate Tri-Tronics technology since their acquisition of that company. The Alpha utilizes a new form factor we haven’t seen in Garmin handhelds before, comes with preloaded 100K scale topo maps, and is compatible with other mapping products such as BirdsEye imagery.

Garmin Alpha 100 GPS dog tracker screenshotsIf you want to know more, the company has posted quite a few Alpha videos on their YouTube channel.

Here’s the full news release:

OLATHE, Kan. /July 31, 2012/Business Wire — Garmin International Inc., a unit of Garmin Ltd. (NASDAQ: GRMN), the global leader in satellite navigation, today announced Alpha, a fully-integrated tracking and training system for hunters and their canine companions.

“The Alpha GPS Track and Train system for sporting dogs is the result of our collaboration with Tri-Tronics®.  Little more than a year after joining forces, we’re now able to offer the sporting dog world a no-excuses system that offers the best of both worlds: robust GPS tracking with built-in topo maps from Garmin and proven electronic correction from Tri-Tronics,” said Dan Bartel, Garmin’s vice president of worldwide sales. “And the Alpha is packed with great new features that make it completely unlike anything else on the market.”

Alpha 100 Handheld Tracking FeaturesWith location updates as frequent as every 2.5 seconds, the Alpha 100 handheld tracks and trains as many as 20 dogs up to nine miles away, depending on terrain.  It features a three-inch, glove-friendly touchscreen display that’s easy to view in bright sunlight.  The touchscreen allows hunters and trainers to configure their setup to their specific needs, yet it displays only the relevant information necessary to accomplish a task.

In addition to tracking other dogs, Alpha is the first device of its kind to feature a “buddy tracker” function.  A party of hunters each carrying an Alpha can track not only their dogs, but other Alpha users – any combination of up to 20 dogs and hunters.  With Alpha’s buddy tracker, there’s no more guesswork in determining the location of other hunters – which makes time afield not only easier, but safer.  Alpha users can also send and receive pre-selected messages in the field – phrases like “help,” “come here,” or “go on without me,” which further add to the Alpha’s utility.

Hunters can follow their dogs and buddies on the Dog Tracker Page, which depicts a familiar three-axis compass, with color-coded arrows that indicate the direction and distance of each dog.  And whenever a dog trees quarry or goes on point, the Alpha can give an audible or vibration alert.  The other primary tracking page is the Map Page.  The Alpha is pre-loaded with 100k topo maps, so hunters will always know what sort of geographical features (including ravines, rivers, and roads) are nearby.  The Alpha is also compatible with other maps, like BirdsEye Satellite Imagery (sold separately).  Users can even set up customized radius or geofence alerts to notify them if their dog has entered or exited a pre-determined area.

Alpha 100 Handheld Training Features

Above the Alpha 100’s touchscreen are three configurable buttons that the trainer can set to virtually any combination and level of continuous correction, momentary correction, or tone.  Trainers can set up different stimulation levels for each dog, and control them all from a single handheld.  When a correction is made, a menu automatically appears so the user can quickly choose from 18 intensity levels on the fly.  Straight out of the box, the unit’s stimulation settings are configured in 18 levels of linear stimulation.  Users can also set the Alpha to emulate the traditional setup of the Tri-Tronics Pro 500 G3 EXP, with six levels of low, medium, and high correction.

The Alpha 100 handheld is powered by a replaceable lithium-ion rechargeable battery that’s capable of up to 20 hours of battery life, and it’s waterproof to IPX-7 standards.

TT 10 Dog Device

The TT 10 collar is designed to take anything that the hardest-hunting dog can dish out.  The antenna that communicates with the Alpha 100 handheld is made of rugged aircraft cable, and for optimal satellite reception, the GPS antenna is positioned so that it rides atop the dog’s neck.  The TT 10’s standard one inch coated nylon collar strap can be swapped out for a different color to easily distinguish between multiple dogs.

At a 2.5 second update rate, the TT 10 will get approximately 24 hours of battery life when fully charged.  By slowing the update rate down to once every two minutes, the TT 10 collar can get up to 44 hours of use.  The update rate can be changed at any time, as long as the Alpha 100 handheld is in contact with the TT 10 collar.  As a safety feature, the Alpha also has a selectable dog rescue mode, which automatically switches the TT 10 to a two minute update rate when the battery is less than 25 percent charged – making it easier to recover a lost dog.

The TT 10 also features an integrated LED beacon for night use that can be activated from the Alpha handheld that’s visible up to 100 yards away.  Waterproof to 10 meters, the TT 10 has just one charging interface that can’t get fouled with mud or debris.  The TT 10 collar, the Alpha 100 handheld, and its assorted accessories can be conveniently stored in the durable field bag that’s included with the system.

Because of enhanced features like remote training, a faster update rate, and the expanded number of dogs and buddies the system is capable of tracking, the Alpha does not communicate with Garmin Astro or Tri-Tronics products.  The Alpha GPS Track and Train system has a minimum retail price of $799.99, and additional TT 10 collar devices are $299.99, and will be available in August 2012.  For more information on the Alpha system, visit www.garmin.com/alpha.

The Alpha GPS Dog Track and Train system is the latest innovation in Garmin’s growing outdoor segment, which focuses on developing technologies to enhance users’ outdoor experiences.  Whether it’s golfing, hiking, hunting, or geocaching, Garmin outdoor devices are becoming essential tools for outdoor enthusiasts of all levels.

Garmin Alpha 100 GPS dog tracker front and rear

About Rich Owings

Rich is the owner, editor and chief bottle-washer for GPS Tracklog. Connect with him on Twitter, Facebook or Google Plus.

Comments

  1. Interesting feature that lets you know where your buddies are. Maybe this could be used for S & R Teams, families with children and other groups hiking/skiing together. Avalanche rescue? Could also make for an interesting game of Ringolevio. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ringolevio)

  2. Rev Arnold says:

    The dog rescue mode is a great feature to have. But not sure if there is an automatic 25% , 10% battery life warning which would allow time to gather up running hounds. Feature appears to be selectable.

    • Did you see this?… “As a safety feature, the Alpha also has a selectable dog rescue mode, which automatically switches the TT 10 to a two minute update rate when the battery is less than 25 percent charged – making it easier to recover a lost dog.”

  3. What about another hunter shocking my dogs with his unit? If I can track him and his collars does this mean I can shock his dogs as well?

  4. dereel208 says:

    Okay, I completely understand how and why the Astro 220 and 330 work. The Freq is the same as Marine band. so u can only track up to 10 collars, and that when selecting numbers the most important number is the second number. So how did they split these channels in half to be able to track 20 dogs now. I was looking at the trackin and training codes and they are long….. I see that they call the band they are using a MURS but that is VHF. Just can’t seem to find this on garmins website and I pretty much checked out all the youtube vids on the Alpha 100.

  5. Rich,
    Are you planing a review on the Tom Tom VIA 1605TM 6″ screen, it is one of the newest out from them.
    would like to hear more about it..

  6. What use are these to New zealand?The frequency it uses is still illegal here!!

    • At last there is a NZ legal model being produced. Delivery is about October 2014. RRP is NZ$1,100 for one Alpha with one dog collar. Additional collars are NZ$380.

  7. max johnson says:

    Is there going gps dog tracking system to use in new zealand

  8. How well does the handheld perform compared to the Garmin 62 series? I have the Garmin 62 STC, Rino 655t and the Garmin Alpha on my list to narrow down. I have/hunt with beagles and looking to upgrade my radio telemetry tracker unit along with my old beat up training collars with the new Alpha, but what features am I missing out on over the 62 series? Rich, can you help?

  9. Luigi Orefice says:

    Moltissime regolazioni,ma manca la regolazione per la sensibilità della ferma che è diversa per ogni cane. Manca anche la regolazione del tempo per l’invio al palmare dello stato on point. Spero che la garmin possa consentire questo con un aggirnamento di release

    Traduzione (I hope it is just the translation)

    A lot of adjustments, but no adjustment for the sensitivity “on point” which is different for each dog. It also lacks the adjustment of the time to send the handheld status on point. hope that garmin can allow this with a new release

  10. Hello there,
    I am looking for a device that shows the positions my rescue dog has been after the search for a lost person in a certain terrain. We do have Garmin Foretrexes that we hang on the dog’s collar and read them out into a laptop but this not an ideal way of working. More ideal would be to be able to see where the dog is at any moment and a certain kind of proof afterwards to show to the police or fire brigade. Can you tell me if this device can do this and is this type legal in Europe?
    I found the Garmin Astro 320 but this type is illegal in Europe (the Netherlends) because of the frequency it uses so that cannot help me.

    Best regards,
    Martin

    • They aren’t listed on Garmin’s Netherlands site, so I doubt that they are legal. If there is cell reception, you could use the GTU 10 on the dog and the companion smartphone app for tracking.

  11. Bonjour, existe-t-il un programme en français pour l’alpha100 et si oui comment fait-on?

  12. zacharias says:

    I have a Garmin alpha 100 combo 2 collar and I want to use it in Greece is it possible?
    I know some people that they use Astro 320, is there any different?

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