by Neil Mace
I have had the new Garmin Astro DC 30 for a month now, and it works. Unlike the Tracker, Wildlife, and Marshall telemetry units there is no learning curve, it works from the start.

70+ year old Hall of Fame member Bill Hunt was using one in 3 minutes from the time I placed it is his hands. A guy like Bill is unlikely to ever use many of the functions, like me he has to concentrate to use the remote for his TV, but to just locate a dog and tell if it is moving or on point, you only need the first screen that comes up when you turn it on.

Now I am pretty sure this thing has a button that will tell you what the quail had for breakfast and where their grandfather lived, but it really is simple to use.

600 bucks, light enough to meet AF/AFTCA guidelines (AKC approval pending), and even this old guy can use it, what's not to like.

Neil



by gar-dog
Cool. How is the tracking screen? I think the thing refreshes every five seconds, which is a long time if a dog is running and changing directions. Is it jagged? Does it seem accurate?

Cabela's has one on hold for me and I am planning to go down tonight to get it.



by BrettBryan
Neil,
Thanks for the updates on the Garmin. It sounds like a cool product. I may have to save up and buy one. Are you sure you don't work for Garmin :P j/k
I have yet to meet you, but hopefully one day will. I met Bill Hunt last year while I was up at Blake's house. We went over to his house and hung out for a few hours. He's a nice guy. He showed me his garden he was so proud of. I thought it was neat that he had a headstone out in his yard when you come in his place. Had the names of some nice ones he had handled on that stone. I remember CH Rebel Wrangler, but can't remember all the others on the stone. I thought it was a great tribute to some great dogs he had handled.



by MTO4Life
Nice to hear as mine is on the way now. Can't wait to get it...



by Neil Mace
At 23 mph the 5 second interval is a good stretch on the 80 ft screen, but on the handheld it is seamless.

No, I don't work for Garmin, but if there was ever a product I could endourse, without or with compensation this is it.

Neil



by kbshorthairs
Do I understand your post correctly that it is APPROVED for American Field trials and pending with the AKC?? I know there revised collar looked like it would meet the size requirements, but I didn't know how far along in the approval process they were. It makes perfect sense that they would approve it. If it is the same size of the tracker collar, but better technology to find a lost dog.
The AKC has normally been slow to approve stuff like this, but I really hope that they move quickly on this one.



by MTO4Life
kbshorthairs wrote:Do I understand your post correctly that it is APPROVED for American Field trials and pending with the AKC?? I know there revised collar looked like it would meet the size requirements, but I didn't know how far along in the approval process they were. It makes perfect sense that they would approve it. If it is the same size of the tracker collar, but better technology to find a lost dog.
The AKC has normally been slow to approve stuff like this, but I really hope that they move quickly on this one.


To my knowledge, it isn't approved. Another thread on this topic was started (don't know which one now) and someone (again... don't know which one now) said apparently a couple of AKC committee members?? were testing it for possible approval? I don't know if that is true (I'm in Canada) but I agree it would be a great tool for finding the dog as opposed to the telemetry systems... FWIW. I'm anxious to use it where I'll be hunting some new cover with my dog and want to know where she is (or conversly, where she isn't!!)...



by gar-dog
MTO4Life wrote:Nice to hear as mine is on the way now. Can't wait to get it...


Given the GPS system is a high-sensitivity one, I think the Astro is a legal "no-no" in Canada. Even though I know you guys can get your hands on them through various means, could they ever be used in trials there?



by MTO4Life
gar-dog wrote:
MTO4Life wrote:Nice to hear as mine is on the way now. Can't wait to get it...


Given the GPS system is a high-sensitivity one, I think the Astro is a legal "no-no" in Canada. Even though I know you guys can get your hands on them through various means, could they ever be used in trials there?


It is the MURS system that is the no-no in Canada. High sensitivity is used by many. I haven't heard if it is a faux pas, however if it is like the Rhino system (5 watts), nothing will happen and it will eventually be ok as that is what happened with the Rhino. I'm gonna use it, FWIW. As for trials, I don't think there are any CKC trials in Ontario (to my knowledge), but for our hunt tests, I'm pretty sure they are not allowed (I'd have to check to be sure). We do have a few American Field trials in Ontairo, so if you can use them in the US, you could use them here. I don't know if they are allowed with AF, do they follow AKC??

Either way, can't wait to get mine... it is on the way now...



by MTO4Life
gar-dog wrote:...could they ever be used in trials there?


I will be doing much of my trials in the US (I live on the border of NY) so if they approve it, I'll be using it there...



by Neil Mace
AKC, AFTCA, and AF have the same general guidelines for tracker collar use (transmitter must weigh less than 5 ounces), but AKC approves specific models by name and they prohibit GPS, so they are reviewing the Garmin Astro to have a determination by the end of the year. It meets AFTCA/AF guidelines.

Neil



by jsd245
Don't do what I did- I lost the handheld unit on my very first hunt with it. It seemed pretty secure on the belt clip which I had secured to my vest, but I looked down, the clip was still there but no astro. Boy was I mad.



by gar-dog
jsd245 wrote:Don't do what I did- I lost the handheld unit on my very first hunt with it. It seemed pretty secure on the belt clip which I had secured to my vest, but I looked down, the clip was still there but no astro. Boy was I mad.


If you paid for it with an AMEX and it was in the first 90 days, you can recover the cost therough their Purchase protection.

I wanted to buy one for $550 from a GDF sponsor, but they dont take AMEX. I have one on hold at Cabelas, they charge $599, but I have the $150 cash card. However, today I found one online today for $546 and bought the last one. By the time I figured gas to Cabelas at $50+, $60 more in price, and $36 for sales tax, it was a push. Plus I don't have to have a 4-5 hour ordeal and be forced to spend $150 at Cabelas in the next few months.



by gar-dog
jsd245 wrote:Don't do what I did- I lost the handheld unit on my very first hunt with it. It seemed pretty secure on the belt clip which I had secured to my vest, but I looked down, the clip was still there but no astro. Boy was I mad.


They should make the covers in blaze orange, or one should put blaze orange tape on them.



by nj gsp
I bought a whistle lanyard for the Rino I have, I can hang it around my neck & put the unit in my pocket so I don't have that weight around my neck - but if I drop it, it doesn't go far. You could also loop the lanyard around D-ring, belt, etc.



by jsd245
I got even more POd about this today. I had bought the topograhic maps and city navigator on cd rather than preloaded SD cards, so I told myself at least I wouldn't have to buy those again- WRONG - Garmin only lets you load the city navigator onto one unit, so I have to pay another $99. I can reload the Topo maps though.



by gar-dog
nj gsp wrote:I bought a whistle lanyard for the Rino I have, I can hang it around my neck & put the unit in my pocket so I don't have that weight around my neck - but if I drop it, it doesn't go far. You could also loop the lanyard around D-ring, belt, etc.


Great idea!



by gar-dog
MTO4Life wrote:
It is the MURS system that is the no-no in Canada. ...


FYI, "don't ask don't tell" - it looks like the Astro uses the MURS frequency band...

https://buy.garmin.com/shop/shop.do?pID=8576&tab=astro



by nj gsp
gar-dog wrote:
nj gsp wrote:I bought a whistle lanyard for the Rino I have, I can hang it around my neck & put the unit in my pocket so I don't have that weight around my neck - but if I drop it, it doesn't go far. You could also loop the lanyard around D-ring, belt, etc.


Great idea!


Thanks. My thinking was that although the Rino is waterproof, it doesn't float - and even if it did, there's no way I catch it before it hit bottom or went off down river when fishing.

I got an orange lanyard to help me find it if I drop it in the grass - the Rino 530HCx is olive green. In fact, it disappears on a crowded kitchen counter - so the orange helps me find it at home too... :roll:



by gar-dog
nj gsp wrote:I got an orange lanyard to help me find it if I drop it in the grass -


Dang, another great idea! You are my new "Hunt Coach."



by ohmymy111
I had the DC 30 collar come of Vern hunting Grouse this weekend. Was nice being able to know pretty much right where it was. Once I got within 10 yards, where it told me I was near, switched to the dog collar screen for that collar, and pinpointed it to 1 yard, where I found it. Would be nice if the DEC 30 was orange like the DC 20



by nj gsp
ohmymy111 wrote:I had the DC 30 collar come of Vern hunting Grouse this weekend. Was nice being able to know pretty much right where it was. Once I got within 10 yards, where it told me I was near, switched to the dog collar screen for that collar, and pinpointed it to 1 yard, where I found it. Would be nice if the DEC 30 was orange like the DC 20


Send them an e-mail and suggest they make it in orange. They actually listen to their customers, so if enough people ask, they probably will. In the meantime, maybe you can wrap some tape on it or something.



by Neil Mace
Mark,

I know Vern is fast, but how did he run out of the collar?

As hard as the buckle is to fasten and take off, I doubt it came loose.

Neil



by gar-dog
Are the basemaps any good or do you guys have the Mapsource Topo 2008?



by ohmymy111
Vern is a pretty fast dog, but I don't think he can run out of the collar yet! = :mrgreen: Near as I can figure, one branch somewher along the line probably pulled the excess strap out, and once it was hanging free another one somwehere along the line caught it and unbuckled it. Luckily it was only about 50 yards inside the Grouse woods, as it happened as we were coming back out.



by jsd245
The base maps don't have much detail, but you don't really need any if all you're doing is tracking the dog. I loaded the topo maps and city navigator because I use it for a GPS in my car. City navigator is the default top layer, I just go in and turn it off when I'm on a hunt or in the woods tracking my dog and I the topo map comes up which is pretty well detailed.

It's a little difficult to figure some of the features out, for instance I had the hardest time trying to figure out how to turn the city navigator layer so I could see the topo map when I have them both loaded onto the SD card, the manual doesn't go into much detail. However, it pretty much does anything you'd want it to.

I have a question for anyone else using the unit- is there a way to turn up the volume on the point warning? Or have it beep more than once?



by Neil Mace
I have not been able to find a way to make it louder or chime more than once for point. You can change the alert tone easy enough, I found one that is a longer ring.

The tech support folks at the 800 number are very good, but I have not asked that question.

I am not sure of the value of the topo on the handheld unit, but it is great when you download to the computer and go to the 80 foot scale. It almost shows the bush the dog ran behind.

Neil



by Greg Jennings
OMG, you guys are killing me with this...

Resist! Resist the temptation, Greg!

You can do it!



by jsd245
I've tried calling Garmin tech support- every time I call I end up getting a message that the waiting time will be something like 30 minutes. I think I will email them. I went on their web site and used the look up feature in their FAQs which is pretty helpful, but I have not been able to find anything about the point tone.

I actually like the detail the topo maps give even when on the handheld it'll show more roads and water features than the base map as well as contour lines. It's nice to have the roads on there as a reference. This comes in handy- like today when I was walking Ava in the woods and she took off chasing something which she has never done. I'm thinking it might have been a deer, but I've jumped deer with her before when we were very close to them and she's never chased. She ended up 900 yards away crossed a dirt road that runs back there and it seemed like it took her about 10 seconds. It's amazing how fast they can get out there. I was about to have a heart attack because that road eventually run out to a paved road and I was afraid she'd follow it. I was able to get within about 700 yards and I called her and she came back, I would have had no idea where she was without the Garmin. I'm not sure if she actually heard me at that distance or she started freaking out and tried to find me, but I was that much closer. Prior to this she'd never gone more than about 150 yards away from me without coming back to check in, at least to the point where she could see me.

It is pretty cool to come home and download the track on your computer and check it out. I'm heading up to Maine next week for a few days to hunt grouse so hopefully this time I won't lose it. I'll take some of the advice given above. It'll be fun to come home and download all the tracks and flushes and "relive" the hunt. Hopefully we'll get alot more bird contact than we did last weekend in upstate New York. Were were able to shoot 1 Grouse over her first "wild" bird point . It was acutally her first real hunt ever, she was too young last season.

One other pretty cool thing I've been playing with tonight- you can overlay all your tracks in Google Earth and view them on satellite imagery- depending on the area Google earth is pretty detailed- In my area in Ct I can actually see my house on the Satellite imagery.



by gar-dog
jsd245 wrote:One other pretty cool thing I've been playing with tonight- you can overlay all your tracks in Google Earth and view them on satellite imagery- depending on the area Google earth is pretty detailed- In my area in Ct I can actually see my house on the Satellite imagery.


Very cool! Can you do that with the "free subscription" to google?

Mine better get here by wednesday of next week! I ordered online Saturday and it still hasn't shipped. I bugged them today and they said it should ship tomorrow and "please allow 5-8 days." I think they ship ground. Hopefully the ship from the East Coast.



by nj gsp
gar-dog wrote:
jsd245 wrote:One other pretty cool thing I've been playing with tonight- you can overlay all your tracks in Google Earth and view them on satellite imagery- depending on the area Google earth is pretty detailed- In my area in Ct I can actually see my house on the Satellite imagery.


Very cool! Can you do that with the "free subscription" to google?

Mine better get here by wednesday of next week! I ordered online Saturday and it still hasn't shipped. I bugged them today and they said it should ship tomorrow and "please allow 5-8 days." I think they ship ground. Hopefully the ship from the East Coast.


Yeah, you have to have Google Earth on your computer and a broadband internet connection.

Mapsource menu: View>View in Google Earth...

It also works with the free waypoint and route manager that I think comes with most Garmin handheld devices.



by 47sgs
I've had a little trouble with mine, which I'm sure is operator error. The default postion for what the dog is doing is "treed". I can switch it to "point" okay, but when I turn it off and use it another time, it's back to "treed". Anyone had this problem at all? Also, sometimes I found the arrow wasn't always pointing where the dog was. I realize there could be up to a 5 second delay, and the dog can move quite aways in that time, but sometimes it was off 90 degrees. Now I've been recalibrating the compass each time out, and it seems much better. Otherwise, it's been an awesome product. Very comforting always knowing where your dog is.



by jsd245
47sgs wrote:I've had a little trouble with mine, which I'm sure is operator error. The default postion for what the dog is doing is "treed". I can switch it to "point" okay, but when I turn it off and use it another time, it's back to "treed". Anyone had this problem at all? Also, sometimes I found the arrow wasn't always pointing where the dog was. I realize there could be up to a 5 second delay, and the dog can move quite aways in that time, but sometimes it was off 90 degrees. Now I've been recalibrating the compass each time out, and it seems much better. Otherwise, it's been an awesome product. Very comforting always knowing where your dog is.


You should only have to calibrate the compass once in my brief experience with the unit. When you are trying to locate your dog- sometimes you"ll notice that it flashed the message "hold level" once in a while. Pay attention to that, I've found that in order for the compass arrow to correctly indicate the direction of the dog , the unit does, in fact need to be held level. Otherwise the point points every which way.



by Az Draht
47sgs wrote:I've had a little trouble with mine, which I'm sure is operator error. The default postion for what the dog is doing is "treed". I can switch it to "point" okay, but when I turn it off and use it another time, it's back to "treed". Anyone had this problem at all? Also, sometimes I found the arrow wasn't always pointing where the dog was. I realize there could be up to a 5 second delay, and the dog can move quite aways in that time, but sometimes it was off 90 degrees. Now I've been recalibrating the compass each time out, and it seems much better. Otherwise, it's been an awesome product. Very comforting always knowing where your dog is.



47sgs,

Run the webupdater to get a software update. If you need directions, they are here.

http://www.gundogforum.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=69&t=13337



by Neil Mace
Point vs. treed:

You have to go to the other screen and change the type of dog to pointing dog, be sure to turn the treed "off".

Anyone know why it shows the dog sitting sometimes instead of pointing? I wish that icon wasn't even on it.

Neil



by Neil Mace
Gramin was gemerous enough to donate an Astro to the AFTCA Bass Pro Shop Youth Trial, it went to Larry Huffman.

The trial proved at least two things 5 year olds can do better than I can; handle an All-Age dog in 3 acre field and use an Astro.

We had about 40 youngsters and it was inspiring,

Neil



by gar-dog
Well I just got mine today and I must say I am impressed with it at first blush out of the box. Only initial comment is they should probably have two collar sizes as I have a Brittany, not a St. Bernard. I cannot WAIT to get it cranked up. Unfortunately I don't have any AA batteries handy. But the packaging, case, contents, and initial quality seem top notch! YahoooooooooO!



by nj gsp
gar-dog wrote:Well I just got mine today and I must say I am impressed with it at first blush out of the box. Only initial comment is they should probably have two collar sizes as I have a Brittany, not a St. Bernard. I cannot WAIT to get it cranked up. Unfortunately I don't have any AA batteries handy. But the packaging, case, contents, and initial quality seem top notch! YahoooooooooO!


One bit of advice I'd like to offer is to get it hooked up to a computer and make sure you have the latest firmware/software updates installed. Use the WebUpdater: http://www8.garmin.com/products/webupdater/

Check back for new updates from time to time also.



by gar-dog
Did any of you guys cut the collar down? I worry mine will chew on the end.



by nj gsp
gar-dog wrote:Did any of you guys cut the collar down? I worry mine will chew on the end.


You mean instead of hunting birds? Why would you leave the collar on the dog when you weren't running it?



by gar-dog
ohmyjohnny had the collar come off his dog, thinking it may have been the excess strap getting caught on something. I reread his post, but had initially thought maybe the dog had pulled on it.
G



by jsd245
I just got back from 3 days of hunting in Maine (I posted in the hunting section if you're interested), and I like the Garmin even more. We put alot of miles in and it performed flawlessly. I used it to navigate the roads on the way up, Kept track of the dog, no malfunctions (and it got banged up pretty good as did my dog), and I had great peace of mind in the heavy cover knowing where she was. I still have the complaint about the point beeper beeping only once and not being loud enough, but that is about my only criticism.

And this time I didn't lose the handheld on the first day.



by phermes1
Question - how long does the battery on the collar last before needing a recharge?



by BDBUzi
I've heard 17 hours. But I'm not sure if that's true or not.
I know that mine will last for a few trips out to the field and it hasn't failed me yet.

And I nice feature I just noticed the other day is that it shows you how much battery life is left for each collar on the dog info screen.



by Tejas
Where have you guys found the best price and timely delivery on the new Astro?



by Neil Mace
14 hours on a new fully charged battery for me, and Lion Country has them at a discount, or did the last I checked. I expect them to sell out. I don't advise waiting,

Neil



by lightonthebay
Sportsman's warehouse in Missoula Montana has them in stock for $199 (less one). I would guess that if they are on the shelves in Montana then they may also be stocked in more civilized areas, beyond the frontier.



by tmoneysju
you are saying that this store has this collar:

http://www8.garmin.com/astro/

for sale in the store for $200? Sorry to sound like a jerk, but I find that hard to believe, msrp is 650 and lioncountry supply has them for 5. If it's true, "bleep", that's an unbelievable deal.

lightonthebay wrote:Sportsman's warehouse in Missoula Montana has them in stock for $199 (less one). I would guess that if they are on the shelves in Montana then they may also be stocked in more civilized areas, beyond the frontier.



by phermes1
That price must be referring to the collar only, not the collar and transmitter.



by tmoneysju
after a little more online searching I think you're right. Most places have the collar only for 2

phermes1 wrote:That price must be referring to the collar only, not the collar and transmitter.