I have had the Astro since they first came out, David.
I did not care for the back-mounted unit.
The last two iterations of the collar are fine tho.
The last has directly addressed some collar durability issues, etc, etc....which is the way of product development....time and need.
I have the newest collar and the one previous....have had no issues with either important enough to note.
If you are looking for perfection then do not consider any electronic device.
No doubt that steep country with heavy tree cover will cause issues with signal loss, at times.
I have had the occassional loss in Kansas short grass and the U.P. alder runs.
But, I have never found it to be sufficient a problem that the true value of the Astro was reduced...for me.
Just me, but I run an Astro for, as I stated, a failsafe for piece of mind as a first call.
Not about a run-off but a number of occurences can lead to bad issues with dogs...The Astro is a reliable answer, not guarantee, to many of those issues.
It does help for wild pheasant where noise is a no-no but with ruffed grouse and dogs...less important, to me other than that pesky piece of mind.
In a grouse/woodcock woods, a bell is still my preferred method for following a dog's drift...used in conjunction with an Astro.
I have abandoned a point-only beeper as I normally, sometimes
, can hear the Astro beep...tho this is a weak point of the unit, IMHO.
There may be improvements arriving along the signal loss lines...I do not know what lies ahead but I suspect that there will never be a unit untouched by signal loss under certain conditions.
If other outfits begin introducing their own version then I expect that marketing will try to convince a purchaser that they have the problem whipped...maybe, but I doubt it.
I'm guessing that you would not be satisfied with the Astro, David, as you will undoubtably experience occassional signal loss.
However, one good outcome from a bad dog experience will find the signal issue occurence rated as pretty darn unimportant.
Simply put, I bought an Astro for my birddogs....not for my birdhunting.