Love the Garmin Astro320 - Favorite features anyone?? - Hungarian Vizsla Forums
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post #1 of 13 (permalink) Old 02-22-2017, 03:59 PM Thread Starter
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Love the Garmin Astro320 - Favorite features anyone??

We've been enjoying getting our pup used to wearing her tracking collar on our daily hikes this past month in deer trails through woods, hills and fields.

Although the collar is quite big for her little neck (she's only 34 lbs), she doesn't seem to notice its on and runs, jumps and points everything she comes across.

My favorite feature is the one where I can use the trip computer to see how far I've travelled and compare it to her distance. We just finished. 1.5 mile hike and she ran ~4mi :-).

Wondering which ones folks find most useful in this system. Some seem pretty obscure (eg man overboard :-). The system is fairly intuitive but I'm too lazy to study/read the manual.

Any favorites among other users out there?? Any recommended sources for extra maps to load?

I feel SO MUCH more secure taking the dog out in the field with this as she is now 10 mo old & MUCH more independent. So far she is 100% on voice recall but I'm thinking of whistle-training her for recall as she starts to range farther. You all use whistles for recall in hunting I assume?

The 5 sec delay in pointing notification, tracking, etc. seems slow.

Just wondering what others think of these Garmin units and how they use them. I hope we can attend some Vizsla hunt club/trials in MI this Spring/summer to see what folks are doing with these.

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post #2 of 13 (permalink) Old 02-28-2017, 11:48 AM
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Re: Love the Garmin Astro320 - Favorite features anyone??

We use the Alpha extensively, both the 320 and the newer 430. In fact, we don't put a dog out to work without one.

The main functions we use are direction and distance, and checking the track for total distance covered during a run/hunt.
The other aspect I really like is that in South Dakota there is a lot of public ground. Fish and Game has downloadable maps that we load into the handheld, so we can see exactly where an open piece of ground is, or is not. Hugely valuable when afield and in scouting.

The third most used function - marking the truck. Doesn't seem like it would really be necessary, but take a cloudy day where you can't tell where the sun is and go out in the rolling prairie - it's easier than one would think to be heading the wrong way.

The main advantage of the 430 - twice as fast refresh rate as the 320.

It is very easy to become highly dependent on them though - to the point one is watching a screen instead of watching the dog. When running the dog we use ours only for location purposes of the dog and to verify we are where we think we are. We need to always be training ourselves to keep track of the dog with our eyes, ears and intuition - as when you pull a tracker in competition, you're out of competition.
Ken

Knowledge and tools all help in training your dog, but have no worth whatsoever if one does not get up and actually go train.
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post #3 of 13 (permalink) Old 03-03-2017, 04:29 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Love the Garmin Astro320 - Favorite features anyone??

Thank you, those are also my favorite functions, good to know I needn't read up on the rest! Also, good to know there are models out there with faster refresh rates for when we replace our unit.

Also good to know you are in S. Dakota. My husband has been to a few gun shows for custom rifle purchases out there and if he makes a future trip (and is seriously trying to train our dog to hunt) I will have him make contact to get some training from you Ken.

I have also noticed looking at the screen really takes away from my interaction with the field and dog so am just using it for periodic reference also.

Thanks for previous video links and all the knowledge you share on here , didn't know these couldn't be used in competition but, of course, that does make sense!
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post #4 of 13 (permalink) Old 03-04-2017, 06:18 AM
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Re: Love the Garmin Astro320 - Favorite features anyone??

I hate this thread!

We recently had to replace our Tri-Tronics e-collar setup due to needing replacement bits and our model no longer made. I fell in love with the Astro 430. We already use Garmin GPSMap 64 handhelds for hiking so I am very familiar with their operation and I have all the maps I need, so the Astro 430 with all its additional dog features was perfect.

Nobody sells Garmin e-collars in the UK and I have to order stuff from the USA. I was all set to 'press the button' when I came across a thread in a forum that explained that the wireless frequencies were not licensed for public use in Europe so Garmin (using the GPS function) completely disables the units if you try and use them in Europe.

I haven't been so disappointed for a long while :'( :'( :'(

Think of me while you enjoy your kit!
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post #5 of 13 (permalink) Old 03-06-2017, 11:09 AM
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Re: Love the Garmin Astro320 - Favorite features anyone??

Quote:
Originally Posted by 1stVizsla
Thank you, those are also my favorite functions, good to know I needn't read up on the rest! Also, good to know there are models out there with faster refresh rates for when we replace our unit.

Also good to know you are in S. Dakota. My husband has been to a few gun shows for custom rifle purchases out there and if he makes a future trip (and is seriously trying to train our dog to hunt) I will have him make contact to get some training from you Ken.

I have also noticed looking at the screen really takes away from my interaction with the field and dog so am just using it for periodic reference also.

Thanks for previous video links and all the knowledge you share on here , didn't know these couldn't be used in competition but, of course, that does make sense!
You're very welcome. Just for clarification, you can use the Garmin in competition, but only as a recovery device. The handheld must be turned off and per the rules carried by the judge or marshall, though in reality they rarely do - mostly just in major competitions like Nationals. When you pull the handheld to find your dog is when the dog is disqualified from competition. Still much better than looking for a lost dog for hours/days.

Certainly look us up for training, we'd love to help!

Best,
Ken

Knowledge and tools all help in training your dog, but have no worth whatsoever if one does not get up and actually go train.
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post #6 of 13 (permalink) Old 03-06-2017, 11:12 AM
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Re: Love the Garmin Astro320 - Favorite features anyone??

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lyra
I hate this thread!

We recently had to replace our Tri-Tronics e-collar setup due to needing replacement bits and our model no longer made. I fell in love with the Astro 430. We already use Garmin GPSMap 64 handhelds for hiking so I am very familiar with their operation and I have all the maps I need, so the Astro 430 with all its additional dog features was perfect.

Nobody sells Garmin e-collars in the UK and I have to order stuff from the USA. I was all set to 'press the button' when I came across a thread in a forum that explained that the wireless frequencies were not licensed for public use in Europe so Garmin (using the GPS function) completely disables the units if you try and use them in Europe.

I haven't been so disappointed for a long while :'( :'( :'(

Think of me while you enjoy your kit!
That is very dissapointing indeed. I'm not sure, but now Dogtra has the Pathfinder that uses cellular phones as the handheld, perhaps those are more frequency freindly? I'll need to check into that. I know TexasRed just won one in a Photo contest, maybe she can give us a review on it after she uses it a bit.

Knowledge and tools all help in training your dog, but have no worth whatsoever if one does not get up and actually go train.
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post #7 of 13 (permalink) Old 03-06-2017, 12:03 PM
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Re: Love the Garmin Astro320 - Favorite features anyone??

We have been using a Garmin Alpha for about 2 months now with our 9 month old. Tracking position and distance covered is fun,

Just yesterday we went on a 3 mile hike. Well the wife and I covered 3 miles, Zoltan did 12.7 miles! He was not even breathing hard at the end.

About 1/2 the walk was in some heavy woods. It was fun to see him 200 yds in front of us then in a blink of an eye he was 200 yds behind us. **** he is fast. He does check in often with us at speed

Recall is getting to be pretty good, occasionally a tone is sent to get his attention, but improving rapidly.

The alpha has the shock feature which we have only had to use twice when he is on a deer. Just a" mosquito bite" is required to stop him. It is a hoot to watch him when he spots a deer. He stands up on his hind legs for several seconds to get a good look.

Training is improving , but still teenager/stubborn. He has forgot sit but making up for it with better recall.
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post #8 of 13 (permalink) Old 03-06-2017, 12:14 PM
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1st Vizsla in Michigan?

Where are you at in MI?

We are near Clarkston, (between Flint and Detroit.
We are looking for a Vizsla/ high performance dog to run with ours. We are very close to a couple of nice trails
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post #9 of 13 (permalink) Old 03-06-2017, 12:19 PM
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Re: Love the Garmin Astro320 - Favorite features anyone??

I'm hoping to play with the Pathfinder a little more, before I do a review. I did learn, if I lose my eyeglasses in the field I can't use it. But that's a getting older thing, and doesn't reflect on the Pathfinder. I can't use any GPS system without them, and have to go back to just the ecollar when that happens. As I know it by feel.

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post #10 of 13 (permalink) Old 03-07-2017, 11:15 AM
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Re: Love the Garmin Astro320 - Favorite features anyone??

Thanks for the heads up Ken. Unfortunately the Pathfinder, like the Astro uses MURS for communication between the handset and the collar so is a no go for Europe.

Personally, I also wouldn't be happy using my smartphone for tracking - you should see the knocks my Garmin GSP gets sometimes when hiking in rougher terrain/up mountains etc. Also, most smartphones lack waterproofing, another essential in my experience! I suppose you could get a ruggedised smartphone for dedicated use with the Pathfinder.

Having the Astro would have been so perfect because the handset is basically a modified version of what we already use for hiking. Apart from the extra dog bits the software and user interface looks identical and I can use all my excellent Ordinance Survey maps that I already own for it - there is no comparison to Google Maps!

Sigh....

[Edit] For those interested in the technical details, the pathfinder communicates between the handset and the smartphone with bluetooth, you don't need a mobile phone signal to use it.

So, Smartphone---(via bluetooth)--->Handset---(via MURS)--->e-collar
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