Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Garmin does it again

Well, I just returned from 2 weeks in the Adirondacks. The opener was on the 20th, and we were out, and moved birds almost, everyday.
Which brings us to the impressive Garmin Astro system. Every time I strap this on a dog, it continues to impress me, and I learn a little bit more about it. It is just so feature laden, that I'll probably never learn it all, but I keep pressing buttons as we go, and learning new aspects of it's capabilities.
I've got a dc-20 and a dc-30, the first and second generations of collars. The dc-30 was a huge improvement over the original, the dc-20, and I was only too happy to upgrade.
Now, we see the introduction of the dc-40. Another upgrade to the collar unit, but not as dramatic as the first upgrade. The dc-20 had a few shortcomings, no doubt, all cured by the dc-30. The dc-30 has a few idiosyncracies also... The collar material frays and the charging contacts can get full of gunk. It's also a little antsy to tell if the unit is charging at times, but that can be overcome by carefully monitoring the charge operation.
The new dc-40 purportedly corrects those issues, but at the cost of moving the GPS antenna off the top part of the dog's neck, and into the unit that rides below the neck. Now, I'm no engineer, but common sense tells me that an antenna that looks directly at the sky is better than one that is shielded by the dogs body. There are no changes to the RF antenna that communicates with the handler's handheld unit, so that issue is a draw.
I had myself convinced that I would stay with the dc-30, and not do yet another upgrade to the dc-40.... And then, I read Steve Snell's evaluation of the new collar unit.
For those that don't know, Steve Snell is the proprietor of Gun Dog Supply, and has probably had more influence in the design, and subsequent upgrades of the Garmin system than anyone.
Now, I've had my dc-30 working and communicating at better than 800 yards in dense woods in hilly terrain. I need that kind of performance, but thankfully, not much more! So, if the new collar can equal that, the upgrade may just be worth it. and it would be nice to have the other small issues not be a concern anymore.

So, the jury is still out on whether I'll upgrade or not... But it's just a bit less sure that I won't than it was before...

Click here to read Steve Snell's review of the new dc-40 from Garmin

1 comment:

  1. Great posts on your Astro experiences this season.
    Really appreciate the link to Steve Snell's article.

    Have a great 2011 !