“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 Features
With 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.