Reviewed by: Randy Carlson – LCS General Manager
The new Garmin Astro DC30 with the Low Profile Collar is finally available from Garmin, and some of the guys at LCS and myself have had an opportunity to use it extensively.
The most important feature is the completely redesigned collar unit.The new Low-Profile collar is about half the weight of the original unit and now naturally rides under the dog’s neck. The antenna and how it attaches to the unit is completely redesigned as well. The antenna is longer, more flexible, and extremely durable (Andy showed me a collar he had been running on his coon hounds for the last two months, it has seen plenty of use and the antenna is still in excellent working condition!) and adds significantly to the range of the unit – now up to 7 miles. The battery life on the new DC30 now ranges from 17 to 36 hours on a full charge, depending on how frequently it is set to update the dog’s position (choice of 5, 10, or every 30 seconds).
This Garmin Astro is unlike any others I have used. Not only does it show you the dog’s position, both visually on a map screen and with a compass pointer, you also can see your own location on the map screen as well – which is updated continuously. A huge feature, particularly for folks running hounds, is the screen shows a dotted line “trail” indicating where the dog has been. With this information on the map screen, you can at a glance determine no only where the dog has been, but more importantly, in which direction it is heading – giving you a clear idea where to go to get in front of the chase!
Finally, when you get out of your vehicle, you push the “Mark” button. This show on the map where you are parked, allowing you to easily return to your vehicle after the hunt…even in complete darkness. The Garmin Astro can also be used as a traditional handheld GPS unit helping you to find a tree stand, or used in your vehicle providing turn by turn directions. No other tracking system that we have found does all this and produces easy to read screens. The unit is simple to operate and waterproof.
I feel the Garmin Astro is the tracking system of the future – here now!