by Randy Carlson – LCS General Manager
Overall Summary of SportDog TEK Features
· Ability to run a GPS tracking system and remote training collar from one handheld and one integrated unit on the dog
· Seven mile range for both the GPS locator and remote trainer
· Provides up to 100 levels of stimulation – adjustable
· Compact handheld – waterproof
· Bright, easy to read screen
· Handheld and collar are both rechargeable – 20 hour run time per charge handheld can be as little as 12hrs if backlight is on full with no auto dim feature enabled.
· Expandable to 12 dogs per handheld
· Handheld unit vibrates /tones / silent or vibe with tone when dog is on point / treed
· Collar is sturdy and waterproof
· The collar strap seems extremely durable
The Staff at Lion Country Supply has received a test SportDog TEK 1.0 LT, and we have been checking it out. So far, we really like what we are seeing! Here are our first impressions of the TEK 1.0 LT. We’ll start off giving you an idea on how it “looks and feels” from the outside.
Physical Features – Handheld
The handheld unit is compact, has a sturdy black rubberized coating, and is comfortable in the hand. There are function buttons located on both the left side (trainer) and the right side (GPS) of the handheld that are ideally placed, and large enough that you can easily find them by feel without having to look at the unit every time. There is a four way touch pad on the front through which many of the commands are made. It’s a little small if you have a large thumb, but once you use it a few times and get the feel it works just fine.
The on-off button is located on the top and is protected by the antennas, which helps ensure you don’t accidently turn the off (or on) when carrying in a pocket. The MURS antenna is 5” long, is covered with a sturdy molded rubber coating, and is flexible enough to bend and not break when stressed.
The display screen is 1 ½” wide by 1 7/8” high and the screen brightness and resolution are excellent. On a bright, sunny day any electronics screen is hard to view, but under normal or low light conditions the TEK is great. A very nice feature of the TEK is the handheld utilizes a rechargeable battery, and there is a port on the side of the unit with an attached mud plug that accepts the wall or vehicle charger, car charger is sold separately. The handheld weighs in at 7.0 ounces.
Physical Features – Collar
Here ‘s where the rubber meets the road. When picking up the Locator / Trainer collar combo up for the first time you will likely be impressed with how sturdy the unit feels. The casing for the main body of the electronics appears nearly indestructible, and the unit has a unique collar strap. The strap made from thick, black molded rubber and it integrated into the unit itself. The strap is 1 1/8” wide and nearly an 1/8” thick – I don’t see this strap wearing or tearing anytime soon! The collar antennas are 12” long, are rubber coated, and flexible enough that you can tie them in a knot and they will spring back. The collar is also equipped with a rechargeable battery and a port covered by an attached mud plug. The collar with both the GPS and remote training components on one collar strap weighs 12.0 ounces and the collar with the locator option only weighs 8.0 ounces.
The SportDog TEK and extra collars can be purchased with just the locator (GPS) option or with both the locator and remote trainer (stimulation, vibration, tone) option. The locator provides the “base” unit, and the remote training component mounts to the base unit using 2 torx connections. So this means your options are to have a locator unit only, or a locator / trainer – the trainer only is not an option. Each component incorporates its own antenna, so if you have an “LT” (locator / trainer) your collar system will show two separate antennas.
The overall size of the collar unit is fine for most all hounds and larger beagles. However, when you’re using the remote trainer in conjunction with the GPS, the two components together we feel are too large for 13” beagles. Our initial fitting to some of our dogs appeared that the unit hangs below the dog’s neck far enough that small beagles will actually bump their knees into the collar unit when running. However, this issue is eliminated when the remote trainer electronic component is removed from the collar and only the GPS is used. When removed, the unit is smaller and provides the clearance needed for smaller dogs.
Collar Weight comparisons
Of course, everyone is interested in the size and overall weights of the unit on the dog. While the Locator / Trainer combination collar looks a little bulky at first glance, you need to look at the numbers and think about the weight and bulk on a dog when having to wear two separate systems. The result is the weights are very comparable. Again, we feel one of the great features of the TEK 1.0 LT is combining these two systems onto one collar strap.
Weight of SportDog TEK 1.0 LT (combo) – 12.0 ounces
Weight of SportDog TEK 1.0 L (GPS only) – 8.0 ounces
Compare this to:
Weight of Astro DC40 collar with Tritronics receiver – 12.0 ounces
Weight of Astro DC40 collar only – 8.0 ounces
Weight of Tritronics receiver only (no strap) – 4.0 ounces
Technical Features – Handheld
The TEK 1.0 handheld unit is compact and comfortable in the hand , and weighs in at 7.0 ounces. The TEK 1.0 offers a nice sized screen (1 ½”x 1 7/8”) with excellent resolution and brightness. The antenna is 5” long and flexible, and seems very durable. There are three buttons on the left side of the transmitter, two on the right side, and a control pad on the front of the unit, directly below the screen.
The buttons on the left control the remote trainer when on the training screen, when on the tracking screen the top button is dog 1 the middle is dog2 and the bottom is dog3. whatever your top button on the training screen is set to for each dog is what will be available on the tracking screen., with the top activating stimulation, the middle provides the tone option, and the bottom button vibration can also be configured to programmable, rising, momentary. This provide you the ability to select a button, completely by feel, using just one hand leaving the other free to control your gun, hold your whistle, or wave wildly at your dog! The top button on the right side allows you to back up one screen, ultimately returning you to the main menu. The lower right button is a very convenient toggle button, that allows you to switch quickly from the locate/map screen to remote trainer control screen. Again these can both be easily operated by one hand without requiring you to visually look at the handheld.
The center control pad button opens the door to a wide variety of sub-screens and settings. When on the remote trainer screen, it allows you to increase or decrease the level of stimulation your dog is receiving and scroll through your dogs. When on the locator screen the left and right arrow allow you to set the scale of the map from auto to 75mi. The up and down arrow allow you to scroll through 3 dogs at a time.
The real beauty of the SportDog TEK 1.0 handheld is its simplicity and ease of use. When running your dog you don’t have to read through a bunch of sub-screens when in the field. Push the lower right button and you are looking at the map screen, push it again and you switch to the remote training screen – then use the button on the left to select your stimulation. It’s as simple as that! We love simplicity and ease of use.
Our Initial Review of the Sportdog TEK 1.0 Collar
We just received our test unit and have been familiarizing ourselves with the unit and its functions. It looks like a nice unit, and the collar unit seems very sturdy. We like the operational features and using the basic functions is very easy. The handheld is compact and easy to carry, but we would like to see the map screen have a topo map option. We have tested it outside the building and will be testing it thoroughly on our dogs over the next few days, so we will give post a follow-up on what we find from the field as soon as we have some substantive information!
View the SportDog TEK 1.0 at Lion Country Supply