A GPS Solution for the Great White North!

In my previous post I examined the issues surrounding the use of Garmin's Astro and Alpha GPS tracking devices in Canada. Basically, operating them in the great white north is a no-no because the devices broadcast on a radio frequency that cannot be used without a license in Canada.

But I also pointed out that the department in charge of regulating telecommunication frequencies in Canada is interested in compliance, not enforcement. There are no squads of radio-cops lurking behind hay bales on the prairies of Saskatchewan looking for offenders. So I am sure Astros and Alphas have been used in Canada for years by people willing to take the risk of maybe getting some sort of radio-rule ticket from...well, I have no idea who would actually hand them out.

Garmin Astro in action in ...?
Now, however, the latest software updates for Astros and Alphas includes a 'fix' that makes the device automatically turn the dog tracking feature off when it detects that it is outside of the US (being a GPS device, it knows where it is!). So anyone currently running an Astro or Alpha outside of the US is faced with a choice: either update the software and lose the ability to use it anywhere but in the US or leave the old version on the device and risk it quickly becoming quickly obsolete. You would also have to say goodbye to any warranty repairs since sending it in for servicing would almost certainly mean a software update in the repair shop. 

So are hunters and field trialers in Canada out of luck? Will all the fine Americans who come here every year to hunt and participate in field trials be forced to run their dogs without GPS collars (or at the very least, with them automatically turned off via the new software tweak)? 


Fortunately for all of us, there's a GREAT solution!!

"...provides tracking and training versatility like you’ve never had before. The GPS Collar and E-Collar come as separate, compact modules that fit together on a single collar strap. The compact handheld device provides an instant fix on up to 12 dogs’ locations all the way out to 7 miles, lets you set multiple waypoints, and even tells you when a dog is on point or treed. You can keep control of a long chase, keep track of where that chase is going, or have the ability to do both. Whether the game is birds, bears, or anything in between, you’re always in the hunt when you track with the TEK!

Earlier today, I spoke with Darrell Douglas (the handsome fellow in the video above) about using TEK devices in Canada. According to Darrell, there are currently two versions of the popular TEK 1.0 model on the market. There is an American version (product number TEK-V1LT) that uses the MURS band. It is not compatible with Canadian regulations. But there is a Canadian version (product number TEK-V1LT-C). It sends a signal out at 915MHz on the ISM band and is therefore good to go in Canada!!

But WAIT, there's more good news. 

An all new TEK 2.0 is coming out this fall. It will have a lot of cool new features including 1:100 topo maps of Canada and the US, but most importantly both American and Canadian versions of the TEK 2.0 will use 915MHz on the ISM band. That means no matter where you purchase it*, a TEK 2.0 device will be compatible with regulations on both sides of the border! And that is GREAT news for hunters, field trialers and their dogs in Canada and the US. 

Henri wants a TEK 2.0!!

(*In order to get full warranty coverage and a bilingual manual and packaging, Canadians must purchase their units in Canada or from a Canadian reseller).


  1. Good tips Thanks Craig

  2. I have no problem updating my Nordic Garmin Astro.

  3. This comment has been removed by the author.

  4. I don't understand why they want to restrict the use of their software to the US only. You would think they would want a bigger customer base, not smaller. I have the same problem with my truck GPS