Tri-Tronics, are you for real?

Al,

I did a little investigating into the performance issues we’re experiencing with Ari’s collar, and what I discovered is, well, stunningly bad to those of us with even basic knowledge of radio. First, I needed to determine what general frequency range the collar system uses, and of course Tri-Tronics is mum on the subject. Silly me, I had assumed that the G3 collars were in a respectable neighborhood, perhaps 70+ MHz or at least 49 MHz and digital. Yet, as I perused their relevant online manuals, I noticed a warning in the back of one that said the system was subject to interference from CBs and walkie-talkies. I saw that and thought: “Tri-Tronics, are you for real?”

As an Amateur Radio Operator, I am aware there are several groups of frequencies interspersed throughout the radio spectrum that are specifically set aside for remotely controlling something. Since the behavior of radio waves changes as you move through the spectrum, each of these groups of frequencies has some characteristics that distinguish it from the others. The least reliable group, typically used by the cheapest radio-controlled toys, is literally intermixed with the channels used by the infamous and unregulated CB radio, and that’s exactly where Tri-Tronics put their systems! The specific frequency is 27.050 MHz. I suppose they never realized that anybody with a decent radio and basic knowledge could easily locate the frequency.

Several seemingly separate things about our lackluster experience with Tri-Tronics suddenly make sense, don’t they? Tri-Tronics hasn’t responded to any of our modest product requests maybe because they can’t. Maybe the people who designed their products have all left. Perhaps they are even petrified by the realization that what they sell literally as a training toy is being used daily in the “streets.” You’d think that being bought by Garmin would’ve led to an influx of technical skills, but all the products introduced after the buyout have centered on Garmin’s GPS technology. We don’t need a GPS receiver to help find Ari; we need a non-visual non-verbal method of communicating commands to her. If Tri-Tronics never woke up to this need, the military and law enforcement would batter down the factory doors to get such products!

Yeah, I’m publicly calling Tri-Tronics out by putting this message on my blog. There’s no excuse for more poorly designed products than what the Chinese can do. Using the CB frequencies? Really? As for our current difficulty, I’m pretty certain I know what’s going on, but I haven’t had a chance to take a hand-held over to where you take Ari. Just to your left there is that big green box, which is a Centerpoint residential step-down transformer. Those things can certainly generate interference around CB frequencies. The easy way to test that is to just turn the exercise around and put me where you and Ari go.

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