Letter Re: Advice on Dakota Alerts

Wednesday, Feb 6, 2013

Dear Mr. Rawles, 

Greetings! I have enjoyed your blog site.  I noticed you have mentioned several times your use of Dakota Alert systems for your ranch.
This is why I am writing. I would like you input and thoughts.
I was viewing some customer comments on Amazon from those who had purchased the units.  Some complained about rust-out due to moisture (rain) after a few months. 
I then followed this up with an e-mail to Dakota Alert manufacturer. 
Bryon Pedersen of Dakota Alert responded by stating that most of the moisture issues have been resolved-except for moisture seepage into the antenna of the MURS system If the antenna is not attached properly.  Bryon stated that they cannot correct the flaw completely, but are happy to replace any item under warrantee.
I am in New England and face downpours and freezing winters.  I really could use this early warning technology-but do not wish to buy stuff that will fail within 12 months.
Also, heck, I can also make the “bird house” used to hide the detector unit-seems simple enough of a design.
I am asking you and other preppers their options as I want to keep my family safe in the face of SHTF or other intrusions.
Can you provide any updates on the use of this system?
Have you had similar problems?
Have you been able to overcome some of these problems?
Have you found alternative systems such as the Chamberlain CWA2000 Wireless Motion Alert a good substitute?
I would appreciate any or all thoughts.
Best wishes, - L.F.R.

JWR Replies: We have used a Dakota Alert for several years here at the Rawles Ranch. We live in a wet climate where we have snow for two to four months each winter and rain can be expected in any other month of the year. We have had not moisture problems with our Dakota Alert, which is mounted in one of their wooden "bird house" discreet hide/shelters. I think that the bird house keeps most of the moisture away from the black plastic case. This can be improved if you used a coat of RTV silicone around the antenna, to form a gasket for the portion of the antenna that passes through the hole in the top of the bird house. That will greatly reduce or eliminate having water drip down the antenna and get to the antenna base.

The only problem that we've had with our Dakota Alert is false alarms. In one instance this was caused by a spider that was repeatedly trying to spin a web directly in front of the IR sensor. If you find false alarms annoying, you can always always substitute an inductive loop to bury in your driveway. That way, not even deer will set off the alarm--only vehicles.

One last bit of advice: DO NOT but the junky Dakota Alert clones that are made in Mainland China, such as the Chamberlain. I've had numerous bad reports about their reliability and longevity.

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