I received my new Spitfire predator call on Wednesday of this week and went right to work playing around with it. I wanted to be able to present a good review of this new $200 remote controlled call.
What you see in the photo above is exactly what you get. The receiver with speaker and a small remote controller. The entire unit weighs very little and is absolutely no trouble to pack around. Neither of these units is water resistant. The receiver I got was not fitted very well and there is a pretty large gap along the bottom seam. Both the receiver and controller have jacks to accept 3.5mm (1/8 inch) stereo plugs and these do not have covers to keep rain or snow out.
On the receiver, there are two compartments. One for the batteries and another on the rear of the unit for the micro SD card that holds your sounds. The covers to these compartments fit tight and are in no danger of falling off BUT again they are not sealed against moisture.
The controller has a battery compartment for a 9V battery and it too fits nice and solidly. Still not sealed but it fits well and installing the battery is pretty easy.
The instruction booklet is short and “to the point”. Everything you need to do to operate your Spitfire is right there…until you decide to customize the sounds. I’ll get into that later in the article.
Testing the Spitfire electronic predator call started off with checking each function and then a bit or range testing. First test was at about 50 feet. I powered on the receiver and then the controller. I used the “Sound” buttons to select a female coyote bark howl and pressed the “Send / Pwr” button. At first I thought nothing had happened and tried the “Send / Pwr” button again. It was then that I decided to try out the “Volume”. The first press of the “Volume” button gave me my answer. The unit starts out at a volume setting of 1…every time it is powered off and then back on, it starts at a volume of 1. So, I kept pressing the “Volume” button and increased the volume to the maximum setting of 5. At that level the Spitfire is loud enough to call coyotes from a mile or more away. It’s loud! The steps between 1 and 5 don’t seem quite right. Each step down from 5 lowers the volume more than I think it should but maybe I am just a bit deaf. No big deal.
The next function I tried was the “Mute” function. Not too good there. Sometimes when you press the button it works right away and then sometimes you have to press the button a few times before the sound is muted. Same story with un-muting the sound. Press the button once…it might un-mute the sound but then again you might have to try it a few times.
Changing sounds followed pretty much the same as the functions above. Find the sound you want and press the “Send / Pwr” button and hope for the best. The controller will display the sound you have chosen after you press the “Send / Pwr” button once but the remote may not pick it up. You may have to press the “Send / Pwr” button a few times before the sound actually changes to what you wanted.
Bottom line in operating the Spitfire in the field…the buttons do work but you may have to press them more than once to get your function to happen at the receiver.
I repeated the above operations at 50 yards and at 100 yards. The Spitfire operated the same as it did at 50 feet so distance is not a problem for this unit. Perhaps the radio signal or internal antenna or some other handshaking protocol but I don’t think it has much to do with distance.
The Spitfire electronic predator call comes loaded with 24 sounds. If you purchase from Foxpro, you get to choose the 24 sounds you want. If you purchase from a retailer, it comes preloaded with some good sounds for calling coyote, bobcat, or fox.
The real test of this unit came yesterday in the field. I went to some places I knew near Winnemucca ranch and made a few sets. Using the coyote barks and howls I had on the unit, I got loads of responses but on the first three sets none of the local coyotes could be tempted out of their daytime hiding places. On the fourth set, I was fairly close to a creek bottom, 1/4 mile, and set up under a juniper tree with the receiver about 60 yards away hanging from the limb of another juniper.
I started off with female coyote barks and howls for about 20 seconds then switched to “Waning jack” and set the volume at 3. I just let it play and about 10 minutes later this guy, photo below, came up over a little ridge about 100 yards downwind of the call.
So, the call does work and the sounds seem to be of high quality…at least to my ears.
One of the things that helped me decide to get this call rather than the PM4 from Johnny Stewart was the ability to load up sounds from other sources as long as they are either MP3 or .wav files. In anticipation of being able to do this, I downloaded and installed the programming utility from the Foxpro site.
Today, I decide it was time to play around with changing the sounds. Sounds are stored on a 1GB micro SD card and I got an adapter so I could use my laptop’s card reader. The card reader worked like a champ but the “programming utility” would not read any of the file names on the card. This may be because I am using “Vista” but I don’t know for sure…got an email off the Foxpro about it and I’ll report their reply when it comes in.
All is not lost though! Since my laptop sees the micro SD card as just another drive, I can read from it and write to it. First thing I did was copy all the sounds to a folder of my hard drive just in case I needed to start from scratch. Then, I deleted all the sounds from the card and started loading it with MP3 files from another source including one 15 minute sequence file that I had put together.
You MUST load 24 and ONLY 24 sound files on the micro SD card and their names MUST start with a three digit number and a single space. These files MUST be numbered 000 through 023. Hey, it is just the way things are configured in the call and that is how it has to be done.
Once I had all 24 files on the micro SD card, it was time to sync things up. I put the micro SD card back into the receiver ( it’s a small card and a small slot…I dropped the darn thing into the unit twice and had to shake it back out!). Once the micro SD card is installed, you need a 3.5mm (1/8 inch) stereo jumper with male plugs on each end. Make sure both the receiver and controller are turned off!!. Plug the jumper into the receiver’s “Aux” jack and the other end into the little port on the controller. Turn on the controller and it will tell you to turn on the receiver. Turn on the receiver and the file names will be transferred to the controller in the correct order. The controller will the tell you to unplug the cord and press the “Send” button (Send / Pwr). After that, it’s done! This process worked very well! Even the 15 minute sequence worked perfectly.
I did try using a 4GB micro SD card but those just won’t work in the unit. I can’t find a 1GB micro SD card anywhere near me so I may have to get Foxpro to send me a spare.
Bottom line??? I like it even with the flaws. This electronic call will let me load any mp3 sound file I want to use in calling game. All I have to be careful off is that numbering deal.
Volume is plenty loud when you want it to be loud and drops down to a whisper when that is what you want.
Having to play around with the buttons until I get things the way I want them is a bit of a pain and might cause a wary coyote to run off but I think I can deal with it.
This is not “the perfect caller” by any means but for $200 it is one of the best bets for the money.