Private Messages from the Woods
REVIEW BY JOHN J. RADZWILLA
To say SPYPOINT is one of the world’s most trusted cellular game cameras is an understatement. In October 2020, the company set a milestone both for itself and the industry with over 15,000,000 photos transferred in a single day. But that wasn’t the first time the company made history. With its debut of the LINK-MICRO, SPYPOINT became the first cellular trail camera available on the market under $200, and it was roughly half the size of most other cellular trail cams. To top that off, SPYPOINT is the only company to offer a free photo transmission plan—no activation fees, no monthly minimum—you can buy a SPYPOINT camera and get 100 photos sent to you free every month. Of course, you are going to want to upgrade that for more images, but for a sample, that is a great perk.
They had my interest, but it wasn’t the size of the LINK-MICRO or the free pics that I cared about. What did it was the SPYPOINT app. It’s clean, easy to use, and even sorts images by species. Unlike other cumbersome systems, this app makes getting my daily hunting fix seamless. Set up push notifications, and you’ll become a trail cam junkie.
The two units I field tested were the LINK-MICRO-S (Solar) and the CELL-LINK. The size of the MICRO was certainly smaller than any other game camera I have ever used. For most hunters, myself included, the size didn’t matter (uh, well…). I digress. What did matter to me was the space it took up in my pack as I hiked it into my favorite spot.
Boasting an impressive 10-megapixel camera, four power LEDs, and an infrared flash range of up to 80 feet, this little guy packs some serious punch. The addition of the solar panel, which charges an included lithium battery pack, makes this unit a no brainer. The point of a cell camera is to limit the potential of spooking a big buck with your presence. Why have to change batteries then? Go solar.
Next, my favorite new piece of tech turns your old trail cam into a cellular game camera. The CELL-LINK enables cellular communication for virtually any non-cell trail cam. Simply insert the CELL-LINK’s SD plug into your camera’s SD card slot, and it will wirelessly transmit images to the SPYPOINT smartphone app. I found this item particularly interesting due to its price. Many higher-end cams top $200 per unit, and the thought of rendering them obsolete just hurts my frugal mind, so at just under 60 bucks, this solution has just upped the ante without breaking the bank.
Finally, as most know, deer hang out in areas that city folk tend to avoid—that generally means poor cell service. No need to worry—the SPYPOINT Long Range Cellular Antenna solves that issue. To be clear, it does not work miracles, so if there is no service, there is simply no service. But if there is a chance, the antenna will pull through. With a 15-foot extension cable topped with an omnidirectional antenna, this accessory is a must if there is any doubt on coverage.
Pro Tip: In areas of low signal, set your cameras to transmit 12 times a day. The way SPYPOINT cameras work is they search for signal each time they are set to transmit. Meaning, if you have it set to one time a day, it searches one time, and if it doesn’t find signal, it waits for another 24 hours. As we all know, cell signal seems to ebb and flow almost by the wind. There are so many factors to what really makes it move around, but we aren’t here to get into that. Bottom line is, because we are using a solar rechargeable battery unit, give the camera as many chances to detect signal as possible.
LINK-MICRO SOLAR, $169.99, basspro.com
CELL-LINK, $59.99, basspro.com
Long Range Antena, $59.99, basspro.com