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avi beacon - Page 2

post #31 of 58
Quote:
Originally Posted by newfydog View Post
This is the sort of generalized crap that we see too much of here. I know patrols with really old simple systems, who practice often and are really solid with them. What they really like, is that when multiple signals are out there, they know how their familiar personal system responds, and don't have to make assumptions as to what the internal software is doing.

Or maybe they are just cheap and don't care about their partners. geeesh.
I would blow away even the most seasoned veteran in a beacon search if he had an analog unit and I had a three antennae digital! Your analogy is as faulty as an old-schooler saying that skinny skis are better for powder skiing because thats what he is used to!
post #32 of 58
Quote:
Originally Posted by DropCliffsNotBombs View Post
I would blow away even the most seasoned veteran in a beacon search if he had an analog unit and I had a three antennae digital! Your analogy is as faulty as an old-schooler saying that skinny skis are better for powder skiing because thats what he is used to!
OK, this one won't die easily. This is how threads go to crap. I didn't say the new units are not good. I said an old unit is not necessarily negligence. I'm fairly sure you would agree. (and try not to bring in some fat/ski/skinny ski crap, this is an important topic.)


My remark came when someone posted that anyone who didn't have the latest and greatest transceiver showed a cheap disregard for their partner's lives. I responded that we have seen situations with multiple signals where the auto functions in the fancy units gave one indication, and then suddenly changed the reading. Some old school patrollers don't fully trust them yet. It doesn't mean they don't know how to respond fast and effectively.

So. you blow away the most seasoned veteran in search time. Get there 15 seconds faster, (assuming you can work under pressure as well as they do) Then, what do you know about digging, CPR, everthing else.

You may be a real tranceiver expert who understands all the alorithms in the latest units, but there are people out there who still use less automated units who are damn good, and certainly are not negligent. If I were to be buried tomorrow, I'd take a veteran with an old unit, someone who had used it in a real life situation, over anyone who had the latest and greastest but was untested.


Just out of curiousity....have you had you unit out in a real burial? Did you find the search method of the unit to be a decisive factor in the outcome?
post #33 of 58

ortovox F1?

so, out of interest, I have an Ortovox F1 I bought when I skied Valdez in 1995. Not really been used since. Does this technology still work?
post #34 of 58
Quote:
Originally Posted by ScotsSkier View Post
so, out of interest, I have an Ortovox F1 I bought when I skied Valdez in 1995. Not really been used since. Does this technology still work?
In a word, yes. It is a single antennae analog transceiver You need to practice, and practice regularly though.

Even more important is to learn all you can about snow, terrain/wind effects, and snowpack stability. Along with safe travel in the backcountry and good decision making.
post #35 of 58

Which Tranceiver?

I'm planning to buy a tranceiver. I am not planning to go out of bounds, but there is in-bounds terrain I want to ski that the resorts either advise or require beacons for.

I've read several reviews, including Jonathan's. Here is my question: is there any reason not to buy a Tracker?

The only possible alternative seems to be the Ortovox D3. Now that the Tracker isn't on sale anymore, the price difference is minor.

(Of the other possibilities, the Ortovox Patroller got mixed reviews, the Tracker2 still isn't out, the Freeride is too limited, and everything else is significantly more expensive.)

The other thing the Tracker has going for it is availability. They have them in the case at my local REI, and several on-line retailers have them. The other brands seem to be hard to find.

Thoughts? Recommendations? Brickbats?
post #36 of 58
Quote:
Originally Posted by mdf View Post
I'm planning to buy a tranceiver. I am not planning to go out of bounds, but there is in-bounds terrain I want to ski that the resorts either advise or require beacons for.

I've read several reviews, including Jonathan's. Here is my question: is there any reason not to buy a Tracker?

The only possible alternative seems to be the Ortovox D3. Now that the Tracker isn't on sale anymore, the price difference is minor.

(Of the other possibilities, the Ortovox Patroller got mixed reviews, the Tracker2 still isn't out, the Freeride is too limited, and everything else is significantly more expensive.)

The other thing the Tracker has going for it is availability. They have them in the case at my local REI, and several on-line retailers have them. The other brands seem to be hard to find.

Thoughts? Recommendations? Brickbats?
Let's just say I'm generally pretty happy if I see that potential bc partners have Trackers. I guess I'm pretty happy if they have any digital beacon. The analog-only beacons make me nervous if I don't know the person real well.

So yeah, no problem with the Tracker.
post #37 of 58
I just bought an Avalung with the Black Diamond Convert pack from Moosejaw.com. There was a 20% off code at spadout.com.

I also bought the BCA tracker in a combo deal with a probe and a shovel from avalanchetools.com.

There are still deals if you look a little.

I have never been involved with avalanche rescue.

I have however been involved with some rescues here in WV andin VA. Simplicity and speed counts extra in these situations. That is why I went with the Tracker. I also bought the Transfer 3 shovel. I felt that the rectangular shaped handle, would speed assembling it.
post #38 of 58
Quote:
Hey JS, these beacon review links are defunct.

Is it fair to say the analog market is diminished or is there still a solid F1 following?
post #39 of 58
Quote:
Originally Posted by Alpinord View Post

Quote:


Hey JS, these beacon review links are defunct.

Is it fair to say the analog market is diminished or is there still a solid F1 following?
 

I went for a bike ride with the Mammut guys (who sell Barryvox), and asked them that question. According to them, analog is dead as a doornail.
post #40 of 58
Thanks. That's essentially what Ortovox hinted at today. Just making sure.

Nice and informative work as Wildsnow Guest Blogmeister, Jonathan.
post #41 of 58
Ortovox still sells many units of its F1, as well as its single-antenna M2 (digital processing, but with analog sound, and overall has more in common with the F1, as they both lack the directional indicators of any multiple-antenna beacon).  And given how many of these units are already in use, even if production of them were to cease at some point in the future, they would remain in circulation for many years to come.
 
SOS still sells its imitation F1.  I don’t know if the beacon is still in production though.  And the SOS website make many very misleading claims.  I suspect the sled version keeps SOS going.  (The sled version has a separate frequency for finding a sled, in addition to the sledder.)
 
Barryvox still makes its VS 2000 Pro, but it’s targeted to professional rescuers, especially for its ability to perform helicopter-based searches with an extended receive range:
 
And some Pieps Optifinder and Opti4 units are still out there too.
 
I don’t have any precise numbers, but I suspect the combined F1 + M1/M2 + SOS share of beacons in use is pretty substantial, especially in Europe.
So who is using these beacons?
At the risk of overgeneralizing:
- highly skilled long-time users of the beacons;
- long-time users of those beacons who think they are highly skilled, but are nowhere near as good at beacon searches as they would be if they switched to a directional beacon; and,
- cheapskates who either refused to upgrade, or think a used F1 at $150 is somehow a better deal than something like this:  http://www.rei.com/product/717163 . . . with which they could actually carry out a search effectively.
 
Another interesting variation is the Pieps Freeride: digital processing and digitized sound, but single antenna.  Super cheap, super small, super light.  For skiers who want a “find me” beacon for in-bounds skiing (where any slide will trigger an immediate ski patrol response), it’s a well-designed and well-targeted product.
 
BTW, updated link for Steve’s Consumer Reports-style rankings here:
 
He still has my old DSP, Pulse, S1 review archived at his site, but with updated firmware for those beacons, I wouldn’t bother reading that review.
I just wrapped up my testing of the third-generation firmware for the Pulse and S1, and hope to have some updated reviews here soon:
I’m also testing the new Tracker 2 – some very nice improvements upon the original Tracker.  (And sorry, no, I don’t know when the Tracker 2 will be available, so check out http://backcountryaccess.com/blog/ for the latest updates, along with excellent instructional videos, and fun other content too.)
post #42 of 58
Thanks Jonathon. This is very helpful as we try to get up to speed and determine what initial purchases to make from Ortovox, BD and others as we slowly ramp up our 'BC Tool' offerings (beacons, skins, shovels, probes, saws, snow analysis, etc).

I like my Tracker, and the D3 looks similar and of course anyone who's been involved in BC touring for the past couple decades, patrollers and SAR knows what an F1 is and has some familiarity. But as you suggest, you need to be in the mode and well practiced versus a more 'user friendly' current option.
Edited by Alpinord - 12/4/09 at 5:44am
post #43 of 58
I personally have the BCA tracker - a great beacon for a first timer. While not the best, it is reliable, and relatively simple to use.

I would suggest you buy the new BCA Tracker 2

I have seen on some websites that it has been delayed, but the link above (MEC in Canada) seems to be selling it.

Basically, an improved version, with the best improvement being a 3 axis antenna - meaning it is a lot more accurate.
post #44 of 58
Quote:
Originally Posted by wbsr View Post

I would suggest you buy the new BCA Tracker 2

I have seen on some websites that it has been delayed, but the link above (MEC in Canada) seems to be selling it.

The Tracker 2 is not out yet.  You'll notice that website says *Back Order*.  The latest rumors I'd seen are that it will ship sometime in Dec. '09, but it's been delayed a long time and repeatedly so far.  I won't believe it until it's actually shipping.
post #45 of 58
Quote:
Originally Posted by wbsr View Post

I personally have the BCA tracker - a great beacon for a first timer. While not the best, it is reliable, and relatively simple to use.

I would suggest you buy the new BCA Tracker 2

I have seen on some websites that it has been delayed, but the link above (MEC in Canada) seems to be selling it.

Basically, an improved version, with the best improvement being a 3 axis antenna - meaning it is a lot more accurate.

Why would you suggest a beacon that is not yet shipping? Have you used a final production unit? A recent prototype? What, specifically, do you like or not like about it?
post #46 of 58
Does anyone know where I can get an old analog beacon to practice with?  I own a new Pieps DSP, but unfortunately there is no one near where I live who also has a beacon. Typically I only get to make one or two b/c trips a year, and I don't like the fact that I can't get more practice time. Since it would only be a practice unit cheap would be good. The cheapest thing I have found online is a Pieps Freeride @ $165.00 which is too much for a unit that would only ever be hidden in a coffee can in the snow.
post #47 of 58
 PM mntlion. He sometimes has a few armfuls of older beacons for sale..
post #48 of 58
I just bought a couple of ancient analogue beepers from ebay for practice, el cheapoi. But my S1 confirmed both were working perfectly. Also doing searches with old analogue units makes you realise just how superior modern units are
post #49 of 58
Search avalanche+beacon on eBay=a plethora of old analog units.  
post #50 of 58
Quote:
Originally Posted by spindrift View Post




Why would you suggest a beacon that is not yet shipping? Have you used a final production unit? A recent prototype? What, specifically, do you like or not like about it?

Actually I have seen what must have been a prototype or final testing unit. I thought it was the 'final' at the time.
I had heard they were on back-order from certain shops (who had sold out their initial allotment) but still available from others. I did think MEC had some, but am obviously wrong there (I also just phoned them to make sure)
So sorry, for recommending one you can't get, but I thought you could.

As for why, simple, the original tracker is great. A basic digital beacon that is light, comfortable and easy to us. The new one is lighter, supposedly more comfortable, just as easy to use with greater accuracy and a longer range. I want one.
post #51 of 58
spindrift, bob lee thanks for the tips
post #52 of 58
I would like to add a comment about the S1.  I took one out on a trip last year thinking new and advanced was good.  I practiced extensively before leaving and was quite impressed with the S1 performance.  However on the mountain it was moderately cold, like -15 C and the LCD screen started to delay its refresh and then the whole screen failed to black.  The search mode was totally useless.  This is a major vulnerability of the system.  Just my 2 cents worth.
post #53 of 58
Quote:
Originally Posted by brumac2 View Post

I would like to add a comment about the S1.  I took one out on a trip last year thinking new and advanced was good.  I practiced extensively before leaving and was quite impressed with the S1 performance.  However on the mountain it was moderately cold, like -15 C and the LCD screen started to delay its refresh and then the whole screen failed to black.  The search mode was totally useless.  This is a major vulnerability of the system.  Just my 2 cents worth.
This is not good. Batteries were fresh?
post #54 of 58
My S1 has been out in colder than that with no problems. Sounds like a battery problem to me, also its kept against your body so would have to be a LOOOOOONG search for it to cool down to ambient

You can change the contrast on the screen easily if cold or heat changes the contrast

Its rated and tested from -20C to plus 40C and has a 5 year warranty
post #55 of 58
Yes this was straight out of the warm hut on day one of the trip with spanky new batteries.  There was a total of maybe 5 hours on the brand new beacon.  The failure continued with replacement batteries at the shop when I went to return it to the point of purchase.  Total refund with apologies and no questions asked.  Fortunately there was a spare beacon at the hut I used for the week of skiing.
post #56 of 58
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jonathan Shefftz View Post

Ortovox still sells many units of its F1, as well as its single-antenna M2 (digital processing, but with analog sound, and overall has more in common with the F1, as they both lack the directional indicators of any multiple-antenna beacon).

I have been using an Ortovox M2 for a few years, and also have quite a bit of time practicing with a BCA Tracker.  My M2 has a digital directional read out, can process two signals at the same time, which I believe the new digital models cannot, and it has a longer range than the new digitals.  I find the Tracker is easier to use if you are looking for one victim, but I think the M2 is better for multiple burials, and the longer range is definitely a big plus.  It also has an optional audio function.  You can quickly split the signal and send a second searcher to one victim while you look for the other.  The test results I've seen are usually based on one searcher looking for one or two buried beacons, as opposed to a couple of searchers working together to find multiple beacons.

It is hard to say which is the "best" beacon, but the good news is that the technology keeps getting better.  The most important factor, regardless of model, is probably still practice.  The Tracker and new digitals are very easy for the novice to use, which is good because so many people in the bc seem to be clueless on a lot of levels.
post #57 of 58
Quote:
Originally Posted by spindrift View Post
A recent prototype? What, specifically, do you like or not like about it?

I have a T2 prototype.  Definitely a big improvement upon the original (which in turn has been improved over the years).  As a current Tracker user commented while trying out my prototype at a recent refresher course I was teaching, “They made it even more idiot-proof: I never thought that was possible.”  (It is not, however, any lighter -- well, unless you count half an ounce.)

Quote:
Originally Posted by brumac2 View Post
I would like to add a comment about the S1.  I took one out on a trip last year thinking new and advanced was good.  I practiced extensively before leaving and was quite impressed with the S1 performance.  However on the mountain it was moderately cold, like -15 C and the LCD screen started to delay its refresh and then the whole screen failed to black.  The search mode was totally useless.  This is a major vulnerability of the system.  Just my 2 cents worth.

I've never heard of any other such failures.  (And the S1 does have a backup analog mode.)  I've used mine down to -10F, which if I'm doing the math correctly is -23C.  Furthermore, Pieps and Barryvox also use LCD screens.  

Quote:
Originally Posted by mudfoot View Post
I have been using an Ortovox M2 for a few years, and also have quite a bit of time practicing with a BCA Tracker.  My M2 has a digital directional read out, can process two signals at the same time, which I believe the new digital models cannot, and it has a longer range than the new digitals.  I find the Tracker is easier to use if you are looking for one victim, but I think the M2 is better for multiple burials, and the longer range is definitely a big plus.  It also has an optional audio function.  You can quickly split the signal and send a second searcher to one victim while you look for the other.  The test results I've seen are usually based on one searcher looking for one or two buried beacons, as opposed to a couple of searchers working together to find multiple beacons.

As a single-antenna beacon, the M2 lacks any directional indicators.  The digital stacked bar indicates when the beacon is aligned with the flux line.  But if you’re off, it can’t tell you whether to go left or right – you have to figure that out on your own.
 
As for range, in a worse-coupling test (i.e., to determine the minimum range that you can rely on, which is especially important in establishing search strip width), the DSP is superior to the M2.  (The single-antenna backup mode of the Pulse is also superior, although that’s somewhat of an obscure function.)  And full directional indicators on the S1 and Pulse kick in before the M2 offers any digital processing.  (The M2 on initial signal acquisition provides only an accoustical signal.)
 
Any beacon can process more than one signal at a time, some fully automating the process, and some leaving it in part up to your own interpretation.  As for how the M2 can, “quickly split the signal and send a second searcher to one victim,” I don’t understand how an M2 is supposed to initially determine the location of two different victims such as to be able to dispatch a second searcher to a different victim.
post #58 of 58
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jonathan Shefftz View Post



Quote:

As a single-antenna beacon, the M2 lacks any directional indicators.  The digital stacked bar indicates when the beacon is aligned with the flux line.  But if you’re off, it can’t tell you whether to go left or right – you have to figure that out on your own.
 
As for range, in a worse-coupling test (i.e., to determine the minimum range that you can rely on, which is especially important in establishing search strip width), the DSP is superior to the M2.  (The single-antenna backup mode of the Pulse is also superior, although that’s somewhat of an obscure function.)  And full directional indicators on the S1 and Pulse kick in before the M2 offers any digital processing.  (The M2 on initial signal acquisition provides only an accoustical signal.)
 
Any beacon can process more than one signal at a time, some fully automating the process, and some leaving it in part up to your own interpretation.  As for how the M2 can, “quickly split the signal and send a second searcher to one victim,” I don’t understand how an M2 is supposed to initially determine the location of two different victims such as to be able to dispatch a second searcher to a different victim.

I am just going from personal experince, but with the M2 I can do a  quick initial sweep and pick up signals from two directions, with separate distance readings.  I realize the locations come in on an arc, but you can point to a direction and approximate distance where the two victims are.  You are correct that it does tell you whether to go left or right, but that is easily discernable by moving the beacon.

With the Tacker I found it a little more confusing to locate two victims by myself, but easier to locate one.   I am not arguing with your analysis of the new digitals being easier to use, but I would like to see a test with multiple victims and searchers to see how they work in a more real field situation.
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