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Av Beacon. Advice please

post #1 of 16
Thread Starter 
My first post Folks. I want to buy my own Av Beacon. I want a good one that not only will get me found, but will help me find others quickly

I am an IT consultant, techie and gadget freak and hence menu's/buttons and options wont phase me, and to a certain extent price isnt an issue. Features and search radius are. I already carry shovel and probe and have used several old analogue receivers and have done Avalanche training with the BMC

At the moment my shortlist is
Ortovox S1
Pieps DSP
Mammut Barryvox Pulse
Ortovox D2 (lower on list but cheaper)

I'm favouring the S1 at the moment. I especially like the idea that the unit returns to transmit automatically if not moved in case of secondary slides

Skiing wise I am an level 7 who is beginning to venture off piste, I'm also a mountaineer and ice climb a little, so it needs to be light and unobtrusive

So what would you choose and why. Which do you think I would be happiest with

Thanks
post #2 of 16
The S1 is awesome, great beacon, loads of features. Hard to beat. The Pieps is high quality. I use the M2 but it's tougher to learn how to use.
post #3 of 16
S1 is definitly the geekiest. I heard negative info on the D2. Most of them work great if you take the time to learn the uinit.
post #4 of 16
I have the DSP. Good range, easy to learn/use. It is reasonably compact, and the holster won't drive you nuts.
post #5 of 16
Thread Starter 
Turnz

Does the DSP have a retaining strap to keep it attached when searching? Cant tell from its manual

Its a shame that all 3 high end units dont have the "if your wearing it, its on" feature of most of the other units

Having read all the manuals now the S1 certainly looks simplest to use. I love the extra features of the Pulse, but hey, I'll be lucky if anyone else in my group has ought above a Tracker or F1,

Really need to get my hands on the units. Anyone know anywhere that may have them in. I'm based in Staines near Heathrow
post #6 of 16
I have the M2 and like it. I've always heard that Barryvoxes are easier to use, though.
post #7 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by madmole View Post
Turnz

Does the DSP have a retaining strap to keep it attached when searching? Cant tell from its manual

Its a shame that all 3 high end units dont have the "if your wearing it, its on" feature of most of the other units

Having read all the manuals now the S1 certainly looks simplest to use. I love the extra features of the Pulse, but hey, I'll be lucky if anyone else in my group has ought above a Tracker or F1,

Really need to get my hands on the units. Anyone know anywhere that may have them in. I'm based in Staines near Heathrow

You'll be even luckier if they know how to use their unit, because they practiced with it... A lot. A Tracker is a great unit because it is easy to use. An S1 is a great unit because it has a lot of features. They both work equally well in the hands of an experienced user. The S1 is cool for the geek factor alone, but I'm not sure that a lot of features are a great thing for a casual user.
post #8 of 16
MM, welcome to EpicSki.
I would have thought that somewhere like Slush & Rubble round the corner in Chertsey would have been a good choice, but they don't do Ortovox any more!
Instead, try...
http://www.snowsafe.co.uk/ (London)
http://www.47degrees.com/ (London)
http://www.sputniksnowboardshop.com/ (Slough)
http://www.skibartlett.com/ (Uxbridge)

Of those, Ski Bartlett would be my first choice. If you want to go further afield, there's stores in Milton Keynes and Brighton. Or Lockwoods might be an option.
post #9 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by madmole View Post
Does the DSP have a retaining strap to keep it attached when searching? Cant tell from its manual
Yes.

Quote:
Originally Posted by madmole View Post
Its a shame that all 3 high end units dont have the "if your wearing it, its on" feature of most of the other units
The DSP won't fit properly in its holster if it's off.

If I recall correctly, Jonathan S. has posted an in-depth review of all the latest beacons here, on TGR and/or on wildsnow.com. I consider his review the authoritative source.
post #10 of 16
Thread Starter 
Thanks for all the info guys
post #11 of 16
The other thing to consider (if you're not in a hurry, or will be in the right place at the right time) is to go to Henry's Avalanche Talks...
http://www.henrysavalanchetalk.com/
He does them in the UK in October/November, and then in Chamonix and a few other places during the season.
post #12 of 16
post #13 of 16
Thread Starter 
Thanks for that fox hat. Must admit after reading alot of reviews and tests I'm leaning to the Mammut unit now. The S1 still seems to have the odd gremlin
post #14 of 16
For range, quick searching, and pinpointing the DSP is hard to beat. I get to take out several different models of beacons each season and the DSP keeps on leading the list. Most of the newer digital beacons are great at pinpointing and leading you in. The big thing with the DSP is that it has about a 60 meter range when in search. The updatable software is great too.

D2? You mean D3? If a D3, I thought it was one of the better pinpointing beacons I've used and the range was decent, in the 40 meter range. Not a bad budget beacon.

Regardless of which one you choose, get a digital beacon. Analogs really don't compare.
post #15 of 16
Thread Starter 
Well thanks for all your help. I did a lot of research and still couldnt decide between the S1, DSP and Pulse. In the end I decided on the Pieps but its out of stock everywhere in the UK

Then saw that Lockwards were doing a special for ski club of Great Britain members so I have a nice new series 2 S1 for £255. Bargain. Good service from Lockwards as well. Wow, its easy to use and idiot proof
post #16 of 16
Thread Starter 
OK, been playing with the new toy. It is soooooo easy to use. I have an ancient Pieps DF as a target. You'd have to be an absolute idiot not to be able to use an S1. You open it, follow the arrow and zone in. Time from signal to zeroing in about 2 mins max

Apparently the series 2 software improves its resistance to external interferance. To test this I buried the DF in our computer training rooms with 24 wifi enabled running PC's, and about 8 mobile phones and my ipod. result, no difference in zeroing in at all

Only if I put the S1 within about a foot of a monitor or phone did it even waver the arrow a little (including transmitting phones). The ipod seemed to be about the same

So far the only strange thing I saw was when I put the DF vertically amongst the computers. the S1 went into secondary search circle at 7m away rather than the normal 3m. But this mode is as easy to use as the normal pointer mode.

No evidence of spikes whatsoever, the audible feedback comliments the visual display, and even analogue mode is usable and a lot easier than searching for the S1 with the DF (which really does suffer from spikes badly). The reduced range for multiple burials works exactly as the full range just less sensitive

Menu's are reasonably clear and very easy to use. (dont think i will use the compass etc). The test of other beeps is very good and will tell you if the frequency etc has drifted away from the standard. Range is well over 50m in every test I have done

At the price I got it for its a bargain and so much easier and faster than the tracker and analogues I have used/owned in the past

The harness is mega comfortable and secure, the elastic to retain it when searching works exceedingly well. On/Off is very positive and the flashing lights make sure you know its on (there are windows in the holster so they show)

So I am very happy I got the S1. Now I just need to convince my buddies to spend the extra on one rather than DTS' or ebay specials.
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