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Avalanche Beacon, Which do i get?


JPVallone · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Aug 2004 · Points: 195
bwalt822 wrote: What multiple choice questions are you talking about? The only messages that I have seen that could be confusing with the S1 are the indications to hold the thing level and to stop while the unit processes info because they are there doesn't mean you have to use them or that they will slow down a search. I also found that they are pretty accurate.
Yes there is the stop, while my beacon thinks mode, very frustrating, and the hold level as you suggest.

Have you ever been asked the question on the device, Are there multiples? What if I just arrived on the scene and don't know, why should it matter if I say yes or no, or I don't know , does it change the way the unit functions? Last time I played with an S1 I experienced all of the above, I have not tried one recently, but the performances I have seen with them from some of the best industry professionals were not impressive.

And agreed the features are useless to have, but a digital compass does consume a battery quite quickly if that is something you want to play with, And as you mention, you don't have to use them, but you do have to pay up for them. Im yet to use a digital compass that I trust too.
bwalt822 · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Aug 2010 · Points: 0
JPVallone wrote: Yes there is the stop, while my beacon thinks mode, very frustrating, and the hold level as you suggest. Have you ever been asked the question on the device, Are there multiples? What if I just arrived on the scene and don't know, why should it matter if I say yes or no, or I don't know , does it change the way the unit functions? Last time I played with an S1 I experienced all of the above, I have not tried one recently, but the performances I have seen with them from some of the best industry professionals were not impressive. And agreed the features are useless to have, but a digital compass does consume a battery quite quickly if that is something you want to play with, And as you mention, you don't have to use them, but you do have to pay up for them. Im yet to use a digital compass that I trust too.
I've never had it ask about multiple burials and the manual does not mention anything about any inputs ever required before or during a search. You just open the screen and you are good to go. I believe if there are more than 4 victims (which will be indicated on the screen in the normal search routine) then they suggest to put the beacon into the 4+ search mode to reduce its range. This operation less than 10 seconds if you know how to do it.

I would never use the compass for navigation unless it was my only option. I believe the search algorithm uses it though. Probably to correlate rotation with signal strength change between the two main antennas. If the beacon has these internal sensors then it doesn't harm anyone to provide access to the output from the sensors as a backup. Also I wouldn't think that a mis calibrated compass would hamper the unit. All it probably cares about is relative motion and not absolute which is why there is no declination adjustment.

Does anyone know if the tracker has a compass or inclinometer built in but the inputs are only used internally? Also is it possible that the tracker has to "stop and think" but it just doesn't let you know that its thinking?
JPVallone · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Aug 2004 · Points: 195

As far as the Tracker go's for thinking, I have never had to wait for the unit to think unless it was a spike in the pinpoint which was not that big of a deal if you knew what you were doing, The Tracker 2 has practically eliminated this problem with 3 antennas, but the units are incredibly fast.

They must of changed that on the s1, like I said I have not used one as of recent, but it used to be something to deal with on the old ones. Ortovox is constantly changing and fixing things on there units, so I can't keep up with them anymore,

Tracker has not had to change much and doesn't have a huge fleet of gizmos because what they have gets the job done and is tried and true. So to go back to the OP, hands down value for buck and without knowing much about the market, You probably can't go wrong with Tracker for the money.

Sounds like retz is buying his first beacon, I would recommend a Tracker

Scott McMahon · · Boulder, CO · Joined Feb 2006 · Points: 1,425

http://www.wildsnow.com/category/avalanche-beacon-review/

TuRETZ · · Denver, co · Joined Sep 2009 · Points: 140

Tracker 2 it is. Thanks guy!! Saved me a huge pain in the a$$. Simple is better, Tracker is the ticket!!!

Dave Retz

JPVallone · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Aug 2004 · Points: 195

http://www.wildsnow.com/1773/avi-the-1st-avy-beacon-application-for-iphone/

I'm a big fan of the sole survivor mode

Garrett Smith · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jun 2010 · Points: 20

Yo, I am just tossing this out there even though you have already gotten plenty of feedback.

The Pieps DSP is hands down the best beacon on the market being used by professional rescue specialists the world over. I am a professional photographer and a saying in photography is to buy lenses for the camera you hope to have not the one you currently have. The point is purchase equipment for your future uses, not for your current expertise.

I used to do clinics for the US distributor of Pieps, Liberty Mountain all over CO and the head to head comparisons of the Pieps vs. any other beacon showed a much longer range and much more consistent signal strength and direction.

I still use this beacon all the time and think it has the best user interface along greatest performance, which the Tracker 2 lacks.

At least check out the reviews on beaconreview.com

Carl Rene Pelletier · · Jackson, Wyoming · Joined Oct 2008 · Points: 45
JPVallone wrote: +1 The pieps is pretty expensive and I still want to know why anyone wants this stuff in their beacon? Pieps DSP has a temperature display, compass, and barometric altimeter.
Just FYI...only the "Pieps DSP ADVANCED" has a compass, altimeter, and temperature gauge...the Pieps DSP standard does not....in fact, I don't believe that the Pieps DSP ADVANCED are even being produced any longer...just the Pieps DSP with Smart Transmitter (according to the Pieps website).

There are a couple of reasons why I might spend a little more money on a PIEPS....outstanding range....three antenna....super easy to use....the ability to mark a victim in the case of a multi burial (they do happen)...the ability to check for frequency drift in other beacons (beacons drift away from 457kHz...making them more difficult to find)...a smart transmitter that alters it's pulse based on other beacons nearby....the ability to scan an avalanche field...the ability to update... These are all reasons why I'd spend a bit more money....these aren't just bells and whistles...these are pieces of good technology that assist me with what I have to do.
chosspector · · San Juans, CO · Joined Oct 2008 · Points: 1,305

Well this thread has almost been beaten to death... But to reiterate, a tracker 2 is probably a good first beacon. Personally, I use a Pieps DSP, without said bells and whistles, and find that it is an exceptionally good professional beacon. I'm a backcountry ski guide and backcountry avy forecaster and feel that for my needs, it offers a good mix of an intuitive single victim search mode as well as a fairly effective multiple burial feature. Also, the software in the beacon is upgradable as new, more advanced versions of the processing software are developed each year or so. But probably not worth the extra money if you're a recreational user.

I will stand by my comment that ortovox is substandard these days. They just seem to be missing the boat- trying to stay ahead of the trends while failing to ever develop a unit that is "foolproof" or even sufficient. I've used M2's, crap, x1's, crap, and S1's, crap. M-2 shouldn't even be in the discussion because it's analog. But the other two just don't seem to be able to process the data they're receiving/producing in a way that is meaningful to the user. They are the perpetually confused beacons when in complex situations. Especially the S1. The last thing you want to do when you're trying to save your buddy's life is to stop and wait for five seconds...

JPVallone · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Aug 2004 · Points: 195
chosspector wrote: I will stand by my comment that ortovox is substandard these days. They just seem to be missing the boat- trying to stay ahead of the trends while failing to ever develop a unit that is "foolproof" or even sufficient.
+1
Summer Time · · Unknown Hometown · Joined May 2010 · Points: 190

I attended a beacon refresher course with Tim De Young, from Pieps, at Neptune’s (Boulder) on Wednesday, and I learned about how innovative that company is; they develop new technology; try it out in Europe, and then offer it to the other beacon manufacturers (who usually decline it). For example, they have probe with a receiver in it. And they’re coming-out w/ a small device in the beacon holster to address getting caught in a secondary slide while searching. Anyhoo, that presentation got me excited about Pieps. But I must say, I have owned a Barryvox Pulse for the past few years and am satisfied with it (and am not looking to replace it) – I like the sounds it makes as I close-in on finding the other beacon.

Kelly Sanson · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Feb 2011 · Points: 0
JPVallone wrote: To Trackers credit , They came out with a tried and true product in 1997 and was the first dual antenna beacon. The unit went hardly unchanged for 12 years until technology made a good thing better. They set the standard and the other companies followed suit. We waited awhile for the tracker 2 but that is because BCA has a high standard in quality control, Once again they pave the way. They are not going to release a product until it is at 110%, it was worth the wait.
Oppps. Last recall information makes me think that Tracker should have waited a bit longer on releasing the Tracker 2. Apparently "static electricity" built up by taking the beacon in and out of carrying case turns the beacon into Opticomm mode.....in Opticomm mode the Tracker 2 does not transmit!!!!!!!!

Yikes! I'd think twice about this.
blue ribbon · · Indian Creek, UT · Joined Apr 2011 · Points: 25

Regarding the subject. The autorevert to transmit function has been standard in beacons for about 5-10 years now and anybeacon worth buying will have that. The difference on this subject is that while almost every beacon has this on a time limit (usually 5 mins) Ortovox beacons autorevert to transmit after 60 or 120 seconds (you can choose) of non-motion (mimics a burial). A much better method. For current tracker beacons if you want them to autorevert you must set it to autorevert every time you turn the beacon on, it cannot be made into a permenant setting.
Regarding the BCA trackers: They have horrible quality control resulting in non-transmitting beacons, batteries popping loose within the chamber, and short ranges (extremely short when used with non-BCA beacons). Ortovox, Mammut, and Pieps all have much better ranges. The "benefit" of the tracker is it has a much faster processing speed which allows you to start searching a few seconds sooner than other beacons. This really is not necessary because it encourages hasty decision making and rushing. As Paul Petzoldt said, when you come to the scene of an accident you should stop and take a second to look around and smoke a cigarette instead of rushing into a scenario that you have not apropriately sized up yet. I think it is better to have a beacon that has a 5 second delay before it starts recieving signals when turned to recieve mode.
Whoever said that analog beacons are crap is just simply incompetent in beacon usage. Analog beacons result in a much larger range (60-80m). They are extremely difficult to use for the novice however for the trained user (everybody should be well trained with usage of their beacon) they are arguably more effective than any digital beacon in a large avalanche.
Benefits of the Ortovox beacons specifically include the smart antennae technology. This results in up to about 40% increased transmission range by selecting the best antennae to transmit from. All other beacons only transmit from one antennae and depending on the orientation of the device upon burial the signal transmission distance along the plane of the slope will vary highly. Ortovox has a patent on this technology for about 3 more years so if you think another beacon offers this function you are wrong. This combined with the motion sensor autorevert to send function makes the Ortovox 3+ and S1+ the best beacons to be buried with.
The Barryvox pulse also has some snazzy functions that I will not go into depth on but certainly could be game changers if your partner has a Pulse as well....

P.S.
The Tracker DTS is the worst beacon on the market. You might as well have a plastic shovel and probe poles as well.

Mitch Musci · · Estes Park, CO · Joined Apr 2002 · Points: 935

I just use an ABS pack. Beacons are a false sense of security.

Allen Sanderson · · Oootah · Joined Jul 2007 · Points: 1,145
Mitch Musci wrote:I just use an ABS pack. Beacons are a false sense of security.
As if that does not create a false sense of security??

Beacons, bags, cords, probes, etc. are all tools that will help hedge your bets when your brain fails and you ski into an area you probably should not have been in, in the first place.
Buff Johnson · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Dec 2005 · Points: 1,145
JPVallone wrote:http://www.wildsnow.com/1773/avi-the-1st-avy-beacon-application-for-iphone/ I'm a big fan of the sole survivor mode
The newer models have Hövding force field mode, and can detonate beacons of those undesirable partners.
Ray Pinpillage · · West Egg · Joined Jul 2010 · Points: 180
blue ribbon wrote:Regarding the subject. The autorevert to transmit function has been standard in beacons for about 5-10 years now and anybeacon worth buying will have that. The difference on this subject is that while almost every beacon has this on a time limit (usually 5 mins) Ortovox beacons autorevert to transmit after 60 or 120 seconds (you can choose) of non-motion (mimics a burial). A much better method. For current tracker beacons if you want them to autorevert you must set it to autorevert every time you turn the beacon on, it cannot be made into a permenant setting. Regarding the BCA trackers: They have horrible quality control resulting in non-transmitting beacons, batteries popping loose within the chamber, and short ranges (extremely short when used with non-BCA beacons). Ortovox, Mammut, and Pieps all have much better ranges. The "benefit" of the tracker is it has a much faster processing speed which allows you to start searching a few seconds sooner than other beacons. This really is not necessary because it encourages hasty decision making and rushing. As Paul Petzoldt said, when you come to the scene of an accident you should stop and take a second to look around and smoke a cigarette instead of rushing into a scenario that you have not apropriately sized up yet. I think it is better to have a beacon that has a 5 second delay before it starts recieving signals when turned to recieve mode. Whoever said that analog beacons are crap is just simply incompetent in beacon usage. Analog beacons result in a much larger range (60-80m). They are extremely difficult to use for the novice however for the trained user (everybody should be well trained with usage of their beacon) they are arguably more effective than any digital beacon in a large avalanche. Benefits of the Ortovox beacons specifically include the smart antennae technology. This results in up to about 40% increased transmission range by selecting the best antennae to transmit from. All other beacons only transmit from one antennae and depending on the orientation of the device upon burial the signal transmission distance along the plane of the slope will vary highly. Ortovox has a patent on this technology for about 3 more years so if you think another beacon offers this function you are wrong. This combined with the motion sensor autorevert to send function makes the Ortovox 3+ and S1+ the best beacons to be buried with. The Barryvox pulse also has some snazzy functions that I will not go into depth on but certainly could be game changers if your partner has a Pulse as well.... P.S. The Tracker DTS is the worst beacon on the market. You might as well have a plastic shovel and probe poles as well.
Source?
Clifton Santiago · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Apr 2010 · Points: 0
Mitch Musci wrote:I just use an ABS pack. Beacons are a false sense of security.
+1

Pro tip- get yourself a few extra cartridges so you don't have to cut your day short.
Mitch Musci · · Estes Park, CO · Joined Apr 2002 · Points: 935

Yeah I'm saving up for another cartridge, you can never be too safe with this CO snow pack...

Ray Pinpillage · · West Egg · Joined Jul 2010 · Points: 180

Protip 2: You can save a ton of cash by using the airbag out of a '97 Mercury Sable from the junkyard.

Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

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