/ Transceiver Choice: Ortovox/BCA/Mammut

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James Gordon - on 02 Jan 2013
has anybody used i) Ortovox 3+ or Zoom
and/or ii)BCA Tracker2 and/or iii) Mammut Element

-Thoughts on size/weight?
-user friendliness??

Any input gratefully received. I had an old DTS tracker. Have used a Pulse.
James Gordon - on 02 Jan 2013
In reply to James Gordon: done a fair bit of research already so other than links (which may be interesting) most interested in personal reflection and comparison.
Young Fox on 02 Jan 2013
In reply to James Gordon: Mammut Element or Tracker 2 IMHO as they are simple to use. The more expensive beacons with "mark" features dont get folk dug out any quicker. With all of them be sure to also practice using micro search strips or 3 circle searching. I am a Tracker 2 fan but confess that I do sell them as a retailer
graham F - on 02 Jan 2013
In reply to James Gordon: Having used all 3 I'd go for the Mammut Element. On size/weight there's no real difference but the Mammut is much easier to use.
Dave Kerr - on 02 Jan 2013
In reply to James Gordon:

I've got a BCA Tracker2. I've thankfully never used it in anger but it was the clearness of display and ease of use that drew me to it. It also seems to be very robust.

The only thing that appears to be a drawback is the lack of a dedicated multiple burial mode. I'm not convinced that this really is a disadvantage for most but it depends on your own usage.
Cuthbert on 02 Jan 2013
In reply to James Gordon:

On a poor weather day in Tignes earlier this year, sorry last year, we practiced with various models and our group decided that the Pulse Barryvox was the best and simplest. Others may take a different view though.
LJC - on 02 Jan 2013
In reply to James Gordon: Got an Ortovox, mostly because it was shop soiled and reduced, but I'm quite happy with its interface and size. Only ever used for location in practice, but is quick to locate and follow. It's probably more important to be good on your location drills with a specific unit than worry about which one is 'better'. If you've used a pulse and know how to use it, go with that.
tri-nitro-toulumne on 03 Jan 2013
In reply to James Gordon:

I've got a DTS Tracker - it's simple to use and it works. But having used a Pulse Barryvox I'd get one of those if I was buying a transceiver today. The LCD display is a lot easier to see on a sunny day than LEDs.

You've probably heard this before but... you really have to practice with it before you use it for real. You'll be surprised how it behaves in real life compared with how you'd expect it to behave.
andy - on 03 Jan 2013
In reply to James Gordon: Just bought a Zoom as it seems the simplest of the simple. Had an X1 for years and this seems far easier to use.
James Edwards - on 03 Jan 2013
In reply to tri-nitro-toulumne:
Hi james. I also like the pulse. The latest software version has a clever anti revert to send mode during a search if it detects that you are still moving.
Is it compulsory in a thread about transceivers to tell the original poster to practice? If so the glenmore lodge facility is free to use, but you may want to ring ahead to check no one is using it.
James
Ps I'd be up for a scottish tour if the snow comes back and you could have a shot of my pulse if you like.
James Gordon - on 03 Jan 2013
In reply to James Edwards:

Hi James, yes I'd love to get out some time, i'll be in touch!

Thank you to everybody for their points. I had ordered a Tracker 3 through Sport Conrad but they were let down by BCA so just doing the due diligence before selecting an alternative!
Young Fox on 03 Jan 2013
In reply to James Gordon: Tracker 3 is not on the market yet and should not be advertised by Sport Conrad as BCA have not got the tests finished on it. The T2 is very fast as the processor is not clogged up with other tasking. In reply to other posts about beacon choice on this thread; a recent double test (Jan and May 2012), one at Davos and another on the Col du Lautaret by Jurg Schweizer, Manuel Genswein, Fred Jarry and Dominique Letang which showed that novice users mostly couldn't locate a 3rd victim with beacons with a mark feature. Pro users had a higher success rate because they fell back on micro search strips and the 3 circle method. So paying a lot for features depends on your level of expertise and how much you practice. Novice intermediate users might be better with a simple beacon while pros might benefit from a higher spec model. "Rescue send" on the Pulse was added for profeesional rescuer safety while digging at the request of a rescue team that got taken out while digging. My personal take is that if skiing off piste with a couple of buddies I would have a T2 as first choice or the Mammut Element. If I was working with a mountain rescue team then I would seriously consider the Pulse as my first choice but only if folk trained daily or did at least a full on session each week with it. They all work and are way better than past models. For me it comes down to one simple question: how much can you practice and therefore how slick will you be? The beacon doesnt dig all the marked victims out!
French Erick - on 03 Jan 2013
In reply to Young Fox:
Indeed Fox,
one never can stress this enough: you'll still need to be good with the probe and dig fast enough... even that is no guarantee for success though. But at least you'll have tried your hardest.

I really need to pull my finger out and get some practice done!
Young Fox on 03 Jan 2013
In reply to French Erick: If you need any practice then Glencoe has an on snow park and so does Nevis Range. If I am up the hill I offer free training in the parks if folk need some help but if you just need to practice then tip your hat at the ticket office and just go and use them.
andy - on 03 Jan 2013
In reply to Young Fox:
> (In reply to French Erick) If you need any practice...

I wouldn't bother with practice - just watch this:

http://unofficialnetworks.com/skier-buried-avalanche-tahoe-video-rescue-114323/

As Mr Punch would say "that's the way (not) to do it"...
Morgan Woods - on 03 Jan 2013
In reply to Saor Alba:

+1 for the Mammut range.....i think they are the most user-friendly available. Spoke to someone today who is pleased with the element, i don't think it is missing much over the Pulse.
MacKnee - on 04 Jan 2013
In reply to Morgan Woods:

The Element has less software features than the Pulse, especially masking for multiple burials. I have a Pulse and wouldn't have anything else.

An excellent review of most transceivers can be found at:

http://www.facewest.co.uk/Facewest-Transceiver-Review-2011.html

graham F - on 04 Jan 2013
In reply to MacKnee: The element has signal marking for multiple burials although maybe not exactly the same as the pulse. It doesn't have the vital signs system or some other more complex features of the Pulse, but unless you're very practised these features are over complicated and hard to use.
http://www.facewest.co.uk/Mammut-Barryvox-Element.html



OwenM - on 04 Jan 2013
In reply to James Gordon: I don't think that there is much between any of the new three antenna sets. I've just gone for the Ortovox 3+ mainly because I got a good deal on it. Should be better than my old analogue peips.
andy - on 04 Jan 2013
In reply to OwenM:
> (In reply to James Gordon) I don't think that there is much between any of the new three antenna sets. I've just gone for the Ortovox 3+ mainly because I got a good deal on it. Should be better than my old analogue peips.

Have they been recalled?
Kimberley on 04 Jan 2013
Kimberley on 04 Jan 2013
In reply to James Gordon:

If you want all the info including from independents such as Manuel Genswein just go here

http://beaconreviews.com/transceivers/

The point has already been made that Tracker 3 is not yet available despite many promises, the same was true of Tracker2 but in fairness when it arrived it was very good.

It's a bit of catch and mouse - the Pulse (3antennae) was available before the Tracker3 so I got it but I now find the T3 is simpler to use.

I reckon that what you want is to have the one that works for you with the lightest shovel and probe but above all you want your companions to have the biggest shovels, longest probes and the transceiver that really works for them thus I give them a Tracker 2 and have a Pulse myself!

However the conclusion is not what transceiver but how much practice.

I believe the fastest time ever achieved in a Guides test was by some one who used an analogue Pieps with earphone.

He had practiced a lot. Even today, I understand the record stands.

Tracker 2 with lots of practice.



Kimberley on 04 Jan 2013
In reply to Kimberley:

Correction

It's a bit of catch and mouse - the Pulse (3antennae) was available before the Tracker3 so I got it but I now find the T3 is simpler to use.

That should be T2 NOT T3
James Gordon - on 04 Jan 2013
In reply to Kimberley: outstanding info. Really appreciated. Wondering about
1. Getting T2 OR Zoom (cheaper) then keeping as spare when T3 comes out

2. Getting Element as best of all worlds: light, functional, cheap & advanced features.

Any thoughts on Ortovox's feature of switching to best orientated antenna? Gimmicky or seriously useful, given statistical risk of vertical burial ( can't be that unlikely: "avalanchee" feet down having stayed upright)??
OwenM - on 04 Jan 2013
In reply to andy: I would think that any new sets would have had the software update, but I will check.
Young Fox on 04 Jan 2013
In reply to James Gordon: I think the Tracker 3 will be a good Beacon. But I think BCA are only producing them to meet the market desire for mark features as their basic philosophy is to keep it simple and direct all the processor speed towards directional stability and accomadating the frequency and pulse rate drift in older beacons as they age. Just pull the BFK button on a T2 and it takes you straight there right down to the last centimeters of a shallow burial. Anything else comes at a cost and doesn't change the outcome unless you are a pro and train a lot, and also know how to use well tried back up search strategies such as micro search strips for multi close proximity burials. Plenty of evidence, research and papers from ISSW to AIRE etc to back that up. I think the Mammut element is excellent. The ARVA Evo 3+ is also way better than their top models and does ok. For me I think its BCA, Mammut and Ortovox that produce the most reliable technology but don't always think the top models are the best ones when it gets real.
James Gordon - on 05 Jan 2013
In reply to Young Fox:

Does your transceiver training facility require snow? or can you train there even during a thaw? Silly question I know but I wondered if the transceivers are hidden in "holes" and what exactly the training area provides? Thanks.
andy - on 05 Jan 2013
In reply to OwenM:
> (In reply to andy) I would think that any new sets would have had the software update, but I will check.

The article says sets shipped after October 2012 are affected, which seems odd - you'd have thought they'd have put a "after x and before y" wouldn't you?
Erstwhile on 05 Jan 2013
In reply to James Gordon:
I have a "Pieps" DSP which was expensive but when practising seems better than most.
However, the important thing is getting expert with the one you have, just like driving or riding a bike.
Young Fox on 05 Jan 2013
In reply to James Gordon: They can be used without snow but all are covered in snow at the moment even though there is a thaw at the moment. Up to 8 can be switched on at a time but that many is counterproductive with 3 to simulate a multiple burial as best. When you go over that even with a Mammut pulse the beacon cant sort the signals which is the point I was making that the guides and pros then use other search strategies as the beacon can't sort it out. Essentialy you can deal with 3 as 3 seperate single burials or mark them
OwenM - on 23 Jan 2013
In reply to OwenM: Took it to Cairngorm last weekend. Tried it out at Glenmore Lodge transceiver park, couldn't find a thing. Tried it on a friends set still nothing, asked in Mountain Sprite ( I didn't buy it from them but they do sell them)they couldn't get it to work. I sent it back, someone from the shop rang me today and said it seemed alright. I asked for my money back which they were happy to do.
In search mode it seems to pick a signal - bleeping sound and lying man on the screen. But the arrow bounces around all over the place as does the distance indicator. I was at the transceiver park for two hours zig-zaging all over the marked out area but it didn't once lock onto anything.
steveej - on 23 Jan 2013
In reply to James Gordon:

BCA Tracker 1 or 2. Why?

Signal search search: 2 - 3 minutes

Bracketing and probing: 1 - 1 & 1/2 minutes

Digging: 10 minutes +

Spend your money on a good shovel!!!!!!!!

If your doing things right you shouldn't have multiple buriels!

3 antennae models have increased range which will help a bit, and will help with the pin point search (bracketing) BUT they will not save that much time in the overall rescue. A good solid shovel will!
Young Fox on 24 Jan 2013
In reply to OwenM: What Beacon are you talking about as its not clear waht model you were using?
OwenM - on 24 Jan 2013
In reply to Young Fox: Ortovox 3 plus.
davidbeynon - on 24 Jan 2013
In reply to James Gordon:

I picked up a mammut element earlier this year. Did a bit of practicing just before xmas and found it pretty easy to use.
Young Fox on 25 Jan 2013
In reply to OwenM: A number of reports from folk who find its not able to pick up a signal on the coarse search but ok on the fine search. Usual problems have been brought up about cameras, phones and keeping them off when searching. Ortovox apparently say there is nothing they can find wrong with the 3+ other than it could be these electronic items interfering. If it was a problem at Glenmore with park in the bark it could be one of the buried units is faulty as happens or that the 3+ signal seperation software is not good. Some folk thinks the 3+ is the business but I would have a T2 every time
OwenM - on 25 Jan 2013
In reply to Young Fox:
That's interesting, there's about half a dozen units at the park I tried them one at a time, so I don't think its a faulty buried unit. No camera or phone on me so I don't know what to make of it. The shop didn't have another 3+ in stock so I went for a refund and have just ordered an Element. Hopefully I'll get on better with that.
Ann on 25 Jan 2013 - host-92-3-249-57.as43234.net
In reply to James Gordon: Amid all this techy talk, I hope everyone still use 'safe travel techniques' to avoid avalanches.
OwenM - on 25 Jan 2013
In reply to Ann: What makes you think we're not?
Young Fox on 25 Jan 2013
In reply to OwenM:

The 3+ has had a few glitches. The Element is a top Beacon IMHO. Most of the "Pulse" features are just bells and whistles at £150 extra. Good choice I would be interested to see what you think of the Element.
ads.ukclimbing.com
Ann on 25 Jan 2013 - host-92-3-249-57.as43234.net
In reply to OwenM: It's not just in this post - but curently there seems to be more emphasis on preparation for being caught in an avalanche than trying to avoid them.
OwenM - on 26 Jan 2013
In reply to Ann: Don't see how you've come to that conclusion. There are many aspects to avalanche safety, just because we're only discussing one of those aspects doesn't mean we're unaware of the other aspects.
Route finding and avalanche avoidance are no doubt the best way to stay safe on snow covered hills. But maybe not the easiest subject to discuss on an internet forum.
Ianatyahoo on 27 Jan 2013 - host-92-3-241-235.as43234.net
In reply to OwenM: I think this is what the quine is getting at.
At least one person in a group, heading for the Scottish hills in winter, ‘must have’ a good knowledge of snow structure and safe travel techniques [unless they are chancing to luck]; whereas the kit being talked about, and the skill to use it, is not a ‘must have’ before heading to the Scottish hills in winter.
Yes, I know all the reasons given why it might be needed, but folks have been going to the hills for decades without it and doing serious stuff. I wonder how long it will be before we see a party, walking through a snowy forest, carrying full avalanche gear.
Remember, there is a big commercial interest in all this.
George Ormerod - on 27 Jan 2013
Thanks for the patronising side tracks guys, but can we get back on subject with the discussion about beacons. Lots of people will be ski touring, etc. in places other than Scotland and are interested in the topic.
Ann on 27 Jan 2013 - host-92-3-241-235.as43234.net
In reply to George Ormerod: Fair point George, though not sure about 'patronising' - outwith Scotland can indeed present different issues.
lee johnson - on 27 Jan 2013
In reply to James Gordon: I bought an Arva transceiver from Decathlon and got it home to find somebody had opened the box and replaced it with a lantern. Check the box before you go skiing!
OwenM - on 03 Feb 2013
In reply to Young Fox:
> (In reply to OwenM)
>
> . Good choice I would be interested to see what you think of the Element.

Ordered Thursday night arrived Monday morning well done Facewest. I’ve been out a couple of times to try it out using a borrowed Tracker 1 as a target. So far its found the tracker every time. I really like the bleeping, no chance of it being drowned out by the wind. It also changes pitch if you wander off course. On fine search the bleep get faster as you home in on the target. The manual says there’s no need to bracket the signal, being used to an analogue set I still did this, but it really didn’t make much difference. As there’s only a thin covering of snow here in the Ochils at the moment (only about a foot)so I didn’t get the chance to try for a deep burial. Also as I only had the two sets I couldn’t try a multi burial but so far I really like it.

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