UKC

Avalanche Transceivers

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 fenski 21 Oct 2020

I am in the market for a new transceiver (well actually two), and looking for recommendations. I am currently using an old BCA Tracker, so really need an upgrade. 

In the spring I will be doing some training to be able to do some guiding, so I definitely need something more sophisticated with multiple burial functionality. I also need a second new transceiver for my wife but her requirements are slightly different, as she want's something as simple as possible to use to detect a single burial.

So I expect the models we want may be slightly different, but ideally I would like to have both from the same manufacturer. My current shortlist is as follows:

Mammut Barryvox S + Barryvox (or 2x Barryvox)
Black Diamond/Pieps Recon/Powder + Pro/Guide (or 2x Recon/Powder) (although I was a bit put off the Pieps after reading about a design failure of another Pieps model) 
Possibly BCA Tracker 3 for my wife, as she is already used to it, and likes the simple controls, but then would require a different brand for me. 

Any opinions welcome.   

1
 galpinos 21 Oct 2020
In reply to fenski:

Personally, I'd avoid Pieps/BD after their handling of the current switch issue.

I have a Barryvox S ( a deal at the time made it near as damn it the same cost as the standard). If buying for a less frequent user, I'd probably get an Ortovox 3+.

The only advantage of both having the same type of transceiver is that it is easier to teach/help the less experienced person but at the end of the day, being very familiar with your transceiver is the only way to have chance of success in what will be a very stressful situation so your wife will still need to practice practice practice.

In reply to fenski:

The Barryvox is very popular and not heard of any reported issues with it. I use the ortovox 3+ it went back for an update in 2018 as there was some issues with the software but these seem to be sorted now.

 John2 21 Oct 2020
In reply to fenski:

I've got the Barryvox. When I bought it I was told the extra features of the S were only worth having if you took the time to practise with them regularly. It detects a signal from further away than some other transceivers.

 fenski 21 Oct 2020
In reply to galpinos:

Agree. 

Was just thinking it's easier to explain functionality/practice if it's the same as mine. 

Are you happy with the Barryvox S?? Any issues?? 

 fenski 21 Oct 2020
In reply to John2:

Was looking at the range. The Barryvox S claims to have an extended search range of up to 100m vs 70m for the Barryvox

 Facewest.co.uk 21 Oct 2020
In reply to fenski:

Hi fenski, 

The Barryvox S is pretty much the new standard transceiver for a lot of the guides that we work with. An S paired with a standard Barryvox for your partner would be a good combo. The current Barryvox transceivers are probably the most sophisticated and powerful (in terms of range and processing speed). 

Having said that if you're on more of a budget there is absolutely nothing wrong with the Ortovox 3+

facewest.co.uk

 fenski 21 Oct 2020
In reply to Facewest.co.uk:

Thanks for the info. Everything seems to be pointing towards the Barryvox/Barryvox S. Budget is not a major issue, as I consider this a once / 10 years type of purchase, 

 John2 21 Oct 2020
In reply to fenski:

I used the basic Barryvox on a practice search for a buried transceiver, and it detected a signal further away than anyone else's transceiver (I don't recall which brands they were).

 kathrync 21 Oct 2020
In reply to fenski:

Looking for a replacement for my Pieps DSP sport for this season.  Looks like BarryVox is the answer!

 galpinos 21 Oct 2020
In reply to fenski:

> Are you happy with the Barryvox S?? Any issues?? 

Happy and no issues. Very intuitive despite moving across form Ortovox. Took minimal time/practice to get up to speed (i.e. quicker than with my old transceiver).

I haven't properly delved into the functions that make it the S but after a cursory look they also look reasonably intuitive.

 tjin 21 Oct 2020

If you do get a Mammut Barryvox, S or not. I got a notification email about a new firmware version. So make sure it's on there when you get it. 

I just got the current Mammut Barryvox, no issues with it. (neither with the old green one). 

 Frank R. 21 Oct 2020
In reply to fenski:

I have the Barryvox S as well (got a deal on it back then). Very happy with it.

Bought the S mainly for lithium batteries compatibility (the normal model only uses alkalines). The display and UI are great. Comparison between the two models:

https://beaconreviews.com/Specs_MammutBarryvoxVsBarryvoxS.php

The 100m extended range mode in the S works by essentially turning it into old-school analogue audio receiver (turning the screen off - less interference from electronics) and using one antenna, so it requires more training if you want to use it that way. I am happy with the normal mode - less chance of me making some dumb mistake, but sure, it can be very useful if trained for it!

Post edited at 13:14
 Frank R. 21 Oct 2020
In reply to kathrync:

You might want to check it if you still use the Sport. It's currently quite a storm on their social media...

https://beaconreviews.com/Specs_PiepsDSP_switch.php

 kathrync 21 Oct 2020
In reply to Frank R.:

> You might want to check it if you still use the Sport. It's currently quite a storm on their social media...

Yes, that's why I want to replace it...

 Jim Hamilton 21 Oct 2020
In reply to Frank R.:

Thanks to posters for highlighting a potential problem with my relatively new Pieps Sport!  I haven't been able to reproduce the fault highlighted in one of the videos, but something to be aware of and perhaps make sure the flashing light in send mode is visible when holstered.

In reply to Jim Hamilton:

The problem with the Pieps sports, is that over time the button that holds the slide in the send/receive/off positions becomes worn or cracked and the slide can move around in the holster or pockets. I have skied with one guy who had his secured with gaffa tape as the button was broke. pieps have release a statement on how to check the device. But I can't see the issue going away or being dropped by end users,  so worth keeping an eye on it in case they do a recall. 

 random_watcher 22 Oct 2020
In reply to ecrinscollective:

Not a recall as such but Pieps have eventually offered an upgrade replacement to anyone with a DSP Sport/Pro who have concerns with their transceiver.

https://www.instagram.com/p/CGlBzHUlNL7/?utm_source=ig_web_copy_link

In reply to random_watcher:

Hi Charlie.

Just saw that after i posted, I have a few friends who have emailed them, but no reply yet in regards to the terms and if there will be any cost? hopefully some answers soon.

 kathrync 22 Oct 2020
In reply to ecrinscollective:

I also saw one report of a Pieps transceiver switching modes with the button apparently intact. The idea was that it may have somehow been depressed during the avalanche, but so far no-one has been able to replicate this. This is the main reason I want to change mine - I am happy to inspect my kit for visibly worn parts and replace when required - that's no different to looking after a harness or similar as long as the wear rate is reasonable (i.e, I would expect it to last a couple of years at minimum). I am less happy if there is a possibility my kit might fail when it looks ok.

In reply to kathrync:

My understanding is that there is a few issues around.

1) The button breaking, there are lot of examples of this online at the moment, this is what happen to my friends, as you say should be easy to spot, but this does seam to be common.

2) The button wearing (not cracked or broken to look at) this mean you can move the switch with a little force without need to press the button, if you check in the images in this instagram post you will see a video of this, this would be a lot harder to spot.

https://www.picuki.com/media/2416895326538296088

3) As you said the theory that while wearing the transceiver pressure can be applied to the button while in an avalanche, that allows it to move the slider. they seam to be recommending you wear the transceiver screen inward's (towards the body) to prevent this. 

I think when you look at it as a whole, its not going to inspire confidence.

 Frank R. 22 Oct 2020
In reply to ecrinscollective:

Or pressure on pouch buckle could depress the button enough for the lock to disengage slightly, then normal body movement slides the switch out of the detent, into the in-between position. Any unfortunate bump later, especially while tumbling around, could then easily slide the switch to off or search, as illustrated in the beaconreviews.com linked youtube video (back from 2017!):

youtube.com/watch?v=dMtrMYsMWoY&

I didn't like the switch design when I was deciding on which beacon to buy, but never thought something like that could actually happen. Seems like a classic failure, a series of small design flaws that combine into tragedy under the "right" circumstances...

Post edited at 13:23
 Frank R. 23 Oct 2020

I have seen a few more videos of the Pieps failures, and I just don't get their communication. It seems it's really easy to reproduce in controlled settings, even with new units:

https://www.instagram.com/p/CGk2CDRn3Y0/

https://www.instagram.com/p/CGnq_GFjoeD/

I quite understand now the shit-storm that's been brewing all over their social media (which I thought possibly exaggerated at first). The only ever communication from Pieps or BD over the issue is, again, just on Instagram (where it all started), with vague promises "if in worry, get in contact with us". No Press releases, no FB communication, even dealers unaware of the issue (!). That's some pretty "awesome" PR...


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