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dgreet77
01-02-2010, 07:44 PM
Hi, first off I want to say that I haven't ever owned a beacon, as I generally don't ride in avalanche prone areas, but still I think its probably a good idea to pick one up here right quick. This being said I have been leaning towards the BCA Tracker since I seem to read good things about it and I feel it would be a good first beacon as it seems simpler to use than others.

Even though I have been leaning towards the BCA I found a S1 for sale for $300 shipped to my door vs. the $289 for the Tracker w/shovel or probe.

So my question is, should I get the Tracker for $289 with a shovel or probe; or should I go ahead and get the S1 for $300. Is it worth it? Would it be a good first beacon? Or would the Tracker be a better beacon to start with?

Thanks in advance!

Duke
01-02-2010, 08:28 PM
Hi, first off I want to say that I haven't ever owned a beacon, as I generally don't ride in avalanche prone areas, but still I think its probably a good idea to pick one up here right quick. This being said I have been leaning towards the BCA Tracker since I seem to read good things about it and I feel it would be a good first beacon as it seems simpler to use than others.

Even though I have been leaning towards the BCA I found a S1 for sale for $300 shipped to my door vs. the $289 for the Tracker w/shovel or probe.

So my question is, should I get the Tracker for $289 with a shovel or probe; or should I go ahead and get the S1 for $300. Is it worth it? Would it be a good first beacon? Or would the Tracker be a better beacon to start with?

Thanks in advance!


Go with the Pieps DSP, stupid simple to use and has the farthest search range. I have the S1 and do not like it, it does not like to get cold, I have taken 2 avy courses in cold weather and both times the unit wouldn't search. Mine wasn't the only one. Cant comment on the Tracker, I like the 3 antenna ones like the Pieps. Pieps has an advanced model that has a compass and inclinometer, I personally wouldn't buy it, would rather use a Garmin.

:beer;, AA

dgreet77
01-02-2010, 10:32 PM
^ Thanks for that. But I really can't afford ~$450 right now...I know, I know, a small price to pay to save my (or other peoples) life. But I'm in college and it simply can't be done....

imdoo'n
01-02-2010, 10:49 PM
sos is a good beacon, it is simple to use and by far has the farthest range of any beacon made. have used in - 36 F many times with no problems. works on the 457 frequency, so works with all beacons. just as fast as any other beacon out there with practice. single or multiple burial, takes a little practice. if that is what you can afford it will work well and save your's or someone else's life. dsp has a max range of 55 to 60 m claimed, sos 90 +, you are on your way to your buddy while dsp or bca are still doing a grid search to pick up a signal to find your buddy. the 3 antenna beacons are good, but they don't seem to live up to the sales hype as far as i've seen. buy a beacon, any beacon that you can afford and practice, practice, practice. most times all the extra bells and wistles are a waste of money, confusing, and not needed.

EagleRiverDee
01-03-2010, 12:39 AM
^ Thanks for that. But I really can't afford ~$450 right now...I know, I know, a small price to pay to save my (or other peoples) life. But I'm in college and it simply can't be done....

Snowbigdeal.com has the Pieps for $385, I think.

kane13
01-03-2010, 04:00 AM
Check on here for beacons i bought two ortovox f1's for two hundred bucks, i know they are probably not the best but they were in good shape and i liked the idea that whoever i ride with will also have one even if they don't own one.

Powderhino
01-03-2010, 02:30 PM
Digital beacons with numerical readouts have revolutionized the avalanche industry. The best thing about these beacons is their ease of use to beginners. Conversely; the worst thing about these new beacons are their ease of use: People don't practice enough, and when they really need their beacons, the lack of practice often shows up as confusion in direction with the initial flux line search.

Why would I reccomend the S1 over the Pieps of the Tracker?

Simple; it has a virtual search field that takes away the possibility of wasting time by following the flux lines in the wrong direction. The S1 also has a multiple beacon search feature that let's you flag an existing beacon and effectively takes it out of the remaining search for buried targets. The Tracker does not have this feature, and the Special Functions button that reduces the search band takes a committment of time to master that most recreationists are not willing to make. The result is during multiple beacon searches, individuals with a poor working knowledge of their beacon panic and hit the special features button as a last resort, wasting time, and reducing the already slim chance of finding someone alive.

The Peips is a good unit with a bad feature: The on/off switch is a very cheap plastic slide that extends out beyond the physical dimensions of the beacon itself. This design results in a number of false targets as inexperienced users accidentaly knock the slide from Receive back to Transmit. What this does is slow a search down and add an element of confusion to an already frantic scene. The result is, yup, you guessed it: more wasted time when you can least afford to waste any.

Look, any beacon that you can purchase nowadays is good. With practice, you should become proficient enough to find a buried beacon in a
30m by 30m grid in under two minutes. If you cannot do this, then you are not proficient. Try holding your breath for two minutes and see what this does to your anxiety level, heart rate, and reasoning ability. Whatever you buy, practice, practice, practice. Get so good you are cocky; get so good you want to compete, get so good that if and when you ever need your beacon that your training will kick in and you will act without a trace of panic or indecision.

Full Disclosure:

I am not an industry representative, nor am I compensated in any way for my opinions and reccomendations. I am a professional avalanche educator and have used and owned every beacon, shovel and probe available both in the United States and Internationally. I like the Ortovox S1 because it is the state-of-the industry right now, and will raise the bar for all of the rest of the beacon manufacturers, which will result in a better product for ALL of us.

KSH
01-03-2010, 02:47 PM
^ Thanks for that. But I really can't afford ~$450 right now...I know, I know, a small price to pay to save my (or other peoples) life. But I'm in college and it simply can't be done....

Buy the best you can afford, then learn how to use it very well.

skibreeze
01-04-2010, 12:14 AM
Check on here for beacons i bought two ortovox f1's for two hundred bucks, i know they are probably not the best but they were in good shape and i liked the idea that whoever i ride with will also have one even if they don't own one.

This is a lousy beacon to for an amatuer to use, it takes a ton of practice to be proficient using these. I would not want to be buried waiting for somebody using an F1 trying to find me. The Ortovox M2 or the trackers are much easier and faster to find buried beacons.

I had M2's for close to 10 years and just ordered a Tracker 2.

blurredelevens
01-04-2010, 12:44 AM
Digital beacons with numerical readouts have revolutionized the avalanche industry. The best thing about these beacons is their ease of use to beginners. Conversely; the worst thing about these new beacons are their ease of use: People don't practice enough, and when they really need their beacons, the lack of practice often shows up as confusion in direction with the initial flux line search.

Why would I reccomend the S1 over the Pieps of the Tracker?

Simple; it has a virtual search field that takes away the possibility of wasting time by following the flux lines in the wrong direction. The S1 also has a multiple beacon search feature that let's you flag an existing beacon and effectively takes it out of the remaining search for buried targets. The Tracker does not have this feature, and the Special Functions button that reduces the search band takes a committment of time to master that most recreationists are not willing to make. The result is during multiple beacon searches, individuals with a poor working knowledge of their beacon panic and hit the special features button as a last resort, wasting time, and reducing the already slim chance of finding someone alive.

The Peips is a good unit with a bad feature: The on/off switch is a very cheap plastic slide that extends out beyond the physical dimensions of the beacon itself. This design results in a number of false targets as inexperienced users accidentaly knock the slide from Receive back to Transmit. What this does is slow a search down and add an element of confusion to an already frantic scene. The result is, yup, you guessed it: more wasted time when you can least afford to waste any.

Look, any beacon that you can purchase nowadays is good. With practice, you should become proficient enough to find a buried beacon in a
30m by 30m grid in under two minutes. If you cannot do this, then you are not proficient. Try holding your breath for two minutes and see what this does to your anxiety level, heart rate, and reasoning ability. Whatever you buy, practice, practice, practice. Get so good you are cocky; get so good you want to compete, get so good that if and when you ever need your beacon that your training will kick in and you will act without a trace of panic or indecision.

Full Disclosure:

I am not an industry representative, nor am I compensated in any way for my opinions and reccomendations. I am a professional avalanche educator and have used and owned every beacon, shovel and probe available both in the United States and Internationally. I like the Ortovox S1 because it is the state-of-the industry right now, and will raise the bar for all of the rest of the beacon manufacturers, which will result in a better product for ALL of us.

Hacksaw, is that you?

I have the S1....upgraded from a TRacker. I'd almost claim the S1 is easier to use than the Tracker.

Regardless of what you buy, you need to take the time to learn it inside and out. It's simply a tool, knowledge and experience is far more important.

blurredelevens
01-04-2010, 12:45 AM
This is a lousy beacon to for an amatuer to use, it takes a ton of practice to be proficient using these. I would not want to be buried waiting for somebody using an F1 trying to find me. The Ortovox M2 or the trackers are much easier and faster to find buried beacons.


Quoted for truth.

kane13
01-04-2010, 02:32 AM
I was not saying the f1 is what he should buy its what i bought, and i know they are not the best but you are right it does take practice to proficiently use the f1 or any beacon for that matter. I am no professional but during my trials i have no problem finding my other beacon when it has been hidden it seems pretty simple to me, i try to stay away from area's that pose great dangers and i will one day purchase better ones but for now these units at least give me piece of mind knowing me and who ever i am riding with got something thats for now better than nothing, i am actually pretty happy with them and if a lot of practice is what i need with them then thats what will happen. I know they work probably not as good as some of the newer units but they work, i actually thought when i bought them i was buying because they were simple to use and like i say in my trials so far it seems that way, i really hope i never have to use these beacons in a real life situation and i am sure as i learn more i will want something else but for now i am just happy to have them. There is some great deals on here for all types of beacons new or used get the one you want and practice with it, jmo.

Zachcreek
01-04-2010, 08:37 AM
We have the S1, D2 from Ortovox in stock along with the Tracker. I have the Pieps also, but like what was stated above, the Slide switch does extend beyond the unit and in time I can see this breaking off. PM me and I will give you a great price on the any of the units. Digital technology, three antennas, practice and education. Just get a good solid unit that you are comfortable with. Bells and whistles are fine in a Transceiver, but not needed.

Mike
PeakBackcountrySupply.com

Powderhino
01-04-2010, 09:32 AM
Hacksaw, is that you?

I have the S1....upgraded from a TRacker. I'd almost claim the S1 is easier to use than the Tracker.

Regardless of what you buy, you need to take the time to learn it inside and out. It's simply a tool, knowledge and experience is far more important.

Nope,

MJ up here in the Great Northwet....

AvalancheSafetyDude
01-05-2010, 10:53 PM
You get what you pay for in a beacon. If you want the best beacon, you'll have to pay more money. But, the best isn't always the best for everyone. I know professionals who can use their old analog beacon better than I can use any digital beacon, because they practice every single day and know how to use their beacon. So any beacon can be the best if you know how to use it and practice with it a lot. The extra bells and whistles can be useful, but they're not always necessary.

Now back to the initial question: The S1 is a great beacon. The only negative I have ever heard about or experienced with the S1 are: 1) it doesn't perform well in the cold, and 2) it takes too long to "think" and lay out the search area on the screen before you can start searching. It is a high-tech, sophisticated beacon and has a lot of new technology that can be very useful. Retail is now $499 for the beacon, so if you can get one for only $300 I think that's a great deal!

Having said that, i'm sure you'll be just as effecient with the S1 as you would be with any other beacon, because you're going to practice and get to know whichever beacon you get. So for $300 you may as well get a beacon with a shovel or probe too :D

Feel free to call or PM for any specific info on any of the beacons.

Brian

fastgas
01-09-2010, 10:57 AM
I bought the Peips ($350) a year ago and took a course (finally). It's easy to follow the wrong direction of the flux lines (be sure you understand this concept). I grabbed someone's S1 and couldn't believe the simplicity and ease of use - I was way ahead of everyone else in finding multiple burials and the pin-point feature works well. In fact I was considering buying one just to have in our group (always good to have an extra), but now I'm concerned about the cold weather comments. Is it just that the LCD becomes slower, or is it pretty much non-functional? I would think keeping it close to your body should keep it warm enough, but I guess during searching that doesn't work if you have it out for a while...

Also, if you don't already have a probe and shovel, get them. The tracker is simple and proven, may not have latest features that make multiple burials easier, but you can't go wrong with it.

cowboysedge
01-10-2010, 09:42 PM
Here you go. BCA Tracker for $230 Shipped.

http://heinspeedspecialties.com/beacon_special

goto the link add the tracker to the cart, choose the beacon only in the options and the price goes from $260 to $230.

The wife bought 2 of the BCA Tracker from Hein Racing. Best Beacon for the money.

POWDR
01-10-2010, 11:38 PM
Just skipping to the end here to give my .02. I am sure people have responded with their personal favorites and the reasons for that. I am sure people have responded by saying practice practice practice. This is all good advice.


My addition would be to first, be sure you get the shovel and probe even if it is not included in the package (shovel, probe,beacon, and knowledge are all part of avy safety).. Get a solid shovel. Ever shovel avy debris? I have..... Go out to the end of your drive where there is some good frozen over piles from the snow plow and shovel, quickly and deep like your best friends life depends on it. This will give you an idea of what it will be like. Be sure that shovel is in your pack, not the handy shovel pouch on your lightweight seat. Your machine could get buried along with a friend and you get free. Without that shovel you are useless to your friend. Seems unlikely, but the unlikely happens in the backcountry, be prepared for anything. Beacon on your body, not in your pocket or pack-avy's can are violent and can rip items from your body. Again, be prepared for anything.

Regardless of choice of beacon, know your beacon and how it works. Also, know what will go down in an emergency. Confusion ensues. Who will take the lead. Everyone will likely want to. Sometimes it is just as helpful taking a secondary role as the lead. What do you do when you first pick up the signal? Is someone not searching and just watching for secondary slides that could nail the search party? These and many more questions come up- know the answers before you leave the lot.

Before these questions even arise- is it safe to travel in this terrain. Who has dug a pit or even a simple test of stability by sticking your fist through the layers. Be sure to be safe and that everyone in the party is educated and on the same wavelength. If someone speaks up about being sketched about the stability-listen to what they have to say. Even if you know the terrain and weather conditions, maybe they have seen something they didn't like. I know of too many people that felt something, didn't speak up and something happened-maybe just a close call, maybe a burial. Know the snowpack and act as a group and be prepared to respond to emergency as a group.

The beacon you chose doesn't matter as much as you and your group's knowledge of avy conditions (go no-go), what to do in an emergency, how to use that new beacon, CPR, neck and back evac, and so on.

I have a lot to say about avy info and I have some decent experience. The more I learn the more humble I become. If you have any questions seek out classes, books, info on the web, fellow Snowesters, or PM me questions if you would like.

To answer your actual thread question. Any beacon you chose will be a good choice as long as you practice, practice, practice, practice....... and make good safe choices.

I reread this and it seems to make sense to me. I am drunk as it is my birthday, so I hope it makes sense to all reading. Be safe and have fun:beer;

deepdiver
01-11-2010, 08:43 PM
Just skipping to the end here to give my .02. I am sure people have responded with their personal favorites and the reasons for that. I am sure people have responded by saying practice practice practice. This is all good advice.


My addition would be to first, be sure you get the shovel and probe even if it is not included in the package (shovel, probe,beacon, and knowledge are all part of avy safety).. Get a solid shovel. Ever shovel avy debris? I have..... Go out to the end of your drive where there is some good frozen over piles from the snow plow and shovel, quickly and deep like your best friends life depends on it. This will give you an idea of what it will be like. Be sure that shovel is in your pack, not the handy shovel pouch on your lightweight seat. Your machine could get buried along with a friend and you get free. Without that shovel you are useless to your friend. Seems unlikely, but the unlikely happens in the backcountry, be prepared for anything. Beacon on your body, not in your pocket or pack-avy's can are violent and can rip items from your body. Again, be prepared for anything.

Regardless of choice of beacon, know your beacon and how it works. Also, know what will go down in an emergency. Confusion ensues. Who will take the lead. Everyone will likely want to. Sometimes it is just as helpful taking a secondary role as the lead. What do you do when you first pick up the signal? Is someone not searching and just watching for secondary slides that could nail the search party? These and many more questions come up- know the answers before you leave the lot.

Before these questions even arise- is it safe to travel in this terrain. Who has dug a pit or even a simple test of stability by sticking your fist through the layers. Be sure to be safe and that everyone in the party is educated and on the same wavelength. If someone speaks up about being sketched about the stability-listen to what they have to say. Even if you know the terrain and weather conditions, maybe they have seen something they didn't like. I know of too many people that felt something, didn't speak up and something happened-maybe just a close call, maybe a burial. Know the snowpack and act as a group and be prepared to respond to emergency as a group.

The beacon you chose doesn't matter as much as you and your group's knowledge of avy conditions (go no-go), what to do in an emergency, how to use that new beacon, CPR, neck and back evac, and so on.

I have a lot to say about avy info and I have some decent experience. The more I learn the more humble I become. If you have any questions seek out classes, books, info on the web, fellow Snowesters, or PM me questions if you would like.

To answer your actual thread question. Any beacon you chose will be a good choice as long as you practice, practice, practice, practice....... and make good safe choices.

I reread this and it seems to make sense to me. I am drunk as it is my birthday, so I hope it makes sense to all reading. Be safe and have fun:beer; Very well said...I am a former County Sheriff's SAR member...I could not have said this any better. We all have our personal preference..all have their pluses and minuses...In an Avy search/recovery you may be in one of the most adrenalin pumping stressful experiances you have ever been in...especially if it is a family member that is buried...try some different ones out and find the one that is most comfy for you....the one that is the best may not be the best choice in an extremely stressful situation...also lcd displays can be difficult to see in real bright sunlight. Reading a flux line is childs play after about one try..if you go the wrong way in about two steps you will know it. Whatever you choose you need to practice the crapola out of it...we do gifts with them and also money games..have every one throw in a 20....then hide it and have every one go one at a time and find it while timing them...also hide one with your gf or wifes gifts..have her look for it...you want it not 2nd nature but first. They are simple devices...all of them! Some way easier than others. I have used www.Backcountry.com for tons of stuff. They carry a whole lot of different models with reviews you can read.

I have not used this company but they have a decent offering as well. http://www.avalanchetools.com/

I used to ask myself this question..irregardless of what beacon I would be using...what beacon would I want a group of less than experts using if they were looking for me? Get one soon..the so call areas you think are not avalanche areas may well be just that. You can be on a trail and the upper hillside can come down onto the trail..happens at Mt. baker up the blue lake trail about every year. The little easy 20deg hill side will never slide...well not without your help....what if you were below something and someone not in your group cut the hill side above you.