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Old 06-16-2011, 10:22 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Thoughts on this beacon

Am looking at starting to explore BC next season. I found this online and it seems like a deal. Any thoughts good or bad?

Ortovox S1 Avalanche Scanner/Transceiver from Departmentofgoods.com
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Old 06-16-2011, 11:40 AM   #2 (permalink)
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For a S1 it is a very good deal. Considering new they retail for $500. I have a fair amount of hands on experience with the beacon. Searching is fairly simple. You flip it open and it goes into search mode. When you acquire a signal, it displays it on the screen and you just need to move towards it so that you get it in the cross hairs. Once you get within 5 (maybe less) meters it goes to pinpoint mode. It displays a circle which gets smaller the more locked in you get to the beacon. Once you shrink that circle as much as you can it's time to probe.

Issues I have with it. If you move to fast you can lose your lock on the signal. Making you stop and wait for it to reacquire. It does this fairly quickly, but in a real life rescue situation this could be maddening. If you search in a methodical fashion, this should not be a problem. Ad the pressure of trying to find your buddy or significant other and maybe your search method might be a bit more hurried. So a little discipline is needed with this beacon. Where as with the DPS and Tracker II you can move pretty dang fast with those and not lose your lock.

Where this beacon does shine is pinpointing. Highly accurate. I like the circle method. The 3 or 4 times I've used this beacon in the field, I hit the beacon buried in the pack my first strike. That is impressive. Granted the beacon was only buried about 3ft deep, but I dig the results.

I did not get to play with the multiple beacon flagging all that much. Just in a field. It seemed to work well enough. In reality, you should never need this function, but if you do, it'll be nice to have.

I forget what the range was I experienced with this. I think it was slightly better than average for a digital beacon. Safe to say it's in the 40 meter range without a doubt.

Harness is effective and it carries the beacon comfortably.

Last edited by killclimbz; 06-17-2011 at 11:30 AM.
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Old 06-21-2011, 11:12 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Thanks for the info KC!

I think I will be getting this one. I think at that price I could sell it here in Banff for a profit if I didn't like it
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Old 06-21-2011, 03:18 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Moral of the story is "get to know your beacon". As long as you practice with it and understand how it works, you'll be fine. That is the biggest problem I see with people and using their beacons in the backcountry. They really haven't practiced using it. In general, I'd say practicing with it 3-4 times a season is reasonable and shouldn't kill any days for you.

Last edited by killclimbz; 06-27-2011 at 12:54 PM.
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Old 06-27-2011, 12:50 PM   #5 (permalink)
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For sure! We get quite a few days when the snow is average so there are plenty of chances to get some practice.
Thanks again for your help. I'm sure there will be more questions as the season gets closer.
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Old 08-09-2011, 01:24 AM   #6 (permalink)
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A few beacons I would highly recommend are the BCA Tracker 2, the Ortovox 3+, and the Barryvox Pulse (all have the latest tech, are very easy to use, and very reliable). One actually saved my life so I can tell you it works!
Here's an excellent site for more info: Comparison of Avalanche Transceivers (BeaconReviews.com)
Their reviews/ratings are accurate.
Play safe my friend!
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