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Old 11-11-2008   #1
Edwards, Colorado
Join Date: Jun 2007
Posts: 139
Beacon recommendations? again.

I know this topic has been discussed before, but I've gotta bring it around again. I'm in the market for new beacon - this one will be for my 16 year old son. He will enroll in avy classes and I will try to make him practice. He'll have good access to an on-mountain practice area. I know they all (mostly) work, and that practice is the most important aspect. But I do believe there is some merit to ease of use, regardless of practice time.

The site has a great "side by side compare" function and I looked at all the specs of the various models. I was leaning toward the Tracker, due to the ease of use, but there is one flaming review on the backcountry site, a guy claiming Tracker is all marketing hype and old, nearly obsolete technology.

I did an MBuzz search and read a three page thread from October 2006 but didn't see anything more recent than that.


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Old 11-11-2008   #2
Matty's Avatar
Silverthorne, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1996
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 213
BCA revolutionized the world of transceivers a few back. Their technology has been copied by many, but bettered by none as far as I can see. Ortovox has come out with many new transceivers over the years and has a new one out this year,( the s1). I haven't had the chance to play with it yet, but knowing what I know about the m series and d series, I would be leery of anything new from them in it's first year or two of production. The f1 focus remains the choice of many backcountry travelers and Mountain professionals. It is as fine a transceiver as any on the market, and it's range is unparralelled. The technology is old, but tested. It takes longer to learn how to use it, but I have seen people use it just as well, and quickly as the tracker.
BCA's tracker is in it's 3rd generation this year. I think it's ease of use and simple fast design would serve your son well. Just make sure his friends are as good with a transceiver as he is. Also make sure that they make good decisions in avoiding avalanches. A beacon is a tool to be used after the problem has arisen, hopefully he will never need it.

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Old 11-11-2008   #3
over, all
Paddling Since: 1995
Join Date: Jun 2005
Posts: 32
BCAs Tracker is the best beacon for inexperienced users.
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Old 11-11-2008   #4
Edwards, Colorado
Join Date: Nov 2005
Posts: 258
I agree with the Tracker being the easiest to use, but the Pieps seems to have a bit better range and be a bit more accurate closer in. Tracker has been working on the "Tracker 2" but it is not looking like we will see that one in 2008.

If you want to swing in and play with any of them feel free. We have the Tracker, Pieps DSP & the Barryvox Pulse in stock and also have the Pieps and Tracker in demo if you want to take them out and try before you buy.

Also, our local's sale is on Fri & Sat of this week where all new beacons will be 10% off.

Have a great winter!
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Old 11-12-2008   #5
hullflyer's Avatar
Durango, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1989
Join Date: Aug 2004
Posts: 187
been using the pieps dsp for 3 seasons. really easy to use. very dependable.
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Old 11-12-2008   #6
Join Date: Apr 2005
Posts: 27
A good site for info: Avalanche Beacon Reviews (Avalanche Transceivers)

The best beacon for you is the one you own and practice regularly with.
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Old 11-12-2008   #7
Dave Frank's Avatar
Boulder, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1995
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 2,727
BCA Tracker

I've only owned the tracker, and can say it seems easiest to use. At the level one avy class I took last year, folks were consistently finding the buried pack quicker with it than other brands.

The instructors (at Steamboat powder cats) tried to say that all the others were good, if you know how to use them, but BCA is what they put on all their custies....

Also BCA is local to Boulder CO. Don't know where the units are made, but they are based and distributed loacally.

(seven two 0)-298-2242
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Old 11-13-2008   #8
The next zone, .
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 1,200
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Old 11-13-2008   #9
durango co, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1995
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 20
I have the ortho M1 works great. Staight forward and on point. But I have to agree the one you practice with is the best one!!!!!! And remeber turn off your F@%ckin cell phone
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Old 11-13-2008   #10
They call me Jon
Boulder, Colorado
Paddling Since: 07
Join Date: Jun 2008
Posts: 65

What you refer to as old technology is true, however not unuseful. The original tracker is by far the easiest to use of any beacon available and it will get the job done. (its also a lot cheaper). The original tracker only works on a two antenna system, thus having the age old issue of spikes among other things. The 'new' technology has three and spiking is much less of an issue and you gain a longer range. The peips, the pulse and the tracker 2 all have this new technology. The tracker 2 is not out yet, so that leaves you with the peips and the pulse. The peips is completely digital and does not a have a auto revert to send mode. The pulse does have this setting as well as being analog/digital. The analog alows for a greater range. However with more technology and features the pulse is probably the most complicated beacon to use and I force myself to practice with it often. In fact I was out this last month on a normal hike, but played some 'hid and seek' with a pair for refresh and practice.

In all honesty, all three will get the job done if you practice with it and learn the limitations of a beacon. But also remember a beacon is the last peice of equipment you even want to use, your head is the first. Have fun.

Feel free to send me questions if youd like. I have used many of the beacons available on the market.


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