Avalanche Beacons - Mountain Buzz

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Old 02-16-2011   #1
deepstroke's Avatar
Join Date: Apr 2005
Posts: 505
Avalanche Beacons

So, I'm looking to get a beacon and need recommendations. I'd like to pick up a used one to save some cash, but don't want something obsolete or incompatible with other beacons. Which kick ass? Which suck?

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Old 02-16-2011   #2
Salida, Colorado
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Pretty much all the new beacons all kick ass, it is a matter of practicing and getting good with the one you own.

That said the one I would stay away from is the Pieps Freeride as it is a single antennae so it does not have the range, speed and as efficient as the others.

I would also be very cautious of buying a used beacon, it is like buying used climbing gear. You don't know it's history, whether it has been dropped and something internal is broken or close to it. Also beacons get old and they drift, that means as you are searching it is going to miss the mark by anywhere from a few inches to a few feet.

You can't go wrong with the BCA tracker, Pieps DSP, Mammut Pulse and the reviews are pretty good on the Ortovox 3+.
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Old 02-16-2011   #3
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IMO - Tracker 2 = preferred beacon for a newb, easy to use. Original tracker can be found cheap and is still pretty good and user friendly though no multiple burial function ( i think).

Sting said it - practice with the one you own.
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Old 02-16-2011   #4
Join Date: Jan 2004
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Used beacons are not a good idea. I know new ones are expensive, but that's the cost of entry to this game.

The best way to decide which beacon is for you, is to go into a reputable shop, ask them to hide a beacon, then give you all the ones they have for sale with no instructions. The one you can turn on and locate the hidden signal with fastest and most intuitively, is the one for you.

Members of Friends of Berthoud Pass can get some great discounts on avy gear.

And remember, a beacon is worthless without education and good partners.
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Old 02-16-2011   #5
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Rifle, Colorado
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Good idea Pinner. Also, i have a ortovox patroller i got on SAC last year and it works great. Easy to use, directional arrows, and holds battery life well
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Old 02-16-2011   #6
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BZN, Montana
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Tracker 2 has a recall in place. Get your beacons checked for the software error that could cause a life.
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Old 02-16-2011   #7
, Colorado
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I agree with the hesitance about purchasing a used beacon. I can’t imagine how I would feel if I purchased a used beacon, was invited to go on a backcountry ski with a group of friends, a friend is buried in an avalanche I turn my beacon to search and instead of going to search my beacon just quits working……I would imagine we would all spend $400 - $800 if we knew with that investment we could save a life of a friend or even a stranger in need of help. Does it sound a bit dramatic, maybe, but I can guarantee you that it is know where near the suffering one will have to endure if there was a chance to help out but we choose to save a $100 or so…..Buy a new one it will last for years...
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Old 02-16-2011   #8
Boulder, 80301
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I have the Pieps DSP and love it.
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Old 02-16-2011   #9
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Indian Hills, Colorado
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Can't you test a used beacon with another beacon to see if it works. I understand the whole issue of unknown equipment history. A beacon is definitely not like climbing gear because you can't test climbing gear.
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Old 02-16-2011   #10
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Denver, Colorado
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Testing a beacon with another beacon is like hanging on a used beaner with your body weight and saying it safe to take a fall on.

The beacon may be flawed in ways that are not clear right away. Things like poor battery consumption. Calibration may be off. Or maybe it is a mess and just shuts on and off after a few minutes. I'd hate to find that out the hard way.
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