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gapertimmy

so what do you use

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Shit yeah! While we are at it let's put a digital camera/video in there (but no cell/radio phone)

 

Phatness, on route hahaha.gif

 

Holy freakin' snaf.gif

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There are some legit reasons for the expense. They have to withstand some impact force, they have to be reasonably waterproof, and there is considerable r&d for the digital software in the newer ones. That said, it is suspicious that EVERY company's r&d program necessitates a precise $299 pricetag. It is not a giant market though, and it has always proven difficult to sell an item that may never be used. I think the past few years have been seen some good marketing, as it is now considered somewhat "hip" to have one as it suggests you do some XTREMO stuff. This also seems to be the drive behind the people at the lifts who have avi shovels and packs and stuff confused.gif is everyone building homemade kickers on the slopes now? confused.gif

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note that GPS/GPRS/TDMA or anything else at that high frequency loses signal in about 2mm of water. The 457kHz freq allows for good range and snow penetration.

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iain said:

They have to withstand some impact force, they have to be reasonably waterproof, and there is considerable r&d for the digital software in the newer ones.

 

Beacons aren't speced for that much impact resistance. (see here http://www.jhguide.com/Archives/FeatureArchive/2003/030219-feature.html) As for R & D I've heard of EE's developing analogs for Senior Projects. Digital wouldn't really be that much harder.

 

Like most things outdoor they're priced the same because the public perceives something cheaper as being of less quality. Look at high end Gore-tex - no matter where it's made, it costs the same.

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iain,

 

I'm curious. You say you can grid-search with a Tracker. I found it impossible to even THINK about what it was doing while I used it. If I didn't turn my brain off while using a Tracker, I fucked up the search. I don't understand how you can do a grid search with a beacon that doesn't output signal strength.

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For pinpointing, you can bracket with the tracker just like an analog beacon if you ignore the direction arrows and focus on the signal strength. You begin probing at the smallest number in the cross you've made in the snow.

 

But if you spend some time with the Tracker, you can become good at "pinpointing on a line" which can eliminate bracketing altogether if you have a good handle on flux lines. It is described in the tracker manuals a bit, and in the instructor guides.

 

So you can't really use it for the traditional start from scratch grid method, but why would this be prefered over a tangent line search if you (or your beacon) knows how to do one?

 

I could see the tracker being a bit frustrating at first if you are proficient with traditional analog beacons.

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i was shopping around and pricing out the barryvox, thought that MEC might be a good route, but after the exchange it would cost over $300 in real money to buy.

 

i think i saw it somewhere for $248ish

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iain said:

There are some legit reasons for the expense. They have to withstand some impact force, they have to be reasonably waterproof, and there is considerable r&d for the digital software in the newer ones. That said, it is suspicious that EVERY company's r&d program necessitates a precise $299 pricetag. It is not a giant market though, and it has always proven difficult to sell an item that may never be used. I think the past few years have been seen some good marketing, as it is now considered somewhat "hip" to have one as it suggests you do some XTREMO stuff. This also seems to be the drive behind the people at the lifts who have avi shovels and packs and stuff confused.gif is everyone building homemade kickers on the slopes now? confused.gif

 

I find this shit so hilarious. I love seeing the poser 16 year old snowboarders with shovels and packs and crap for riding in bounds or going 30 feet off a groomer. hahaha.gif

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From what I read, the Barryvox, Ortovox M2 (or F1), and Tracker DTS all seem to rate equally well with everyone. None in particular gets more praise than another. Does anyone have anything to say about the Arva 9000? Also how are the carrying systems on the M2 and tracker? The Barryvox harness looks pretty good, but can't tell about the others.

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I am an EE that designs SAR devices for aircraft, the case design / waterproofing / shock takes a _lot_ of money and is the biggest pain in the butt besides intermod... The electronics in the analog beacons is like third year Rf class material and the digital just adds a microprocessor on top of that, wouldn't be too much harder. The problem comes with reliability. I would rather pay $300 than spend weeks developing one of my own that I would have to be sure would function after being tossed around for a few days and then buried in such extreme conditions.

 

My $0.02

 

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boatskiclimbsail said:

I am an EE that designs SAR devices for aircraft, the case design / waterproofing / shock takes a _lot_ of money and is the biggest pain in the butt besides intermod...

I can believe that - but I thought the actual standards weren't that stiff for beacons? Standard 1m onto concrete or something like that?

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Just found this thread.

 

I second what CMan says--Barryvox. Iain, have you practiced with it? Polarized glasses, no problem. Got used to the Barryvox digi/analog transition right away. Range is 2x that of Tracker, and is equal or better than Orto M2. Have practiced in field with most units currently on market, exception is Pieps Opti.

 

My F1 is an old friend (after the original Ramer, and Arva analog which was Arva 4000 I think). Can usually tangent-line search with F1 as fast as anyone with a digital, including the Tracker. The Tracker was what I originally wanted to digital-upgrade to, but was disappointed with its range. It's less than half of my trusty F1.

 

The Barryvox, however, is digital *with* good range (although not quite my F1 range, still almost 2x as much as Tracker). So bought the Barryvox last year, and am very happy with it. Good carry system, light, about as easy to use I think as the Tracker. Unlike Tracker, Barryvox digital system can be overriden, but haven't felt the need to use this feature other than once in practice.

 

Similar to Figger 8, when headed out to the BC, I keep the F1, and let my partner practice and wear the Barryvox since its easier to use for the relative neophyte, like the Tracker. And with 2 units, me or buds can always practice.

 

Can't remember what the avy transceiver shock spec's are, but even if 1 meter on concrete there's some extra engineering to do. Yes, avy transceiver market is small, and that is definitely one reason for price. My understanding is that price is artificially low, that manufacturers have less margin into avy transceivers than normal. Maybe Mammut Rep can chime in. wave.gif I believe we see the $299 price for digitals because the small market is so competitive...for one unit to be sold for more than that US $299 threshold figure for digitals, then that company would be losing market share and potential profits, such as they are for this item. Just speculation, but if it was so easy to produce, and the profit incentive was there, BD--given their commitment to backcountry skiing--would be there in a flash.

 

Timmy, In Canada last winter with exchange rate the Barryvox and Trackers were 240-250 US$ or less, but with difference in exchange you're now looking at closer to $280-300 for digital units unless you find a deal. Canada stores I saw the Barryox last year included Snowpack in Nelson and Mountain Magic in Banff. I know Kootenay Experience of Nelson rents out from a fleet of Trackers and at end of season last year (April) sold them pretty quickly for 299 Can$ (reg $399).

 

As said before, bottom line on any transceiver unit you use: practice, practice, practice.

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I wasn't saying issues with polarized sunglasses were a reason to not buy the thing, I was just wondering since it has a dink LCD screen if that was a problem. I still think it's annoying to use, but whatever floats your boat.

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iain said:

I wasn't saying issues with polarized sunglasses were a reason to not buy the thing, I was just wondering since it has a dink LCD screen if that was a problem.

 

I never thought nor was communicating a potential polarized sunglass issue was a reason not to buy, I was merely reporting info in response to your question. Dink LCD screen on Barryvox is also no problem: I find it plainly easy to see/read, even with my worsening (middle-aged) eyesight. Personally I like carrying the smaller Barryvox unit as opposed to the larger Tracker.

 

iain said:I still think it's annoying to use, but whatever floats your boat.

 

Overall, I think one can't go wrong with either the Barryvox or the Tracker. For me, main difference is range, although some would discount the importance of range in an avy search (more important is visual sighting, knowing where to start search, then how well the unit works once it does pick up a signal, both of which I find the Tracker and Barryvox to do very well).

 

Iain, what did you find so annoying about the Barryvox, other than perhaps the analog-digital transition you mentioned before (or specifically what is it about the transition)? I can use the info when I work with others this winter.

Edited by pindude

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B-vox. As a novice, I got to try out tracker, ortovox and barryvox at the same time. I was fastest with the barryvox. I also like the switch from analog to digital depending on range. Really useful for large area searches. That, and getting it at %30 off from REI (love the additive discounts), it was actually a sane price.

 

Play safe out there and may none of us acutally NEED our beacons this winter while out in the fressssshhhhhhiez.

 

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pindude said:Iain, what did you find so annoying about the Barryvox, other than perhaps the analog-digital transition you mentioned before (or specifically what is it about the transition)? I can use the info when I work with others this winter.
Oh, it's most likely me just being stuck in a rut with the tracker's behavior. When I used the barryvox it was frustrating to be back to square one for a little while. I'll admit I haven't used it that much, only for a couple practices. You just get so tuned into the behavior of the digital beacons and their quirks that it becomes annoying to use a different one. I'm sure it works great after a bit of time.

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Dustin_B said:

...Does anyone have anything to say about the Arva 9000?...

 

I have one, and IMO it's the best, most idiot-proof beacon I've ever owned or used. Takes me right to the target every time (except once, in a practice in a friend's field, when I kept following the signal up to the house - I took me a couple of tries to figure out I was following the underground telephone line) cantfocus.gif

 

When my unit does practice searches, and even when I took avy awareness seminars, I was always the first to locate the "subject". Let it also be said that I practice with it at least 2x per year.

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