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avy beacons


primate
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This question has come up a couple of times, but there never has been much in they way of speculation: why the fuck to avalanche transcievers cost so much? I was wanting to feel a little safer this winter, but I'm not going to shell out $200/beacon. What's up?

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welcome to the world of climbing gear! have your not ever spent $50 for a cam or ice screw? The technology in an avi transciever is not simple and companies must recover their cost of developing that technology as well as the actual cost of manufacture plus make a profit. If it were a cell phone it be much cheaper, but for some reason avi beacons haven't made it into the hands of 95% of all americans. If more people climbed/skied, all these items would become cheaper, but is that really what we want. The manufacturers aren't trying to jack you, they're simpling trying to survive with a very limited market

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the reason beacons are soo expensive is not because of the technology in them. it is actually quite basic and that concept has been used for over 50 yrs in other applications. it is because that is what the dristibutors feel they can get for them. if people are willing to buy them, which they are. then they might as well get as much money out of them as they can. pretty much the same with everything we buy. tech costs is usually around the 2nd or 3rd reason something costs so much. 1st is marketing and 2nd is profit.

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Is 200 dollars too much to pay for a piece of safety equipment that could save your life?

It depends on how much you go backcountry and how much you intend to in the future. Renting is a great option for occasional use. Keep in mind that at some of the ski areas here in WA ( and most likely, other areas in USA) REQUIRE partner, shovel AND beacon to cross the lines and ride the backcountry.

One last tip. When you do get one, PRACTICE practice practice with your ski buddies, and make sure THEY now how to search for YOU.

As to the cost, it is a bummer. Look how much new Gore XCR coats cost, 450 bucks?

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If you buy a transceiver it will do you no good if your buddies don't have one. I think that it's a good idea if you can afford it to buy two... Second bounce is a great place to find them or (shiver) the mountaineers swap meet thingies. And I have to agree with the Beckster, Practice lots. Have someone bury it somewhere, hide one in the house, on the beach (put it in a ziplock first) or even practice in snow.

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This thread began with the following statement and question:

"I was wanting to feel a little safer this winter, but I'm not going to shell out $200/beacon. What's up?"

My interpretation: "I want to complain about the cost of something."

My solution: Don't buy one, then.

Just don't expect to ski or climb with people who do have them, as you will be a useless member of the team if you can't help search for your buried teammates.

Does that solve the problem? As mentioned, renting one for the occasional foray into avalanche terrain makes sense -- as does buying a used one.

As for the reasons WHY they're so expensive, I think Kevin and Erik pretty much hit all the reasons I can think of.

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quote:

Originally posted by Dan Larson:
Marmot mountain works in Bellevue has em' for rent..10$ first day 5$ each day after

Yes, so does Feathered Friends, but remember...renting a beacon will only do you any good if you know how to use it. Otherwise it is just a body recovery device.

Buy one and practice using it alot if you plan on being in avy terrain. It's better to get to know your own beacon. Think of it as cheap insurance.

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quote:

Originally posted by Bronco:
Here's a question for the knowitall out there - Are all beacons compatible???
[geek]

I think ythe old frequency was 275khz and the new ones are 475khz...or something like that. They made dual frequency beacons for a while but the range was significantly less. Any beacon made in the last 4-5 years should be on 475.

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quote:

Originally posted by primate:
This question has come up a couple of times, but there never has been much in they way of speculation: why the fuck to avalanche transcievers cost so much? I was wanting to feel a little safer this winter, but I'm not going to shell out $200/beacon. What's up?

Beacons don't just make you a little safer...if you know how to use it. Are you one of those types that would dig a climbing rope out of the trash to save a buck [Wazzup]

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quote:

Originally posted by trask:
what about that lung device that lets you breathe when burried. anything to that?

They work, but they won't work quite as well in the wet Coastal snow, better for dry Rockies powder.

FF is selling last years vests for 20$ they might have some left. Regular price is like 199$ or something rediculus.

I forget the statistics, but most avalanche victims die from trauma, not suffocation.

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Bronco,All new Beacons sold today are compatible and operate at a frequency of 457 kHz. There was a time (5 years ago?) when there were two different frequencies. If you buy a used beacon make sure it is 457.

That said, not all beacons are operated the same way. That is why practice with your beacon is so important.

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I did start this thread b/c I wanted to complain about the price of somthing. I sometimes rent beacons, know how to use them, and try to practice every time I rent. I was bitching about the price becuase I know my partners will not buy them, so if I wanted them to use one I would have to buy it for them compounding the price problems.

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the complexity-of-technology argument kinda falls apart when you can buy a GPS for half the price of the cheapest beacon. I figure the two most important pieces of safety equipment for backcountry winter travel are a brain (make sure you practise with it first), and a shovel. I hear back in the pre-beacon days sometimes they'd tie plastic bleach bottles onto the end of 50' of bright coloured cord and drag it behind while skiing.

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fern

just to defend my comment about the technology, i completely agree that the tech is peanuts compared to other stuff out there. My point is simply that it is still an object. Go out there and see how much it costs to have an electrical engineer design a beacon. Do some R and D on it to refine the design, produce a template for the circuit board and have them printed. This is a fixed cost in development. If you then sell a million of these devices, the cost can be recovered without increasing the cost per device by very much. I wonder how many avi beacons are sold per year? As for GPS, how many people own a GPS in comparison with the number who own beacons. It isn't even comparable.

All that said, I know nothing about the true cost of a beacon, just that its hard to produce a piece of specialized electronics for a very small market.

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