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#1
sapporo

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looking to buy a beacon this season... any advice?

whats a good beacon to buy?
where can i get it cheap?

#2
gozaimaas

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As far as i know most come out of the states from online stores.
Anything digital 3 antennae is good. I use a pieps dps and quite like it. Its easy to use, justhold it in front of you and follow the arrows.
Dont forget to pick up a 3m probe and a t6 aluminium shovel while you are shopping. Then all you need to do is an ast1 course and you are fit for the backcountry.
In japan may 3-25

#3
seemore

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View Postsapporo, on 21 October 2013 - 10:23 PM, said:

looking to buy a beacon this season... any advice?

whats a good beacon to buy?
where can i get it cheap?



It is an older article but I found it informative.



How to choose the right avalanche beacon?

Posted Image


These days, there are many more avalanche beacons (transceivers) to choose from than a decade ago. Avalanche beacons differ in how much they are selling for, in technologies they use, and obviously in manufacturers that make them.
Here are tips that will help you to choose the right avalanche beacon by:
  • briefly explaining the different types of avalanche beacon technologies
  • defining what kind of a user you are, or whomever you are purchasing the beacon for
The latest avalanche beacons are definitely better but it’s confusing for buyers to choose the one that fits their abilities the best.
6 most popular beacons (after 2011/12 season): Avalanche beacons compatibility

Posted ImageIt seems that one basic piece of information is not communicated by the manufacturers and professionals clearly enough because many people wonder about compatibility of different types of avalanche transceivers and between manufacturers.
The only thing you need to know is that all avalanche beacons operate on the same frequency (457 kHz) and are therefore fully compatible. That means you can search for any avalanche beacon with any other avalanche beacon on the market.
There might be some fancy features that are only shared within a certain model type but the core practical functionality of all beacons is compatible as it was agreed by all manufacturers long time ago.


Avalanche beacon technologies: understanding different types

Basically, there are three types of avalanche beacons on the market today:
  • Analogue
  • Digital
  • Analogue/digital (hybrid)
Analogue avalanche beacons

Posted ImageThe analogue avalanche beacons are almost out of the market by now but they are the ones that started it all.
Bottom line: Analogue avalanche beacons, generally, have a big search range and are great for picking up a signal from further distance. However, they require quite a bit of practice for a novice or not too experienced users to be efficient with. But if you practice a lot you can become very good in searching with them. They are in the lowest price range of all avalanche beacons.
Digital avalanche beacons

Posted ImageDigital avalanche beacons came to the market around 2001. Their main aim was to cut searching times by providing a user with a computer-like beacon. Every digital avalanche beacon has a micro-processor, just like computers do, that filters data for the user and communicates them through distance numbers and direction arrows.
Bottom line: Digital avalanche beacons are easier to use (to search with) than the previous analogue technology which makes them a great choice for any type of users. However, some are more suitable for professionals than less experienced users.
Digital beacons have a smaller range than analogue beacons but the micro-processor capabilities can greatly compensate for inexperience thus cutting down the search times. The prices for digital avalanche beacons vary greatly depending on their features, performance and manufacturer.
Analogue/digital avalanche beacons

These avalanche beacons use both of the above technologies, however, they don’t seem to provide any significant advantage over the digital beacons. And there are only one or two models of this type of beacons currently on the market, which suggests manufacturers are rather betting (and working) on the full digital platform than sticking with older technology.
Bottom line: These hybrid beacons are like enhanced analogue avalanche beacons and are as good as some fully digital beacons, however, there doesn’t seem to be much need for this type of beacons. They are being pretty much phased out just like the analogue beacons. Digital is the way. Prices are comparable to lower priced digital beacons.
Avalanche beacon user groups

Here is a brief differentiation of avalanche beacon users based on their experience. This might not be the best groups’ definition there is, however, it reflects how people usually define themselves when shopping for an avalanche beacon:
Novice
  • used an avalanche beacon very few times in their life if at all
  • no experience with multiple burials
  • accessing backcountry mostly from a lift to do individual runs
Regular
  • uses an avalanche beacon couple of times a year
  • some experience with multiple burials
  • quite proficient with their current beacon
  • regularly travels in backcountry
Advanced/Professional
  • lots of practice and experience with different types of avalanche beacons in many different scenarios
  • very frequent users, mountain guides, ski patrol, rescue professionals, etc.
Suitable avalanche beacon models based on a user group and beacon type

Analogue avalanche beacons – more suitable for (very) experienced users, however, even they are now switching to digital technology.
Digital beacons – this is the future of the industry and every user group can find a model within this technology.
Hybrid – they are a good alternative and more suitable for the novice and regular users.
Specific avalanche beacon models suitability

Novice: Regular: Advanced/Professional:
This type of a user should know what beacon he wants and that suits him the best. But here are some suggested options since this user group should be well equipped to take full advantage of the most advanced features in avalanche beacon technology. Avalanche beacons by technology

Here is a list of specific avalanche beacons based on which technology they use and that are currently available on the market.
Analogue: Digital: Analogue/Digital:
  • Ortovox M2 (discontinued)
Practice your avalanche beacon search

No matter which avalanche beacon you buy there is no substitute for practice. Yes, some are easier to use than others but each one behaves slightly different and it is best if you get to know your avalanche beacon intimately through practice.

#4
seemore

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Does anyone have one who is blind as I get older my eyesight has worsened and will need one with a nice big screen?

#5
gozaimaas

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Thats a great point seemore.
In japan may 3-25

#6
Ajax

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BCA Backcountry essentials package is being shipped to me now from Evo US for $345 au landed in Aus, contains bca tracker dts ,shovel and probe, very good price I thought. There are better beacons out there but you will also pay a lot more and this beacon is very popular with good reviews. Some times the more you pay = more options = more complicated and in stressfully situations you want to keep it simple, not sure if this applies to beacons. This is a 2 antennae beacon whilst the 3 antennae beacons are better at refining signals in multiple burials. My eyesight is also not very good Seemore so will let you know when it arrives.

#7
seemore

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View PostAjax, on 27 October 2013 - 06:46 AM, said:

BCA Backcountry essentials package is being shipped to me now from Evo US for $345 au landed in Aus, contains bca tracker dts ,shovel and probe, very good price I thought. There are better beacons out there but you will also pay a lot more and this beacon is very popular with good reviews. Some times the more you pay = more options = more complicated and in stressfully situations you want to keep it simple, not sure if this applies to beacons. This is a 2 antennae beacon whilst the 3 antennae beacons are better at refining signals in multiple burials. My eyesight is also not very good Seemore so will let you know when it arrives.

Cheers Ajax
Yeah I have seen some packages on EBay that look ok just need some feedback

#8
ozsnowbum

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go 3 antennae. better chance of being found and finding.
then practice lots and do a bc course.

i have the bca tracker dts. would upgrade but im cheap.
problem with upgrading is it will take me time to get as good at using the new one as i am using my current one which works fine.

#9
gozaimaas

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Go cheap on your board, gear, sunglasses dinner anything else but spend the required money on the required beacon, t6 aluminium shovel with a nice big blade and 3m probe, short probes suck because your mate might be 2m deep but sticking a probe in its entire length is very difficult. 3m rules cause you have extra length hanging out of the snow to hold on to.

Its only a few extra lift tickets worth of money and could do more for you than any other piece of equipment on earth.


In japan may 3-25

#10
SantaCruz

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Gozaimas - Any specific beacon model recommendations?
I'm also curious on your opinion of whether novices opt for a beacon with fewer bells and whistles but a simpler interface.

#11
gozaimaas

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Simple is good. But 3 antennae is very important and should not be considered bells and whistles.

I use a pieps dsp which I find easy to use and has a range of around 60m as tested in my ast1 class. It was the first to pick up the signal.
In japan may 3-25

#12
ozsnowbum

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View Postgozaimaas, on 27 October 2013 - 04:55 PM, said:

Go cheap on your board, gear, sunglasses dinner anything else but spend the required money on the required beacon, t6 aluminium shovel with a nice big blade and 3m probe, short probes suck because your mate might be 2m deep but sticking a probe in its entire length is very difficult. 3m rules cause you have extra length hanging out of the snow to hold on to.

Its only a few extra lift tickets worth of money and could do more for you than any other piece of equipment on earth.


i didnt cheap out on the beacon, it was one of the best 6 years ago when i bought it, im just too cheap to upgrade something that works perfectly well and im comfortable with.
that being said, go 3 antennae but theres nothing wrong with 2 antennae either.
this was what penny goddard told me when i asked her if i really needed to upgrade. she wrote the book on avalanche safety in NZ where i did my avalanche course.
knowing how to use it effectively and being educated on avalanche terrain is far more important than what beacon you decide to buy.

#13
gozaimaas

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I wasnt referring to you with that post oz btw.
I think someone who is buying a beacon now should buy 3 antennae. There is no reason not to
In japan may 3-25

#14
ozsnowbum

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yeah agree totally

#15
fuyugakuru

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Hi guys, new face round here.

View Postozsnowbum, on 27 October 2013 - 03:20 PM, said:

go 3 antennae. better chance of being found and finding.
then practice lots and do a bc course.


Just thought I would point out that a 3 antennae beacon is only better than a 2 antennae when searching for another beacon. It doesn't make a difference when they are in transmit mode, i.e. when you are buried and somebody is searching for you.

View Postozsnowbum, on 28 October 2013 - 07:25 AM, said:

knowing how to use it effectively and being educated on avalanche terrain is far more important than what beacon you decide to buy.


This. The best beacon to have is the one you know how to use. The most important thing is to get the training and frequently practice using your beacon in realistic situations. Get a friend to ski ahead and bury a beacon and then you can go through the search and dig it out on a slope. Just searching for it on a flat bit of snow covered car park isn’t as useful.

I would second that the pieps dsp is a good beacon. The harness that comes with it is not so great though. I would consider using a different one or a bib pocket so that you can get it out quickly in an emergency. I found the pieps harness can hold onto it like the beacon was its long lost child finally reunited. Have you found this the same gozaimas? A couple of new dsp models have just come out as well but I would go for the older dsp smart (not the tour) as that one is tried and tested.

#16
gozaimaas

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Yes the harness does fit pretty tight. I never had an issue with it though.
I now use a bib pocket
In japan may 3-25

#17
teikiatsulover

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Nobody else chose theirs for the color?
Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow!

#18
ippy

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My BCA tracker was a DEMON for fine searching (within 3 meters). But for longer range searching it got a bit gnarly. Flux lines are a bit complicated. If you dont practice with it, youre going to be boned on a search. Ive mentioned this before, but the expectation of the numbers you think youre going to see, and the actual numbers on the screen bare no relationship to one another until you learn how to follow a flux line. And that takes practice. If youre an old hand and know all this then obviously 2 antenna is no problem. Youll be no less quick out there. But if youre new, and your chances of practicing are marginal, in a shitty situation youll want the three antenna. On my course people whod never even switched it on managed to get to the fine search ridiculously quick (i continually sabotaged them though because my tracker kept reverting to transmit... another thing to watch out for by the way). They sucked ass at the fine search mind you, but thats where your practice is really going to pay off. As for multiple burials... honestly, i would have had no idea how to cope with that situation. Practice opportunities are scant when you dont ride with other people who ride BC. So consider those kinds of issues too. (On that point, aside the course, the majority of my practice time came realistically from wandering around my boarding house finding the people who forgot to switch off their beacons after a day out on niseko. Its a great way to meet people d: Its all good practice for a two antenna since 3 meters might in fact just be downstairs and not in fact 3 meters away - all shit you need to learn about and work on).
m00m

#19
gozaimaas

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A beacon that reverts to transmit when put in search mode is probably the most evil piece of equipment you could hope to have in a rescue attempt.

In japan may 3-25

#20
ippy

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isnt it :) If i remember right, its an automatic thing (just in case youre searching and get caught up in a burial yourself. But its just one more thing you need to keep on top of especially (well, particularly), if youre NOT the person conducting the main search.
m00m




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