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BCA Tracker DTS Avy beacon reviews?

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BCA Tracker DTS Avy beacon reviews?

Postby dehrlich101 » Wed Sep 12, 2012 1:17 pm

Anyone use this beacon before? What are the Pro's and Con's of this beacon? Good buy or find something better?

All the reviews on REI.com sound good.. Wanted to hear what you all think of it.

http://www.rei.com/product/717163/backcountry-access-tracker-dts-avalanche-transceiver
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Re: BCA Tracker DTS Avy beacon reviews?

Postby Voodoo302 » Wed Sep 12, 2012 1:34 pm

This is pretty much the standard for dual antenna beacons, I don't own it but I've used them many times and they're great. Push the button to search and then spiral in toward the other beacon (hopefully training and not on your partner!), it doesn't get simpler. The triple antenna beacons can be faster and more accurate but there is a price premium and there comes a point (when your partner's buried and you can hardly see straight for worry and adrenaline) where simple and basic information has an advantage over complicated and detailed info.

There's a reason that this is one of the most popular beacons on the market; it's super reliable, the harness is comfortable, battery life is good, and it's easy to use. If you do decide to purchase this model I'd suggest shopping around or considering a used one as they're pretty easy to find for closer to $200.

We could do a countdown until someone reminds you to get your Avy I and to make sure you practice every weekend with it but I'm sure you already know that :-D

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Re: BCA Tracker DTS Avy beacon reviews?

Postby Don Eberl » Wed Sep 12, 2012 1:36 pm

I own this beacon and it works great for me. Remember that the best beacon is the one you practice with but once you spend some time practicing with the DTS, I find that it works extremely well. I would definitely stick to a digital beacon.
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Re: BCA Tracker DTS Avy beacon reviews?

Postby Bean » Wed Sep 12, 2012 1:45 pm

Get a three-antenna beacon. Two-antenna beacons are obsolete. Single-antenna beacons are a joke.
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Re: BCA Tracker DTS Avy beacon reviews?

Postby ajkagy » Wed Sep 12, 2012 1:58 pm

Bean wrote:Get a three-antenna beacon. Two-antenna beacons are obsolete. Single-antenna beacons are a joke.


the dual antenna tracker works just fine and I didn't even think retail even sells the single antenna beacons anymore?

Regardless, with practice anybody can find a buried object with a dual antenna beacon just as fast as someone with a triple.
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Re: BCA Tracker DTS Avy beacon reviews?

Postby Bean » Wed Sep 12, 2012 2:03 pm

ajkagy wrote:
Bean wrote:Get a three-antenna beacon. Two-antenna beacons are obsolete. Single-antenna beacons are a joke.


the dual antenna tracker works just fine and I didn't even think retail even sells the single antenna beacons anymore?

Regardless, with practice anybody can find a buried object with a dual antenna beacon just as fast as someone with a triple.


Pieps Freeride is a single-antenna digital.

Yes, with sufficient practice and knowledge of their device, anybody can find a buried beacon with a tracker. I'm pretty good at it (and even know how to use the spikes/nulls to pinpoint faster), but I got a DSP for increased range and less short-range error (and flagging, and doggy-beacon capability). Unfortunately, lots of people don't practice with their beacons. Seeing a friend - who is a very bright guy and had done what most would consider a "reasonable" amount of practice - go round and round with a tracker for 20 minutes while practicing was very eye-opening.
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Re: BCA Tracker DTS Avy beacon reviews?

Postby Rock-a-Fella » Wed Sep 12, 2012 2:06 pm

dehrlich101 wrote:Anyone use this beacon before? What are the Pro's and Con's of this beacon? Good buy or find something better?

All the reviews on REI.com sound good.. Wanted to hear what you all think of it.

http://www.rei.com/product/717163/backcountry-access-tracker-dts-avalanche-transceiver


Old unit! I would not recommend. To begin at the end I would NOT recommend a 2 antenna unit. This is a 2 antenna unit. "Simple to use" was the focus of its design. For diehard BCA folks there is a Tracker 2 model that has been out for a few years now. For most brands the "Transmit" function and capabilities are the same or similar. All brands have something to "nit pick" but whichever one you choose I recommend learning it's "Weaknesses" and the "work arounds for them. BCA units receive in a very narrow search area. The differences in brand units and price come in with the "Search Function". Number of antennas, Signal processing, distance, signal separation, deep burial, false signal processing, Digital, Analog, Dual, slope angles, compass, temps, etc.

I would recommend you take a look at Mammut /barryvox Pulse and or Ortovox S1 and work from there if they are too much in features or price. Those two units are the Top of the line. Learn what features they offer and "IF" those features are important to you. Work down from there. You may consider taking an Avy course and using different units in different situations before you buy. Some ski areas have "Beacon Parks" for practice.

If price is a hurdle get your regular BC ski buddies to pitch in and help you pay for the "Features THEY want you to have."

Hope this was helpful. PM me if you have more questions and I'll try to help.

I forgot to mention Pieps DSP (although their signal processing has some pitfalls)

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Re: BCA Tracker DTS Avy beacon reviews?

Postby ajkagy » Wed Sep 12, 2012 2:11 pm

Bean wrote:
ajkagy wrote:
Bean wrote:Get a three-antenna beacon. Two-antenna beacons are obsolete. Single-antenna beacons are a joke.


the dual antenna tracker works just fine and I didn't even think retail even sells the single antenna beacons anymore?

Regardless, with practice anybody can find a buried object with a dual antenna beacon just as fast as someone with a triple.


Unfortunately, lots of people don't practice with their beacons. Seeing a friend - who is a very bright guy and had done what most would consider a "reasonable" amount of practice - go round and round with a tracker for 20 minutes while practicing was very eye-opening.


it is always surprising to see how many people own one, but have actually never practiced with it. I knew a guy that didn't even know how to put the beacon in search mode ](*,)

OP, whatever you do, don't get one of these... http://unofficialnetworks.com/dangerous-piece-avalanche-safety-gear-world-snowbe-98574/ :lol:
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Re: BCA Tracker DTS Avy beacon reviews?

Postby GregMiller » Wed Sep 12, 2012 2:22 pm

ajkagy wrote:it is always surprising to see how many people own one, but have actually never practiced with it. I knew a guy that didn't even know how to put the beacon in search mode ](*,)


I've heard various resorts have beacon practice areas, can anyone speak to how useful they are for practice? Or if there's a better way? I have a beacon, but no on-snow practice time with it, and looking to fix that as soon as there is snow to get time on.
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Re: BCA Tracker DTS Avy beacon reviews?

Postby Rock-a-Fella » Wed Sep 12, 2012 2:45 pm

farcedude wrote:
ajkagy wrote:it is always surprising to see how many people own one, but have actually never practiced with it. I knew a guy that didn't even know how to put the beacon in search mode ](*,)


I've heard various resorts have beacon practice areas, can anyone speak to how useful they are for practice? Or if there's a better way? I have a beacon, but no on-snow practice time with it, and looking to fix that as soon as there is snow to get time on.


Like beacons they all seem to be different. Some that are called "Parks" have individual beacons buried and get moved around as the custodians see fit.

High Tech Parks (not sure which resorts have them) like the one at Snowmass have Skill levels you can choose along with a "Strike detector" signaling a probe strike.

Basic is any one of 5 random beacon choices while Advanced level is an unknown location and beacon number as many as 5. All with probe strike detection.

As previously mentioned you need "mileage" with them if you are serious about locating someone in an expeditious fashion.

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Re: BCA Tracker DTS Avy beacon reviews?

Postby CO Native » Wed Sep 12, 2012 2:46 pm

The practice areas are an awesome way to test your beacon use. You're not going to get to dig up anything, but great practice for pinpointing a burial.

The Tracker 2 has 3 antennae and has the closest to real-time read out I've seen. It does run $100 more than the DTS, but it's worth it.

My personal favorite is the Pieps DSP. I've had the opportunity to play with a lot of them.

The best place to read about each beacon is here: http://beaconreviews.com/transceivers/ Excellent in depth reviews of nearly every beacon out there.
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Re: BCA Tracker DTS Avy beacon reviews?

Postby CO Native » Wed Sep 12, 2012 3:22 pm

You can't write off single antenna beacons completely. Well you can for the average user, but those willing to take the time to learn a single antenna beacon will have the advantage of huge signal reception range. The Barryvox 2000 Pro is a single antenna beacon that has almost an 80 meter range (the EXT version comes with an external antenna that boosts that to 100 meters). That's huge. The Pulse comes in at 50 meters (which is still awesome), the Pieps DSP at 45, and the Tracker 2 is in the high 30s. Better range means you can search an avalanche field much faster. Single antenna beacons are still very useful to pros that need the ability to search large areas quickly.

However the reason these aren't practical for the average user is that you must be able to interpret the signal yourself rather than the beacon doing it for you. For most people the faster time acquiring the signal will be out weighed by the delay in zeroing in on the location.
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