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BCA Tracker DTS Avy beacon reviews?

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Re: BCA Tracker DTS Avy beacon reviews?

Postby Dinzy » Fri Sep 14, 2012 9:39 am

The Tracker DTS is a great beacon, especially for the price. The DTS is one of the most popular beacons out there and for good reason. Simple, easy to use, durable and cost-effective. I've been teaching avalanche rescue classes for years and I usually recommend the DTS for people looking to buy their first beacon. We have actually given the beacon to middle school kids and without telling them how to work it, they figure it out easily. Is the DTS technologically outdated? Yes, it is. Newer (3-antenna) beacons have longer search ranges, faster processors, better pinpointing, and flagging capabilities for multiple burials. But remember, with more features, comes poorer battery life and more things that can break!

What you really need to ask yourself is what do you need out of a beacon? If you plan on being in avalanche terrain a lot and will be using your beacon a lot, it might make sense to purchase a 'fancier' beacon. If you are only occasionally travelling through avalanche terrain during winter travels, you probably don't need all the bells and whistles. Regardless of which beacon you get, practice practice practice (great to see so many people have already stated this). Here's a list of BCA beacon training parks:

http://www.backcountryaccess.com/education-research/learn-about-av-safety/beacon-training-parks/

The parks are great training tools and ski patrol is usually more than happy to get you set up at them.

For what it's worth, as a member of the Colorado Rapid Avalance Deployment (CRAD) team, I train constantly throughout the winter. And yes, I still use a DTS (waiting for the Tracker 3...). I've been on several successful rescues and unfortunately, recoveries. When your buddy is buried under the snow, running out of time, I can guarantee that you will be stressed to say the least. That is not the time to try to learn how to use those fancy features on your beacon.

Stay safe out there this winter!

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Re: BCA Tracker DTS Avy beacon reviews?

Postby Carl » Fri Sep 14, 2012 10:03 am

Dinzy wrote:I've been teaching avalanche rescue classes for years and I usually recommend the DTS for people looking to buy their first beacon.


Dinzy wrote:Is the DTS technologically outdated? Yes, it is. Newer (3-antenna) beacons have longer search ranges, faster processors, better pinpointing, and flagging capabilities for multiple burials.


Sounds like you've got a lot of knowledge on the subject, but I think you might be in the minority of avy instructors if you're still usually recommending 2-antenna beacons. As you say, it's outdated by the Tracker2 (and all the other 3-antenna beacons), and now the Tracker3 is on the horizon. Although debatable a few years ago, I think 3-antenna beacons are the standard now.

I know it's in the 12/13 dealer book but I haven't heard if BCA is still projecting a release this Fall for the Tracker3. Anyone know if it's been pushed back to mid winter?

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Re: BCA Tracker DTS Avy beacon reviews?

Postby Dinzy » Fri Sep 14, 2012 10:36 am

Carl wrote:I think you might be in the minority of avy instructors if you're still usually recommending 2-antenna beacons.


True, true. I should add a little clarifier... most of the students that I teach (to whom I'm recommending the DTS), are younger folks who don't have much to spend on avalanche gear. So if the choice is between a $200 DTS or no beacon at all, of course I'd like to see them get a DTS. If people had the $400-500 for an S1, then that's probably what I'd recommend them get. Once the prices of 3-antenna beacons comes down a little bit, then they will absolutely become the standard. I hate to see that $$ comes into the equation at all, but that is the reality.

I'm also a big fan of carrying avalanche "bacon". Put a couple slices in your jacket pocket and that avalance dog (and your bacon-loving amigos) will find you so fast, in the event you are buried in a slide.

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Re: BCA Tracker DTS Avy beacon reviews?

Postby Carl » Fri Sep 14, 2012 11:00 am

Dinzy wrote:I'm also a big fan of carrying avalanche "bacon". Put a couple slices in your jacket pocket and that avalance dog (and your bacon-loving amigos) will find you so fast, in the event you are buried in a slide.


And if you're not buried in a slide, bonus for you at the end of the day, bacon!

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Re: BCA Tracker DTS Avy beacon reviews?

Postby dehrlich101 » Thu Nov 15, 2012 5:38 pm

Thanks for all the suggestions! Just picked up an Ortovox 3+ beacon from Bent Gate today. They are having a 20% off sale for Ortovox products until the 25th, really good deals if anyone is looking to pick one up soon.

http://www.bentgate.com/ortovox.html
I am glad I shall never be young without wild country to be young in - Aldo Leopold

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LOJ

Re: BCA Tracker DTS Avy beacon reviews?

Postby its_not_a_tuba » Thu Nov 15, 2012 6:06 pm

I just put a 2x4 in my backpack and then hand my buddy a stud finder.
"Wilderness settles peace on the soul because it needs no help. It is beyond human contrivance." -- E.O. Wilson

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