Ortovox 3+

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10 Dec 2010 16:57 #195565 by otter
Ortovox 3+ was created by otter
Just had a pair of new Ortovox 3+'s delivered to my doorstep. Mmmm... sexy little beacon.
Simple design, just one flagging button. Simple display with numbers and an arrow. Automatically goes into pinpoint mode at 2m.
Only 1 AA battery!
Although I never use harness systems, this is a design that might actually work for searching. It allows you to get the beacon out to arm's length... unlike many other harnesses.
All three antennas can transmit, and if you stop moving for a while, like if you were buried say, the beacon will begin transmitting from the most optimal antenna to give your rescuers the best chance of finding you.

One thing I find interesting: Ortovox recommends a single rescuer signal search pattern that is 20m from the edge of the debris and 40m apart. BCA and AIARE has been using 10m and 20m. Any thoughts on this topic?

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11 Dec 2010 16:57 #195579 by swaterfall
Replied by swaterfall on topic Re: Ortovox 3+
Have you tried the flagging function yet? I wanted to take that beacon for a test drive at ISSW but didn't get the chance. I was able to flag/unflag pretty quickly and reliably at the booth, but I'd be psyched to try it out in the field.

Not sure on the search strip width. I wonder if there are some new protocols in Euro?

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  • Jonathan_S.
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12 Dec 2010 17:26 #195587 by Jonathan_S.
Replied by Jonathan_S. on topic Re: Ortovox 3+

All three antennas can transmit, and if you stop moving for a while, like if you were buried say, the beacon will begin transmitting from the most optimal antenna to give your rescuers the best chance of finding you.

Just two, not all three -- the third antenna on all beacons is only for resolving nulls/spikes in the final search phase, and is probably too small to do any good for transmitting.

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12 Dec 2010 22:02 #195593 by otter
Replied by otter on topic Re: Ortovox 3+

Just two, not all three -- the third antenna on all beacons is only for resolving nulls/spikes in the final search phase, and is probably too small to do any good for transmitting.


Thanks for catching that Jonathan. I didn't mean to put any misinformation out there.

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13 Dec 2010 23:43 #195604 by russ
Replied by russ on topic Re: Ortovox 3+
I've been out twice testing with the 3+, still haven't decided if I'm going to keep it because I want to test against more beacons.

First time out was testing against my original model Tracker and a friends F1. We tried single and multiple with every combination...  The 3+ gave erratic results, but we couldn't rule out the problem was with the older F1 (which hasn't been tested for drift) or user error.  The 3+ needed to be much closer than 40M to pick up a signal. On one multiple test it picked the first signal up reasonably, but didn't detect the second until 17M.

On purpose I had not read the directions other than a quick glance of features. On reading the instructions, it talked about panning the beacon 30 degrees to each side and tilt moderatedly up and down to increase the chance of picking up the signal. I think I was doing something like that, but not as systematic.

Second time out was with the same Tracker and a different F1.  For whatever reason the 3+ seemed to work more reliably. Whether a different F1, more experience with it, I didn't get as many erratic readings. It still didn't pick up signals at 40M, but once it had the signal it was very quick and easy to locate the beacon.

Liked the harness and extension cord. I'll continue testing.. Almost forgot - the Marking button - awesome. When you find the first beacon, press the mark and move on to the next. No need to turn off the beacon.

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14 Dec 2010 07:20 #195608 by Jonathan_S.
Replied by Jonathan_S. on topic Re: Ortovox 3+
Before testing any beacon's search function with an F1 target, the F1 transmission definitely needs to be checked.
Fortunately, the 3+ can do this for you (along with the S1, DSP, and Pulse). But although I agree that trying a beacon first w/o reading the user manual is a good test of the user interface's intuitiveness this, for the transmission check, you really need to read the manual first, especially for possible error codes.

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14 Dec 2010 08:55 #195610 by ryanb
Replied by ryanb on topic Re: Ortovox 3+
Check out the video reviews on the bottom of this page:

www.facewest.co.uk/Ortovox-3-Plus.html

They convinced us to go with tracker 2's due to the weirdness they describe a few meters out. Has anyone else noticed this?

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14 Dec 2010 09:50 #195611 by ron j
Replied by ron j on topic Re: Ortovox 3+

Check out the video reviews on the bottom of this page:
www.facewest.co.uk/Ortovox-3-Plus.html
They convinced us to go with tracker 2's due to the weirdness they describe a few meters out. Has anyone else noticed this?

Yeah, my jury's still out regarding this unit. Two of my partners and I just bought the 3+ at the recent REI sale based on the review at beaconreviews.com.
I have been out practicing with this unit twice now, once searching for two SOSs and one 3+, the other time searching for one SOS and one 3+.
In both sessions I experienced the confusion period mentioned in the above videos more than once. I was thinking that possibly some of the confusion was due to the long analog pulse of the SOS beacon, but now I'm not too sure... or at least not sure that the long analog pulse is the total cause.
Another thing I found a bit frustrating was that if I moved too fast the unit's processing would not keep up. I'm sure that coming from an analog beacon that can keep up even if I am running contributes to that frustration.
Right now I'm thinking my search times will still be faster with my SOS (especially considering the time advantage of locking on sooner due to the longer range). I'm planning on spending a afternoon at a beacon basin to test this out.
Of course even if my search times with the Analog machine are faster, that benefit then gets offset by the fact that the longer pulse signal of the Analog machine in send mode reputedly confuses the Digital machines in search mode which could result in the user of the Analog machine being recovered last (or at least later) in a multiple burial situation. So it appears that analog users are destined to go digital soon whether they like it or not. That was actually a factor in deciding to go digital with the 3+.
I was hoping the 3+ would be the cat's meow and the transition to Digital would be a breeze because of it. Now it's not as simple as I'd hoped.
Are we working towards taking the 3+ back and getting something else?
What are all you pros seeing out there on the matter?
Anyone have any words of wisdom to help with this dilemma?

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14 Dec 2010 09:53 #195612 by Jonathan_S.
Replied by Jonathan_S. on topic Re: Ortovox 3+

They convinced us to go with tracker 2's due to the weirdness they describe a few meters out.

Which of the two videos and at what time mark?

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14 Dec 2010 10:06 - 17 Dec 2010 09:56 #195614 by ron j
Replied by ron j on topic Re: Ortovox 3+

Which of the two videos and at what time mark?

Starting at about 3:26 on the first viddy and 3:23 on the second.

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14 Dec 2010 10:12 #195615 by Jonathan_S.
Replied by Jonathan_S. on topic Re: Ortovox 3+
I like the British-accented "quirk" reference.
(Unfortunately though I don't have a 3+ with me now, so I can't check it out.)

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14 Dec 2010 10:48 #195620 by andyrew
Replied by andyrew on topic Re: Ortovox 3+

Check out the video reviews on the bottom of this page:

www.facewest.co.uk/Ortovox-3-Plus.html

They convinced us to go with tracker 2's due to the weirdness they describe a few meters out. Has anyone else noticed this?


I have only played with the 3+ for a couple minutes, but I did notice that the directional arrows were considerably slower/laggier to update compared to the tracker 2. I believe I also saw some erratic misreadings at the tail end of the fine search like seen in the video. I will have a chance to play with it some more tomorrow and will see if it's reproducible with different target beacons. I think I used a pieps dsp in my initial test.

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14 Dec 2010 11:24 #195622 by PNWBrit
Replied by PNWBrit on topic Re: Ortovox 3+

Although I never use harness systems


Dan - do you think that might have been any factor in having forgot your beacon the day of your accident?

Not that the forgot beacon was a factor or the most important lesson from your incredibly honest and sobbering accident report.

I'm anal about wearing mine. Often do just out of ingrained habit when there is absolutely no need - skiing in bounds on groomers - on zero risk days.

Only ever not use a harness in the spring or with a hudge overnight pack - for comfort. Never just put it in my pack in case I need it later.

Not judgiing at all. If question offends or upsets I'll remove it.

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14 Dec 2010 11:59 #195624 by russ
Replied by russ on topic Re: Ortovox 3+
The video shows exactly what I was referring to as "erratic behavior". Interesting in that I don't remember seeing on the second searching session, but it's been a couple of weeks ago so I may not be remembering, or I may have walked right through that zone as he suggests.

In the first testing session I stood and watched it jump all over the place before just moving to get a different read. It did steady out after that, so I'll have to check and see if it's consistent around 6M.

Jonathan - really - novel concept....

I think remembering all the error code meanings in the field is going to be a problem unless you carry a cheat sheet or generalize:

Error code on Self Test (E1-E4)= check for interfering signals, if still getting an error beacon isn't working right. Dig out backup Tracker.

Error code on Partner Test (E1-E7)= give partner your backup Tracker(and show him/her how to use it...)

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14 Dec 2010 19:10 #195629 by khyak
Replied by khyak on topic Re: Ortovox 3+
I was excited about this beacon when it came out, but one trip to REI cured me. Turned the on/off/recieve button too far and the battery fell out. Took an effort to get the battery compartment closed. The switch alone would steer me away, but also, did not care for the display. Was not that large or very bright. Design seems very poor.

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15 Dec 2010 08:50 #195633 by sachelis
Replied by sachelis on topic Re: Ortovox 3+

<snip>
One thing I find interesting: Ortovox recommends a single rescuer signal search pattern that is 20m from the edge of the debris and 40m apart. BCA and AIARE has been using 10m and 20m. Any thoughts on this topic?


I have an explanation regarding IKAR's recommendation to manufactures on how the maximum search strip should be calculated here (on BeaconReviews.com). BCA now says 40m for the Tracker DTS and 50m for the Tracker2 (although the Tracker2 manual states 40m in one location).

Steve
BeaconReviews.com

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15 Dec 2010 09:38 #195634 by ron j
Replied by ron j on topic Re: Ortovox 3+

I have an explanation regarding IKAR's recommendation to manufactures on how the maximum search strip should be calculated here (on BeaconReviews.com). BCA now says 40m for the Tracker DTS and 50m for the Tracker2 (although the Tracker2 manual states 40m in one location).
Steve
BeaconReviews.com

Steve - Thank you for joining the discussion and thank you for providing you link to the Calculated versus Recommended Search Strip Widths on BeaconReviews.com.
And welcome to TAY. You web site is a huge resource to those of us trying to figure out the pros and cons of various new beacons on the market and I, as one of many, appreciate all your hard work.

When you did your tests of the 3+ for BeaconReviews.com did you see any of the perceived "wierdness" or "quirks", i.e. momentary erroneous/unstable indications at a particular distance as mentioned above and also mentioned in the video reviews cited above?

Thanks, in advance, for your feedback.


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15 Dec 2010 18:09 #195636 by PNWBrit
Replied by PNWBrit on topic Re: Ortovox 3+
Ron if range is a priority, which I understand and agree with to a degree - the speed that a secondary search can be conducted with a digi beacon possibly outweighing that advantage - have you tried a DSP? I'm constantly amazed at how much further out it reaches than most all other beacons.

It really is time to retire those old analogs everyone... almost to the point of being industry standard to do so.. you mentioned yourself good reasons why. It's current CAA advise to junk them. I sincerely hope no one is still teaching any avy courses with one as an instructor.

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15 Dec 2010 19:31 #195637 by otter
Replied by otter on topic Re: Ortovox 3+

Dan - do you think that might have been any factor in having forgot your beacon the day of your accident?

Not that the forgot beacon was a factor or the most important lesson from your incredibly honest and sobbering accident report.

I'm anal about wearing mine. Often do just out of ingrained habit when there is absolutely no need - skiing in bounds on groomers - on zero risk days.

Only ever not use a harness in the spring or with a hudge overnight pack - for comfort. Never just put it in my pack in case I need it later.

Not judgiing at all. If question offends or upsets I'll remove it.


Good question, non offense taken.
I always carry my beacon in my front zippered pocket, attached to my beltloop. That's where it lives. If I ever washed my pants I guess it would come out, but I don't...
I find it faster to get my beacon out when its in my pocket and I don't have to worry about layering issues. And a lot of harnesses are poorly designed. I initially picked up the habit patrolling, because beacons in harnesses are too close to our radios and interfere with transmissions.
The reason I didn't have a beacon was because I had just gotten a new one and had been playing with it the day before and had not girthhitched it to my pants yet.
So in a way, not using a harness system may have contributed, but only because I had become used to always having me beacon with me without having to think too hard about it.

Why we didn't do a beacon check is another question. "Complacency" is the best answer I can find.

I appreciate the question and I invite more. I hope I didn't make it weird for people to ask questions with my little rant. Just avoid judgments f you don't know the details is all.

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16 Dec 2010 08:34 #195642 by ron j
Replied by ron j on topic Re: Ortovox 3+

Ron if range is a priority, which I understand and agree with to a degree - the speed that a secondary search can be conducted with a digi beacon possibly outweighing that advantage - have you tried a DSP? I'm constantly amazed at how much further out it reaches than most all other beacons.
It really is time to retire those old analogs everyone... almost to the point of being industry standard to do so.. you mentioned yourself good reasons why. It's current CAA advise to junk them. I sincerely hope no one is still teaching any avy courses with one as an instructor.


Brit – Thanks for your comments. I agree with all your points.

I probably wasn’t too clear on this but I'm not interested in hanging onto the analog - I'm committed to the change and clearly understand the reasons why I should be.

What I'm interested in is NOT ending up with a beacon that increases my search times... and especially not ending up with a beacon that has a "quirk" that could cause a mental breakdown in a time of extreme stress and panic (of course, I’m not talking about me in such an instance; I'm WAY too cool and collected under pressure ::) )

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16 Dec 2010 09:12 #195643 by PNWBrit
Replied by PNWBrit on topic Re: Ortovox 3+

Why we didn't do a beacon check is another question. "Complacency" is the best answer I can find.


Yep completely agree.

Very easy to just trust that a regular, (more) experienced or fellow pro tour partner hasn't had a brain fart and to not do a beacon test.

Ron - if you keep looking for "quirks" you'll probably always find them even to the point of sticking with an old dual frequency audio only pieps. These things have been around for ~10 years ;-)

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16 Dec 2010 10:01 #195644 by ron j
Replied by ron j on topic Re: Ortovox 3+

Ron - if you keep looking for "quirks" you'll probably always find them even to the point of sticking with an old dual frequency audio only pieps.


Ahh... It would be nice if I exhibited more competence than that.  Regardless, for some reason your warning doesn't worry me :)

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16 Dec 2010 12:00 #195645 by zeroforhire
Replied by zeroforhire on topic Re: Ortovox 3+
I have messed with mine a bit inside, and actually like the controls. I will be going out this weekend to test it outside.

pics are up on my website...

www.gearinformant.com

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16 Dec 2010 15:58 #195656 by PNWBrit
Replied by PNWBrit on topic Re: Ortovox 3+

Ahh... It would be nice if I exhibited more competence than that.  Regardless, for some reason your warning doesn't worry me :)


What a truly bizzare reply.

I wasn't "warning" or intending to "worry" you. Nor was I doubting your "competence" or years of experience.

But I'm sorry if I somehow caused your passive-defensiveness.

Please update your beacon soon and encourage others to do so as well.


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17 Dec 2010 08:21 #195665 by sachelis
Replied by sachelis on topic Re: Ortovox 3+

Steve - Thank you for joining the discussion and thank you for providing you link to the Calculated versus Recommended Search Strip Widths on BeaconReviews.com. And welcome to TAY. You web site is a huge resource to those of us trying to figure out the pros and cons of various new beacons on the market and I, as one of many, appreciate all your hard work.

When you did your tests of the 3+ for BeaconReviews.com did you see any of the perceived "weirdness" or "quirks", i.e. momentary erroneous/unstable indications at a particular distance as mentioned above and also mentioned in the video reviews cited above?


Thank for the kind words, Ron.

I did not see the 3+ quirk shown in the video. That certainly doesn’t mean that it isn’t real (and the video looks pretty convincing). I spent four or five hours testing a handful of 3+ transceivers (appreciatively, I did this testing with the owner of Ortovox). I spent much of that time searching for multiple transmitters and testing the Marking feature (which was excellent during my test session). I also spent a considerable amount of time testing the 3+’s range (versus the other popular transceivers). I definitely walked through the seven meter zone many times, but I didn’t see the quirk. Unfortunately, I haven’t received my 3+ yet. If the quirk is real, let’s hope it can be corrected with a software update.

Steve
BeaconReviews.com




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17 Dec 2010 09:17 #195667 by ron j
Replied by ron j on topic Re: Ortovox 3+
Thank you for your reply, Steve.

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20 Dec 2010 08:56 #195734 by ron j
Replied by ron j on topic Re: Ortovox 3+
Eric Kroger was in touch with Marcus Peterson, the CEO of Ortovox USA, on another matter, and mentioned to him the “quirk” with the 3+ we have been discussing here. Eric then put Marcus and I in touch with one another. I asked Marcus to review the posts here and also the video reviews mentioned above, and then talked with him at great length about the matter.

Marcus, like Steve of beaconreviews.com, says he has yet to see the anomaly we are discussing. 
In fairness to Ortovox USA I thought it might be appropriate to summarize my discussion with Marcus here.

Marcus suspects that any anomalies that one might encounter with the 3+ (or any digital beacon, for that matter) will most likely be from electronic (EMF) interference of some type, either from other personal electronics on the searcher or from EMFs on a larger scale such as overhead power lines, nearby building electrical systems, etc.

Marcus goes on to make clear that digital beacons work better when the searcher keeps them moving so that the relative position of the received signal(s) continues to change. He says stopping can slow down the beacon’s processing of the signal. So he feels the key to being effective with a digital beacon is to pace the processor with continuous movement but not “overrun” the processor by running or moving too fast (like some folks are used to doing with analog beacons).

He says that essentially ALL the digitals process the information at about the same speed so any difference in perceived search speed is a function of the relative pulse speed of the beacon signal being received, not the relative processing speed of the searching beacon. And that the analogs, with their much fewer relative total pulses emitted over a given time period will cause any digital to be slower in finding that analog compared to the time it would take the same digital to find a digital beacon.

So, bottom line: I believe that Marcus is of the opinion that there is absolutely nothing wrong with the 3+ and that any anomalies or “quirks” that one may encounter with its use would most likely be due to “operator error” and possibly lack of familiarity with the common “quirks” of digital beacons in general.

Hopefully if I have misquoted Marcus anywhere here, he will let me know or clarify here any misquote.

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20 Dec 2010 19:02 #195744 by otter
Replied by otter on topic Re: Ortovox 3+
I finally got out to the Alpy beacon park with my 3+.
My major gripe is the range. Most beacons i didn't pick up until 20m (display read 20). I would walk away from the beacon and could hold the signal to 40 and a few times I picked up beacon 40m out.
It will take a while to get used to the delay between the number appearing, then an arrow and then sound. In a way its nice because it encourages you (at least me) to look up and scan the surface, rather than getting sucked into the beacon display.
The directional arrow did flip around erratically around 8-5m. I don't see this as a huge issue though. You simply continue on the line you have been coming in on and go by decreasing numbers, rather than relying on the directional arrow. I think any beacon will have quirks and you just have to figure out how to use your beacon. And practice probing techniques.
The other flaw I found with the unit was that the speaker is easily covered with your thumb while searching. Minor detail but can be a little annoying.
Pros: The flagging function worked great. I like the fine search display. Processor was fast enough, but not super fast.

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20 Dec 2010 19:17 #195745 by Jonathan_S.
Replied by Jonathan_S. on topic Re: Ortovox 3+

My major gripe is the range. Most beacons i didn't pick up until 20m (display read 20).

Just reading the number on the display is not a meaningful measure of initial signal acquisition range.

I would walk away from the beacon and could hold the signal to 40 and a few times I picked up beacon 40m out.

That is also not a meaningful measure of initial signal acquisition range.

I think any beacon will have quirks and you just have to figure out how to use your beacon.

Agreed -- no beacon works perfectly, and sometimes a fine (and rather subjective) line can divide minor "personality" issues from dysfunctionality. (And perhaps the same can be said of people too!)

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20 Dec 2010 20:51 #195747 by otter
Replied by otter on topic Re: Ortovox 3+
The numbers themselves alone aren't meaningful of course, but I was physically close to the beacons by the time the 3+ picked them up. I felt closer than I have been with other beacons. For example, the 3+ only indicated multiple burials for a couple seconds while four beacons were turned on in the Alpental beacon park. Either those beacons are REALLY far apart, or the range on the 3+ is lacking. I didn't test against other beacons, so I really can't back my claims.
Can anyone comment on the setup of the beacon park? Has anyone else been unable to pick up multiples?

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