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2011 BCA Tracker 2 Avalanche Transceiver Review | Reviewed On: December 19, 2011 By Earnsturns
OUR ADVICEGear Reviews>>Avalanche Gear>>Beacons>> BCA Tracker 2 Avalanche Transceiver Review
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I grew up with the original analogue avalanche beacons that while in search mode beeps as you get closer. It was a big step up for me when I purchased a digital BCA tracker DTS tranceiver, with two antennas it was a big step up. Being able to follow the arrows and see how many meters you are away from the transmitting beacon makes searching a lot faster an easier.
The new BCA Tracker 2 beacon is just as easy to use and has a third antenna so it is even more percise when searching and pinpointing the transmitting beacon. It also has a multiple burial light that illuminates when the beacon is picking up two beacons. As you get near the closer of the beacons it locks on more to the single transmitting transceiver. The physical design is a little different too with the search mode being activated by a pull tab rather than holding down a button, which is that much faster in during those moments when you actually have to use it. The harness is also different on the tracker 2, it's more light weight or chincy, but seems to be comfortable and stay secure.
THE GOOD: The thing that I like best about Tracker beacons is there simplicity. There are only two search modes and a simple digital display indicating the direction you should go and the distance you are away. This makes for a quicker learning curve out of the box and response to the victim when in a crucial situation. It also helps eliminate human error during a rescue by not having lot of different buttons that can get pushed. The Tracker 2 keeps the simplicity of the Tracker DTS with better recieving capabilities.
The Third antenna is a noticable step up from the DTSs' two. When using in search mode the beacon seems to be able to keep aligned with the transmitting beacon even if the orientation of the searching beacon changes. This is nice because some times while in search mode with the DTS the inicator lights will tell you to go straight if you turn your beacon 90 degrees either way. It can be hard during search to always keep your beacon oriented the same. I don't know if it has to do with the three antenna or that the antennas have more power but while practicing with the beacon and during becacon checks while out in the field the Tracker 2 seems tobe able to pick up trasmitting beacons from over 60 meters away, my experiences with the DTS were that it picked them up from around 40 meters away.
The multiple burial lights were a good idea from BCA because with the DTS it can be challenging to use when it is picking up more than one beacon. If that light goes on at least you know what you are dealing with instead of wondering if your beacon is malfunctioning.
The Bad: One of the things that the BCA Tracker 2 doesn't have that new beacons on the market are going toward is a more complex digital display screen and a function where you can mark/pin the first victim and the beacon automatically starts picking up the next closest beacon without having to turn on the closest transmitting beacon, allowing certain rescuers to finish extracting the first victim while others rescuers look for other victims. But, these sort of functions can make things more confusing, increase human error, and add to the number of things that can go wrong during a single or within a multiple burial if you aren't really comfortable with your beacon.
Other functions that new beacons have which the Tracker 2 does not are a self check to make sure that the beacon or others are working properly with a fourth antenna, the ability for software to be updated online, and iPROBE compatibility so the iPROBE can turn off the transmitting beacon if you have a hit while pinpointing with an iPROBE. These are all new functions that will probably be considered for newer versions of Trackers.
- Weight: Approx 6.4oz. (181g) without straps and batteries
- Size: 5.2in x 3.4in x 1in
- Warranty: 5 Years
- Multiple Burial Indicator: Yes
- Display: Yes- Realtime meters and directional arrows
- Price: ~$335
- Range: Up to 60 Meters
Overall I think that the BCA Tracker 2 Avalanche Beacon is one of the best on the market. For beginner users or those who want something simple without a big screen a bunch of buttons and functions to worry about the Tracker 2 is above all else.