Worth reading this article and Halstead's review if you are a backcountry skier considering a new transceiver. However, some points in the article and in the review make me a bit wary:
Original slated for the start of the 2005/2006 season the S1 is 18 months late. Development beset by a number of problems and Ortovox’ desire to get things right.
It may not sound like much of an issue but in the heat of a search it is easy to outrun a beacon by rapid movements and this can lead to confusion. [...] Halstead reports that the beacon could take 12-15 seconds to catch up. A representative from Ortovox told us that a software update is scheduled for the autumn and that all current Ortovox’s will be recalled.
Only when the S1 was totally maxed out with too many transceiver signals (like 20-30 signals = think LOTS of heli skiers milling around a parking lot) did it really "lock-up," for a longer amount of time.
There is a cost to complexity in SAR gear. It can increase confusion in the field, and obscure bugs can cause major mistakes. A device that locks up in one situation may lock up in others: lock up may indicate a deadlock broken eventually by a time-out, and the possible causes of deadlock are notoriously difficult to diagnose. Long delays followed by product release followed by a mandatory software update raise software engineering process concerns. Additional complexity with the built-in digital compass may also lead to unnecessary bugs. Ortovox is a deservedly famous pioneer in transceiver development, but even very experienced designers are not immune to the digital featuritis Kool-Aid.
I like simpler. In recent transceiver practice in a multiple deep-burial scenario, the two fastest and most accurate searchers were an old-timer with an analog transceiver, and me with a first-generation digital Tracker DTS. Searchers with more advanced digital transceivers did not show any advantage.
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