Monday, November 28, 2011

Weekly Monday Gear Review: BCA Tracker2 - The Nerd's Choice

I'm typically sort of a nerdy guy, fascinated with books, gadgetry, gizmos, numbers and all other things socially awkward.  I even talk nasally, have freckles, wear thick glasses and routinely go for days without showering.  So when I got my hands on BCA's new Tracker2 avalanche beacon last year, you can just imagine my unclean snort-giggling fits of glee.

Now, this beacon isn't brand new to the market but I'm sold on it despite a number of other cool beacons out there.  Despite my nerdicular tendencies, I appreciate the simple and efficient design of the T2 beacon.  Boasting an additional antennae and faster micro-processor than it's predecessor, this beacon already out-performs others on the market, including the original Tracker.  Ah, but those boys at BCA think of everything, even super-cooling the antennae before building their beacons so that really cold days won't damage the frequency we so vitally rely on.  Cold temps can adversely affect the antennae, causing frequency drift but BCA cools them first, then aligns the frequency.  It's just one less thing to worry about when you forget the beacon in the car overnight as you rush indoors to catch another rerun of Family Matters.
My favorite feature of the T2 is how quickly it can switch functions, from transmit to search and vice versa.  Other beacons have a prolonged start-up time and, in a stressful situation, these 6-15 seconds seem like hours.  With the T2, you can turn it on, immediately pull the search "tab" and begin your signal search, all in less than two seconds.  The super fast micro-processor gives real-time information as you search and the third antennae effectively eliminates "dead zones" in your fine search phase.  Priceless.

As unlikely as multiple-burial scenarios may be, my favorite T2 feature comes in handy when searching for multiple victims.  Let's say you've pinpointed one victim and are looking for a second.  Your searching beacon will "lock on" to the buried beacon you've just found and will prefer that signal even though you move away, something called signal loyalty.  With the T2, it's easy to "reset" your searching beacon simply by pushing in the search tab and immediately pulling it back out.  If nothing else, this at least clears the "memory" which might allow you to focus in on the closer, stronger signal.  This is just a little shortcut/tip that has helped me find three beacons in a football field of snow in less than two minutes.  Dorking out for a few minutes and mastering the ins and outs of "special mode" will also make you an asset in any multiple-burial scenarios.  These are just some of the features and one little trick that make the Tracker2 stand out above the rest.  If you're interested in honing your companion rescue skills, just tape up your glasses, tighten those suspenders and come on over to CMS for a day of knee-slapping nerdery.  I'd love to show you what I know and, chances are, I'll have recently showered. :)  Here's to a great, safe winter!

Andrew Councell
CMS Guide and AIARE Level 1 Instructor
800-836-4008 x3

1 comment:

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