Ortovox F1 is the long time tested classic among avalanche beacons. As an analog beacon it requires more practice than most of the digital beacons but it provides a great search range of up to 80 m. Once it was the most popular transceiver in the world and many professionals like it even these days, mostly due to the big range. If you don’t want to spend a fortune but are willing to practice regularly get this avalanche beacon.
Ortovox F1 used to be suitable for all users before the digital technology showed up; simply there was no alternative and it was the most reliable analog beacon. These days, it is recommended that novice try to use it because it will let them understand how beacons work in general, however, they are better off with a digital beacon. Unless you are willing to practice regularly leave this beacon for experienced (more old school) users and professionals.
Quick video overview
The Ortovox F1 Focus uses the proven analog technology which makes it a very reliable avalanche beacon. However, it was engineered about 20 years ago and therefore it is limited in its functionality compared to the new avalanche beacons.
The F1 avalanche beacon provides an excellent maximum range of up to 80 m that allows to pick up signals very easily. Then once searching it may be very tough to hone in on a specific buried victim for an inexperienced user. You have to simply manually do all the things the digital beacons do for you such as signal separation in multi-burial scenarios, distance judgment, and direction.
When searching you need to listen to volume beeps and adjust your direction and speed of movement accordingly. If you master this well then you can beat digital beacons to the buried victim but only within about 5-10m as the pinpointing with an analog beacon is little trickier than with a digital one.
The Ortovox F1 beacon doesn’t give any visual indication of multiple buried victims, however, you can hear beeps overlapping and having different volume levels in multi-burial scenario. Then you have to be the processor to separate them at all stages of the search. Again, it comes to practice.
- Avalanche beacon type: analog
- Search user feedback: sound beeps, signal strength “direction” arrow, distance range wheel
- Multiple burials: no visual indication, have to listen to overlapping beeps
- Marking (flagging) function: no
- No. of antennas: 1
- Maximum range: up to 80m
- Search lane width: 40m
- Additional features: none
- Carrying system: one belt system, included with the beacon
- Battery life: around 300h in transmit mode
- Battery type: 2 x alkaline AA
- Dimensions: 130 x 80 x 25 mm
- Weight: 225g including batteries and belt system
- Warranty: 5 years