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Barryvox Opto 3000 Avalanche Transceiver Review

Summary: The now-discontinued Barryvox Opto 3000 is a dual-mode transceiver that starts receiving in analog mode and switches to digital mode as you near the victim. In addition to its dual mode, it has the benefits of two-antenna beacons, offers customization, and is small. This is my favorite two-antenna beacon. Although the Tracker DTS is easier to use (the DTS was the 3000's main competitor), I like the 3000's ability to switch into analog mode and its small size.

An earlier version of the 3000 was packaged in a blue case. I'm unsure of the differences between the blue and red models.

The 3000 beacon was replaced by the Mammut Pulse.

Searching: The Barryvox 3000 displays an intuitive arrow to indicate the direction. It does not have the ability to "suppress" (aka, "mark") a transceiver during a multiple burial, but it does indicate when there is more than one victim and the analog tone helps experienced users resolve multiple burials.

Two distances are shown for the Barryvox 3000 in the range chart, because it starts in analog mode and then switches to digital mode. You can also manually switch between analog and digital mode.

An article in a popular backcountry magazine mentioned that in their testing the 3000 had a range of only 14 meters when the antennas were in worst orientation (i.e., the transmitting and receiving beacons were perpendicular). That has not been the case in my tests where the 3000 has an average range of 23 meters ( view the testing details) in worse orientation versus an average of 27.2 meters for all digital beacons (again in worst orientation).

Controls: The On/Off switch is located on the back of the transceiver and is very intuitive. However, changing from transmit to receive is far from intuitive: you press the Mode button three times. If you press it too quickly (as you might do when your buddy is dying), the mode does not change. To return to transmit mode, you press and hold the Mode button for a few seconds—not easy to do during a secondary avalanche. As an informal test, I often hand the 3000 to someone unfamiliar with it and urgently ask them to change to receive mode. Nobody has ever passed the test. Of course, if you own a 3000 it is certainly easy-enough to learn how to change modes, but is not intuitive. This was the 3000's only downside.

Customization: The Barryvox 3000 allows you to modify several configuration options. You enter the customization section by holding both the "+" and "-" buttons pressed during startup. You can then control:

  • Whether it should start searching in analog mode and then switch to digital mode ("dA") or only search in digital mode ("d").
  • When the direction arrow should stop displaying ( 3.0 m or 0.3 m).
  • If it should automatically return to send mode after 4 minutes ("r4"), after 8 minutes ("r8"), or not automatically return ("r-").
  • If the ear phone should be quiet ("E1") or loud ("E2").
  • The type of audio tone during the digital search: no tone ("S1"), digital tone ("S2"), or analog tone ("S3").

These are great features and the 3000 was one of the first, if not the first, transceiver to allow customization. The slight downside of customization is that having the same make and model transceivers behave differently may be confusing during an emergency.

Comfort: The Barryvox 3000 was the smallest avalanche transceiver until the lame, single-antenna, and now-discontinued Pieps Freeride was released. Although the 3000 is smaller than the very small Tracker3, it is ~20% larger than the Pieps Micro (which was released in late-2016).

Other: The 3000 can be configured to switch between an analog and digital transceiver with the press of the Mode button (the "S2" setting, above).

 

Model:  Opto 3000
Manufacture:  Barryvox
Retail Price:  (Discontinued ~2007)
Score: 
Type:  Analog and Digital
Antennas:  2
Marking:  No
Updateable:  No
Owner's Manual:  Download

Pros: Small, toggle between analog and digital.
Cons: Can't resolve spikes, non-intuitive controls.