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Ortovox F2 Avalanche Transceiver Review

The Ortovox F2 was released in 1980 and discontinued in ~1992.

Image of a Ortovox F2

This now-discontinued beacon was a strong contender during its day, but the wired earpiece is very awkward (the F2 does not have a speaker). The wire gets stiff when cold, it is difficult to connect when wearing gloves, and it is difficult to keep the earpiece in place (there is not a loop that goes behind your ear). I would not want to be buried while my partner on the surface struggling with the earpiece.

The model number "F2" is a bit confusing, as the F2 was released nine years before the F1 (i.e., in 1980 versus 1989). The naming scheme is based on the fact that F2 operates on two frequencies. The F2 transmits and receives on both 457 kHz (the current frequency) and 2.275 kHz. This allowed it locate both current and ancient beacons. Learn more about frequencies here.

The F2 is rumored to suffer from frequency drift and a continuous carrier which makes it more difficult for digital beacons to locate. (I only tested the transmitting frequency of two units and both were fine.)

Given the transceiver's age, the awkward earphone, the fact that it does not have a visual indication of signal strength, and the fact that I encountered two failures when testing three units (one had a non-functioning earpiece and the other had a ridiculously short reception range), the time to retire all F2s is long overdue.

See the review of the M2 for general information on Ortovox analog transceivers.

Model:  F2
Manufacturer:  Ortovox
Retail Price:  $???.??
(discontinued ~1992)
Type:  Analog
Antennas:  1
Marking:  No
Updatable:  No
Owner's Manual:  Read It

Pros: Two frequencies for the olden days.

Cons: Single antenna, terrible earpiece.