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Ortovox X1 Avalanche Transceiver Review

Summary: The Ortovox X1 was released as a two-antenna dual-mode (analog and digital) transceiver in 2002. It was later changed to a three-antenna (still dual mode) transceiver that eventually became the Patroller. I tested both the two- and three-antenna variations of the X1. Per the comments in the Searching section (below), I find this transceiver unacceptable (I tested four units).

Searching: The X1 begins in analog mode using a single antenna. The distance indicator appears when the transceiver senses a distance of approximately 40 m. The direction indicators (lights) do not appear until the distance displays 15 m. Unless you are skilled at locating a victim without direction indicators, the lack of a direction display until you are closer than 15 meters is too short. And if you are skilled at getting within 15 meters of a victim without a direction indicator, then a single-antenna Ortovox F1 or M2 is a much better choice. Also, the directional indicator (only three lights) were slow to respond to searcher movement and jumpy (similar to the Ortovox D3).

According to Ortovox, when the three-antenna version of the X1 is within two meters of the victim, the lights turn off and the third antenna is enabled similar to the Ortovox D3. However, in my testing, the X1 (both two- and three-antenna) was unable to accurately resolve spikes.

Although the X1's analog range is very long, the fact that the direction indicators do not appear until 15 meters (versus approximately 35 meters for the Tracker DTS and 50 meters for most other transceivers), and the fact that even the three-antenna model cannot resolve spikes, makes the X1, in my opinion, unacceptable.

Controls: The controls on the X1 are simple and easy to use.

Comfort: As with the other Ortovox transceivers, the harness is very comfortable.

Other: In my testing the X1 handled frequency drift poorly (I had to be within two meters of a transceiver that was transmitting +200 Hz off frequency before the direction arrow was displayed).

Model:  X1
Manufacture:  Ortovox
Retail Price:  Discontinued
Score: 
Type:  Analog and Digital
Antennas:  2 (initially) 3 (since 2005)
Marking:  No
Updateable:  No
Owner's Manual:  Download

Pros: Analog and digital (sort of).
Cons: Short digital range, some models can't resolve spikes, two-digit display.