Those wanting a simple transceiver with masking function who will do some practise.
The Element was born from the experience of the hugely successful Barryvox Pulse. The Pulse is completely user configurable for the very experienced so Mammut took all the most widely used settings and in collaboration with avalanche training experts made the Element.
The Element has signal masking, victim counting (1,2,3,3+), a U turn symbol for when you are on the fluxline but moving away from the victim,a new unique tone system and a new method of final phase searching.
In Facewest tests we found the Element very good in a single burial search, which accounts for over 90% of rescues. The Element was good at a simple double burial using its masking functions but was poor at dealing with a double or triple close proximity burial. To be fair this is an incredibly rare situation, well outside the scope of the Element customer.
Unique Tones - On most digital transceivers the tone changes as you approach the victim and generally changes at intervals, 15m, 10m etc, which the Element also does but it has a pronounced tone change if you drift off course when searching. If the directional arrow in the display is telling you to turn either left or right to get back on the fluxline, then a very noticeable tone change also prompts you to make this correction. Just another way of getting the same information but a very good one.
Runway Approach - Feedback from avalanche trainers shows that novice searchers waste a lot of time in the pin point phase of searching and get confused so the Element uses the 'Runway Approach' method, once under 10m from target. As you walk forward under 10m, you gradually move your transceiver closer and closer to the snow (like a landing plane), until you get the lowest distance reading that you can, mark that point with your shovel and begin to probe in an expanding spiral around that point until you locate the victim. More experienced searchers will prefer to still do left and right search pattern but novices quite often become confused when doing this. The accuracy of digital transceivers in getting you on the correct path at around 10m means you are never very far away from the target even without doing the left and right sweeps.
If you are the kind of person who dislikes electronic gizmos and wants a simple device that you just turn on and use then the Element is a good choice. It does have a mark function so you should be prepared to use this in multi burial situations. For a completely configurable transceiver look at the Barryvox Pulse.
Please note: The Mammut Element includes a W-Link feature which allows it's software to be updated using radio frequencies at an authorised service centre (eg Facewest). Due to restrictions on the use of radio frequencies the Element has 2 regions it can be set to; Europe and North America, which includes New Zealand. The W-Link feature can also be switched off for use in countries where the use of these frequencies is not permitted (Japan, Russia and China). All Element transceivers are set on the correct setting for the region they are sold in. The setting for the W-Link feature can only be changed by a Mammut service centre (Facewest are one). The W-Link is very low powered, which means interference or detection of it using radio frequencies is extremely unlikely, particularly on a mountain. The W-Link feature does not in any way affect the performance of the transmit and receive functions of the Element.
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Very easy to use and understand. Very quick in search mode to identify / locate other units. My only quibble is the holster is tricky to use with gloves on. However once it's switched on and checked it's secure in use and you don't know you are wearing it. Group check mode is useful. I looked at all the units available and picked this one, very happy I did.
BEWARE W-Link setting for International Travellers
Firstly, I'd agree with all the great things that are said about this transceiver, as a transceiver / beacon; ease of use, range etc. What is never mentioned is the limitations of the W-Link feature if you want to travel and use it outside Europe.
W-Link is a very low level radio signal used by Mammut only. On the Element Transceiver the W-Link feature is ONLY used by Mammut Service Centres to update software. It has no use in the Search & Rescue process (unlike the Pulse, see below). W-Link has different approved radio frequencies depending on Region; Europe is xxx, USA/Canada is yyy, and in Russia/Japan etc W-link has to be turned off as the use of the radio frequencies is illegal.
In Europe, Mammut send the Element pre-configured to use the Europe frequency. If you want to travel outside Europe you have to send your Element transceiver back to a service location and have it changed or turned off. This is a real pain.
Since W-link is only used by Mammut Service Centres for SW updates (on the Element) and those Service Centres can turn it on, do the SW update and turn it off again, my suggestion is ....
Facewest Note: The content of this review is correct and we have raised the issue with Mammut. It is worth pointing out that the W-Link feature is very low powered and detection of it on a mountain extremely unlikely. The W-Link feature does not have anything to do with the receive and transmit functions.
I have used this Transceiver from friends for heli skiing and backcountry touring. Luckily I have been able to experiment with a number of different Transceivers in the field and this is definitely the one for me, with its simple to use attitude. People looking into buying this product may also find it helpful to know that in the box it does come with its holster, this wasn't clear when I bought it.
I came to this from an Ortovox f1 which is no longer serviced by Ortovox. A friend has the Mammut Pulse. He's an engineer from Yorkshire so you can imagine the research he would've done before plonking that much cash down. I was impressed by the simplicity of the Pulse in idiot mode which is effectively the Element. In the event of a burial, simplicity is key. What can be simpler than a screen with a huge arrow pointing along the flux line, with audio cues to proximity? A little cross searching when the display changes to tell you you're in the ballpark, and you've found your buried transceiver. The process is much quicker than searching using the Ortovox F1. It's an excellent piece of kit with a robust harness. My only concern is that it can be worn without turning it on.
Simple and easy to use. Sturdy brace makes you feel confident it won't fall off. Powered on 3 AAA batteries, which keep it alive for more than a month of everyday skiing. Great service and prompt delivery by Facewest!
Just returning from my first trip using the Mammut Element. Very pleased with the transceiver as a replacement for my previous Ortovox. Certainly easy to use for searching. The harness fits well. The only downside is one part of the manual due to translation into English. In particular when it refers to "press the key", it means "press the button on the side".
Being new to ski touring I was after a simple to use yet reliable Transceiver. After seeing a number of different makes and models in operation I settled on the Element, feeling that I didn't need the expert features offered by the Pulse. The Element is very intuitive, easy to set-up and the harness comfortable to wear. In use the display is clear and I found that the sounds made by the unit at each stage of the search helped immensely. Whilst not cheap, the Element seems to be great value. This essential piece of safety equipment needs to be easy to use under pressure and with a little practice I will feel that I can be confident that this will be the case with the Element.
I am a beginner off piste-skier, and used this for the first time on a course in the French Alps. I was astonished how well it works, and how simple and accurate it was to use...
- There are only 2 inputs - a switch (off/send/search) and a function button.
- The audible signal varies as approaching the victim according to distance.
- Searching for multiple burials was very accurate too - the display shows clearly how many signals are being recieved, as soon as one is found, the mark function can be used to supress the signal and move onto the next.
- distance and direction are clearly shown on the screen, and the 3 antennae system could predict accuracy at the final fine/bracketing search phase to within 10cm (with the buried transceiver ~50cm below the surface)
- it has a buddy-check function to verify all your team's transceivers are working at the beginning of the day.
Highly recommend spending the extra on this decent bit of kit. For a recreational skier, it has all of the essential features, and is not as complicated to use as the model above this.
I decided it was time to upgrade my analog transceiver, prompted by a number of recent reviews and the difficulty in searching with the Ortovox F1. I chose the Mammut Barryvox Element (as did my boyfriend - there is no point being the only one in the party with the latest equipment - safety always has to come first.)
I found the Element very easy to use and extremely quick. I was amazed at how much easier it was than the Ortovox F1, with the Element the direction is clearly indicated as well as distance. Thoroughly recommended for anyone keen on backcountry skiing.
I looked hard at the options for a avalanche transceiver with the criteria of performance, simplicity and size. I chose the element as it seemed to have all the functionality of the more expensive units but was simpler to use. I concluded that I didn't need to be able to do all the complicated tasks that would probably forget in the panic of a rescue. After a week skiing I was glad that I didn't need to uses it but was very happy with it. It was quite small and comfy to use. the battery life was excellent with 70% remaining after a weeks skiing. I tested it and found it easy to use. Altogether a great piece of kit.
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