Operation and design
The Ortovox ZOOM is an entry-level device for the search of Spilled in avalanches, which came on the market only this winter. It has three antennas.
At first glance, the avalanche transceiver looks like a child's toy - brightly colored and with its rounded corners it feels comfortable in the hand. However, the design is reduced to the most important: two function buttons, one for switching on / off, the other for sending / searching. To turn it on you have to turn the rotary switch on the back by 90 degrees. To switch to the search mode, you have to pull two switches apart so that a switch pops out in the middle and blocks it. So you can quickly switch from the transmission to the search mode in an emergency. Also the display is reduced to the display of the distance in meters and the number of transmitters (burials) in the form of lying figures. In the upper display field, an arrowhead indicates the direction from which the signal comes. If you get closer to the victim, the acoustic signal will be faster and louder.
The device has the Smart Antenna technology. This analyzes the position of the antennas and then automatically switches to the optimal transmitting antenna. This gives you almost twice the transmission power.
If the ZOOM is not moved during the search 120 seconds, it automatically switches back to the transmission mode, so that in case of subsequent avalanches again gives a signal. The SCAN feature displays multiple burials simultaneously. The housing is ergonomically shaped, waterproof and impact resistant. Shortly after switching on the device, the remaining battery capacity i percent is displayed. If you fall below 50%, a warning signal sounds and reminds you to change the battery soon.
For safe carrying on the body you pack the device in the accompanying carrying bag, whose straps can be adjusted in length to fit. The device must always be worn under the top layer of clothing! Otherwise, the risk of being torn from the body in the event of an avalanche is very high.
The reduced design not only looks cool and makes it fun when packing, but also ensures simple, intuitive operation in an emergency. In such a situation, you should be able to operate such a device without first having to think about where you have to press! Nevertheless, I find this switch not self-explanatory! If you do not know the Ortovox devices, you have to read the instructions carefully. Also, the price is unbeatable compared to other three-antenna devices. For all winter tours in alpine terrain, an avalanche-spotted search device is simply standard equipment!
What compared to the more expensive ones Ortovox devices is missing:
a marker function, a partner / group test function, and a direction indicator that points backwards if you're going in the wrong direction. But what are additional functions that are not necessary for tracking signals, but can save potentially vital time in an emergency.