The Ortovox’s Diract Voice is the complete avy beacon, perfect for professional instructors and group leaders, but also an excellent investment for anyone who spends significant time in snowy terrain, whether they’re backcountry or downhill skiing, or exploring ice- and snow-covered peaks and plateaus. Capable of voice-guiding you to the buried (in multiple languages) it has an excellent set of features, is comfortable to carry and easy to use.
Rechargeable, low-temp battery
Recco reflector inside
Provides spoken instructions which can reduce stress in a rescue
Smaller range than other beacons
No analog mode
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Ortovox Diract Voice: first impressions
In the world of avalanche beacons, the Ortovox Diract Voice is exceptional. For starters, its integrated voice navigation system (opens in new tab) reliably and quickly guides you to a buried victim in an avalanche rescue. Not only that, this transceiver can talk you through an emergency search in any of nine different languages to keep you safe in avalanche terrain worldwide.
• List price: $450 (US) / £349
• Weight (including batteries, but not harness): 210g / 7.4oz (Harness is 80g / 2.8oz)
• Range: 50m / 164ft
• Antennas: 3
• Battery life: 200 hours
By talking you through a search, this beacon lowers the stress of a rescue (according to Ortovox). You’re receiving direction both aurally and visually, which covers the bases regardless of how you best learn.
If you’re buried and wearing this beacon, the three-antenna device analyzes the device’s location in the avalanche and automatically switches to the best-transmitting antenna, which Ortovox says helps you be found more quickly.
Diract Voice uses slightly different controls than other beacons. A flip-up switch on top toggles between Search and Send modes. The power button is tucked behind. A flagging feature lets you mark buried victims or switch to Standby mode.
The beacon has secondary avalanche protection that switches automatically from Search to Send in case of another slide. It’s updatable through Ortovox’s app. Sign on, and not only do you get automatic updates, but a five-year warranty extension, and video tutorials. The Diract Voice also has the largest screen on test.
Ortovox Diract Voice: on the slopes
The Diract Voice has the largest beacon screen, which makes search instructions easy to see, even for searchers who wear prescription glasses. In addition to verbal instructions confirming graphical directions on the screen, the Diract Voice provides the standard beacon beep that grows more rapid and louder the closer the beacon comes to a buried victim.
On test, I really appreciated the group check mode, as well as what Ortovox calls the “permanent self-testing and standby mode”, which self-checks the beacon for issues.
The Diract Voice is easy to hold, thanks to texturized and rubberized grip along the beacon’s perimeter. It’s on the larger side but felt comfortable in my hand whether I had my ski gloves on or not.
It also has one of the nicest beacon harnesses available – low profile, easy to get the beacon into and out of, and easy to put on and take off. The harness also has an integrated RECCO reflector, which adds a level of searchability for the beacon wearer.
This is the only beacon I’ve used that is rechargeable. Orotvox says that even at -20°C, the low-temperature battery is dependable with good longevity and that it won’t leak like alkaline batteries are prone to do. I’m thrilled not to have to pack extra alkaline batteries and to have to deal with the mess of ones that leak.
Vermont-based writer, photographer and adventurer, Berne reports on hiking, biking, skiing, overlanding, travel, climbing and kayaking for category-leading publications in the U.S., Europe and beyond. In the field, she’s been asked to deliver a herd of llamas to a Bolivian mountaintop corral, had first fat-biking descents in Alaska, helped establish East Greenland’s first sport climbing and biked the length of Jordan. She’s worked to help brands clean up their materials and manufacturing, and has had guns pulled on her in at least three continents.
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