Summary: The Mammut Pulse Barryvox is a small,
three-antenna, avalanche transceiver
with a long range. It offers both analog and digital modes,
provides feature-rich handling of
handles spikes well, has a floating
that indicates minor changes in direction as well as points
behind you, and has excellent
If the victim is wearing a Pulse transceiver (which has
been configured for use in the same region),
the searching Pulse can tell you if the victim is alive
by sensing tiny movement—hence the name Pulse. With the
3.0 firmware update,
the Pulse offers both a basic and advanced user interface.
The Pulse is the big brother of the
The Pulse is similar to the
ARVA Pro W (read a
of the two transceivers).
Searching: The Pulse has a long digital
reception range and as
with the other top avalanche transceivers, it has a recommended
signal strip search
width of 50 meters.
The Pulse can be toggled into analog mode after changing
a custom setting (which should be
done in the comfort of your home). You can then press both
buttons simultaneously to toggle the between analog and
digital. This is a nifty feature for power-users.
A cool feature of the Pulse is that if you are headed
in the wrong direction (which can easily happen, since transceivers
simply align you with the transmitting beacon's
flux lines) the
will reverse direction and point behind you. If you're
heading in the wrong direction, only the Pulse and Ortovox
S1 will point to the victim behind you (the
Pro W will display
a U-Turn icon). On all other transceivers, you
will need to see that the distance indicator is increasing
and turn 180-degrees.
The Pulse (and the Ortovox
S1 and ARVA Pro W) uses an internal compass to
help you locate the victim. You need to hold the Pulse level
while searching or a message may appear telling you to "Hold
Device Horizontally" (the occurrence of this message
was significantly reduced in the
3.0 firmware update).
Beginning with version 3.0, the Pulse can display either
a "landing strip" or "cross fire" image
during the fine search.
(You can read my initial thoughts about the landing strip
Beginning with version 4.0, the Pulse can display a "Guided
Fine Search" during the fine search.
When using the advanced profile,
the audio signal is analog during the
The analog tone lets you hear faint signals (as well as
non-beacon-generated background noise) and can be helpful
burials. During the
fine search, the
digital audio tone increases the pitch, cadence, and volume.
Learn more about
As with the Element, the Pulse can emit "directional
tones" which vary the audio tone based on the direction
you are headed.
|Please help improve this website
reporting typos, broken links, and spelling
When in "analog" mode, you can turn off the
Pulse's display which increases the reception range dramatically.
This is a valuable feature for power-users. Unfortunately,
this technique was not used when measuring the Pulse's analog
reception range as shown on the
It's a shame, because in my informal testing the Pulse received
a signal at 80 meters when in this mode.
To enter this long-range analog mode you'll first need
to access the device's Settings
and ensure that the "advanced" profile is selected.
You'll also want to make sure the "Analog"
Setting is set to "Manual."
To enter the long-range analog mode:
- Slide the Pulse's switch to Search.
- Toggle analog mode by pressing both buttons. The
word "Analog" will appear on the display.
- Press the right button to increase the volume to "A8"
and then increase the volume with one additional button
press. The display will go blank.
Mammut states that if there isn't other
interference (e.g., buildings,
power lines, chairlifts, cell phones, etc), the reception
range should be 90 or more meters. That's a huge range and
similar to what I've seen during informal tests.
Spikes: Spike handling
Multiple Burials: The handling of multiple burials
is similar to most digital transceivers (you press a button
to ignore the current beacon and advance to the next). However
as with the ARVA Pro W and S1, the Pulse also allows
you to select the transceiver you want to locate and to
unmark a previously marked beacon. Read the details
with the version 3.0 firmware,
the Pulse offers two user "profiles." The basic
profile simplifies the user interface by removing a few
of the more advanced features. When using the basic profile:
- Toggling to analog mode is not available
- The left and right buttons perform the same task
(except when you are modifying the internal settings)
- During searches for multiple victims:
- The searcher is always sent to the closest victim
(rather than being able to select a victim by scrolling
through a list)
- The screen display is simplified (rather than
showing the distance and direction to each of the
- A "landing
strip" is displayed during the
(this is an option on the Pulse).
tones are available as a custom setting.
The first time you turn on your
Pulse, you are prompted to choose a profile. After that,
you can change the profile via the custom settings:
- Turn on the unit
- Immediately press either button ("activated"
will appear at the bottom of the screen for several
- Use the left button to scroll down through the list
- Choose OK with the right button to select a setting
- Select the desired value using the left button and
confirm the selection with the right button
The basic profile simplifies the interface by displaying
only one command at a time and allowing you to select commands
by pressing either button. The basic profile still includes
all the core features, including the ability to search for
single or multiple victims, mark victims, etc, but it limits
the number of menus options. This is significant and goes
straight at the ease of use of the Ortovox 3+, the Pieps
DSP, and the Trackers, while still offering advanced capabilities
not found on those beacons, such as an analog mode, an arrow
that points behind you, and selective marking and unmarking.
The user interface still has a few oddities that can
confuse the unwary. For example after turning on the unit
and immediately pressing either button, "activated"
is displayed on the screen to let you know that you've activated
the custom settings (and Group Check) menu. The "activated"
message appears for several seconds, then "self test
okay," and then "Group Check." You can use
the left button to move through the custom settings or press
the right button to enter the
Group Check mode. I have
worn the Pulse on more than 100 occasions and I'm still
occasionally confused by the startup and Group Check messages.
Switch: The Pulse has a single switch that
moves between Off, Send, and Search. Two buttons lock the
switch into position. One of the buttons must be pressed
before you can slide the switch from Off to Send or from
Send to Search, and both buttons must be pressed before
sliding the switch to the Off position.
Harness: The Pulse's
harness positions the transceiver vertically on your side.
The transceiver fits into a molded-plastic case that is
secured with a small Fastex buckle. The case is designed
so the transceiver's display must be facing toward your
body and so the beacon cannot be switched to search mode
while in the harness. Good stuff. I find the harness very
comfortable, but it's a little difficult to insert the transceiver
into the harness while wearing it.
The somewhat unusual double-threading of the straps through
the buckles makes the harness difficult to adjust.
Size: The Pulse is
25% smaller than the Tracker2, 22% smaller than the Ortovox
S1, 4% smaller than the ARVA Pro W, and 3% smaller
than the Ortovox 3+.
Group Check: When
the Mammut Pulse is turned on, the message "Group Check"
is displayed for five seconds. Pressing either button (which
displays the less-than-intuitive "Activated" message],
and then the right button (to select "OK") enables
the group check mode. In this mode the Pulse will only receive
a signal when held one meter from a properly transmitting
beacon (if you get too close to the transmitting beacon,
the message "Too close!" is displayed). The Pulse
automatically exits the group check mode after a few minutes.
This is a quick and easy way to confirm that your partner's
avalanche beacon is transmitting and it's also a good reminder
to perform a test each time you turn on your beacon. (The
distance that the group check will receive a signal is normally
one meter, but it can be changed to five meters for snowmobilers
who do group checks while on their sleds.)
There are a couple of oddities when checking your partners'
transceivers with the Pulse. One, which was mentioned above,
is that it isn't obvious that you need to press a button
during startup to activate the group check mode. The words "Group
Check" might be interpreted as the mode is automatically
activated on startup. Second, a countdown timer after pressing
a button when Group Check is displayed adds additional confusion
(is the timer displaying the time until the group check
begins or ends?). And if you get too close to the transmitter
during the Group Check mode, the Pulse will display "Too
close!" It really wants to be in the one meter range.
These oddities are not very significant, but they can create
You can set owner information, such as your name and email
address, which will be displayed every time the Pulse is
turned on. This is certainly handy, although the data-entry
felt extremely time consuming even after discovering (by
that holding the left button pressed moves backwards
through the alphabet.
Vitals Data: If both
the victim and searcher are using Pulse transceivers (which
have been configured for use in the same region, see below),
the searching transceiver will report if the victim is alive
by sensing tiny movement (hence the name Pulse). With multiple
burials (and while using the Advanced profile), a small
heart is displayed next to victims who have any movement
(e.g., breathing or arterial pulses) which can presumably
be used to triage which victim to locate first.
The "vitals data" requires that the Pulse is
carried close to your body so it can sense motion. There
is a "Vital Sensor Test" where you lie as still
as possible on the ground to see if the transceiver will
sense the motion of your body.
After unburying a victim who is wearing a Pulse, the
rescuer can press either of the buttons to display the length
of time the beacon did not experience significant motion
(i.e., the "burial" time) and the amount of time
the victim was still moving slightly (i.e., the "still
alive" time). If the rescuer presses either button
again, the display will rotate through six previous burial
periods. The six burial periods are undeniably confusing
(I had to contact Barryvox for an explanation), but they
may be necessary if the beacon isn't checked when the
victim is first unburied (so you can access information
that would otherwise be overwritten by movement while transporting
The vitals information is transmitted
to other Pulse transceivers using a separate radio signal
(referred to as W-Link). Unfortunately, the allowable radio
frequency varies between regions (e.g., Region A in Europe
and Region B in North America). And the FCC does not allow
beacons that are sold in the USA to support Region A. If
you purchase a beacon in the USA and you will be traveling
to Region A, you can send your transceiver to a service
center to have Region A enabled. That is impractical for
most of us.
The W-Link information is also used by the Pulse and
the ARVA Pro W to help identify transmitters when searching
for multiple victims (i.e., in addition to receiving the
standard beep-beep from the transmitters, they transmit
and receive serial number information on the W-Link which
helps distinguish the transmitters).
Certainly Mammut is proud of the uniqueness of the vitals
data. I think the feature is valuable for a fleet (e.g.,
a backcountry ski service, snowmobile tours, etc) where
all members of a party wear Pulse transceivers and everybody
is in the same Region. And there are no downsides to this
feature. However, I personally see only a small benefit
in the vitals data—the Pulse would easily get five stars
on BeaconReviews.com without this feature.
Revert to Transmit: By default, the Pulse will
automatically switch from
receive mode to transmit mode after eight minutes to
ensure that you will be transmitting if you get buried by
a second avalanche. The Pulse also requires that there isn't
any user interaction (e.g., button presses) or major
motion during this period. The advantage of sensing
motion is that it is less likely that a searcher will unknowingly
return to transmit mode during a search (which can seriously
confuse the other searchers). The Pulse's auto-revert mode
can be changed to four minutes or be disabled. The Pulse
gives a loud audible warning before reverting. You can prevent
the unit from reverting by pressing either button during
the warning. The Pulse also has a "rescue send"
mode (read about it
Compass Calibration: The Pulse has an internal
compass that helps the direction arrow update. As with the
ARVA Pro W and
Ortovox S1, the internal
compass should be calibrated before the start of each season
and after replacing the batteries. This is done by selecting
a menu option and then slowly rotating the beacon 360°.
The Pulse automatically prompts you to calibrate the compass
when you replace the batteries. The
manual implies that you should also calibrate the compass
if you travel a long distance, but of course the beacon
will not prompt you in this case. The calibration affects
the smooth flow of the search arrow—without it the arrow
will be jerkier and less intuitive. The internal compass
can't be used for traditional navigation.
Screenless Mode: If the screen on your Pulse is
broken, you can enable a special mode by holding both buttons
pressed and then switching from Off to Search. You will
then be in analog mode (without any distance or direction
information) and can change the volume using the buttons.
This is explained on a sticker that you are supposed to
adhere to the back of the transceiver.
Updates: The Mammut Pulse supports software updates.
You can read about updating the Pulse
View the comparison table for
more information regarding the Mammut Pulse.