/ Avalanche beacon technology

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frqnt - on 07 Sep 2013
I've not been skiing long enough to witness any trend here, so can anyone advise re. av. beacons and whats changed over the years? And over what time scale?

The reason I ask is; I am thinking about getting a Pieps DSP which i have read was the first to have three antenna and leaves me wandering if this is going to be outdated quickly? I am most likely going to get the most use out of it next season so wandering if I should hold off now and rent or just commit once and for all.

NB I'm in the southern hemisphere so we've just entered spring, hence the next season comment.
Morgan Woods - on 07 Sep 2013
In reply to frqnt:

I tried a few and decided on the Barryvox in the end but also rated the Pieps. I wouldn't be too worried about tech changes, the main thing is to be able to use them efficiently in tandem with shovels & probes & group members in a pressure situation. I would hazard a guess that any of the main digital offerings available now should be good for at least 5-10 years.
Kimberley on 07 Sep 2013
Carolyn - on 07 Sep 2013
In reply to frqnt:

There was a good article somewhere last winter (talking about number of antennae, etc) - probably in either the AMI magazine or the Mountain Rescue magazine. I'll try and hunt it down, but in the meantime, if anyone's got a better memory than me and can locate it, please do!
AndrewHuddart - on 07 Sep 2013
In reply to frqnt:

The old joke says whatever you do, make sure your mate has the best transceiver...

Another vote for Beacon reviews. I've got the Mammut Pulse which is, for me at least, easy to use and reliable for both single and multiple burials, albeit in unscientific tests. Thankfully, I'm yet to need to try it for real and long may that last.

OwenM - on 07 Sep 2013
In reply to frqnt: I have the Mammut Element, like the Pulse but without all the extra's. It's really quick, easy to use and intuitive.
Blinder - on 07 Sep 2013
In reply to frqnt: I have the pulse and so does my wife ( we also have a spare Pulse). Not saying they are better than the PIPES but that I bought one and decided to keep it to one model. There are some with a big screen which show you the the position of multiple burrials relative to each other. But my option( for what is worth) is that the technology is not mature enough yet. Also telling that I have never seen a guide using one. The other option is the new tracker which has 3 araials and is very simple to use.

As I expect you know practice practice ........,
AdrianC - on 07 Sep 2013
In reply to frqnt: I'm just coming to the end of the NZ Avalanche 2 course which is the final avalanche qualification for ski guiding & ski patrol. (It's the last day today - hurrah!) There are 17 of us there so I've seen a reasonable range of transceivers in action this week. Around half the participants are using the Pulse and, in our transceiver test, one was used to post easily the fastest time - but also many of the worst times! There are a couple of Pieps DSPs in use (including by me) and a few Ortovoxes and a Tracker 1.

My impression is that all of the modern digital beacons do a very good job of finding a single burial. When it comes to multiples I'm very happy with the Pieps - the "Scan" function is very useful and the flagging works adequately. The Pulse seems to have some nice other features, like being able to see a list of how many units it is receiving and select between them. But I think to really use it well you need to be absolutely on top of understanding it - for example knowing that the calibration you carry out after changing batteries has to be done away from other electronics. And I've lost count of the number of people I've heard cure the Pulse for telling them to stand still during a search in recent weeks!

The Pieps doesn't seem to bring these complications so I remain content with mine, even for the relatively complex scenarios they give you in these assessments.

One other thing for users of transceivers in general - remember that the transceiver doesn't actually find the victim - that falls to the lowly probe. It's just as important to practice your probing skills - especially for deep burials.
frqnt - on 07 Sep 2013
In reply to AdrianC:

Nice one, thanks for that. I am somewhat drawn to the simplicity of the unit. Obviously the Pulse appears to be the gold standard but I'm most interested in the actual pulse feature and unless I can be sure those around me have one - I see it almost redundant..?

So if a Pieps DSP is adequite for you, then it shall be good enough for me!

Thoughts on getting something like this on eBay?
damowilk on 08 Sep 2013
In reply to frqnt:
I went for the tracker 2, a solid and reassuring design. 3 ants, good review on beacon review , and a common unit you see guides have here in NZ. But as others have said, all the new digital ones are pretty good.
The best transceiver will save you seconds compared to less useful ones, but its efficient shovelling that will save you minutes, get good at this. Apparently all transceivers start wandering of the set freq, so you're probably going to want to replace it 5yrs+.

Just to declare I am very far from an expert, these views have been gathered from others with much more experiences and talks/courses etc.
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AdrianC - on 08 Sep 2013
In reply to frqnt: Hmmm - not sure on that one. It's obviously something that needs to be reliable so just be sure you trust the seller, I guess.

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