How to Choose an Avalanche Transceiver




How to Choose an Avalanche Transceiver

How to Choose and Use an Avalanche Transceiver

In snowy backcountry areas, an avalanche transceiver, also known as a beacon, is considered ‘essential gear’, along with a probe and shovel. If you’re well-trained in its use, a transceiver can significantly increase your chances of a successful rescue in avalanche scenarios.

How it Works: they continuously emit a radio signal that can be picked up by other transceivers in the area. It’s critical for rescuers in locating buried victims.They operate on the 457 kHz international standard, which is compatible across brands. You must wear the beacon close to your body, and secured so that it won't be thrown during an avalanche.

When shopping for a transceiver, prioritize these features: 

    multiple antennas for precise locating: the three-antenna design allows you     to pinpoint the location of the victim.

    display screens: for directional guidance and distance to the avalanche     victim.

    audible signals: for proximity alerts so you know when you’re getting closer     to the victim.

Batteries: most transceivers use replaceable alkaline batteries, ensuring gradual energy drainage for reliable performance. Follow manufacturer recommendations for battery type and storage. Remember to remove batteries in the off season to avoid corrosion.

Practice: using your transceiver regularly and follow manual instructions for wearing and carrying it. Always keep it in "send" mode until a search is necessary.

Interference: minimize electronic interference by keeping transceivers away from other devices, ie. cell phones, Go Pro or radios.

Transceiver Checks: before heading out, ALWAYS conduct a trailhead transceiver check with your group. Ensure everyone's transceiver is functioning properly in both send and search modes.

Battery levels: if less than 75%, replace with new batteries

To confirm that everyone’s ‘search’ function is working: set one transceiver to send/transmit mode, while everyone else switches to search mode. If everyone receives the ‘send signal’ you’re good to go.

Make sure everyone's ‘send’ function works: one team member walks about 20 meters down the trail and turns on search mode. Other members take turns passing by that person with the send/transmit mode on so that their signal can be verified.

Everyone in the group MUST be in "send" mode before heading out.


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