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Did some playing with my gear today

RXN

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So I was hoping to video this, as I was showing the difference between the beacons, probes and shovels that I own. How there preform,
Also I did an interference test, We all hear people saying your phone, GPS, Radio all cause beacon interference. I did a controlled run with none of that stuff, then with wearing that stuff, Then I did a search with my wife messaging my InReach as I searched, I was able to see 1st hand the difference.
I tried to video this as I thought it would be good for others to see. Unfortunately my hand held camera would only record 24 seconds then die. And I was wearing my GoPro on the chest mount, this would have shown the beacon as i did my search and the interference cased by my electronics. Its the 1st gen GoPro, the little red red was blinking indicating it was recording, but nothing saved to the memory card that was in it. So, yeah, a bit disappointing, as I'm sure a few guys would have found it interesting.

I'll try my best to explain what I saw today.

Beacons used.
(x2) BCA TRACKER DTS - these are close to 20 years old, and until now these were spare beacons I leant out.
(x2) BCA TRACKER 3 - One was mine, was was my Friends.
(x1) PIEPs beacon, that green and yellow one thats been in the new lately over recalls
(x1) BCA TRACKER S - My new spare/loaner beacon
(x1) SOS analog Beacon

A while ago I had a post where we repaired one of the DTS beacons, and because it was split open to repair, this beacon became the beacon we had buried all the time.
1st set of tests, no electronics on me as I searched.

With the DTS buried. I used my T3 and had little to no problem locating the buried beacon, Other than its Range was shorter, I had to walk into range. but once in range Follow the arrows and the numbers and probe strike every time.
Switched to the Pieps, was automatically in range (where i had my little table set up). So I didn't have to walk in to get a signal. I found it the same as the T3 super easy to use, first probe strike on the buried beacon.
Next up I tried the other 20 year old BCA DTS, this was an utter disappointment, at the same time I am glad I did this, otherwise I never would have known, As I walked into the field, toward the buried beacon, (Remember I started out of range), It picked up a signal, so I followed it, the numbers were 35 - 37 meters, then the arrow took me away from the buried beacon, and my numbers dropped to 24 meters walking the wrong direction, the screen went black, and the noise stopped for maybe a couple seconds, came back with the arrows pointing a different direction and back to 37 meters, I kept following the arrows, and this issue kept repeating, just taking me in a circle, no where near the buried beacon, (The same happened when Tim gave it a try). So I've been loaning out a bad beacon..... :mad:
And Finally for fun, We tried the old SOS analog beacon. Because I knew the direction of the buried beacon, this was easy. but as soon as I did not know where the buried beacon was, this was a challenge, Still successfully landed a probe strike (4th poke) but took much longer and involved more back and forth walking as I lowered the dial and listened for the beeps. Do your part, if you or your buddy uses these old girls, upgrade, get something more effective.
Then I ran this with the Tracker S, same results of the T3 and Pieps.

2nd set of tests, I wore my gear as I normally would. My phone in my breast pocket of my bibs, on Bluetooth connected to my inreach in my back pack, my Radio was also on in my backpack.
Results were the same for the T3, Ts and Pieps. No change until, either a message was sent from or received by my inreach, the interference, would stop the beacon for a second, the numbers would come in much larger and multiple arrows would light up pointing different directions as the numbers jumped around.
For each test i was 2.0 meters from the buried beacon, the numbers would jump from 4-9.7 and back down, this was maybe 4 to 5 seconds, then the beacon screen would go back to normal after, back to 2.0 and the center arrow. I found no interference when using the radios, Just the GPS messaging. ()It's too bad my gopro footage didn't save, it was interesting to watch).

We also did some multiple burials, where 3 beacons were buried. This I liked the Pieps better, it should 1, 2 or 3 burials on its screen, where as the T3 and Ts show a +2. I personally found all 3 simple to locate one, signal suppression/ flag it, then find the next one, (Of course this is being done in my yard, so easy to walk and search)
We took turns burying the 3 "bad" beacons, and looking for them. Each guy did very well, My Friend Josh has never been to the mountains before and wants to go, So Before taking him, I wanted him to understand the beacon I'm lending him, how it works. he did very well.

We also went through the collection of Probes.
Mammut 320cm stays in my back pack, nice scale up the side solid color, find slippery with wet gloves
Othovox 320cm, stays in my tunnel bag, nice scale, (part of it has worn off), bottom two sections are in different colors so you know when you are getting close to the person.
(x2) SOS probes, yellow and purple (Yellow and Blue) alternating colors, no markings, these are about 280cm. these are my loaner probes
the embarrassing probe in a shovel handle, this is a cheap flimsy thin piece of garbage about 200cm long. (My Dad rode with that for years, when he got out of riding I bought his old gear, I had no idea his probes were in the shovel handle).
A Black diamond 320cm probe (belongs to a friend) this is nice, nicest one, but would be nice to do like the Ortovox and have a color indicator on the scale.
and a BCA 240cm probe, this felt pretty flimsy as well.

During this Josh was able to see some of the differences in shovels. I sold my BCA one, and Tim didn't bring his, But Josh got to try each shovel out in my snow piles and was able to see that the two for $20 he got at costco is really a bad shovel. Good thing I'll be suppling him with a back pack and Shovel for the his 1st trip. his cheap ones can be strapped to the sled.

in Short,
Practice with your gear, All of it, because here I was was leaning out equipment that was no good, and unless I practiced with it, I never would have known, So if you have multiple beacons, try them all out, bury one in the yard and go look for it.
and always buy the equipment you want looking for you should you be buried and install that same thought in your riding buddies, because they will be the ones looking for you.

Its too bad the videos didn't work. Maybe I'll try another day
 

rknight111

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Thanks for posting. My advise with the cheap shovels, leave them at home to pick up dog crap or something around the yard. If your going to strap a shovel to a sled have a decent one there as well as well. In a emergency situation you may grab the one off your sled first as you don't think about those things, all you think of is someone needs help and now. So typically we would grab the one that is most convenient to you.
 

Juicecan

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Thanks! Great info RXN, I ride with my inReach, cell phone and radio in same places as you. I have the green & yellow Pieps (for now, sent back for new one). It is reassuring to know that it doesn’t cause major issues and normalizes right after a receive/transmit. You didn’t by chance turn the tables & throw your beacon on send to see how it would behave if you were being searched for by another beacon with the radio, phone and inReach did you? I assume it would be the same, but would be a good test & good to know. I may run the test in the coming weeks. Always get recognized without issue on the BCA beacon testers at the trail head. Again, thanks for sharing.
 

RXN

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Thanks! Great info RXN, I ride with my inReach, cell phone and radio in same places as you. I have the green & yellow Pieps (for now, sent back for new one). It is reassuring to know that it doesn’t cause major issues and normalizes right after a receive/transmit. You didn’t by chance turn the tables & throw your beacon on send to see how it would behave if you were being searched for by another beacon with the radio, phone and inReach did you? I assume it would be the same, but would be a good test & good to know. I may run the test in the coming weeks. Always get recognized without issue on the BCA beacon testers at the trail head. Again, thanks for sharing.

That's one test I didnt do.
Next bunch of free time I have at home I will try that. Bury my radio, phone and inreach with the beacon I wear. And see what happens to the search beacon.

I'm wishing I had thought of that today. A few guys on Facebook had asked if I tried that.
 

Bnorth

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Thanks for doing this and thanks for sharing as widely as you did. This is important info people need to hear. Toss your analog transceivers in the garbage and if you are still running an old digital like the Tracker DTS you are due for an upgrade. Even the Tracker 2 is an old transceiver and from my own testing its range does not match the newer technology.
 

YamaDad

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I did some playing/testing/practicing with 4 beacons too. A Mammut Element, 2 Pieps, and an old SOS. They all worked although the SOS is by far the hardest to use. One thing I did find is that when I hid 3 and searched, regardless of which one I searched with, it always locked onto the Mammut first, and the SOS last. Just food for thought.

By the way, can someone post a photo of the Pieps model that is recalled? I hadn't heard about that.
 
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RXN

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I did some playing/testing/practicing with 4 beacons too. A Mammut Element, 2 Pieps, and an old SOS. They all worked although the SOS is by far the hardest to use. One thing I did find is that when I hid 3 and searched, regardless of which one I searched with, it always locked onto the Mammut first, and the SOS last. Just food for thought.

By the way, can someone post a photo of the Pieps model that is recalled? I hadn't heard about that.

https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.skimag.com/.amp/adventure/pieps-dsp-beacon-switch
 

RXN

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So which one do you folks consider the best one to upgrade to?

I dont know really how to answer that.
I've only played with the trackers and the pieps and the old SOS

I did like Dawn suggested and buried 3 beacons within a foot of eachother. The BCA T3 did seem confused. I only knew which way to go because I buried them.
The pieps no longer gave me a direction arrow. But after flagging the second beacon I was able to move to the 3 quicker. Again knowing where they were buried might have played a part in it.

I found the pieps had a further range then the BCA.

I also found when I buried the Pieps near a BCA my T3 would take me to the pieps 1st. (My starting point was what I considered to be in the middle,)

End of the day. You really wear these for your buddies benefit. As long as you know how they work and practice with which ever one you buy, that would be best. (I'm saying that assuming you are buying new)
 

NoBrakes!

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I think the Pieps stuff does that, I think the Iprobe recognizes Pieps gear first and can "silence" the beacon ones a casualty is located, if its a Pieps beacon but not other brands.
 

Bnorth

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So which one do you folks consider the best one to upgrade to?
It depends. What level user are you, how much do you use it, how much time are you going to spend practicing with it to learn it?

If you are going to buy it and stick it in your gear and never practice with it probably just get a Tracker. If you are looking for more features and better range then look at some of the other transceivers that have more of a professional line such as the Barryvox S, Pieps Pro, Ortovox S1 etc.
 

NoBrakes!

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S1 gets my vote. I have the other cheaper Ortovox and the S1 shined in our AST1 class over all others. In 99% of cases I'm sure.
 

Bnorth

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S1 gets my vote. I have the other cheaper Ortovox and the S1 shined in our AST1 class over all others. In 99% of cases I'm sure.
The S1 is a super powerful tool if you spend some time getting to know how to use it. I understand that it has been discontinued as Ortovox will be releasing a new flagship transceiver.
 

Legend14

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I have been using the Costco shovel for 4 years now and no problems.
 

NoBrakes!

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I have been using the Costco shovel for 4 years now and no problems.

I don't know if that's the route I'd go... many guys say they break shovels during rescue... I would want to know my stuff is quality and my riding partners as well.
 

Bogger

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I don't know if that's the route I'd go... many guys say they break shovels during rescue... I would want to know my stuff is quality and my riding partners as well.

Yah pretty sure adrenaline pumping rescue shoveling may be harder on a shovel than "Oh chit I'm stuck again" shoveling......

I like my BCA the coverts to the hoe position
 

NoBrakes!

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yep... shovel concrete with tin foil to save the ones you love?

I have that BCA too but man flowing water/slush/ice stick to that grey rough finish like crazy! I was digging out of a creek once and the shovel became a giant lollipop! was probably 30lbs too.

carry the spare long handled HMK unit on the tunnel bag.

condom theory....
 
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Squireller

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I like Lori from zacstracs idea of jumping on the shovel in the middle when it’s fully extended and if it can handle my weight with a good bounce without breaking I can trust it or my buddies to carry it.
 
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