Advanced Multiple Burial Modes: How to Use Tracker3 Signal Suppression (SS) and Big Picture (BP) Modes

Multiple burials are rare in recreational settings and can usually be treated as a series of single burials, using normal Search mode. The only time multiple burials can become truly complex is:

  1. When it’s not possible to turn off the first victim’s transceiver,
  2. When the victims are in close proximity (≤10 m) to each other, or
  3. If there are three or more victims.

In these cases, it can be helpful to have advanced modes that help you ignore one signal so you can move on to the next one while other rescuers are shoveling. That’s why we’ve created several new videos to show you how to use Tracker3’s Signal Suppression (SS) and Big Picture (BP) Modes.

The following Tracker3 icons help to determine the complexity of the scenario: how many buried victims are within range and if they’re near each other:

When more than one transmitting victim is within the receive range of Tracker3, the “two bodies” multiple burial icon will illuminate and stay solid. If both victims are in close proximity to the searcher, then the bodies are surrounded by brackets. If there are more than two victims within range, then the “+” icon will illuminate. And if the brackets and “+” icon are both on then there are more than two victims in range and at least two of them are in close proximity.

Even without the icons, it’s easy to determine if you’re detecting multiple victims: when you first start searching, the Tracker3 alternately displays several different distances and directions, with differing sounds, or cadences. Just stay in Search mode and focus on the closest distance reading, attempting to engage that signal in the center search light. Once you are significantly closer to one signal than the other, Tracker3 will “lock” onto that signal and mask out the others.

Once this signal is isolated, Tracker3 will behave very similar to how it does in a single transceiver search. Locate and excavate the first victim, then turn his or her transceiver off if the conditions are safe. If you have a clear signal, then begin searching for the next victim.

Click here to download the video. Then select ‘MP4 720′ file format and click the ‘download’ button.

Using Signal Suppression (SP) Mode: If it’s not possible to turn off a victim’s transceiver, use Signal Suppression to find the next closest victim. Press and immediately release the Options button. “SS” will be shown in the display and the two bodies in the multiple burial indicator will alternately flash back and forth. Follow the distance and direction to the next victim. Remember that the first victim’s signal will be suppressed for one minute, at which time the icons in the multiple burial indicator will stop flashing. To go back to normal search mode before one minute has elapsed, simply press the Options button.

It’s important to note that Signal Suppression, marking, and other forms of signal isolation are not 100 percent reliable, especially when searching for older analog transceivers. This is due to the possibility of overlapping signals, especially when more than two transmit signals are within range. Also, due to their imprecise transmit signals, analog transceivers can sometimes trigger false multiple burial indications.

Click here to download the video. Then select ‘MP4 720′ file format and click the ‘download’ button.

Using Big Picture (BP) Mode: Big Picture mode is a valuable feature that can be used to gain an overview of the scenario and optimize the efficiency of your search. It can be used at the beginning of a scenario to assign rescuers to each displayed signal. It is also valuable in situations involving more than two signals within range.

Remember, Tracker3 suppresses only one signal at a time. When you suppress a second signal, it will then show you the next closest signal– even if that victim’s signal was suppressed earlier. If victim #3 is closer to victim #2 than victim #1 (scenario A, below), then suppressing victim #2’s signal will take you to victim #3 automatically. However, if victim #1 is closer than victim #3, (scenario B), Tracker3 will bring you back to victim #1. If this is the case, use Big Picture mode to find the general direction to the third signal. After moving closer to the third signal, release the Options button and Tracker3 will automatically isolate that third signal.

Tracker3 suppresses one signal at a time. When suppressing victim #2’s signal, if victim #3 is further away from victim #2 than #1 (scenario B), then use Big Picture mode to move toward #3.


To learn more about how to operate Tracker avalanche transceivers, see our Tracker Resources page.  To learn how to use Special (SP) Mode on the Tracker2, watch this video.

Check out our complete lineup of BCA Tracker avalanche transceivers here.