Traveling in the backcountry with an avalanche transceiver is recommended, but an avalanche transceiver will only help you and your snowmobile group if you all know how to use them. To further your avalanche transceiver knowledge, Backcountry Access has created 12 new avalanche transceiver education videos for the 17/18 season.
BCA’s ‘Introduction to Avalanche Transceivers for Snowmobilers’ video give you precise directions for how to use avalanche transceivers as a snowmobiler. In this video, BCA sled ambassador and avalanche safety educator Mike Duffy demonstrates the basic functions of an avalanche transceiver as well as precautions that snowmobilers should take when travelling in backcountry terrain. Introduction to avalanche transceivers for snowmobilers gives a great ‘how-to’ find flux lines and description of the third antenna in an avalanche beacon.
Once you graduate from watching the ‘Introduction to Avalanche Transceiver for Snowmobilers’ video, you can watch more new videos on how to do a transceiver trailhead test for snowmobilers, advanced transceiver search techniques on snowmobiles, and how to conduct a transceiver search in case of multiple avalanche burials.
If you’d like to learn more, read the full transcript below.
Transcript: Intro to Avalanche Transceivers for Snowmobilers
Hi, I’m Mike Duffy with Backcountry Access and avalanche1.com. We’re going to go over transceivers today. We want to get in the habit of calling this a transceiver. Some people call it a beacon, but there is confusion with personal locator beacons. Some people think a personal locator beacon will find you underneath the snow, but it’s not accurate enough.
A transceiver can send a signal and receive a signal in 457 kilohertz. Everybody in your snowmobile group should have an avalanche transceiver. They should have the training, and they should know how to use it.
As a snowmobiler, I use the Float MtnPro Vest. The transceiver goes right in the front pocket here. What’s nice about this, is that it’s very quick to access when doing transceiver checks at the beginning of the day. I can also be very fast in a rescue; I don’t have to dig underneath layers, it’s right here. I can search my snow-bike or snowmobile and have quick access to the transceiver. Right in this pocket up front here, it zips right in, and I have a tether that attaches to a D-ring. With your transceiver, you want to use alkaline batteries. Alkaline batteries discharge at a constant rate, whereas lithium batteries hold the charge and then drop the charge all at once.
All transceivers manufactured after 1996 are on the same frequency; that’s 457 kilohertz. They’re all compatible with each other and different brands work well with each other. Avalanche transceivers can be affected by electrical interference. These can be cell phones, Bluetooth devices, GPS enabled devices, or it can be your vehicle itself. When it’s transmitting, these electrical devices do not affect it much. But when you turn into search mode, to look for someone, if there’s an electrical device that will interfere within 3 feet, it can cut the effective search range of some transceivers by 50 to 70%. Cell phones need to be completely off or more than three feet away.
When you hold the avalanche transceiver out in front of you, have it out away from you to avoid the electrical interference when searching. These are just some basic transceiver tips for snowmobilers to get started.