- Buying Guide: What is Avalanche Beacon?
- Things to consider when buying an avalanche beacon:
- 1. BLACK DIAMOND PIEPS DSP Pro Avalanche Beacon
- 2. Backcountry Access Tracker3 Avalanche Beacon
- 3. Backcountry Access Tracker2 Avalanche Beacon
- 4. BCA Tracker DTS Avalanche Beacon + Avalanche Probe
- 5. Ortovox Zoom+ Avalanche Transceiver
Buying Guide: What is Avalanche Beacon?
An avalanche transceiver or avalanche beacon is a device that emits a pulsed radio signal. Another avalanche beacon can receive this signal. Avalanche beacons are used for finding avalanche victims buried under the snow.
The best beacon is the one that you can use competently and seamlessly in a high stress situation because you’re thoroughly familiar with its operation and quirks. A more expensive or more fully featured beacon that you’re unfamiliar with won’t help you find a buried victim more quickly. If you’ve never owned a beacon before, consider enrolling in an avalanche awareness course and checking out several models before deciding.
Things to consider when buying an avalanche beacon:
Digital and analog beacons vary in the way they allow you to interpret the data being transmitted.
- Digital – most of the beacons on the market (and all the models that we sell) are now digital. Digital transceivers use multiple antennas and microprocessors to translate the transmitted data into both an audible signal and visual display. Digital transceivers normally indicate both direction and distance to the victim, and adapt very quickly to changing signals.
- Analog – once common, there are very few purely analog beacons produced today. Analog signals are manifested as audible beeps that get louder as you approach a buried victim or transceiver. Analog transceivers generally have a greater send and receive range but require more user knowledge and practice to be used effectively. (Some digital beacons allow the user to use an analog signal as an additional aid in search or in conjunction with the digital signal.)
While older beacons commonly had only one antenna, newer models typically have two or three separate antennas and often the ability to electronically choose the best antenna to use in a given situation. Generally, more antennas are better.
Beacon prices vary based on the number of antennas, type of display, microprocessors, and features. High end beacons often offer a choice of search modes and more sophisticated multiple burial functions, but these may be difficult or confusing for novice or infrequent users.
Check out the 5 Best Avalanche Beacons on the market right now:
1. BLACK DIAMOND PIEPS DSP Pro Avalanche Beacon
2. Backcountry Access Tracker3 Avalanche Beacon
3. Backcountry Access Tracker2 Avalanche Beacon
4. BCA Tracker DTS Avalanche Beacon + Avalanche Probe