The best avalanche beacon is one which helps you to avoid avalanches and other dangerous situations. A good avalanche beacon can save your life or at least minimize the damage if it works properly. However, there are many factors involved in choosing the right type of beacon for you:
1) Size : The size of the beacon determines its effectiveness and safety level.
Smaller beacons may not work well because they are too small to see over snow drifts and have limited range.
2) Frequency : The frequency of the beacon determines its range.
Higher frequencies allow better signal reception, but they require more power and thus cost more than lower frequencies.
3) Signal Strength : The strength of the signal depends on several things including terrain, weather conditions and elevation above sea level.
For example, a strong signal from a mountain peak will be much stronger than a weak signal from the ground.
4) Power Consumption : Beacon batteries last only so long before they need replacing.
If you want to use your beacon regularly, you’ll need to recharge them periodically. Battery powered beacons usually come with a rechargeable battery pack, which can provide enough energy for up to 2 hours of operation. You can buy rechargeable batteries online or at hardware stores such as Home Depot or Lowes.
5) Multiple Burials : If you are looking for a beacon with multiple burials, consider the Mammut Barryvox or Pieps DSP Sport.
These beacons are easy to use and are very accurate. These items transmit the latest in technology and can give you an accurate reading of your surroundings. You can buy them on Amazon for around $450.
6) Transceiver or Beacon : A transceiver is a two way radio that can send and receive messages; this is different from a beacon in that it doesn’t rely on reflected signals.
They are also more expensive and require a short range. They are only recommended for professional equipment. Don’t spend more than $600 on a transceiver.
When choosing the best new beacon or transceiver, it is important to know your specific needs.
Are you an expert mountaineer?
If so, you may want to consider a more expensive two-way transceiver or a used SARTECH III.
Do you just ski from the top of the mountain and go straight to the bunny slope?
In that case, a mid-range beacon from Mammut or Barryvox should do the trick. Finally, if you’re on a tight budget or just starting out, a Pieps or Sport Check avalanche beacon should provide all the safety features you need at a low price.
These are all the factors to be considered when choosing the best avalanche beacon for you or your mountaineering group. Remember, your life may depend on the type of beacon you choose, so be sure to do some thorough research before buying one. Good luck and be careful!
Sources & references used in this article:
Determining the width of a search strip for avalanche beacons by F Meier – … International Snow Science Workshop, Big Sky MT …, 2001 – researchgate.net
On the effects of receiver bandwidth on the performance of avalanche beacons by F Meier, A Ehrensperger, AG Ascom – Proc. ISSW, 2006 – researchgate.net
On the practical use of avalanche beacons–the Austrian Transceiver Test 2001 by P Höller, F Gibler – Proceedings International Snow Science …, 2002 – arc.lib.montana.edu
Avalanche beacon magnetic field calculations for rescue techniques improvement by N Ayuso, JA Cuchi, F Lera… – 2007 IEEE International …, 2007 – ieeexplore.ieee.org
Avalanche beacons-working principles specifications and comparative properties by DA Lind, WR Smythe – Proc. of Intl. Snow Workshop, 1984 – arc.lib.montana.edu
TH8 FRE0UENCY CHOICE FOR AVALANCHE BEACONS by D Straumfjord – arc.lib.montana.edu
AVALANCHE BEACON PARKS: FOCUS ON SKILL DEVELOPMENT AND TEAM COORDINATION by A Desjardins, S Greenberg, R Wakkary, J Hambelton – grouplab.cpsc.ucalgary.ca
Testing the performance of avalanche transceivers by J Schweizer, G Krüsi – Cold regions science and technology, 2003 – Elsevier
Avalanche rescue beacon testing by J Schweizer, G Krüsi – International Snow Science Workshop, 2002 – researchgate.net