Electronic gadgets including video cameras interfere with Avalanche Beacons

Before you head out, find out what electronics interfere and which ones you should leave in the car or turn off.

This video popped up the other day: Transceiver / Go Pro Interference. It shows a video camera affecting an avalanche beacon. If you wear a beacon, and you should, in or out of bounds, you should know which of your electronics may affect your beacon.

Transciver Interference

Dale Atkins, an Avalanche Guru and Recco’s Training and Education Manager for North America told me:

English: Rescuer using RECCO R9 detector on tr...

English: Rescuer using RECCO R9 detector on training drill in Colorado.

GoPros cause grief to some transceivers (and probably to all), but this is not a surprise, and it’s not the fault of the transceiver companies. All electronic devices generate electromagnetic fields. The problem is more noticeable with GoPros (and likely with other movie cameras, too) than with our cell phones or radios because communication devices have shielding. GoPros, iPods, power lines, ski lift motors, thunderstorms, etc. do not.

These electronic devices (and phenomena) rarely cause problems for a sending transceiver, and typically only a few centimeters of separation are enough. However, receive is another story. Transceiver companies have for a number of years recommended one separate electronic gear from their receiving transceiver by 30 centimeters. However, over the years this “electronic” gear was usually shielded communication devices, so the 30 cm distance was more than sufficient. However, now with other electronic gizmos, like GoPros that are “on” (powered) all the time, I suspect we’ll see a new recommendation from the transceiver companies. It might say something to the effect that these devices be turned off and removed off the searcher. However, that’s my guess.

Reccois a non-beacon avalanche search device. The handheld device locates buried victims based on a small bar that is usually sewn into their clothing. If you are

English: Avalanche rescue search with RECCO de...

English: Avalanche rescue search with RECCO detector

looking for ski or mountaineering clothing, I would suggest you look for something that has the Recco Reflector sewn in and a Recco hangtag.

So?

If you ski wearing a beacon, you should pay attention to what is going on with all the battery operating devices you carry.

If you are an Avalanche Beacon manufacturer, you should probably put a notice or warning in your instructions to let people know of the risks.

What do you think? Leave a comment.

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Research shows beacons have issues with multivictim searches

Problems may be more prevalent with older models of beacons

The issue is that some beacons will mask another beacon. If two victims with beacons are buried in close proximity then you may only see the one victim.

The article and issues are complex and are still be investigated, however if you are a professional or possibly use your beacon in multivictim situations you should read the article.

See Problems with multivictim searches or watch a Video about the issue.

What do you think? Leave a comment.

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