Last night I had a go with the new transceivers for the first time. I chose one of these beginner beacons to start out. Just simple stuff. Reading the manual, turning it on, switching between transmit and search modes, and trying some noddy searches around the house.

My new transceiver

Hopefully I’m going to get a chance to practice with them outdoors sometime this weekend. After that, I’d like to get another session in before we go. The aim is simply to get familiar with the device.

Last night was the first step.

I’ve got to say that at this stage, the Tracker DTS is living up to its reputation of being easy to use. There’s not much to the device; although I haven’t looked at the options for dealing with multiple burials.

The guidelines in the manual describe the 3 phases of a basic search: the primary search (or signal search), the secondary search and the pinpoint search.

As you might expect, the first phase involves trying to find a signal, and this is required whilst you’re still more than 40m from the transmitting beacon. The second phase, once you have a signal, is designed to bring you to approximately 3m. Finally, the pinpoint search should bring you as close as possible to the transmitting beacon before you begin probing/digging. Different techniques are used for each stage.

It would be nice if my house was big enough for me to say that I could hide a transceiver in one room and be too far away to get a signal in another room, but that’s not the case.

Searching in this environment is far from representative of a real slide; but it was cold, wet and dark outside, and I was eager to play around. Besides, it was still possible to get some kind of feel for how the tracker picks up a signal and displays the feedback on the unit.

I also re-watched one of the extras from More, an introduction to performing a single burial search. I’d forgotten that the transceivers used in this video are in fact the Tracker DTSs. It’s a useful show, that covers the basics of how to use your transceiver. I’m keen to get out to an open field or the beach to try things out on a larger scale… if you’re as keen as me, make sure you read these avalanche safety tips first.

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