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Transceiver Search

Before you even think of hitting the backcountry, check out these BCA videos

Transceiver Basics

Electronic Devices, like cell phones, heated gloves, and GoPros can interfere with avalanche receivers. It is recommended that your transceiver is always 12-inches or 30 centimeters away from these devices. Transceivers are at risk in search mode where they can receive ghost signals from electronics that are capable of disrupting direction arrows and distance readings.

Andy Wenberg with Back Country Access and Mike Duffy of Avalanche One explain the ins and outs of using a transceiver.  The video is informing and makes many solid points.  The most important is to remember to respect the mountain and yourself.  Prepare before you go into the backcountry.  And be very familiar before you go into the backcountry.

BCA AVALANCHE RESCUE SERIES

THE SIGNAL SEARCH

The Signal Search is the first phase of an avalanche rescue. If there is a last seen point, you can begin your signal search there. If there is no signal point, you are going to cover the entire debris field and try to acquire a signal. Your zig zags are going to be 40 meters apart, and you are going to come within 20 meters of each flank of the slide path. You are moving fast with the mission of finding a signal.

Once you have received a signal, you are now going to perform a Coarse Search. You are slowing it down and watching the distance meter on your beacon until you reach about 5 meters. 

Turn your transceiver on before you enter the backcountry.

FLUX LINES

As you move through the coarse search, you will notice you are moving in a curved line. That is because avalanche receivers work on flux lines. These are electromagnetic signals that your transmitting transceiver sends out.  Once you are in 3-5 meters of that transmitter, you enter the Fine Search.

Please remember that the snowmobile creates some electrical interference. You cannot drive around on your snowmobile with your avalanche transceiver in your hand or do a transceiver search too close to a running engine.

KNOW YOUR TRANSCEIVER

A snowmobile can be very helpful in a rescue. Other rescuers can be transported to the site up the hill, so they can walk down the hill.

  1. SIGNAL SEARCH- the first phase of an avalanche rescue. If there is a last seen point, you can begin your signal search there.  
  2. COARSE SEARCH -After receiving that first signal, you are going to slow it down, watching the distance number on the transceiver until you are in the range of 5 meters. 
  3. FINE SEARCH - After reaching the lowest number on your transceiver, you are going to start to  bracket on both sides as well as in front and behind you so that you can get even more specific your victim. 
  4. PINPOINT OR PROBE - Once you have got even more specific, you will then use your probe to locate your victims and begin shoveling to rescue.

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