Summary: The ARVA Link is a three-antenna
avalanche transceiver with a long range that is very similar to the
Mammut Pulse (the Link
was developed in partnership with Mammut, the company that developed the Pulse).
The Link offers both analog and digital modes, supports selective marking of
multiple burials and offers numerous
configuration options. The
ARVA Axis is the little
brother to the Link and shares most of the Link's features.
The Link was released in Europe in late-2010 and in the US in late-2011.
I have used, but not fully tested, the Link.
Searching: As with the Pulse, the Link has a freely-floating
directional arrow that always
points toward the transmitting beacon even if you rotate it between beeps. The Link's
arrow floats 180° and displays a U-Turn icon if you are moving away from
the victim whereas the Pulse's directional arrow floats 360°. As with the
Pulse, you must calibrate the compass after replacing the batteries or the directional
arrow will be jerky. (To enter the configuration menu and calibrate the compass,
turn off the beacon, hold down both side-buttons, and press-and-hold the on/off
button for several seconds.)
As with the Pulse and Axis, the Link can be toggled into analog mode by pressing
and holding both side-buttons. The Link handles multiple burials well and allows you to select between the
multiple signals (see the details).
Controls: The Link is turned on/off using a single push
button, two side-buttons are used to select options, and a sliding button on
the front changes between search and send mode. A button in the center of the
sliding button is used to mark transmitters when searching for multiple transmitters
and to confirm various actions (similar to an OK button on a computer). That's
more controls than most other transceivers, but clear labeling of the buttons
and a well designed screen make the controls easy to learn.
I encountered a tiny annoyance when replacing the batteries: the
screws were too tight to unscrew by hand and the slots in the screws are too
narrow for even a thin American dime. I had to use an actual screwdriver to
remove the screws.
W-Link: As with the Mammut Element and Pulse, the Link transmits
additional information on the "w-link" frequency. This allows transceivers
that transmit w-link data easier to identify when "marking" during
a multiple victim search. The Link does not transmit motion data on the w-link.
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Link versus Pulse: Because the Link was built in partnership
with Mammut, it's worth noting the differences between the Link and Pulse transceivers:
- As mentioned above, the Link's directional arrow freely floats 180°
and displays a U-Turn icon if you are moving away from the victim whereas
the Pulse's directional arrow floats 360°.
- If the victim is wearing a Pulse or Link, the Pulse can display
whether the victim is moving. ARVA chose not to display this information
because they feel it complicates the search.
- The Pulse supports "directional
- The Link's directional indicator disappears when the victim is 3
meters away. The Pulse allows this to be set to either 0 meters or 3
meters via its configuration menu.
- As mentioned above, the Link has more controls (i.e., an on/off
switch, two side-buttons, a sliding switch to enter search mode, and
a center button). However the additional controls are very
- If you turn on the Link when the sliding switch is already in
the Search position, the message "Search?" is displayed
with a blinking
icon. It's very obvious that you need to press the center button
to enter search mode. Likewise when you press the on/off button to turn
the unit off, an intuitive prompt asks you to confirm that you
want to turn the unit off.
- The side-buttons are clearly labeled as up and down. These buttons,
in conjunction with the center button, make selecting items more
intuitive on the Link. On the Pulse, the left button moves down
through the menu items (you can't move up) and the right button
selects a menu option.
- The well-labeled side buttons in conjunction with the center
button make selecting and
marking multiple signals
a little easier on the Link.
- Although the Pulse's display is 25% larger than the Link's,
they appear to have the same number of pixels.
- The Link displays five rows of options in its configuration
menu versus one item in the Pulse, which makes navigating the list
more intuitive (i.e., you know what item will be selected next if
you move down the list).
- Size and Comfort
- The Link is a few millimeters taller and wider than the Pulse. Its
holster is much larger than the Pulse's.
- The Link (with holster) weighs 20% more than the Pulse. Some of
the weight difference is due to the fact that the Link uses four AAA
batteries versus three in the Pulse.
- The Pulse can use either alkaline or lithium batteries.
- At $449.00us retail, the Link is $41.00us less than