This page provides general guidelines on testing your avalanche transceiver. Obviously the best method
is to return your transceiver to the manufacture for testing, but the tests on this page will discover most
problems. The information on this page was originally written by Jeff Lane and
Test #1—Test the reception range with the antennas aligned
Switch a second transceiver on transmit and place it on the ground with the housing's long axis pointing
directly at the searcher.
- Starting approximately 200 feet from the transmitting beacon:
- Switch your transceiver to receive (aka Search).
- Point your transceiver directly at the transmitting beacon.
- Walk toward the transmitting beacon.
- Note the distance when your transceiver receives a signal.
- Switch your transceiver back to transmit and repeat the above steps a few times.
Results: The average distance when your transceiver receives a signal should be similar
to other transceivers of the same make and model plus-or-minus about
five meters. Anything less than 30 meters is definitely unacceptable. (Read the
details about how we test reception ranges.)
- Repeat Test #1, but this time hold your transceiver so it is perpendicular to the transmitter (i.e.,
so the antennas are in "worst case" alignment).
Results: The average reception range should be at least 50% of the distance measured
in Test #1. (In the case of the Pieps DSPs, it might even be longer.)
Test #3—Test the transmission range
- Repeat Test #1, but this time use your transceiver as the transmitting beacon and a second transceiver
as the receiver.
Results: As with Test #1, the average distance when the receiving beacon receives a
signal should be similar to other transceivers of the same make and model
plus-or-minus about five meters. Anything less than 30 meters is definitely unacceptable.
Test #4—Test the directional indicator
- Stand approximately 30 feet from the transmitter and switch your beacon to receive.
- Point your beacon at the transmitting beacon. The direction arrow on your beacon should point straight
ahead (toward the transmitting beacon).
- Slowly rotate your transceiver 45-degrees to the left and then 45-degrees to the right. Your beacon's
direction indicator should continue to point at the
Results: During this test the direction indicator should point at the transmitting beacon
within about two beeps.
Test #5—Test spike handling
You can see if your transceiver handles spikes using this simple
Test #6—Test the transmission frequency
Testing the transmission frequency is less necessary on digital transceivers,
but worth doing if you can. Poor performance in Test #3 may indicate an incorrect transmission frequency,
but a beacon can pass Test #3 yet be transmitting outside specifications.
Refer to the comparison table to see which transceivers
can test other beacons. (You can read about the DSPs testers
here.) Many of the individual
transceiver reviews explain how to activate the "test" or "group
Test #7—Physically inspect the transceiver
- Inspect the harness for loose stitching or broken buckles.
- Inspect the casing for for damage or cracks.
- Inspect the beacon’s display for function and damage.
- Inspect the switches for function and damage.
- Inspect the battery compartment and terminals for any corrosion. Make sure the batteries fit snugly.
- With your transceiver set to receive, give it a good shake. It should continue to receive without
resetting (which can happen if the batteries or internal connections are loose).
- Test the functionality of all buttons and switches. Do they do what they’re supposed to do (power
on, off, search, send, mark, etc)?
- If the beacon is set to automatically revert to transmit after
a specified number of minutes, does it? If the beacon is supposed to revert only if motionless, does
the motion sensor work?