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Pieps Powder BT/Black Diamond Recon BT Avalanche Transceiver Review

Pieps Powder BT
Pieps Powder BT
Black Diamond Recon BT
BD Recon BT

Naming Confusion: The Pieps Powder BT avalanche transceiver is identical to the Black Diamond Recon BT (Black Diamond has owned Pieps since 2012), with the only exceptions being the Pieps Powder has a translucent blue case with a yellow switch and the Black Diamond Recon has a charcoal case with a dark blue switch. This website refers to these as the "Powder/Recon" transceivers.

Summary: The Powder/Recon transceivers are basically updated versions of the Pieps DSP Sport transceiver. The DSP Sport is still being manufactured and sold.

The Powder/Recon are less feature-packed (and less expensive) versions of the Pieps Pro BT/Black Diamond Guide BT transceivers.

Review Pending

Although these transceivers were released worldwide in November 2018, they will be in limited supply until March 2019. A full rollout will take place in the Fall of 2019.

I will write a review of these transceivers later, but I expect the Powder/Recon transceivers will be even better than the Pieps DSP Sport. The preliminary five-star rating is based on extensive testing of the Pieps Sport and on limited testing of the Powder/Recon.

The transceiver comparison does have a column for the Powder/Recon.


The following are some of the enhancements to both the Pro/Guide BT and Powder/Recon BT transceivers compared to the Pieps DSP Sport and Pieps DSP Pro transceivers:

  • The new transceivers can connect to the Pieps app on your phone using Bluetooth (aka "BT"). This outstanding design makes it much easier to change the configuration settings (i.e., alkaline or lithium batteries, time before auto-reverting to transmit, enable/disable group check, etc). You can also use the Pieps app to update these transceivers, turn multiple "BT" transceivers into a mobile beacon park, and more.
  • The new transceivers have a sliding Off/Send/Receive switch that is similar to the Pieps Sport and Pieps DSP Pro, except the sliding "lock" on the new transceiver doesn't feel as positive (I often have to physically push the lock to the right to fully engage it). And, at least on the two new units I own, the sliding switches are exceptionally stiff.
  • The reception range of the new transceivers is purportedly improved when the transmitting and receiving antennas are when in perpendicular alignment. In my testing, the ranges were similar to previous DSP transceivers
  • The harnesses are similar to the Pieps Sport and Pieps DSP Pro, but they no longer have the clever design that causes a pull on the closure strap to extract the transceiver. I'm puzzled why they would remove this minor yet helpful feature.
  • The transceivers now have a formal "group check" mode (activated by pressing and holding the Flag button when CH is displayed during startup).
  • The transceivers support lithium as well as alkaline batteries. Lithium batteries last much longer than alkaline batteries (up to 600 hours transmitting on the Pro/Guide and 300 hours on the Powder/Recon).

Refer to the review of the Pro/Guide BT to see its additional features.

Model:  Powder/Recon
Manufacture:  Pieps/BD
Retail Price:  $339.95
Type:  Digital
Antennas:  3
Marking:  Yes
Updateable:  Yes
Owner's Manual:  Download

Pros: Great range, simple controls, easy updates, excellent perpendicular reception range.
Cons: Nothing significant.