Mann bei der LVS-Suche
The orientation of the transmitting device plays a significant role on range and quality of approach with the receiving transmitter. Photo: DAV SiFo

DAV Safety Research

Avalanche Transceiver Test 2022 (english)

Since the last DAV Safety Research test in 2017/18, a few new devices came onto the market, others were revised with software updates, and some also disappeared. In order to find out to what extent the individual models differ and what advantages and disadvantages each individual device offers, the DAV Safety Research team tested the current avalanche transceivers.

Download the complete transceiver test here

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Avalanche Transceiver Test - complete version 2.27 MB

The test and evaluation procedure are explained in detail in the Test Criteria section. The Overview table shows the devices in comparison with regard to various test criteria. Each individual criterion was rated on a five-level scale – ranging from very good over acceptable to deficient. The Device characteristics contain detailed information, test results and tips for users on the individual devices. The Technical Details table provides an overview of the device data and special functions.

The test itself took place in March 2022. To achieve similar conditions for all test devices, each criterion was tested with all devices in succession. The devices were tested both in terms of their behavior in the search phases (signal search, coarse search, fine search), and in terms of their performance characteristics in a multiple burial (MB). A uniform evaluation of these main criteria can be found in the overview table.

Both the selection of the test scenarios and the evaluations were carried out with a focus on an objective but practical perspective. In addition to the evaluation criteria for the search phases and scenarios, we also reviewed the group check function - which has become a standard feature not only for group leaders and mountain guides. Finally, to take a look at the handling of the devices, intuitive operation, carrying system and real additional functions, we have included usability aspects in the device description.

All models in the test work with three-antenna technology. It is considered state of the art and has completely penetrated the market with a distribution of 96 percent among ski tourers (see “Gerüstet für den Fall der Fälle”; "Prepared for the worst" in Panorama 1/22). Most of the current avalanche transceivers are also updateable. This is a sensible procedure, since manufacturers can tweak a few things in modern devices with the help of the software, which can then directly affect the performance of the devices. It is worthwhile to check the device regularly to ensure that the software is up to date and to have it updated. In the meantime, a few manufacturers also offer mobile applications of varying scope, which can be used, for example, to check the software status or even update it. In addition, all manufacturers offer an extension of the warranty period upon registration on their homepages. If you already own an older three-antenna device, it is best to have it checked by the manufacturer in the summer to ensure that it is free of faults (maintenance intervals in technical table). Some manufacturers offer this service for free; some charge a fee for it. Especially tour guides and DAV sections with equipment rental should make use of this offer at regular intervals!

For a long time now, some manufacturers have offered one or two cheaper, "slimmed-down" versions alongside their "top device". These devices usually have fewer special features or more limited customization options (acoustics, display, etc.). They are aimed in particular at occasional winter sports enthusiasts who want to spend a little less money or do not have the necessary practice routine to be able to confidently handle the additional functions of the top devices in an emergency.

Despite the high degree of technical sophistication of most avalanche transceivers the old mantra still holds true: Any device is only as good as the person using it. And even more important than the obligatory mastery of one's own avalanche transceiver and the application of the most efficient search strategy depending on the situation (depending on, for example, the size of the avalanche; the number of searchers/shovelers compared to the buried subjects and the burial depth) is a tour selection adapted to the conditions, one's own skills and experience, and adequate risk management on tour. Because: the best life insurance is not to get caught in an avalanche and buried in the first place!

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