/ BCA Wireless Beacon Training Kit

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JuneBob on 11:01 Tue

Does anyone have any experience using this?

https://backcountryaccess.com/product/bca-wireless-beacon-training-park-system/

I tried it yesterday and all the mammut transceivers failed miserable in multiple (2+) burials. They were terrible, freezing up, confusing directions and distance, just a total fail.

Does anyone know about problems with this kit and mammut transceivers? The mammuts behave fine if I practice by hiding multiple regular transceivers.

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EwanR on 11:19 Tue
In reply to JuneBob:

No idea for the BCA system but with the Girsberger equivalent (https://www.girsberger-elektronik.ch/rtx457-mobile-en) you can set the pulse length which would give the effect described:

"For standard mode, all transmitters are set up with a pattern that provides a short (70 to 120 ms) pulse duration. This corresponds to most of the devices that are currently on the market.


For expert mode, all transmitters are set up with a pattern that provides a long (240 to 320 ms) pulse duration. This corresponds to older devices. This allows for simulating simple and complex burial scenarios, including multiple burials."

It's in the latter case that one needs to use more advanced techniques like micro-bands and boxes and not follow the arrows on the transceiver. 

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TobyA on 12:40 Tue
In reply to JuneBob:

On old climbing partner is now IIRC one of their design engineers. I'll point him towards this thread.

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cdpej on 14:07 Tue
In reply to EwanR:

you sound like you know what you are talking about! can i have a chat with you sometime?  could you email me? Phil Jardine

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cdpej on 14:10 Tue
In reply to JuneBob:

any idea how much either of these systems cost?  not obvious on either website

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JuneBob on 16:12 Tue
In reply to cdpej:

No, I borrowed it from the red cross here in Trondheim, and they have it on temporary loan from somewhere else!

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JuneBob on 16:14 Tue
In reply to TobyA:

Thanks. I sent BCA an email too. Also, on reflection, it's the first time I've trained exactly where I did, and there's actually a military installation there, so maybe there's interference too

Post edited at 16:14
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TobyA on 20:10 Tue
In reply to JuneBob:

I've tipped Toni off to this thread via Facebook. But don't know if he'll have anything relevant to say - I'm not actually certain what his job is exactly but it does seem to involve going ski touring a lot!

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L Toni Leskela - on 22:57 Tue
In reply to JuneBob:

Hi,

Toby A. thanks for pointing me to this, although I am no longer at BCA (at least not full time) snow safety is still close to heart.

I used to run product development, management and sourcing on BCA electronics. WBTP (training park) is one of my products. What happened during development is that we did not know that Mammut is using incoming pulse timing on multiple burial pulse differentiation and delayed pulses 80ms after positive probe hit to send message for control box. There is SW update to change this and all WBTP's can be updated to help Mammut users.

Apart from this, there are beacons out there that change pulse interval for one reason or other and this can happen in "anger". Furthermore all multiple burial technologies currently in the market are unreliable to a point and I strongly recommend learning alternative techniques (such as terrain elimination or micro strips or three circle method) to solve multiple burial situations.

WBTP has random pulse length varying 70-120ms. Nobody should be using anymore analog beacons with 200+ms pulses for myriad of reasons!

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JuneBob on 08:47 Wed
In reply to Toni Leskela:

Hi, thanks for the reply!

We did some more experiments, and one thing to note is that we did this in the evening, so required headtorches. We found that both our mobile phones and our LED headtorches interfered with the performance of the transceiver. I'm guessing my fancy GPS/bluetooth/wifi watch probably doesn't help either. 

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cdpej on 08:55 Wed
In reply to JuneBob:

there is a good article about transceiver interference here.  Quite a problem since we all carry so much electronics when we go skiing

https://www.alpine-guides.com/ski/insider-knowledge-ski/transceiver-interference-advice/

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L Toni Leskela - on 16:16 Wed
In reply to JuneBob:

Some watches indeed emit noise that has harmonics of 457kHz, I would think that your LED headlamp also caused some problems.

This is article I wrote couple moons back (I am not very happy about it because i feel like copywriter who corrected my "Finglish" changed some of the content.)

https://backcountryaccess.com/electronic-noise-and-what-it-means-for-your-beacon-2/

Good synopsis of Adaxys (Developer and manufacturer of Mammut beacons) paper at ICAR 2014 is here.

http://www.scottishmountainrescue.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/03/IKAR-2014-Scottish-Mountain-Rescue-Report_1-0.pdf

Same paper was also presented at ISSW 2014 but I could not find full paper at the moment.

People have used to "absolute" function of electronics in today's world, unfortunately avalanche beacons does not work that way. They are more like ham radios. To effectively use them one needs constant training with one's personal beacon to understand weaknesses and how to overcome them.  

Good use for retired analog beacon is to use them to check interference caused by your electronics. Put sensitivity to max scan your electronics. You can hear the noise from speaker. General white noise from the speaker will make your range lower and cracks plips and plops will confuse pulse tracking because it is looking for raising edge on RSSI.  

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JuneBob on 16:39 Wed
In reply to Toni Leskela:

Great stuff, thanks.

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