The Pieps Backup is NOT an avalanche transceiver. It is an avalanche TRANSMITTER (not transceiver) designed to be carried along with a standard transceiver to offer extra protection in the event of a secondary avalanche or any other problem with the primary transceiver.
One of the risks of avalanche searching is to be hit by a secondary avalanche whilst searching and therefore not transmitting. Some transceivers will auto revert to transmit after a set time or if they have a motion sensor then after a set time with no movement and some do not. The Pieps Backup offers these features is a separate unit which also protects the searcher if the searching transceiver if ripped away from the body during the secondary avalanche.
The Pieps Backup will begin transmitting if no movement is detected for 20 seconds and there is no other transmission source within 60cm.
The Pieps Backup is not designed to be used as a cheaper alternative to equipping the whole party with full transceivers.
The Pieps Backup transmits on the standard 457MHz frquency and is compatible with all other avalanche transceivers.
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The Pieps Backup device is in effect a backup of a backup, so you would have to be really unlucky to need it in anger. The scenario of being buried by a second avalanche, while searching for the victims of the first, is pretty rare, but it does happen. My main transceiver already has a revert to send function, so this could be considered as a backup of a backup of a backup. But hey, it doesn't cost or weigh that much, so why not.
I initially tried testing it indoors, but I found that it never switched from listen to transmit mode, I assume that there must have been too many sources of interference. However, once outside in the middle of a field, it worked perfectly once the local transmitting transceiver had been switched off. I picked it up at about 25-30m range. The Pieps Backup emits a beeping tone to warn it is about to start transmitting (a useful warning if you have left it switched on by accident), and then continues to beep during the transmitting phase. The beeping is not loud enough to be part of the detection process, so is really just an alert for the wearer.
The most important thing is to get used to turning it on before use (a triple press), and just as important turning it off again (also triple press). Turning off is important, as the Pieps Backup will start to transmitting once you turn off your main transceiver and the Backup has been stationary for 20 seconds. It will only transmit for an hour, but it will drain the battery quickly. The battery life is shorter than most transceivers, so a regular replacement schedule will be required.
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