Regarding reports of a problem with Pieps DSP (‘Pro’ and ‘Sport’) avalanche transceivers accidentally turning off.

We’ve always said that the best avalanche transceiver is the one you know well and practiced with. The expert advice that we’ve seen and heard (especially the one below from BeaconReviews.com) regarding the specific issues here have led us to add: systematically physically inspect and confirm the switch (‘on/off ‘as well as ‘send/search’) is locked.

On a personal note, I have observed over the years that many/most people get into the habit of treating their avalanche transceivers as an afterthought – a formality to be checked as quick as possible before heading out and packed away at the end of the day. I have left mine on ‘search’ more than once after the partner check with my group in the morning… If we all take a few extra intimate moments with our transceivers each day, we will have a better chance of noticing at the end of the day that a unit has turned itself off, for example, and prevent these infrequent but tragic events.

The transceiver training courses that we offer in the UK and France will be emphasizing these be intimate with your transceiver points from now on… the in-person courses will be resuming once lockdown is lifted!

In the mean time, our next virtual Essentials Talk is on the near horizon: Sunday 15 November at 5 pm for part 1 then Sunday 22 November at 5 pm for part 2. These talks are aimed at all off-piste / touring enthusiasts: a point of departure for beginners; a training guide for those more experienced and a client training framework for pros.

Here is a credible objective report that has come out about this specific issue. It has been validated by international avalanche institutions such as the American Avalanche Association.  You can read a summary below and the full report from BeaconReviews.com here:

The problem seems to lie with the design of the Off/Send/Search switch’s “release tab.” This plastic tab is supposed to prevent the switch from inadvertently changing into another mode, e.g. from Send (transmit) mode to Search or Off.

It’s mainly the older Pieps DSP models that have these “press to release tabs”, but also the DSP Sport which is still being sold.

The report concludes with the following advice, with the first 3 points equally applicable to all makes of transceiver:

  1. Physically inspect your avalanche transceiver periodically
  2. Confirm that the switch is locked into the Send position every time you put your transceiver into its harness.
  3. Insert your transceiver into its harness with the screen facing toward your body.
  4. Confirm that the sliding switch does not slide when the transceiver is in its harness and that the press-to-release tab won’t be inadvertently pressed.

Safety is Freedom!