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  1. #1
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    Miniaturizing beacon technology

    What would make beacons more useful,
    is making them more convenient to carry.
    Seems like a lot of plastic to me.

    I'd rather play safe than carry my beacon (Tracker).
    But I'd probably still be avy aware, and feel better prepared if I had my beacon on.

    So what makes these things so big?

    Has anyone dissected one?

    Can't they be made much smaller, thinner, lighter?
    [KURTZ] Hinterstoisser, you heavy bastard.
    [HINTERSTOISSER] You need to do more push-ups, Kurtz.

  2. #2
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    Spoke to a tech at ISPO last year: The length of the antennas is where itís at. You have 3 antennas in all three axis. One goes from top to bottom, one from left to right and The shortest one goes from the front to the back, so the thicker the beacon is the longer the z-antenna can be.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by puregravity View Post

    I'd rather play safe than carry my beacon (Tracker).
    Surely you can't be serious. I feel like a beacon on a harness just disappears once its been on a few minutes. Maybe I just have too much crap in my pack weighing me down?

  4. #4
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    I get the antenna logic. Z is thickness.

    But seriously, there has to be a better way. Wasn’t that long ago we didn’t have z axis on beacons. And the new beacons are better for sure, but I agree with op. There has to be a better tech that will be more convenient every day inbounds.

    How small are the transmit only dog beacons?
    If you’re not searching, cause your inbounds, how small could a beacon be?
    Recco receivers suck. It’s like finding a shoplifting passive tag.
    An active transmit only beacon could be easily stuffed in a pocket for inbounds everyday ski wear.
    ďLife has become immeasurably better since I have been forced to stop taking it seriously.Ē
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  5. #5
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    Small things are hard to use when you have big gloves on.....


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  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Core Shot View Post
    An active transmit only beacon could be easily stuffed in a pocket for inbounds everyday ski wear.
    Seems like we should be due for this tech as part of the pass that goes in your pocket that is sensed by the lift gate.

    Make it so.
    Well maybe I'm the faggot America
    I'm not a part of a redneck agenda

  7. #7
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    You can make a pretty small transmit only beacon. Look at the Pieps Backup:
    https://beaconreviews.com/Specs_PiepsBackup.php

    Recco is a pretty good solution for resorts and with practice you can get good with it. The 3rd victim in the Silver Mountain accident was found with a recco.
    When life gives you haters, make haterade.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Core Shot View Post
    I get the antenna logic. Z is thickness.

    But seriously, there has to be a better way. Wasnít that long ago we didnít have z axis on beacons. And the new beacons are better for sure, but I agree with op. There has to be a better tech that will be more convenient every day inbounds.

    How small are the transmit only dog beacons?
    If youíre not searching, cause your inbounds, how small could a beacon be?
    Recco receivers suck. Itís like finding a shoplifting passive tag.
    An active transmit only beacon could be easily stuffed in a pocket for inbounds everyday ski wear.
    In regards to if you arenít searching why three antennas: three antennas are still a good idea to get optimum coupling with the searching beacon. The plane of burial for a single or double antenna will drastically alter the readable distance of the signal. You will be found faster and more accurately while transmitting with three antennas.

    I agree with reccos not being ideal. I worked in the avalanche industry for a decade and trained on recco often. Itís occasionally alright, but certainly didnít feel definitive. The final victim in the Silver Mt. incident was found a day later, if I recall correctly.


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  9. #9
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    Don't most three antenna beacons search with all three antennas, but only transmit on one? A few years ago, the Ortovox S1+ was unique in that it selected the best of the three antennas to transmit based on burial position. Haven't kept up on it, maybe more brands now have that feature.

  10. #10
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    Ah, maybe so! I have some reading to do.


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    Gravity always wins...

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by 1000-oaks View Post
    Don't most three antenna beacons search with all three antennas, but only transmit on one? A few years ago, the Ortovox S1+ was unique in that it selected the best of the three antennas to transmit based on burial position. Haven't kept up on it, maybe more brands now have that feature.
    From BeaconReview.com:
    All avalanche transceivers transmit on one antenna. However, the Ortovox 3+, S1+, and Zoom+ have a unique feature wherein they select which antenna they will transmit on based on the transceiver's physical orientation. This can potentially increase the distance where searcher will receive the signal. The Pieps DSP Sport and DSP Pro have a feature where they will transmit on the second antenna if the primary antenna senses interference.

    It seems like it was a stop gap for dealing with older single antenna beacons?
    When life gives you haters, make haterade.

  12. #12
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    Biggest thing holding back innovation is this is a niche market. We all have cell phones but very few have avalanche transceivers. Need more $ to pay the engineers. I think the peips micro is the smallest out right now.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by sfotex View Post
    It seems like it was a stop gap for dealing with older single antenna beacons?
    It's to help any searching beacon.
    The idea is to avoid transmitting on a vertically oriented antenna, which will have suboptimal alignment with the beacon of any rescuing (except for a searcher coming in on parachute or base jump).

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by skisurfmirth View Post
    I think the peips micro is the smallest out right now.
    Now tied with this new model:
    https://skimo.co/arva-evo5-beacon#tab-review

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jonathan S. View Post
    I which will have suboptimal alignment with the beacon of any rescuing (except for a searcher coming in on parachute or base jump).
    That is the fastest way to reach a victim though. Rescue at the speed of terminal velocity!

  16. #16
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    Antenna size and frequency are related.
    At 457 kHz, the antenna must be huge.
    They use carrier keying every second, so battery use on transmit is very low.

    So it is obviously a fraction wavelength antenna,
    and as such, perhaps can be further miniaturized.

    All beacons with FCC approval are available at the FCC site:

    Pieps DSP 03
    https://fccid.io/REMDSP03/Internal-P...photos-2980145

    BCA Tracker 2
    https://fccid.io/OUNT2/Internal-Phot...photos-1160437
    [KURTZ] Hinterstoisser, you heavy bastard.
    [HINTERSTOISSER] You need to do more push-ups, Kurtz.

  17. #17
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    In the Silver Mountain avalanche thread thereís a discussion about Recco locators in Austria and elsewhere. In 1991 I bought a Degrť 7 jacket that had recco plastic devices so this technology still hasnít advanced much.
    I realize itís a niche market but unless we start talking about it...
    Well maybe I'm the faggot America
    I'm not a part of a redneck agenda

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by plugboots View Post
    In the Silver Mountain avalanche thread there’s a discussion about Recco locators in Austria and elsewhere. In 1991 I bought a Degrť 7 jacket that had recco plastic devices so this technology still hasn’t advanced much.
    I realize it’s a niche market but unless we start talking about it...
    If they can make a Recco passive tag that is thin and light,
    then making an active tag is also possible.
    Not sure what the limitations are, of the frequencies chosen and how that changes what the possibilities are.
    [KURTZ] Hinterstoisser, you heavy bastard.
    [HINTERSTOISSER] You need to do more push-ups, Kurtz.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by puregravity View Post
    If they can make a Recco passive tag that is thin and light,
    then making an active tag is also possible.
    Not sure what the limitations are, of the frequencies chosen and how that changes what the possibilities are.
    What do you mean by an active tag? Recco detectors are actually a pulse harmonic UHF RADAR unit that emits around 900MHz (at about 1 or 1.5ish watts in the handlheld units that weigh about 1kg) and listens at about 1.8GHz giving the pulse returns as analog audio. It only works at range (particularly at those frequencies) because it is has a large antenna and a large battery compared to a 457KHz beacon and is made to operate for a much shorter period of time. They have a 5 figure cost so it is only economical because very few detectors are made while tons of reflectors are sold with a good profit margin.

    The beauty of RECCO is that the reflector tabs cost very little because they are just a little frequency doubling dipole antenna made of foil and a cheap diode. They require no turning on, can be sealed and washed, and are durable.

    As soon as you say "active tag" you mean powered and now you have more parts, costs, on-off switch, battery, and what your are describing is a transmitter... like say.. an avalanche beacon.
    Quote Originally Posted by blurred
    skiing is hiking all day so that you can ski on shitty gear for 5 minutes.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by skisurfmirth View Post
    Biggest thing holding back innovation is this is a niche market. We all have cell phones but very few have avalanche transceivers. Need more $ to pay the engineers. I think the peips micro is the smallest out right now.
    I don't think the issue is money. I doubt you can make significant changes without changing to a new, incompatible, standard. Then the issue is would the benefits of the new standard beacons be so great that it is worth many years of the very real danger of trying to search for a victim with an incompatible beacon.

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by plugboots View Post
    In 1991 I bought a Degrť 7 jacket that had recco plastic devices so this technology still hasn’t advanced much.
    So what you are saying you owned a mono board back then and wore headbands exclusively, and had long hair.

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by Summit View Post
    What do you mean by an active tag? Recco detectors are actually a pulse harmonic UHF RADAR unit that emits around 900MHz (at about 1 or 1.5ish watts in the handlheld units that weigh about 1kg) and listens at about 1.8GHz giving the pulse returns as analog audio. It only works at range (particularly at those frequencies) because it is has a large antenna and a large battery compared to a 457KHz beacon and is made to operate for a much shorter period of time. They have a 5 figure cost so it is only economical because very few detectors are made while tons of reflectors are sold with a good profit margin.

    The beauty of RECCO is that the reflector tabs cost very little because they are just a little frequency doubling dipole antenna made of foil and a cheap diode. They require no turning on, can be sealed and washed, and are durable.

    As soon as you say "active tag" you mean powered and now you have more parts, costs, on-off switch, battery, and what your are describing is a transmitter... like say.. an avalanche beacon.
    This.

    For a guy with gravity in his name, he sure doesn't understand much about physics.
    Quote Originally Posted by XXX-er View Post
    the situation strikes me as WAY too much drama at this point

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by muted View Post
    So what you are saying you owned a mono board back then and wore headbands exclusively, and had long hair.
    Cíest moi.
    Well maybe I'm the faggot America
    I'm not a part of a redneck agenda

  24. #24
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    [PG's advocate]An "active" Recco tag could simply be a regular one with a very small battery and amplifier, which could still be very cheap and sealed--depending on how long you wanted the battery to last. Lots of ways to recharge, too, of course, but requiring user interaction heads toward Summit's point, so pick a real passive one. Unless the 900 MHz frequency is encountered so rarely that the battery lasts really long anyway. [/PG's advocate]

    Third victim at Silver was found dead and two others found before her also did not survive, so bringing out the Recco for a timely rescue does seem unlikely--a single example after all these years? Not sure I'd want to go down that path at all.

  25. #25
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    While the backup isn't meant to be used without a regular beacon, it shows how small you can go..Click image for larger version. 

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    When life gives you haters, make haterade.

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