AUTOMATICALLY SWITCHING FROM SEARCH TO SEND
“Auto-Revert Search-to-Send“, hereinafter reffered to as „AR“, is an additional function in avalanche beacons with the following goal: Getting caught and buried by an avalanche with a beacon in SEARCH mode, the AR function provides automatically switching from SEARCH to SEND.
Originally only time controlled, the technical implementation is now time and movement controlled in modern avalanche transceivers. That means that the switching s performed after a defined time unless the Pieps is without movement.
The automatic switching is announced by a more or less significant warning. In this period, the switch can be manually aborted either by an active keystroke or conscious transceiver movement to maintain the SEARCH mode.
PIEPS AR DISPLAY
During activation of AR on your PIEPS DSP PRO / PIEPS DSP PRO ICE / PIEPS DSP SPORT, it is displayed in SEND-Mode. The signals “SEND” and “AR” are rotating.
FUNCTIONALITY WITH PIEPS DSP PRO AND PIEPS DSP PRO ICE
The AR function will not be initiated while you are in motion with your PIEPS DSP PRO / PIEPS DSP PRO ICE.
FUNCTIONALITY WITH PIEPS DSP SPORT
The AR function is initiated on the PIEPS DSP SPORT after 3:30 minutes. An exception occurs if you are already in the fine search to a transmitter, i.e. in the close range < 6m. The PIEPS DSP SPORT recognizes the situation – the AR function is not initiated in this case.
During the warning phase, the AR initialization can be interrupted manually as follows:
PIEPS DSP PRO / PIEPS DSP PRO ICE: by shaking the instrument briefly or by pressing the MARK key.
DSP SPORT: by pressing the MARK key
After switching, the AR-SEND mode can no longer be interrupted manually – your PIEPS DSP PRO / PIEPS DSP PRO ICE / PIEPS DSP SPORT will then transmit permanently including a warning tone until it is either switched off (OFF) or manually switched to SEND.
Basically, the AR function serves professional rescuers who have to take an increased risk at avalanche rescue operations. Not always the operation area can be evaluated as safe when nearby slopes are unloaded or the current avalanche slope is again filled with snow and is to be expected with any “secondary avalanche”.
The AR function can help in the rarely occurring case of a “secondary avalanche” to save lives, but significantly often leads to major problems in search operations (training or emergency):.
- AR is useless, if the transceiver gets lost during the accident – it starts transmitting far away from the buried victim! Avalanche transceiver safety cords have to support not more than 5kg according to the standard.
- Long delay times! Rescuers who stayed outside of the avalanche have to wait up to 8min (!), depending on transceiver type and setting, until the victim´s AR function initializes SEND mode.
- Suddenly occurring, misleading transmit signals on the avalanche field are unfortunately the rule! Also transceivers with movement controlled AR function start transmitting once they´re without movement (e.g. laid apart by accident).
- Confusion caused by AR warn signal! Specific training with exactly this situation is necessary to be able to interpret the warning correctly and to ensure effective acting.
- Incorrect or not noticing the AR warn signal! For example caused by lack of familiarity with the function or just by loud background noise as helicopter rotors
PIEPS SAFETY TIP
By providing „Auto-Revert Search-to-Send“ for the PIEPS DSP PRO, PIEPS has responded to the problems described above and now offers an AR function that is different from all others: long warn period and short delay time.
Based on these reasons the PIEPS DSP (2003-2013) never got equipped with an AR function, even it would have been easy by a firmware update. Instead, PIEPS looked for a 100% solution and finally developed the PIEPS BACKUP mini transmitter, which meets all requirements of a backup function. Professional organizations as the ÖAMTC Helicopter Rescue (Austria) or the REGA Helicopter Rescue in Zermatt (Switzerland) are equipped with the PIEPS BACKUP and they have the AR function disabled on their transceivers!
However, PIEPS wants to specifically point out, that any Auto-Revert function Search-to-Send only provides limited protection in case of a “secondary avalanche”!