searching with the bca tracker3 avalanche beacon

Backcountry Access Tracker 3 Avalanche Beacon Review

 What is the tracker 3 avalanche beacon

The Backcountry access tracker 3 avalanche beacon is peace of mind.

It is a beacon for use in avalanche country, for any sport, skiing, snowboarding or snowmobiling.

Any time you go on the snow there is a chance of being caught in an avalanche, especially for the more adventurous.

When you go into the back country or off-piste to find that run no one has been down or looks perfect then unless you know the risks you are quite literally taking your life in your hands.

Before you do this, go on an avalanche training course, they don’t cost that much and at the end of the day – how much is your life worth.

But to do this you need equipment, safety equipment.

At a minimum a beacon, pole and shovel…ideally add an airbag and a comms transceiver.

So here we are talking about the bca tracker3 – the latest(2019) in the line of beacons from Backcountry access.

This is a smaller and lighter beacon than their last beacon the tracker2.

Adding features like , big picture, signal suppression, motion sensing auto revert ( prevents your beacon being stuck in receive mode) and the ability to upgrade your software.

Check out the video at the end for more information on these advanced features.

Who is the tracker 3 avalanche beacon for

This beacon is for anyone who values their life.

Being found or finding people who are buried alive under avalanches is no fun, and the first fifteen minutes are the most crucial.

So why not have the beacon which instructors rely on to help them find targets typically faster than other receivers can and if there are multiple burials has the features to help you locate them all fast.

With its 5 star rating on the bca site this is a beacon which you can rely upon.

Why choose the bca tracker3 avalanche beacon

When you need your beacon, you want it to work.

You need something others are using and have found it very reliable.

Here is a list of the benefits I could find, if you have any more please leave them in the comments below and i will update this list.

  • Long life in receive mode – one pack of batteries (3xAAA) will last 200+ hours in transmit mode.
  • A fresh pack of batteries will last over 50 hours in receive mode.
  • At switch on remaining battery life is shown.
  • Easy to use with gloved hands – mode switch and option switch are easily accessible.
  • Clear and easy to read led indicator, sunlight readable.
  • Real time display.
  • Multi signal indicator – showing whether there are multiple transmitters on.
  • Signal suppression – allows you to suppress the strongest signal.
  • Big picture mode – quick scan of all transmitters within range.
  • Search mode reminder – to warn if the beacon is left in receive mode for a long time.
  • Auto revert mode – to prevent leaving your beacon in receive mode.
  • Transmit on 457kHz – international standard frequency for avalanche beacons – will operate with other beacons.

Down sides

  • Advanced features will take longer to learn ( but will benefit others if you take the time to learn them).
  • Need a screwdriver to replace the batteries ( thumbscrew in older models)

 

How does the BCA tracker3 work

Transmit mode

After inserting the three AAA batteries, you can switch on the beacon into transmit or receive modes.

The switch an be operated with gloves on and has a lock to prevent mode changing.

When in transmit mode the beacon will last 200 plus hours continuously, with at least 1 hour of receive mode after this.

So if you are using the beacon 10 hours a day you have piece of mind that the beacon will last you at least 20 days on one set of batteries.

Slipping it into a zipped pocket or the harness and then doing up your jacket, the bca tracker3 will hardly be noticeable at a little over 7 oz’s.

Its small size of 4.5×2.8×0.9 in means that it will not restrict any of your movements or bulk you out under your  jacket.

Changing the mode switch to transmit is a case of holding the lock and rotating the mode switch.

Once in transmit you will be shown that it is operating by a light which will flash and the remaining battery power displayed briefly.

And that’s it for transmit.

Search mode

To change to search mode you will need to pull back the lock and rotate the mode switch to se.bca tracker 3 beacon into search mode

The display will flash se briefly until a signal is found.

When a signal is found the display will show the distance and the direction arrow shows the direction.

So you can see that the basic functions are very simple.

There are a few advanced functions in receive mode to assist you in rescuing your buddies.

There is the big picture mode ( press and hold the option button while in receive mode )

This shows all of the active beacons in the 50 meter reception radius.

The signal suppression option shows the direction and distance to the next closest transmitting beacon.

There is an auto revert mode ( only activated at switch on) where the beacon will revert to transmit after two minutes of non movement or 5 minutes of search (receive) mode.

As there is always a likelyhood of a secondary avalanche this mode will set your beacon to transmit without you having to change anything, as you may not be able to move.
.

 Overall

This is an avalanche beacon with a lot of features and capabilities, but remember it is just a part of staying safe out there.

The range, size, weight of this beacon mean that it is suitable for everyone who is at risk.

Training with this beacon will show whether you will be faster at finding other targets, and you need to refresh your training before every season…so get together with your buddies and set the beacons off and find them.

But this beacon with its range of features and upgradable software will future proof you for years to come.

The 5 year material and workmanship warranty shows that bca are sure of their build and quality.

Is it on your list of must haves this year? if not tell me what is and why, I would love to know.

So if your beacon is over five years old then it is about time to upgrade to one which will speed up your search times to help others.

Check out what people are saying on Amazon

Thanks for reading

phil

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