Obsolete Gear


Upgrade your transceiver for any of these reasons:

  • 257 kHZ: This old frequency that was replaced by 457 kHz in the 1980s. If you still have one of these museum pieces, donate it.
  • Dual Frequency: from the 1980s transition era, these transceivers transmit and receive on both 457 and 2.257, but they don’t do either well. Get a modern transceiver.
  • Earphones: if your transceiver requires you to stick something in your ear, get one with a speaker.
  • No visual display: if you don’t have modern visuals, it’s time for a new transceiver.
  • Single antenna transceivers. I know lots of people are hesitant to upgrade because they’re “faster with their old transceiver,” they’re waiting “for the dust to settle” as new technologies standardize, or they just “don’t get out much”. Here’s why you should upgrade now:
    • Three antennae digital transceivers generally won’t find single antenna (analog) transceivers as well as digital units. That means if two people are buried close together, the one with the digital transceiver is likely to be isolated first.
    • In a multi-burial scenario, signal overlap can be a significantly bigger issue with old transceivers in the equation. Modern digital transceivers are slowed down.
    • Old analog transceivers send out fewer but longer signals. That means in any given period of time there is less information available to process. This slows down a digital transceiver. Consequently search speed slows down.
    • False maximum and complex deep burial problems aren’t an issue with modern three antenna transceivers except for extreme cases (where burial depth is greater than probe length).
    • Multiple burial problems are generally easier to solve with modern three antennae digital transceivers.
    • Even in simple scenarios search times are faster with digital units – once you’ve practiced and learned how to use it effectively.
    • Most manufacturers require preventative maintenance every three years to ensure they function properly. This is important because frequency drift, a broken antenna, or a myriad of other problems can affect performance causing the transceiver to fail. Your old transceiver should be costing you money (it could be more economical to just get a new transceiver – and learn how to use it effectively!)

If finances are truly a concern, we recommend you consider buying a used three antenna digital transceivers (which can be function tested at select retail outlets for a nominal fee) over a new single antennae transceiver.


Spring loaded ball that packs flat but expands to about the size of a soccer ball when deployed. It’s attached to your pack with a 3m cord. The idea is that the light ball remains on the surface so rescuers can quickly follow the cord to the buried person.


Old technology from an era before transceivers. People would drag a 50m cord marked with little distance and direction indicators. They hoped the cord would remain on the surface to aid rescuers. Thankfully, this is but a distant memory from the past.

Single or Dual Antenna Digital Transceivers

Dual antenna digital transceivers aren’t obsolete, but they’re dated. The current crop of three antenna digital transceivers provides clear advantages over previous generations.

Surprisingly, a single antenna digital transceiver exists. This kind of transceiver is being marketed as an inexpensive alternative for randonne racers and big mountain freeriders who duck out of bounds. We do not agree with this line of thinking, spend the extra money on a real transceiver!

If finances are truly a concern, we recommend you consider buying a used three antenna digital transceiver (which can be function tested at select retail outlets for a nominal fee).

Plastic Shovel

Plastic shovels do not perform well in avalanche debris and should be avoided. We strongly recommend a metal blade.


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