Item: Obsolescence and analog avalanche transceivers: ensuring downward compatibility
Title: Obsolescence and analog avalanche transceivers: ensuring downward compatibility
Proceedings: Proceedings of the 2004 International Snow Science Workshop, Jackson Hole, Wyoming
Authors: Bruce Edgerly & John Hereford, Backcountry Access, Inc., Boulder, CO 80301
Abstract: Between the new international standards adopted in 2001 and the aging of the world's fleet of analog avalanche transceivers, the time is approaching when older analog transceivers will need to be retired. As beacon manufacturers worldwide convert to digital technology, downward compatibility with aging analog beacons is gaining in importance. Transmit frequency precision and tight receiver tolerances aid in digital beacon performance. But transmit frequency "drift" is characteristic of aged and traumatized analog units; many no longer meet the new international standards. Our research indicates that many of the recently introduced digital transceivers don’t reliably detect older units transmitting outside the standards—or even new units whose frequency has been altered by physical abuse. To ensure downward compatibility and decrease risk, an international standard should be created for receiver bandwidth. Users should strongly consider receiver bandwidth when selecting new transceiver fleets. Those with analog fleets should institutionalize a regular inspection program with the manufacturer—and eventual replacement of that fleet with units containing high-quality crystal transmitters and wide receiver bandwidth.
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Keywords: avalanche transceivers, frequency drift, receiver bandwidth, downward compatibility
Digital Abstract Not Available