Avalanche Snowmobile Transceivers
Guide and Tips

Avalanche Snowmobile Transceivers, Complete Guide

Snowmobile transceivers are vital safety devices and many of us don’t know how to use them. Proper use of this gear can deliver better and more effective results. They are a critical piece of safety equipment for backcountry skiers, snowboarders, and snowmobilers. Avalanche snowmobile transceivers are used to locate individuals who are buried in an avalanche while snowmobiling.

There are different avalanche snowmobile transceivers and they can mean the difference between life and death if an avalanche occurs. Survival literally relies on how quickly rescuers can identify and excavate a buried avalanche victim. Many of us play or travel in snowy backcountry areas in winter for different purposes. You and your companions should carry avalanche snowmobile transceivers while riding on trails.

Learn how to use avalanche snowmobile transceivers and save yourself from Snowmobile Injuries.

How do Avalanche Transceivers work?

Avalanche snowmobile transceivers work by emitting a signal that can be picked up by other transceivers, making it possible to locate a buried snowmobiler. In the event of an avalanche, the victim should activate the transceiver’s “send” mode to start emitting the signal. Other individuals in the area can then use their snowmobile transceivers to search for the signal and locate the buried person.

All avalanche snowmobile transceivers today operate on the same international standard of 457 kHz, so you don’t need to get the same brand and/or model as others in your group. You also don’t need to pay a premium price unless you want a unit with more advanced features.

As a snowmobiler you should use a pro-west and your transceiver should be in the front pocket of your west. What’s nice about this is that it’s really easy to access for doing transceiving checks and you don’t have to dig underlayer in emergencies. You can search on your snowmobile and you will have quick access to your avalanche snowmobile transceivers.

Tips on Using a Transceivers

  1. Always carry your avalanche snowmobile transceivers close to your body.
  2. Wear your snowmobile transceivers at least 20cm away from anything electronic, metallic, or magnetic.
  3. It should also be worn underneath your outer layer of clothing, close to your torso, and not stowed in a pack.
  4. If you choose to carry your transceiver in a pocket, this is only acceptable in a securely zipped pocket.
  5. Increase the distance when searching and hold your transceiver at least 50cm away from all electronic, magnetic, and metallic devices.
  6. Always keep your avalanche snowmobile transceiver in send mode (until a search is needed).
  7. Avoid carrying other electronic devices such as cell phones or a radio close to your transceiver. Such devices can interfere with search and transmit signals. 

Searching with Snowmobiles

Whenever you search with snowmobiles you should maintain a wider distance from your sled for perfect and helpful results. You have to stay at least 3M away from your snowmobile during transceiver research.

Avalanche Snowmobile Transceivers

When using most communication devices, including analog and FRS-band VHF radios, stay at least 50cm away from the searching transceiver. When using a digital VHF radio, stay at least 1M away from a searching transceiver.

Measuring Techniques Searching with Snowmobile

When searching for a buried individual using an avalanche transceiver, it’s important to follow proper measuring techniques to ensure the fastest and most efficient search possible. Here are some tips for measuring during a snowmobile search.

Snowmobile transceivers
  1. Begin by searching in a broad area around the last known location of the buried individual.
  2. This will help you quickly eliminate large sections of the search area and narrow down the location of the signal.
  3. Once you have narrowed down the search area, switch to a narrower search pattern. Move slowly and methodically, paying close attention to the signal on your transceiver.
  4. It’s important to check both the horizontal and vertical distances to the signal.
  5. Keep moving in the direction of the strongest signal.
  6. Having multiple individuals search with their avalanche snowmobile transceivers will provide additional confirmation.

Best Battery for Transceivers

A few avalanche snowmobile transceivers have technology that allows them to deliver a uniformly dependable battery-level display with lithium batteries. If that’s the case, the manual will specify lithium batteries.

Always use the type of batteries recommended in your user manual.

Most snowmobile transceivers require replaceable alkaline batteries. While alkaline batteries drain more quickly in cold temperatures than lithium batteries. They offer a key advantage in that their energy drain is gradual, as opposed to lithium batteries which maintain a high charge level until it drops precipitously. Alkaline batteries make it possible to provide a reliable battery level readout on a transceiver, which is critical because you don’t want your batteries suddenly dying during a search.


If you follow the proper measuring techniques that we’ve discusses when searching for a buried individual with an avalanche snowmobile transceiver. Always Perform a Trailhead Transceiver Check. It will greatly increase the chances of a successful rescue. It’s important to take the time to familiarize yourself with your transceiver and to regularly practice using it.

Never forget to carry your avalanche snowmobile transceivers because they are lifesavers in challenging and difficult situations.


Difference :

These beacons are different from avalanche transceivers in that they are not emitting a constant series of pulses. They are not transmitting all the time, and only use battery power when they are activated.

Working :

Companions with transceivers can switch them to “search” mode to locate a buried person’s signal, and with a probe help them pinpoint exactly where to dig.

How long it lasts :

Battery power in a Tracker Avalanche Transceiver will last approximately 250 hours in transmit mode or 50 hours in search mode–and a minimum of one (1) hour in search mode after 200 hours in transmit mode.

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