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Black Diamond Recon BT Avalanche Transceiver | Review

Black Diamond have looked to clean up the Recon BT to make an extremely user friendly unit

Weight: 210 g
Size : 115 x 75 x 28 mm
Battery Life: 200 hours send mode
Search Width: 60 m
Maximum Range: 60 m
Power Supply: 3x AAA Batteries
Price: £260

Website: blackdiamondequipment.com

Many of you might be surprised to see the American based Black Diamond make their move into the transceiver world – experienced ski tourers usually prefer to go with equally experienced companies like Ortovox, Mammut, and Pieps for their transceivers, afterall.

Fear not. Black Diamond are actually entering the avalanche transceiver market with a whole wealth of experience behind them. The Recon BT, you see, is in fact a Pieps Powder BT transceiver; something that should keep the core touring audience happy.

“A huge plus point that we loved about the Recon BT transceiver was its clean and simple design”

Right, so what’s so great about a rebranded Pieps transceiver? Well, Pieps have long been producing avalanche safety equipment so they know what they’re doing. First beginning their research and development back in 1967, a year before the world’s first transceiver was produced, they released their first transceiver five years later. This is a company that doesn’t rush when it comes to producing avalanche safety equipment. They know what they’re doing, and they do it extremely well. With that in mind, you can feel you’re onto a sure thing when putting your trust in the Recon BT.

A huge plus point that we loved about the Recon BT transceiver was its clean and simple design. There’s something to be said for transceivers that manage to build a housing and display which provides you with the important stuff and nothing more. Afterall, you don’t want to be faffing about if something goes wrong in the backcountry.

The “BT” part of the Recon stands for bluetooth capabilities. This lets you pair the transceiver with your phone via the Pieps app, giving you full control over the changeable features on the Recon BT.

The ability to update your transceiver via bluetooth is a novel, yet extremely handy feature. We’ve all seen friends having to send their Ortovox 3+ transceivers away because they were carrying the wrong software. The bluetooth element allows for efficient updates on the fly.

The screen displays the usual information you’d expect from a modern-day three antenna digital transceiver: multiple burials, flag feature, direction and distance are all clearly shown in the square screen.

As has often been the case with the classic Pieps transceivers, the button that switches the transceiver from send to search is located on the right hand side and can be tricky to use. This is due to the ‘sticky’ feeling of said button.

“A good avalanche transceiver is only as effective as the user operating it”

Also, whilst on search mode, it can be quite easy to revert back to send mode. Whilst we can see why Pieps / Black Diamond have done this (easily reverting back to sending a signal is essential whilst searching), we could see its implementation here becoming frustrating and potentially costing valuable time when you need it most.

Saying all this, a good avalanche transceiver is only as effective as the user operating it. Get yourself out there on an avalanche safety course to practice how to effectively and efficiently rescue your companions if the worst case happens.

Practice makes perfect so make sure you stay familiar with your transceiver as this familiarity can be key to an efficient and successful rescue. Don’t have snow where you live? No worries. Bury one or two space transceivers in a pile of leaves and search for them using your shiny new transceiver. It’ll help you become attuned to the equipment’s workings.

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