Go Pro Warning for Transceiver users

Quick warning for Transceiver users.

There is potential interference from a Go Pro camera and any modern digital avalanche transceiver.

I noticed it when testing an Ortovox Zoom, although it also affects the Tracker 2 and no doubt other brands.

The problem occurs when searching and bringing the camera within 30-40cm of the transceiver. This naturally occurs when the Go pro is on a chest mount or on your head.

Basically you will get erratic behaviour from the transceiver which in a rescue situation will confuse you and be potentially life threatening.

It’s well known the impact mobile phones can have but you also need to be aware of cameras.

So our advice is to turn off any such devices before you search. We don’t want any head cam footage of real life searchers getting confused.

See the below video for a brief 2 minute demo of the issue.

11 comments

  1. A GoPro shouldn’t be switched on any time you’re in the situation to be the searcher. Either at the top of a line while your partner skis (you wouldn’t film this) or while skiing together (which you wouldn’t do in avalanche terrain).

    Other sources have since proved that most devices do not influence the transmitting transceiver.

  2. Lorne, it would be likely because at the time of an accident, due to the shock of the event, normal thinking i.e. “must turn off my GoPro” can go out the window for a lot of people esp. if not well trained in rescue scenarios.

  3. Well I disagree, but no point arguing, eh? Would you be able to test the situation of a victim with running GoPro, and if this affects the accuracy of initial and pinpoint searches?

    Appreciate bringing this issue to attention.

  4. OK, lots of feedback. It’s good to see so much interest.

    Felix:

    I only tested the situation when the searcher is using a go pro. I don’t think it will affect transmitting users if they get buried.

    This is because the interference from the Go Pro is very weak. It can only be picked up by a searching transceiver within 20-40cm . Remember that your searching transceiver is trying to pick up a potential signal from 40m away, so it is designed to pick up weak signals.

    When you are buried you will be giving out a strong signal from your transceiver which is massively stronger than any interference from other electrical devices you may have. However next time I do some testing I’ll check that out for sure.

    Lorne: “Your test only recreates the scenario of a searcher with a running GoPro, who is looking for another victim, which isnít a very likely situation. ”

    Sorry but I disagree. I think it is very likely that people will be searching with a working GoPro.

    Hopefully people will now turn them off as the first thing they do when a search situation arises.

    In summary what I am saying is:
    “Searching with a transceiver can be compromised by the searcher having any electrical item in proximity to their transceiver. This is generally well known with phones. I’m just adding Cameras to that list. This is important as a lot of powder skiers seem to use these cameras and when running they can be located very close to the transceiver when searching.”

  5. Your test only recreates the scenario of a searcher with a running GoPro, who is looking for another victim, which isn’t a very likely situation. The more important test would be to recreate the scenario of a buried victim who has a GoPro running while someone else tries to search for them. Could you comment on this?

  6. Not good.

    On the other hand: Would you be able to find buried people without transceivers who have their GoPros on?

  7. I wonder would this effect be exacerbated with the new GoPro Hero 3’s that have WiFi functionality.

    Also it would be interesting to see if any other types of cameras cause similar interference.

    Paul

  8. Neil,
    We’ve posted it on their Facebook page but not had a response, It’s also been posted to Twitter. I’m not sure who’d be best to contact apart from that.

    Cheers,
    Sam

  9. Interference with transceivers is far more common than most people realise. EVERY electrical device has an electromagnetic field, and these can interfere with transceivers.

    Previous problems have been found with radios, mobile phones and GPS. Thanks for highlighting the issue with GoPro.

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