When adventurous skiers and snowboarders venture into the backcountry, one of the most important pieces of gear that they carry with them is an avalanche beacon or transceiver. These devices produce a pulsed radio signal that can detect other beacons nearby, making it much easier to find someone who is buried under a mountain of snow by an avalanche. Skiers carrying a transceiver are far more likely to be found and rescued than those without one, which is why it is vital that they work properly at all times.
To that end, Avalanche transceiver manufacturer Ortovox has issued what it calls a “precautionary” recall of its 3+ models of beacons. In a statement posted to its website, the company says that a bug in the device’s software has been discovered that could put users at risk. All devices running Ortovox software 2.1 are part of the recall. The error found in the code could potentially cause the device to temporarily stop transmitting a signal, which in theory could be the difference between life and death during a search and rescue operation.
Ortovox says that there have been no known accidents due to this software bug, but in order to maintain a full level of safety, it is urging all 3+ owners running the problematic software to return their devices for an update. Version 2.2 of the software reportedly addresses the problem, ensuring that this all-important piece of gear continues to function as expected during emergency situations.
In order to determine which version of the software your Ortovox 3+ transceiver is currently running, move the “search/send” switch to the “send” position. The button must be pushed in for it to properly display the information that you’re looking for. Next, switch the device on and watch the screen during its boot-up cycle. It will first display the 10-digit serial number for the beacon, followed by a display test screen and the remaining battery life. Finally, it will also show the version of the installed software. If your beacon happens to be running version 2.1, your device is covered under the recall. If the software is 1.1, 2.0, or 2.2, it is not affected. If no number is shown, the transceiver is running version 1.0 and is also not affected.
To find out more, including how to contact Ortovox to have your device updated, visit the company’s website.