Page 4 of 8
Search-strip Width: 50 meters
This season, the Pulse software update provides user-friendly display refinements, increased range, and two user profiles: “Advanced,” similar to earlier versions, and “Basic” with fewer settings and controls. Buried Pulse units transmit information (to receiving Pulse beacons) about victims’ tiny movements, alerting searchers to live burials. Older software can be upgraded for $30 at a retailer, or by returning the unit to Mammut USA.
The Pulse had the highest average range of any beacon tested, at 42.2 meters, and the upgraded software improved the lowest 10% range average by seven meters over previous versions, to 25.5 meters, placing it on par with the Tracker2 and DSP. An audio indicator alerts the user when the Pulse first picks up a signal during the initial search.
Using its compass to compensate for small, inadvertent user rotations, the Pulse’s “floating” directional arrow doesn’t jump around. The pro noted, “I feel like this is ‘steering’ me right in, better than others.” The distance numbers are noisy at the longest ranges, but settle quickly and decrease smoothly.
While the pinpoint distance numbers change smoothly, even at close range, it’s the audio that sold the testers. Frequency and pitch increases as distance to the victim decreases (and vice versa), and the clear feedback on whether they were going in the right direction was intuitive for all the testers, pro to eight-year-old.
The marking feature worked well in all test cases, including the difficult close burial of three transmitters separated by 1.5 and 3 meters. The pro described its performance on multiples in one word: “solid.”
The Pulse uses a plastic beacon holder to help detect the small breathing movements of a buried victim for the Pulse triage feature. The straps are lightweight and comfortable. But two testers commented that they didn’t like the off/send/search switch, and said it was unnecessarily complicated.
The beacon did everything well for everyone: the pro liked how it handled multiples, and its reliable long-distance “steering”; Tester C liked the floating arrow and superior audio pinpointing, and the analytical professor chose it based on its total package of range, pinpointing and multiples.
Mode switch and price.