So, while riding yesterday I noticed that my beacon switched itself to "search mode". I didn't hear it picking up my friends beacon while riding down so I have no idea how long I had been riding with it in search mode. I didn't realize it until I got back to the parking lot and I heard the beeping of it picking up other peoples' transmitting signals.
This has never happened to me before as far as I know so I'm hoping that this was just a fluke. I'll keep my eye on it for now see if it happens again.
Has this ever happened to anyone before? I'll admit, this is worrisome but, I'm not ready to throw this one out and invest in another as they are somewhat pricey. I went home and checked it with another beacon and everything seems to be functioning just fine.
The beacon in question is a BCA Tracker DTS. There is a big red button on the front of it that you have press and hold for it to switch from transmitting mode to search mode.
I've had past issues with my Tracker too. Once I checked it in the parking lot and it showed something like 93% battery life. After a short skin up, we stopped to do some beacon practice and I pulled it out and it was powered off and wouldn't turn on. The batteries were evidently dead because it came back on with new batteries. That was a little disconcerting.
I would recommend getting a new beacon and not one that is a BCA model. There has been a serious lack of quality control the last few years from BCA. It started with their packs about 4 years ago. Maybe longer and still not resolved. Seems that their beacons have also had issues.
I know several shop guys who stay away from their stuff for this reason. I hope the K2 acquisition reverses this trend, no doubt.
IF you get a new beacon, I'd recommend the Mammut PULSE Baryvox. There's no way you could by chance change between modes cause you have to press two sunk buttons with two fingers simultaneously to shift the modes and those buttons are sheltered by a cover if mounted. Also the search function is awsome. You can actually almost run to the searched object, its indicating 360° direction and distances and and and. Pricey but worth it. You save time when its most important.
The Pulse and the Pieps DSP are probably the two best ones out there right now. The Ortovox 3+ is nice too.
Though the problem described could happen with any beacon. Just because you have a switch doesn't mean there can't be a design flaw that causes the issue to happen. Less likely? Maybe, but there have been plenty of snafu's in the past.