Friday, December 6, 2013

TECH TIPS: Perfecting Intelligent Search 4.0.

In the past several years, digital beacon technology has come a long way. At this point, even a first time user can usually perform a COARSE SEARCH for a single buried companion in a very short amount of time.

However, the FINE SEARCH still has a tendency to befuddle all but the most practiced users. Common errors include failing to check all four sides of the grid, erratically waving the beacon, and moving from standing to kneeling positions.

PULSE 4.0 Intelligent Search (labeled "assisted" in the settings) provides a fast, accurate, and efficient assisted FINE SEARCH which makes it much more difficult to fall into one of the aforementioned traps. In fact, it performs so well, that I believe professionals will also find the new update to be of great use.

There are, however, some guidelines to using Intelligent Search properly.

4.0 Intelligent Search compares information received from three different antennas to determine the approximate distance and depth of the buried subject. Accordingly, it will ask you to retrace your steps from time to time to ensure accurate information. If you refuse to do this when asked, you will throw the Intelligent Search mode off--Intelligent Search will now do its best to re-calibrate its destination (much like a GPS in a car when you refuse to follow its advise) but after 2 minutes of failure to find a new route, it will defer to the default CROSS icon, meaning it is time to perform a standard grid-search. If you have used Intelligent Search properly, you will be given a probe icon when you arrive at your destination--you have completed the Fine Search and it is now time to perform the Pinpoint Search with the probe.

So, here are some simple tips to keep you on track.

Trust the system:
1. Follow the arrows until they instruct you to change directions or backtrack (even if the numbers are going up!) The beacon is acquiring information that will save you time eventually. Accordingly, be sure to change directions when indicated.

2. Don't try to outsmart the beacon or you will simply waste time and have to do a standard grid search after said time is wasted. If this is your preference, turn Intelligent Search off. When familiarizing yourself with the new firmware, give it a chance. For it to work, you must trust it.

3. Keep your distance above the snow surface consistent. Especially when backtracking.

4. Keep the orientation of the beacon consistent. Do not turn the beacon at all (even rotating the unit 180 degrees will cause problems.)

If you refuse to follow the arrows, if you fail to keep your grid lines consistent and perpendicular, you will throw the system off. The system will give you several attempts to search correctly before defaulting into the CROSS icon, at which time you must revert to a standard grid search.

Of course, if you prefer to use traditional methods, you can go to the START MENU and change the settings so that below 3 meters you have a CROSS icon, or the ARROW, or the LANDING STRIP.


  1. What do you do when you get an arrow that points in 2 directions, and not the cross symbol?

  2. cbosch, sorry for the late reply, just caught this. I believe you are referring to the 2-directional arrow that can appear during the fine search when using the "intelligent fine search" feature. This is illustrated and covered in the Pulse reference manual, it's page 42 in the Manual, which can be found here:

    Here's what it says:
    "Direction indication on the horizontal
    axis when the deviation
    point to the vertical axis, respectively
    to start pinpointing (probing)
    could not be conclusively determined in the first
    search sequence. Reduce the search speed and
    repeat the search on the horizontal axis by holding
    the device directly above the snow surface."

    In short, it likely means you need to slow down and concentrate on doing as precise a fine-search as possible and repeat the horizontal-axis fine search you just did--doing this will get you to a probe-location faster. Hope this helps!

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