Pieps DSP Pro ReviewNovember 19, 2014
- Circular, 50+m Range
- Above average distance accuracy
- Improved Mark function
- Slope Clinometer
- Easily confused in 3+ scenarios
- Slow response time in close
With their Pieps DSP Pro transceiver, Pieps appears to have traded off a bit of range for improved reliability in multiple victim searches. The marking function is clearly improved, especially in the presence of older, noisy analog beacons. A new case with a redesigned on/off switch improves ergonomics too.
Although Pieps no longer stands as king of hill in terms of maximum range, they do offer a solid 52+ meter range with a circular receive pattern, which does not favor one orientation over another as every other beacon does to some degree.
The harness is improved over older models, with a simple sling design and a molded pouch to hold the beacon. If you prefer, a tether is provided to clip to a belt loop if you store the beacon euro-style in a pants pocket. To switch on, slide the side sleeve up while depressing the locking tab. The DSP Pro runs through a quick self-check showing the firmware version, then says OK, and begins transmitting. Two membrane buttons adorn the face. The flag is for marking signals found, and the other button allows special functions like a scanning to determine how many beacons are within a 5-, 20-, and 50-meter radius, or do a group check, check frequency deviation, search for an alternate frequency dog-beacon, or measure the angle of the slope you’re on.
To begin searching, move the slider up another notch and begin searching for a signal. If it’s within 50 meters you’ll find it pretty quick. Inside of 45 meters the DSP Pro (or Sport) will provide a fairly accurate distance reading, with a small amount of digital bounce throughout its range.
Once the signal is found, move in the direction indicated and make sure the numbers decline. There is no back up indicator if you go in the wrong direction, but the direction arrows are reliably accurate and unlikely to send you on a wild goose chase.
When you get close, less than five meters, slow down. If there is a weakness to the DSP Pro it is response time. When you get close the display is indicating a distance and direction that is averaged, so fast movements can yield erroneous readings.
Like many other beacons, the DSP Pro (or Sport) will beep in time with the strongest signal received. Inside of 10 meters the beeps progressively increase in frequency and pitch as you get closer.
When there is more than one signal the DSP Pro will usually indicate that in the 40-20 meter range by adding a second icon along the bottom of the display, or showing three dots after the first three victim icons to indicate it thinks it sees another, but isn’t totally sure. These three dots are common with noisy analog signals inside of 10 meters, so be aware, not being certain isn’t a flaw, it’s a clue to the nature of the signal it “hears.”
The single best improvement in the DSP Pro is how reliably it marks signals now. When the signal is less than 5 meters way simply press the flag button momentarily and it will mark that signal and ignore it thereafter so you can focus on the next one. Occasionally the DSP Pro did still have trouble marking a noisy analog beacon when other beacons were nearby, but not when closer than 3 meters to the noisy signal.
On the basis of comparison for the essential features, range, reliability, ease of use, and ability to help sort through the confusion of multiple signals the DSP Pro and Scout are top notch. The clinometer gives them some value beyond being merely a rescue device.