Backcountry Access BC Link Radio Review by Mike Soucy
Mike Soucy, IFMGA Licensed Mountain Guide, reviews the Backcountry Access BC Link radio.
This March, in the San Juan Mountains of Colorado, on the AMGA Ski Guides’ Course, I tested the Backcountry Access BC Link radio ($150).
These radios were used for backcountry ski guiding, but I’d also use them for mechanized ski guiding, and recreational ski touring/mountaineering—they’re an excellent choice for guiding or for recreational use
Backcountry Access BC Link radio.
The radios improve communication between guide and clients when visibility/voice contact may be compromised. The radios performed well, within their scope. Guides generally use a pre-programmed VHF radio to communicate to one another and to outside frequencies in case of emergency. This radio operates only on FRS (Family Radio/“talkabout” frequencies). Guides must therefore have an FRS frequency pre-programmed into their radio to communicate with clients using the BC Link. Once this is set up, it’s convenient and effective. Recreational users have a wide range of choices within the FRS band in which to communicate privately.
Instances in which the BC Link proved invaluable to us in the San Juans included poor visibility and high wind in the alpine, as well as variable snow conditions/coverage. In these situations, clear verbal communication improved both safety and enjoyment for skiers waiting above.
The BC Link radios function well. Range is estimated at 2.5 miles, when there is line of sight. We found this range to be functional even without line of sight on several occasions. We were pleasantly surprised when they performed better than expected. The Smart Mic speaker microphone with lapel clip is great. However, we did find that the settings dial (A–F) on the Smart Mic would too easily rotate to another setting while skiing. Overall, the BC Link is a great product for the recreational backcountry skier or for the guide to issue to clients.
•Excellent design, facilitating easy setup and use
•Easy-to-operate speaker mic
•Long battery life: 140 hours
•Compatibility with other FRS radios (i.e., talkabout)