Beacons, Transceivers, Mountain Radios & Gear Hire

All communication systems have limitations. Ideally at least two different types of emergency alert systems should be carried. Ensure all group members know how to use the devices.

Avalanche Transceivers

Several models of transceivers are imported into New Zealand. All 457KHz models are compatible with each other, but some models are better at finding different types of transceivers than others. Some models are better at searching for multiple burials than others. Each has its own way of working. It is important to know how to use these features on your transceiver. It is also important to know how to use the generic search techniques. Please visit these links for more information on transceivers and training:
New Zealand Mountain Safety Council

Avalanche Transceiver Hire: North Island

Also check out the NZAC Club Sections (Auckland, Central North Island, Wellington, Otago & South Canterbury) listed below under Gear Hire.

Matamata: James Gordon Trust
Taumaranui: NZ Mountain Safety Council, 07 895 4445
Wellington: Wellington Avalanche Transceiver Trust
vzintzen [at] yahoo [dot] fr (Wellington Section)
Nationwide - Bivouac Outdoor

Avalanche Transceiver hire: South Island

North Otago: 4x Ortovox M2 avalanche transceivers for hire ($5/day members, $10 non) Email: shearer [at] es [dot] co [dot] nz (Nick Shearer) or call 03 434 5946
Mount Cook: Alpine Guides Ltd
(note: availability can depend on whether they are heli-skiing at the time
NZ Mountain Safety Council Offices:
Canterbury, Wakatipu, & Southland
Canterbury Westland Section - see gear list below
Nationwide - Bivouac Outdoor

EPIRB Personal Locator Beacons

When you're in trouble 406MHz makes you easier to find.
New Zealand's rugged landscapes and wild unpredictable weather can be deceptively dangerous, so be prepared. If you get into trouble, a correctly registered 406MHz distress beacon could save your life, or the life of someone close to you. A 406MHz beacon is faster, more accurate and more reliable.

Important changes to the satellite system:
If you have a 121.5MHz distress beacon, which may also be called an EPIRB (Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon), PLB (Personal Locator Beacon), or ELT (Emergency Locator Transmitter) you need to switch to a 406MHz distress beacon. The old system will cease to be monitored in February 2009.

For more information on how the new system will work please read the following facts sheet:
Distress Beacons Upgrade Information (PDF, 13KB)

For more information on beacons and mountain radios see:
NZMSC Radio Communications Information Page

It is important that old beacons are disposed of correctly. Here is a list of outlets that will do this: Beacon Disposal

Beacon Hire 

Rescue Beacon Hire

406 Beacon Hire

Locator Beacons

Back Country Hire

Adventure Buddy 

HireABoat - beacon hire

Turangi: Sporting Life 07 386 8996

vzintzen [at] yahoo [dot] fr (Wellington Section)

Nelson: Nelson Area Locator Beacon Trust Sandy Vincent, Secretary 03 528 6868

For a list of suppliers, please view this Brochure (2010) Personal Loacator Beacons (PDF 961kb)

Christchurch: Mapworld 03 374 5399, 0800 627967 , 406 Beacon Hire 0800 4064473, 
HireABoat 0508 447 324 

Canterbury Westland Section - see gear list below

Mount Cook: DoC, Aoraki/Mt Cook National Park Visitor Centre 03 435 1186

Arthur's Pass: DoC, Arthur's Pass National Park Visitor Centre 03 318 9211

South Canterbury Section have two for hire: Phone Gary Brehaut 03 688 9399

Otago Section have two for hire at $5 per day to section members: Phone Keith Moffat 027 6644037

Southland Locator Beacon Ltd Charitable Trust hire out through the following outlets in the lower South Island. Other Mainland outlets are listed on their website. The Trust can also be contacted direct via email:
beacons [at] ihug [dot] co [dot] nz (John Munro), Chairman
Phone 03 226 6341
Cell 027 412 2925
Fax 03 226 6883

Southland Outlets are:
Whataroa, White Heron Tea Rooms - 03 753 4142
Wanaka DoC Visitor Centre - 03 443 7660
Makaroara DoC Visitor Centre - 03 443 8365
Frankton Mobil Automart - 03 442 2077
Queenstown DoC Track and Info - 03 442 7935
Glenorchy Info Centre - 03 441 0303
Mobil Te Anau - 80 Town Centre, 03 249 7247
Borland Lodge - Monowai, 03 225 5464
Adventure Kayak & Cruise - Manapouri, 03 249 6626
Gore Christies Mobil Service Station - Main St, 03 208 7268
Riverton Super Value - Palmerston St, Riverton, 03 234 8541
Tuatapere Mobil Service Station - Orawia Rd, 03 226 6475
Invercargill Visitor Centre - Southland Museum, 108 Gala St, 03 214 6243
Stewart Island DoC Visitor Centre - 03 219 0003

Beacons can also be purchased - follow this link: Beacon Suppliers

Mountain Radios

Mountain Radios are a high-frequency (HF) radio service that enables backcountry communication via a volunteer base station operator. Users are supplied with a radio transceiver and aerial to set up. Daily scheduled contact times are established for users to communicate weather, location and their intended route.

Mountain Radio Services and Hire: North Island

NZ Land Search and Rescue

Mountain Radio Services and Hire: South Island

Te Anau: Stew's Place (Stewart Burnby), 8 Caswell Rd (3 doors from end) 03 249 8363 Hours: 9-5:30pm Mon-Fri, closed weekends. You need to make prior arranagements to pick up radios outside opening hours on 021 612061

Canterbury Mountain Radio Service Inc have radios with cell and tell call ability. Cost $40 for 3-7 days, plus freight where necessary. Contact possible 24 hours daily.
Branches are:
Nelson - 03 544 7085
Christchurch - Tower Junction, 75 Clarence St, 03 343 5029 (Paul White)
Hokitika - 03 755 6135
Dunedin - 03 454 3262, or 029 9421547

NZ Land Search and Rescue.

Gear Hire

North Island

Auckland Section: Ice axes, crampons, helmets, shovels, avalanche transceivers.
Email: gear [at] aucklandclimber [dot] org [dot] nz

Auckland gear hire businesses

Central North Island Section
Ice axes, crampons, safety helmet, - $15 per item/weekend, $30 per set/weekend
Transceivers - $15 per weekend (no discount)
Snow shovels, ice hammers - $15 per item/weekend
NOTE: CNI Section members receive 30% discount on standard rates
Alpine Central Gear Hire

South East of Te Awamutu (can courier as well) Wharepapa Outdoor

Mt Ruapehu: Edge to Edge Gear Rental

Bivouac Outdoor - Tauranga have 4 sets of adjustable crampons and 5 ice axes
Other Bivouac Outdoor stores nationwide have gear also

vzintzen [at] yahoo [dot] fr (Wellington Section)

South Island

Nelson: Adventure Gear Hire

Nelson Lakes: Rainbow ski and board rental 

Canterbury University Tramping Club: See the Gear Locker, or gear [at] cutc [dot] org [dot] nz

Canterbury/Westland Section NZAC - Gear List PDF (PDF, 36KB) - contact claytongarbes [at] hotmail [dot] com (Clayton Garbes).

Bivouac Outdoor stores nationwide have hire gear also.

Springfield Store & Cafe also hire out bouldering mats and rock shoes ph (03) 318 4840
Email: donkarync [at] gmail [dot] com (Don and Karyn)

South Canterbury: Ice axes, crampons, show shovels, avalanche transceivers, snowshoes, snow stakes, 2x Personal Locator Beacons.
Phone: Gary Brehaut 03 688 9399

North Otago: 4 new Black Diamond ice axes - $5/day members, $10/day non-members. 3 different lengths.
4 sets of avalanche safety gear including a transceiver, snow shovel and avalanche probe - $5/day members, $10/day non-members
Email shearer [at] es [dot] co [dot] nz (Nick Shearer) or phone (03) 434 5956

Otago: Avalanche Transceiver (new Backcountry Access Tracker DTS), snow shovel, MSR Denali Ascent snowshoes. Book through R&R Sport, Dunedin 03 474 1211
($5 members, or $10 non).
Also available 2x Ortovox M2 transceivers, snow shovels and probes from Mainly Tramping, Wanaka 03 443 2888 & R&R Sport, Queenstown 03 409 0409
Plus they have two new 406Mz EPIRBs available for hire to section members at $5 per day. Contact Keith Moffat 027 6644037

MT Outdoors, Wanaka.