As most of you know, I created a topic entitled, "9500i - So far it's a disappointment."
I am no longer comfortable with adding more to that thread, because I am beginning to think the lock-out does work, even if only part of the time, and therefore the unit is no longer a total "disappointment". So I am starting this new thread to report my latest findings (the following is a copy of my last entry into the old thread):
Okay here's my latest news:
The replacement unit arrived on Monday, and the folks at Escort were kind enough to ship it via UPS 2nd Day Air.
I've tested it twice now. On the first occasion it seemed to fail the true-lock test again, in that I locked out a false alarm that was operating in the 24.126 GHz region, and then found that when in the area of that false alarm, a Police Car that I later determined to be at 24.216 GHz failed to cause an alert.
But then the next day, when in the area of the same false alarm, a Police Car operating at 24.157 GHz did cause an alert.
Strange, that the unit alerted to a Police signal that was rather close to the locked-out false alarm signal, yet did not alert when a Police signal was present that actually was farther away from the locked-out false alarm's signal frequency!
I have a hypothesis that I am going to test and then get back to you:
It seems to me that what might be happening is that once the 9500i picks up a signal that has been locked-out (and the little satellite icon starts rotating), it then fails to detect all K-Band signals in that Geographical Area for the duration of the time it is receiving the locked-out false alarm signal. But on the other hand, if one is in the Geographical area of the locked-out false alarm signal, but not close enough to the false alarm's signal to actually detect it at that moment, then if a Police radar signal on a different K-Band frequency is detected, presto, the user does get the alert that should be given.
False alarm signals are usually very weak and don't have a detectable range beyond a few hundred meters. But the geographic area that gets locked out is about a half mile in radius. In my first test of the new unit, when the police car's signal was not alerted, I was within 100 meters of the false alarm and the satelite icon was actively rotating before the police car came within detection range. But on the second test the next day, when I did get an alert from the Police car's signal, though I was within the geographical range of the locked out signal, I was about 300 meters from the false alarm source and therefore not within range of detecting it (though I would have been if it had been a Valentine One or a Beltronics 995, but that's another story...). As I drove and the Police Car came toward me, at the moment before I got the alert, the Satelite Icon was not rotating, meaning that although I was in the geographical range of the locked out signal, I wasn't close enough to actually detect it. So I got the alert that I was supposed to get from the Police car, and importantly, the alert continued even as I drove right past the source of the locked-out false alarm signal.
So, that would seem to be the situation, which is causing us to think that the lock-out is a useless thing as of now, though if this is true, then it is not entirely useless. But, it still is not good enough! Because it would seem clear, that if one locks out a false alarm, and then the next day encounters a cop just after getting close enough to the locked-out false alarm for the 9500i to detect and mute the false-alarm, then the police signal is not going to cause an alert, and the user will get a ticket if he or she is speeding.
If this is the situation, then to me, the solution would be obvious - rewrite the code in the software so that if a signal from a different part of a K-Band (or Ka-Band) spectrum appears while in the immediate area of a lock-out false alarm, that new potentially threatening signal should be allowed to punch through and cause the detector to alert the user.
And regardless of whether or not my hypothesis is correct, the size of the geographic locked-out area needs to be substantially diminished. There is no reason for the locked-out area to be 1/2 a mile, or even 1/4 mile in radius!!! Most false alarms can't be detected from more than a couple hundred yards away. So why lock-out such a huge area?! It is silly to do so in my opinion! I think 1/4 mile should be the max, and perhaps that is even too much. Make it 1/8 mile (200 meters). If one finds that they are still getting the false alarm for a few moments before they get within range, then they can lock-out that area as well.
And I am sure there would be no technical problem in reducing the area of lock-out. After all, if the unit's GPS is accurate enough to provide speed readouts, then it is accurate enough to lock-out much smaller areas then it is presently programmed to do. I am genuinely surprised that the designers chose such a huge lock-out area.
Hey there designers: Are you reading this? If so, then you know what to do!
John at RadarDetectors1