Ok, there's good, but then there is also just too much, too much of a good thing is actually as the saying goes bad.
Detection of a CO Ka confirmed positive signal, over a hill and from 7 miles away is just too far.
I guess all of the right circumstances were at play here to cause this to happen, so I'll have to describe for you the conditions, even though I hate it when someone writes about an alert they received and starts giving you street names like anyone else knows or cares what they are actually referring to.
I had to drive today from Reno, Nevada to Elko, Nevada it's about a 290 mile trek, one way, all Interstate under a 75mph PSL. Its a long, very long, straight and dead flat 4 lane divided highway with absolutely nothing, not a tree, not a bush, not a building along 99% of the entire drive. The median separating the East and West traffic is a good 1/4 mile wide across most of the route. Its so far apart that you can not make out people in the on coming cars on the other side, barely make out vehicle type unless its something huge like a semi. Emergency vehicle turn arounds are spaced about 20 mile intervals, between them you aren't making the cut across to do a u turn unless you have some serious 4 wheel drive, the surface terrain making up the median is just too rough. Mountain ranges run parallel to both sides of the highway, but are very far off in the distance. The altitude here is at 5,000 foot elevation, not sure if this works for or against detection, but since the air is much thinner than sea level I suspect the Ka waves can travel further. The altitude here certainly makes a difference on everything else, like we have to buy special everything from Clothes dryers to water heaters to lawn mowers because of this. Water boils at 198 deg F here, unlike at sea level where it boils at 212 deg F.
So you can hopefully picture this highway in your mind, forward/rear vision is out to the point where you can see where you'll fall off the edge of the earth.
I was coming up on a small incline, I wouldn't even call it a hill, it was a bout a mile gradual upward grade that just apexes enough so you can't see further up the road beyond the top of it. Had two semis I could see a little ways up there that at 95mph I was approaching on, behind me there was a small clump of cars that were so far back they looked like pin heads in size and I had passed all of them some time back.
Just as I'm coming on this slight incline I get a Ka 33.784GHz alert, single ping, single ping, announcement "Ka Band", see the freq in the display and it then goes back to showing "auto" and no further alert. Noted reading on odometer of 231,619 (digital display, doesn't show 1/10ths of a mile).
Common sense is telling me at this point that its possible he was coming up behind me, but at 95mph he'd have to be moving good to come up on my ass like that. I had caught up to both the semis who were traveling at 80mph in the right hand lane and considered passing them, then decided I'll bet there's a cop just on the other side of this little crest and thats what I was picking up. Opted to slow down to 80mph and get behind the semis till I could see the source. Mind you, no more signal at this time as I approached the hill from behind these semis.
As I crested this little incline I could again see forever in front of me down the road, nothing in sight, but back to single ping, single ping "Ka Band" announcement, 33.784 in the display, steady single ping alert continuing.
Now I'm rethinking that maybe it is in that little clump way back there behind me because I don't see anything up ahead. So I decide its time to pass the semis, I'll use them as a rear shield and step down on it to put some distance to anything behind me. Pass the semi's and pick it back up to just 85 since I'm still under a caution flag with the single ping alerts.
I'm clearly moving away from anything behind me now and I suddenly start getting a steady double ping Ka alert, auto volume has run the volume down by now so I turn off my radio to get a better listen to the pings. Alert has now increased to 3 steady pings, still showing Ka 33.784 Freq. Ok, obviously at this point he has to be up ahead of me somewhere, but where? I can clearly see nothing up the road but small dots I assume to be vehicles.
Still at three steady pings and a ways down the road I finally see him, he's mobile and 1/4 mile across the median in the on coming traffic side of the road heading in my opposite direction. Alerts remain at 3 pings as we pass, and as soon as we passed I went right back to "auto" and no alerts in my display.
Checked my odometer, remember it was 231,619 miles when first contact was made, it was now reading 231,626 when we actually passed, that's a 7 mile distance that I picked up the CO Ka from (could be close 6 since I don't have anyway to read 10ths of a mile) and had a very smooth and steady ramp up to the actual encounter. Never went to full blast alert, but keep in mind the median is over 1/4 mile wide so I was never actually in his danger zone, as even if he was shooting at on coming he had no where to turn around and get anybody due to the 20 mile spacing of the turn arounds.
I suppose some people may think this kind of range is a good thing. I certainly can't agree with that, it's just too much range and gives me way too much free time to think about it all. Plus IO is very popular out here, so when I see a single ping alert I go into instant caution mode and brace my self for the usual and sudden IO blast of a full scale alert I expect to soon be coming.
1 mile of range is what I'd consider to be plenty of good notice, 7 miles is just too much. I guess this is the trade off I have to take though for good detection of weak Ka IO signals and other normal conditions that people experience where it isn't just wide open like this.
It's tough, I don't like that kind of range so I'm thinking about mounting my 9500i now all the way at the bottom of my windshield to hopefully reduce some range on it. Its a Chevy 2500 Utility van and currently mounted just below my RVM. This places it at eye level to me when I'm outside the vehicle standing on level ground. I'm 6' 2" tall so I guess that to be about a good 5' 8" off the ground right now.
Since its a utility van with no rear windows and a metal divider separating the front from rear directly behind my seat, no hood per say (6" out from windshield) and the detector ends up being mounted so high I can't help but think this also adds to channeling in my forward detection (while loosing some rear, but it hasn't been noticeable).
The delima is though, this was a CO alert, but IO is so insanely common here that I can't decide if I want to sacrifice my solid IO detection by trying to purposely reduce the extensive CO range I'm experiencing. Middle of windshield isn't going to be a happy medium, it would obstruct my vision too much.