Thx to the contributors over the past months for their shared experiences
Radar Detector 101
•The Sti cannot be detected electronically by the police however, they can still see it if you are not careful when you are changing the settings and always use Dark Mode when driving at night and Min Brightness during the day. Cops sometimes drive around in unmarked cars so you don’t want to give it away in chance glance while stopped at a traffic light. The fewer people that know you are using the Sti the better.
•Never operate the Sti in Ontario using the suction cup mount and cigarette liter power cord it’s a dead giveaway.
•Don’t speed just because you have the Sti; it’s a tool use your eyes and your head.
•It’s a radar/laser detector not a cop detector you’ll be amazed how often you’ll see cops that you wont pick up.
Bands – X,K, Ka, Laser
•X band (10,5 Mghz) is the oldest radar frequency and is rarely used by Ontario police forces. Unfortunately it’s also used for automatic door openers and the X band signal spreads out quickly and bounces around so you will pick it up easily. Also you will pick up alerts from radio towers with dishes so 99.9% of the time an x band alert is not a cop. But…. The OPP does mount some old X band units on their motorcycles and some of the smaller and northern jurisdictions still have these units. It’s highly unlikely you will encounter X band driving from Windsor to Toronto. I run with X band turned off in the GTA but I enable it when I ride around Ontario.
•K band (24 Mghz) is the most common radar in use by Ontario police forces. Unfortunately its also used by automatic door openers so many of the K band alerts you will receive will not be cops. As you drive around with the Sti you will come to learn where these spots are since they are always in the same area.
•Ka band (32-35 Mghz) is the newest radar band and is commonly used in Ontario fortunately it is not used for automatic door openers. The higher frequency signal does not spread out quickly so its harder to pick up as a result any Ka band alerts should be treated seriously and you should start slowing down immediately. Occasionally, you will pick up a Ka false alert generated by radio interference that fools the Sti.
•Laser (904 Nm) is infrared light that is not visible to the naked eye. It is the most dangerous of all alerts and you should hit the brakes immediately when the alert comes in. The Sti will rarely false laser and if you get alert it is most likely because the cop is pointing the beam at you and he will get a reading most times in less than a second. If you are lucky you may pick up laser scatter from a car being shot in front of you. The beam is very narrow and spreads out slowly and doesn’t bounce much.
•For the most part police in Ontario use straightforward tactics when enforcing speed limits. The incidence of driver’s with radar detectors is so low in Ontario that police don’t alter their tactics to try and catch users. The police rely upon a Radar Detector Detector called Spectre that can detect all rds except the Sti. Most cops will be unaware of the Sti and many believe that radar detectors don’t work anyway. There are 2 main methods stationary and mobile.
• Stationary traps are frequently Laser since it can only be used in this manner but radar is also used. The trap site is selected by the cop with certain factors in mind. They look for areas where average traffic speed is well above the posted limit ie going from 80 to 60 psl. Long downhill straights where speed builds by momentum and they have a good line of sight to measure. A safe pull off area where they can flag down the car and move it over to the shoulder. Traffic volume is also a factor not so much that speed may slow because of congestion but enough flow that it makes it worthwhile to be standing out there. Nice weather and the end of the month also increase the likelihood of this trap.
Radar used in these traps tends to be battery powered hand held guns which are “Instant On” and only transmit when the cop triggers it so the alerts you will receive will be intermittent as traffic passes the cop and he monitors traffic. However, if no traffic goes by the trap you will have no warning until the cop triggers the radar at you and he will get a read before you can slow down.
Laser is frequently mounted on a tripod to make it easier for the cop to sight the beam and keep it steady over longer distance. The 401 laser trap is commonly coming over a hill with a long straight with the cops car pulled off the road on the shoulder or median. They need to sight you over a longer distance (1km) in order to get a read and then have enough time to step out to flag you down. The advantage is the beam is wider and shaky increasing the likelihood that the Sti will alert before the laser gun can get a reading. The plate cover I gave you last year will also make it harder for the gun to lock and calculate a speed. Urban traps are set up with shorter distances and make evading the laser much harder. Laser can be blocked with an active laser jammer.
Mobile radar is operated as the cop is patrolling around in the car. Radar only is used with the beam being aimed from the front or rear of the patrol car with you traveling either toward, away or with the patrol car. It is usually used in a “Constant On” mode in Ontario so the alert will be steady either ramping up quickly as you and the cop traveling opposite directions approach quickly or slowly increasing as the cop may overtake you from behind or as you approach the stationary car. Curves and hills reduce the distance the signal will travel so the warning time will be less. Travelling on the 401 through Essex and Kent County you may pick up the K band at ranges approaching 8km.
One of the tactics you can use when driving on the highway is to use “The Rabbit”. A rabbit is a fast moving car that you follow at a range of 300 – 500 meters so that he will trigger any laser or “instant on” radar traps before you reach them. You keep enough distance so as not to aggravate the other driver but close enough to see his brake lights if he spots cops up ahead.
At times the police will set up teams in a speed trap with one unit shooting and the other stopping and pursuing. They can also laser from behind as you move away. One unit may set up at the backside of an overpass and shoot the laser as you go by underneath. Your car and speed is radioed ahead and you are pulled over or the unit may pursue on its own.
At night speed traps are more difficult to spot so you need to exercise caution when traveling since the OPP will park with lights off and flip the radar on and off as you approach. Again they will give their position away as the traffic ahead of you passes by and the Sti picks up the signal
Caution should also be used when approaching Chatham on the 401 since the OPP detachment there is large and aggressive in their speed enforcement (Laser and Ka).
Be aware if your brake lights are being observed by the police and you brake just as they activate their radar they may become suspicious that you are using a radar detector. At times it’s just better to ease off the gas when you receive the alert.
The OPP rarely use aircraft to monitor traffic using marked symbols on the roadway to calculate your speed as you pass between the symbols. No radar is used so the Sti wont help in this situation. If you travel the 401 a lot you might want to consider a cheap CB radio which is very effective on expressways.
If you are stopped by the police do not attempt to take down the Sti from the visor cover. They can’t detect it and the wiring is hidden so that’s not the reason for the stop. The cops will observe your actions when they light up the reds so you don’t want to make quick or suspicious movements during the stop.
If stopped never admit you were speeding if the cop asks if you know how fast you were going just say you were traveling with the flow of traffic. Never confirm or deny that you are using the Sti to the cops.
www.radardetector.net is an excellent resource for all things associated with rds and jammers. There’s a guy on there called Spankyaf who is particularly knowledgeable.