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  1. #1
    Lead Foot
    Join Date
    May 2005

    Default SWS vs. Strobe Alert

    is SWS same thing as Strobe alert?

    while SWS use a K?-Band is strobe alert use Light? pulsed at a certain rate? like a MIRT? would a mirt make strobe alert go off. and also is Strobe alert Unique to COBRA Brand

    The reason I ask that is when I had cobra unit I got strobe alert on Fire/Ambulance and now with the RX-65, even with SWS on I don't get anything

  2. #2
    Old Timer
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    New Hampshire


    SWS and Strobe Alert are two different things.

    SWS uses K band radar encoded to display a message on SWS-equipped detectors. It never really caught on, so it's rare to see SWS transmitters.

    Strobe Alert detects the strobes used on emergency vehicles (the MIRTs or warning strobes), and alerts you. This is more effective than SWS, as strobes are commonplace on emergency vehicles.
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  3. #3
    Power User
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    In Car RamRod


    does the RX65 have strobe alert?? mine has never gone off at a strobe emergency light

  4. #4
    Lead Foot
    Join Date
    May 2005


    no the RX-65 as no Strobe alert ( I was refering to my old cobra unit that had Strobe alert)

  5. #5
    Good Citizen
    Join Date
    Jun 2005


    I used to have an old skool cobra that would say "Train Approaching" or "Emergency Vehicle Aproaching" every now and then. Never did see one though :shock:

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    Lufkin, TX


    Mine used to do that too...every time I pulled into the grocery store parking lot. Man, them trains are all over them parking lots man :wink:

  7. #7


    I guess Iím running about two years behind on these subjects. Iím debating whether to have the school purchase a 16 message SWS transmitter for demonstration purposes. I will decide once I get the fixed SWS message transmitter promised me.

    If they buy the 16 message system I think I will feel guilty to also have them buy a Strobe Alert system so I was thinking of building one.

    Has anyone had any luck with building one? Yes, it is for educational purposes only. Also, does the 10 Hz low priority signal only trigger a Strobe alert on a suitable detector while the 14 Hz change the lights and give an alert? Has anyone ever tested the bandwidth 700 nm plus or minus 300 nm?

  8. #8

    Default A Good Voice SWS detector at a reasonable price?

    It appears that even the radar detector manufacturers donít know the difference between SA and SWS.

    I received this email reply from my question to Cobra.
    Subject: RE: Cobra 9400 SWS messages

    I have another question. Do you know the bit codes for the three messages in the Cobra 9400?

    The three messages you have are:

    Emergency Vehicle Approaching which might be 61 Train Approaching which might be 14 Road Hazard Ahead which I can't find on the website I went to

    The reason I would like to know the bit code is so that I can have the ST-2000 SWS transmitter we have programmed with the correct codes that should trigger the Cobra 9400.

    This was their reply:

    We do not use bit codes. Your question leads me to believe that the ST-2000 sends a digital signal. Our Safety Alert system is not digital.
    It works using K-band radar signals.

    And this was my reply:

    Thanks but you have me even more confused. My understanding is that the safety alert system should be triggered off a 10 or 14 Hz Infrared transmitter around 700 - 1000 nanometers.

    The system I'm talking about is SWS and is indeed K band but uses a digitally encoded signal. The signal design is identified in US patent 5,917,430 and I've been discussing this with the Patent holder's author Gene Greneker.

    The patent is available for free at
    The system uses a 32 bit message format that repeats and is about 16 milliseconds long.

    From the patent documentation it states:

    Bit pattern "1" in the 7th data bit position (MSB) of Field 2 represent that the previous 6 bit "word" is a fixed-text message or index number. The detector logic, upon detecting a logic level '1' in the MSB position decodes the previous 6 bits and display the fixed text message that is indicated as further herein. A value of decimal "1" is added in detector logic of a receiver to the binary count so that the message reference number is between the values of 1 and 64, inclusive. Bit pattern '0' in the 7th data bit position (MSB) of Field 3 instructs the detector logic that there is a second fixed-text message to be appended to the first fixed-text after transmission of the first-fixed message.

    So my understanding of this is that a bit code is transmitted and when the Cobra detects one it uses the code to sound a coded message for that number. In the patent it says "Train approaching a crossing" is message code 4 and message code 5 is for "Emergency vehicle" while the website had different numbers and thus my confusion.

    If your safety warning system isn't digital then how could it differentiate between three different signals in the same K band?

    So does anyone know of a good Voice SWS radar detector? Iím going to try to get a Whistler in a couple of weeks but I am definitely thinking of going with Bel.



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