Radar Detector Glossary
First of all I would like to thank "Radar" Roy for this great site. I would also like to thank the guys at GOL for all they have done.
This is info that I have collected from the internet for my personal use and wanted to share it with forum members. If I have missed valuable information then please add it to the thread.
A few notes on Radar Detectors and usage: A radar detector is not your "ticket" to reckless speeding. Driving over the limit is what most drivers do and not all do it intentionally. Getting a speeding ticket has many setbacks:
1. COSTLY FINES
2. POINTS ON YOUR LICENSE
3. ADDED INSURANCE COSTS
The term superheterodyne refers to a method of designing and building wireless communications or broadcast equipment, particularly radio receivers in which a locally generated frequency is combined with the carrier frequency to produce a supersonic signal that is demodulated and amplified. Sometimes a receiver employing this technology is called a "superheterodyne" or "superhet."
The first frequency band allocated for police radar: 10.5 - 10.55 GHz. Dating from the 1950s, X-band radar is the easiest to detect because of its lower frequency and higher power output. Depending on terrain, temperature and humidity, X-band radar can be detected from a distance of 2 to 4 miles, yet it can only take accurate readings of speed from a distance of 1/2 mile or less.
Unfortunately, police radar is not the only source of X-band signals. Garage door openers, microwave intrusion alarms, microwave towers, and other high-tech equipment can fool a radar detector into giving off an X-band alert. Filters and redundant sampling are used to combat this "falsing."
The most frequently used radar frequency band: 24.05 - 24.25 GHz. K-band made its appearance in 1978. The first K-band hand-held radar guns could only be used from a stationary position. Later, a "pulsed" version was introduced that could be used from a stationary or moving vehicle.
K-band radar waves have a relatively small wavelength. At the power level found in police radar guns, K-band has an effective clocking range of about 1/4 mile. Depending upon terrain (around a corner, over a hill, etc.), K-band waves can be detected from a range of 1/4 mile to 2 miles.
In 1987 the FCC allocated a frequency on yet another band, Ka, for police radar use. Ka-Band incorporates Ka-band, Ka Wide-Band, and Ka Super Wide-Band. With Ka came the introduction of photo radar (also known as "photo-cop"). The photo-cop system works at 34.3 GHz and combines a Ka-band radar gun with an automated camera (see Photo Radar below).
The FCC later expanded Ka-band radar use to a range of 34.2 to 35.2 GHz. This became known as Ka Wide-Band.
"Stalker" Radar Gun
A hand-held, stationary radar gun that can be set to operate anywhere on the Ka-band between 33.4 and 36.0 GHz. Radar detectors must be able to scan a range of frequencies to detect it. These are referred to as Super Wide-Band Detectors — the latest generation of radar detectors specifically designed to pick up X, K, and the full range of Ka-band frequencies
The introduction of the "stalker" radar gun raised the stakes in the detection game. Unlike all previous guns, the Stalker can be FCC licensed for any frequency in the Ka-band between 33.4 GHz to 36.0 GHz, and so cannot be picked up by detectors designed only for X, K, and photo radar. Stalker guns are being used in more than half the country.
Stalker Dual SL Radar
The Stalker radar unit use a high frequency (KaBand) that has proven less susceptible to recognition by radar detectors. Equipped with dual antennae, the units are capable of measuring the speed of target vehicles approaching or receding from a stationary or moving patrol vehicle.
The units feature a wireless infrared remote control, similar in design to a television remote control. The microchip technology used by the Stalker yields a radar unit of unparalleled performance.
In response, manufacturers have developed detectors with "Super wide-band" technology that sweeps all of the Ka-band allocated to radar, as well as providing continued protection against X, K, and photo radar.
LIDAR is an acronym for Light Detection And Ranging. A police laser LIDAR gun emits a highly focused beam of invisible light, in the near infrared region of light, that is centred at 904nm of wavelength and is only about 32 inches (56cm) in diameter at 1000 feet (300m). Unlike RADAR which directly determines a vehicle's speed by measuring its Doppler shift, police laser-lidar calculates speed by observing the changing amount of time is takes to "see" reflected pulses of light over a discreet amount of time.
The advantages of a laser gun are compelling: the laser light beam is far narrower than a radar beam, allowing more accurate pinpointing of a specific vehicle; and the time needed for capturing a speed reading is less than half a second versus 2 to 3 seconds for radar.
The drawbacks are also important to note: laser guns are very expensive, they can't be used from a moving vehicle and accurate aiming requires a tripod or a very steady hand.
Despite initial claims that the energy from a laser gun is not detectable, it is. And as the laser beam moves away from the laser gun, it widens and becomes easier to detect. Vehicle speeds are typically measured at roughly 1,000 feet (1/5 mile); at that distance the laser beam is 3 feet wide.
Laser How To
PLEASE READ THIS! MIKE V. BRINGS VERY VALID POINTS TO THE POP DEBATE.
This info is from the Valentine 1 website:
Local ticket writers have been bragging about their new radar; They say it nails detector users without warning.
Yes, their MPH Industries model BEE™ III, with its POP™ mode, gave them an advantage for a while. But now V1 has full-time POP Protection on two bands. Yet a problem remains. When operated in its POP mode, those radars also produce erroneous speed readings every time.
Moreover, we believe MPH Industries knows this feature is faulty. Why else would it advise, in the accompanying Operation and Service Manual, as follows:
“A note of caution: Information derived during the POP burst is non-evidential… Citations should not be issued based solely on information derived from the POP burst.”
In actual testing of a BEE III in our laboratory, we quickly learned why MPH Industries is covering itself in the fine print. The POP mode is fundamentally flawed. It consists of a lightning-quick radar burst, over and done with before a radar detector can pick up the signal. We consistently measured the POP duration at 67 milliseconds (that’s 0.067 second).
Unfortunately for accuracy, that burst is over the speed limit for the BEE III’s own internal components.
All traffic radar units rely on a Gunn oscillator to produce a stable, reference frequency for the microwave beam. This reference frequency must be held constant throughout the entire reading. Here’s how radar works: A microwave beam at the reference frequency is transmitted toward the target. The radar unit then compares the reference beam to a reflection of that same beam after it has bounced off a moving vehicle and returns to the radar unit. The difference between the reference frequency and the reflected frequency—known as the Doppler shift—gives the speed of the moving vehicle.
No Gunn oscillator we’ve ever tested can go from “off” to “on” and back “off” again in 67 milliseconds while simultaneously holding its frequency. This is basic physics. To be “on,” electrical current must flow through the oscillator. As the current begins flowing, it inevitably heats the component. While the device’s temperature is changing, so is its frequency. After a second or so under power, the device will reach its constant operating temperature and it will hold steady at its design frequency.
However, during the short cold start from ambient temperature to operating temperature, the device is literally out of control. Component makers don’t even bother to quantify the frequency change—called a start-up chirp in electronic jargon—because Gunn oscillators are designed as steady-state devices; they’re not intended for cold-start use.
What does this start-up chirp mean for ticket accuracy? The answer is really unknowable, because it’s influenced by a number of variables. For example, how far away is the target vehicle? The longer the distance, the greater the error. What’s the target speed? The slower it is, the larger the percent error. Which way is the target moving? The error adds to the speed of vehicles approaching the radar, and subtracts from vehicles heading away.
Clearly, MPH Industries has stepped into foul territory with the POP mode. In its zeal to defeat detector users, it has created a radar unit operating outside the accepted principles of engineering. Then it has tried to paper over its own technical recklessness by advising police operators, sotto voce in an obscure section of the manual, that they can’t use the BEE III’s key selling feature for its plainly intended purpose.
Question number one: Given the widespread ignoring of manuals, will anyone even read that warning?
Question number two: If they read it, will they heed it?
MPH Industries, in its quest for corporate profits, is playing an unconscionable game with its law-enforcement customers. Traffic radar is bought for one reason; it’s a ticket machine. Promising a feature, then telling the police after the sale not to use that feature for writing tickets, is pure bait-and-switch. Moreover, it dangles a temptation, a moral hazard, that threatens to corrupt enforcement. MPH Industries must be compelled to recall all BEE IIIs at once and disable the fundamentally faulty POP mode.
Radar guns have what's known as "Instant-On" radar. This keeps the transmitter in "hot standby" mode, ready to be activated by an officer when the target is within 200-300 yards. Practically speaking, you can't really defend yourself against Instant-On radar; if it's been aimed at you, your speed has been measured by the time your detector gives an alert. However, if the radar was targeted on a car ahead of you, a detector with sensitive reception will alert you. High sensitivity is what allows manufacturers to promote a detector as giving Instant-On Protection.
Photo Radar (Photo Cop) The photo-cop combines a Ka-band radar gun with an automated camera. A vehicle approaching at or above a predetermined speed will trigger the camera. The photo shows the front of the vehicle, license plate, driver's face, the date, location, and time. The unit can clock and photograph up to 200 vehicles per hour. Alleged speeders are not stopped. The film is processed and a ticket is mailed to the registered owner of the vehicle, ordering him or her to pay the fine or appear in court.
Photo-cop's effective range is 120-300 feet and it transmits a continuous signal, which is a plus for radar detectors. The distance at which it can be detected varies depending upon a detector's Ka-band sensitivity. Better detectors can typically sniff out a photo-cop system 1/4 to 1/2 mile away.
Only a handful of cities use photo radar. Industry sources predicted widespread interest and expanded use, but that has not been the case. Legal controversies along with prohibitive expense have caused officials to stick with more traditional methods of speed detection. Photo radar isn't limited to Ka-band only!
A refinement of the original K-band radar gun. Pulse radar can be used from a moving vehicle as well as from a stationary position. Pulse radar guns transmit a burst of energy every two seconds.
This is not a radar system; rather it is a glorified stopwatch that relies on the policeman's honesty (scary thought). They are mounted in the police car and are often used when following the target. When the target car goes past a landmark, the timer is started and when it goes past the second landmark, the timer is stopped. It is hooked up to the speedo to give a speed reading. It relies on the button being pushed at the right time and the pacing distance to be long enough to overcome any timing errors. The only countermeasure is careful observation.
A two-piece detector system in which an antenna is mounted behind your car's front grille, while the control and display are installed in or under the dash. The two pieces are connected by a cable or wireless transceiver. With a remote-mount you sacrifice a small degree of sensitivity (the higher a detector is mounted, the better) in exchange for low visibility.
Safety Warning System
SWS uses radar to promote highway safety by transmitting a signal to alert you of changing or potentially hazardous road conditions such as highway construction sites, accidents and railroad crossings. All of the radar detectors Crutchfield offers detect SWS signals and include a separate alert signal to distinguish them from radar being used for speed detection.
A detector's ability to detect police radar while ignoring the presence of such devices as automatic garage door openers and microwaves, which may operate on closely neighbouring frequencies. A good radar detector offers high selectivity as well as being highly sensitive.
A detector's ability to detect radar. Most radar detector manufacturers increase sensitivity as they add features and move up the product line.
Mute or Volume Control
Allows you turn down or turn off a detector's audible alerts, while keeping the visual alerts.
A text display spells out what form of speed detection you're up against. Most units with a text display also specify the type of SWS alert.
VG-2 Radar Detector Detection
You can think of VG-2 as law enforcement striking back against radar detectors. VG-2 identifies vehicles with operating radar detectors. It is also know as a RDD Radar Detector Detector.
The most common audio warning is a series of "beeps" or "braps" that grow faster as you near the radar source. Visible alarms can be either a digital display of signal strength or a series of LEDs.
Replaces a continuous audio alert with a single alert followed by clicking. This can preserve your sanity during extended radar encounters while continuing to notify you of the presence of radar.
City/Highway Switch Logic/Advanced Logic
Helps eliminate false alarms from non-police X-band emissions encountered in urban areas. This is usually accomplished by reducing the detector's sensitivity since the ability to "see" long distances is not critical on city streets. The newer high end units use onboard programming to filter out the falses.
For keeping the detector inconspicuous while driving at night, this feature dims or eliminates illumination on alarms and controls.
Suction cups and a bracket attach the detector to the windshield.
Visor clips attach the detector to the sun visor.
Velcro strips attach the detector to your dashboard.
Law Enforcement Officer
Having traffic in front of you is known as a RABBIT. If the LEO “shoots” the RABBIT you will know of the LEO’s presence and give you time to take action.
Thanks to kpatz for this info:
RD: Radar Detector
V1: Valentine One
LEO: Law Enforcement Officer
IO: Instant On
CW: Continuous Wave (used by LEO radar guns)
FMCW (or FM-CW): Frequency Modulated Continuous Wave (used by some speed signs and motion sensors, better RDs don't alert to FMCW signals)
PSL: Posted Speed Limit
RADAR: Radio Distance and Ranging (a simplified version using the Doppler principle is used by LEOs for measuring speed)
LIDAR: Light Distance and Ranging (uses a laser beam to measure speed & distance instead of microwaves)
PL: (often followed by II or III): ProLaser, a LIDAR gun manufactured by Kustom Signals.
UL: Ultralyte, a LIDAR gun manufactured by LTI.
LA: Laser Atlanta, manufacturer of the Speedlaser LIDAR guns
AL: AntiLaser, a manufacturer of laser jammers
LPP: Laser Pro Park, a laser jammer made in the UK
Here is another great site with good information for the information hungry.
WHERE TO MOUNT IT
Generally the best place to mount a detector is up high, by the rear view mirror. This allows it to get the best view of the road and gives the maximum range. There is also another reason to put it up high. Thieves can't see it and if you do get pulled over, there is less chance of a cop seeing it. If a cop sees a radar detector, forget any chance of talking your way out of the ticket. The only thing to watch is some cars have a metal film tint along the top of the windscreen and this can block the radar and LIDAR which reduces the effectiveness.
Maybe my radar detector is not working properly? This info below is from the V1 website:
Radar behaves according to the laws of physics. So does Valentine One. There are reasons for everything that happens. Please consider the following possibilities:
1. If you don't get a radar alert from a radar car, was the radar turned on? Remember that Instant-on doesn't send out a detectable beam until it's triggered.
2. There are strong radars and weak ones. If you received a weak alert, could it have been a kind of radar that you're not used to?
3. The radar antenna can be pointed any direction inside the radar car. It doesn't have to point toward the front. Are you sure it was pointed at you? If it's turned away, its strength as you approach is much less.
4. Traffic, particularly trucks, between you and the radar can block the beam. Were you blocked?
5. The radar beam travels in a straight line. Was there a hill or building in the way?
6. Rain, moisture, or dust in the air can shorten radar range. Could this be the reason for the weak alert?
How to program your V1
Thanks to Ace_Racer we have a great video on how to program your Valentine 1
The danger that faces us:
Here you can find detailed info on the arsenal that LEO is using against the innocent.
NOTE: I do not condone speeding and will not be held responsible for anybody prosecuted for breaking the law. I support the use of radar detectors and similar devices for two reasons. Firstly, anyone who does a lot of driving is bound to unintentionally break the speed limit at some point because they do not notice their speed creeping up as they follow the car in front. I feel you should be warned about your speed before you are prosecuted for a crime you did not intend to commit. Advanced warnings allow drivers to make an early decision to manage their speed of approach safely and smoothly.
Secondly, cameras should be placed on dangerous roads and in accident black spots to slow traffic down and catch the most reckless of drivers who do not have the skill to sensibly judge a dangerous stretch of road or are unfamiliar with the road ahead. If this is the case then these devices will give you advanced warning of possible danger ahead. Unfortunately cameras and police speed traps are often placed on straight flat clear sections of road with no immediate danger or where the speed limit has recently been reduced with the sole intention of catching speeding motorists and generating fines. However, for those placed correctly in accident black spots, a radar detector can give you advanced warning of danger on the road ahead.