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  1. #1
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    Default DFR7 first impressions

    Hello everyone,

    I just got my new DFR7 today and thought I would share my first impressions with anyone who might be interested in hearing from a new Uniden user.

    Just a bit of background....I currently own two Whistler products...the Pro 78 and the 78 SE. Both of these have served me well, but it appears they are getting tired. The mounts on them have malfunctioned and the speaker blew on the 78 SE. I just sent them back to the Whistler Group today. Very fortunately, and by sheer coincidence, the new DFR7 arrived today, so I won't be driving without a detector sniffing the way clear for me.

    The comparisons I'm going to make today will be the DFR7 vs my Whistler Pro 78's.

    Allow me to share with you the things I like about my new toy:

    • I love how it looks on the windshield. Uniden did a great job with the aesthetics with their newest unit.
    • I also think the mounting device is superior to anything I've ever used before....and I've owned a whole gamut of detectors through the years. When traveling down bumpy roads, the unit didn't have any jiggle at all.
    • I live in a very, very small town in NE Ohio, and there are not a lot of false alarms anywhere. However, if I take a trip to Cleveland, the trip is made quite bothersome with the traffic monitoring systems triggering the Whistler's K-band alert literally every mile or so the entire way there. If this new Uniden can ignore such things, I'd consider it nearly a miracle. It has gotten to the point where I ignore a K-band alert when I'm on the highway heading toward Cleveland, which is not an especially smart thing to do.
    • It does seem to be very quiet. I passed by a Dollar General and a grocery store where I know false alarms happen, and the DFR7 stayed quiet. Now, I'm not sure if that's because it ignored the signal, or just did not detect it. My Whistlers are pretty quiet around these false alarms zones too. I'm wondering if it's because they are just not using as much juice in the power door openers as they used to and the signals aren't reaching the streets.
    • Although I don't think I will use it much, the mute button on the cord located on the part that plugs into the cigarette lighter will come in handy for a few people as opposed to reaching towards the windshield where the unit is mounted.
    • Again, I'm not sure if I'll use it much, but it does come with a decent zippered carrying case.


    Here are the things I wish my unit could do, and some things I don't care for:
    • I'd like to be able to choose the audible alerts I want to hear for any given alert. With my Whistler products, I know the instant it alerts which band it has detected. The DFR7's alerts do not have the same audible distinction that I'm used to. I'm sure my ear will get attuned to it eventually, but I wish I could choose the sounds it makes for various alerts. There just isn't as much distinction between the alerts as what I have with the Whistlers.
    • With the Whistlers, if I choose "City Mode", it will alert with just one beep and then keep quiet for an extended period of time, but the display continues to show the band ID, strength and the ramp up. This makes it much more pleasant for some passengers in the car who are annoyed at the constant beeping of any (false) alert, though as a driver, I don't seem to mind it at all. I wish the Uniden had the "one-beep" alert feature.
    • Speaking of city mode, when you place the Uniden is city mode, it chooses to turn OFF the X-band. This is not a good idea here in Ohio, since X-band is still used. In fact, I got hit with a confirmed X-band just last week from a LEO traveling the opposite way I was on the highway. You cannot keep X-band on when you choose City mode, there is not an option to turn it on or off once City mode is engaged. This makes the City mode virtually worthless for any user where X-band is still used.
    • The only way to toggle between City and Highway mode is to depress the -vol and the +vol buttons at the same time for 1 second or more. So in other words, you have to be pretty dexterous to space your fingers just right and then depress both of these buttons at the same time. The detectors I've owned have always had just one button designated to change between City/Highway modes. I will only be running in Highway mode, since I don't want the X-band turned off, so this won't make much of a difference to me. But, if you have to stretch to reach your detector, you might find yourself accidentally turning the volume up or down if you don't hit both buttons at the same time to toggle the City/Highway mode. It is a bit of a distraction to do when you're driving.
    • You can make the display dimmer, but it is a manual toggle you need to employ, there is not an auto dim feature like there is on the Whistler products.
    • I know there is a move to energize detectors with cords that have a coupling mechanism which is reminiscent of the wires used to attach old land-lines telephones to the jacks on the walls. However, I find the fact that the anchor that attaches the wire to the DFR7 which is just a very small, and what appears to be fragile, plastic clip, a little worrisome. Throughout the years, I have stepped on, sat on, put my brief case on, and have gotten the detector's wire caught between the seats of my car. Up until this moment, I never even thought about having damaged the end that goes into the detector for any unit I've owned before. However, I feel I will need to be a lot more careful to take care not to have the end of this wire-clip encounter any abuse at all. I'm guessing if that small plastic locking mechanism clip breaks, it will have to be re-wired or another cord will have to be ordered. I much prefer the attachment of the Whistler's cord to the unit over the Uniden's. I would think mounting and removing the DFR7 so many times would literally wear out that plastic piece to the point of snapping off.
    • The display is smaller and not nearly as well lit on the DFR7 as it is on the Whistler's. When the Pro 78's alert, I can look at the display and instantly see the ramp up and the frequency (if available). The Uniden's display is smaller, and in the sunlight, it is very difficult to see. I feel the Whistler's display is far superior to the Uniden's.


    I suppose when it comes right down to it, how well does any given unit perform? My Uniden and I have not had any encounters with LEO's yet, and I am curious to see what it can do. I am confident, though, with a Pro 78 SE in one vehicle and the DFR7 in the other, I'll stand a pretty good chance of avoiding any unwanted donations to the local municipality's general fund.

    Safe travels all.....
    Last edited by RebelGent; 08-29-2016 at 05:01 AM.

  2. #2
    Speed Demon
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    Feb 2008
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    Rochester, NH
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    Default Re: DFR7 first impressions

    I will be referring to the LRD950 in my post, the LRD950 is the same unit as the DFR7. The DFR7 is the newer version with some modified software items, such as separating the BSM filter(K Filter) from the traffic sensor rejection filter(TSF). On the LRD950 you have to have both enabled, or neither enabled assuming you are using the latest firmware. Also the LRD850 is the same as the DFR6, the DFR6 of course being the updated version with minor software tweaks............My unit is a LRD950, that is why you'll see me say LRD950/DFR7, as my experience is technically with a different detector, even though it is the exact same thing, just with minor software tweaks.

    The DFR7 has auto-mute, which does a single beep, or maybe 2, then goes to a far lower volume alert.

    You won't need city mode on the DFR7, it really is that effective at filtering. Just enable quiet ride at a setting you feel comfortable with. For instance my girlfriends unit is set to 25mph. All alerts below the quiet ride MPH setting will be fully muted until you break the quiet ride set speed. When quiet ride is enabled, detections still show on the radar detector, just are muted until you go above the MPH threshold.

    You also have the GPS lockouts with your unit, however there can only be 100 lockouts saved on the unit. In my experience driving through the city, the uniden DFR7/LRD950 is very quiet without locking anything out.

    The whistlers are not actually very good at BSM filtering. They just have really terrible K band detection. While I do not believe linking RDF is allowed here, you can find some test results from the whistler series units, being beaten by cobra's.

    Your uniden DFR7 will be leagues better in KA band detection. Seriously, the whistler is like a freshman high school football team playing against the patriots. 34.7 being it's best band, 33.8 and 35.5 are not as good as 34.7 but. I have seen lrd950's(same as your dfr7) beat redlines in 34.7. That is no easy task.

    The K band range on your DFR7 will not be as amazing, but it is not terrible.

    The real detriment to your DFR7 is the X band range. It's not good to put it simply, and since you live in OH, or you mentioned OH, just be aware that X band range is not good on the uniden's.

    Your DFR7 also does have traffic monitor filtering, you have to enable it. It will reduce your K band detection range slightly, but it also won't alert every mile when you are in areas that use traffic monitors. On the DFR7 your BSM filter, and traffic monitor filter are separate settings, so you can enable both, or disable both, or 1/1. Always keep your 'K Filter' enabled, that is your BSM filter. TSF is what uniden calls their traffic monitor filter, when traveling in areas with traffic monitors you will want that enabled. When not traveling in those areas, you can disable TSF to increase your K band detection range slightly.

    Seriously though, your whistlers are useless compared to the DFR7 when it comes to detection ranges on KA/K. I am unsure on whistlers X band performance, but I honestly can't believe it's any better than the uniden's. You will enjoy the DFR7, it's an amazing detector. So amazing in fact that I own 1 LRD950(DFR7), 1 LRD850(DFR6), and a netradar(based on the uniden platform, basically a remote mounted LRD850/DFR6) The platform, for it's cost is that good. I do not have traffic monitors, and am mostly 34.7 KA from the vast majority of police in my area, and from a cost/ability to filter BSM's effectively, the uniden's are just an amazing detector. And they really came out of nowhere.

    Also be sure to check for firmware updates for your DFR7, some firmwares do different things. Such as for the LRD950, some people don't need traffic monitor rejection, so they use an earlier firmware that doesn't have the ability to filter them(No TSF). Because of this, they can use the BSM filter(K Filter) to not get BSM falses from cars, without the added delay from Traffic monitor filtering(TSF). However, newer versions have TSF built into the K Filter, so if you are on the newest firmware, you have to have both enabled. Your unit, the DFR7 has those separated so it's not a concern, but it's still important to check firmware updates, and see what they do, and see which firmware works best for your driving situations.

    After you get some encounters in your belt, you should let me know what you think of them, and if you then agree with my description of the DFR7
    Last edited by Kayrac; 08-26-2016 at 10:49 PM.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: DFR7 first impressions

    Thanks for your input, Kayrac.

    I will have to try the auto mute function on the DFR7 and see if it does the desired "one beep" thing you mentioned in your note. Although getting this function to work isn't as convenient as it is with the Whistler products (scrolling through a menu vs pushing a button on top of the unit), it's nice to know it's there. I'm happy to hear you think the Ka band detection is superior to what I already own. I must say, I have not been at all disappointed with the capabilities of my Whistler RD's, so to have something that improves on that will most certainly be welcome. I live in Ohio and have family in Mich and have mostly seen 35.5 Ka band alerts in both states.

    I have scrolled through the DFR7's menu and have the k band filtering and the traffic monitoring features set to "on". The next time I drive to Cleveland, I will be busy filtering these alerts out. I'm just curious, though....if a LEO happens to be around as the RD is filtering a traffic monitoring alert, will the detector notice and sound an alert?

    I know everyone who purchases a detector does so for their own reasons. I have driven with a detector for a long time and do so for two reasons. First, I just like gadgets. Secondly, I do not speed as a rule......You won't find me more than 5 mph above the posted speed limit 95% of the time I'm driving on the road. However, I have been on roads that have downward inclines that will lead to excessive speeds while coasting down them. I've also had situations when driving where I did not like my place in traffic and wanted to remove myself from what I considered to be an unsafe spot on the highway and sped up significantly for a couple of minutes to do so. It seems to be my lot in life that although I abide by the speed limit almost every minute I'm on the road, I will encounter a LEO during the times I do not. This is where the RD comes in handy. There are roads here where the speed limit is unposted. There are also roads here with speed limits set at 35 mph yet everyone is doing 45 mph. These are the times I want to be exceptionally aware and alert to the presence of LEO's, and have been thankful many times that I have a detector sitting on my windshield.

    One of the most important things for me when using a radar detector is how quiet it is. I owned a Uniden GPSRD a long time ago and it had an auto lockout feature on it which worked *OK*....it did help keep the unit quieter, but I liked Uniden's DFR7 ability to manually lock out known false alerts. A quieter ride is what I was looking for...which is one of the reasons why I didn't buy a V1. I've heard it's a very good detector, but can get chatty at times because it picks up so much interference from so far away. I don't need nor want multiple miles of notice of any kind.

    I don't anticipate more than just a couple encounters here but every few months...especially now that summer is winding down. However, if I do come up with an interesting encounter, I'll make it a point to post it.
    Last edited by RebelGent; 08-29-2016 at 05:08 AM.

  4. #4
    Speed Demon
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    Default Re: DFR7 first impressions

    Quote Originally Posted by RebelGent View Post
    I have scrolled through the DFR7's menu and have the k band filtering and the traffic monitoring features set to "on". The next time I drive to Cleveland, I will be busy filtering these alerts out. I'm just curious, though....if a LEO happens to be around as the RD is filtering a traffic monitoring alert, will the detector notice and sound an alert?
    The TSF, traffic sensor filtering just adds a delay to K band, as those sensors shoot a short burst. It should be able to pickup the officer without problems. Many users that drive areas with them have had to use TSR, or TSF, or whatever each vendor calls it for years due to the highways/interstates being littered with those traffic sensors.

    Make sure to checkout quiet ride on your DFR7 as well. It helps keep things quiet in town, many people use a setting such as 35mph. I set my girlfriends to 25mph just to be safe. Just helps in parking lots, slow areas. Areas where you shouldn't be speeding anyways

    The V1 actually isn't that loud of a detector now if you have an android phone due to the app a user, francky, over at Radar Detector & Laser Jammer Forum created. It's basically a phone app that has auto-lockouts, and allows you to do your sweeps, and many other features on your phone. The V1 also has great filtering due to it's TMF2 software for BSM's.

    It does kind of suck that 35.5 is your areas frequency of choice. 35.5 is the hardest frequency to pickup due to it's higher placement in the spectrum, it naturally travels less distance, gets absorbed easier etc.

  5. #5
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    Default Re: DFR7 first impressions

    Wow. Impressive write up and follow-up. I'm going to sticky this one for anyone interested in looking more closely at Uniden models.

    My experience was not so favorable I am afraid. I had received one the very first 950s that shipped to conduct a formal review of that unit and found its performance less than stellar. I sent it to be chambered and the unit was one to be sorely deficient on some frequencies. One other individual I know also found similar issues. I am chalking these experiences up to an early mfg run.

    While Unidens are very popular with some enthusiasts I also see that they are not entirely "symmetrical" with their performance across all radar bands. This is something akin the Radenso and other new comers to this market. Sure, 34.7 and resistance to K-band CAS systems are great things, but for some (like you in Ohio ), X is going to matter as is K. There is a lot of talk about how effective some units are filtering out these systems and remaining quiet and that's a great thing, to be sure, but it also overlooks the most important issue as it relates to dealing with these K-band CAS systems effectively. It's being quiet when in proximity while also being able to actually detect genuine police during that time. This is something that is not really being discussed, because it's tough to demonstrate and the RF scenarios are nearly impossible to duplicate to test varying models.

    My comments here are in no way to diminish the effectiveness of Uniden's execution or those positive experiences that you and others are having.

    Thanks to both of you guys for some excellent information about both units and I look forward to hearing more as you accumulate more miles on them.

    With respect to lack of falsing, that's going to be a function of either reduced K-band sensitivity, reduced off-axis detection ability, or a combination of both. Stationery door openers operate on CW radar, just like conventional police radar. It's the FMCW that is the tricky stuff.

    I need to get my 950 replaced so I can give it a fresh evaluation.

    Thanks again!
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  6. #6
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    Default Re: DFR7 first impressions

    I wasn't sure if I should have started a new post or not with these thoughts, however, since I'll reference a few things from the first note I posted here, I thought this would the proper place to share them.

    As I mentioned above, traveling to Cleveland along I-90 was made quite bothersome with the traffic monitoring systems continually triggering my Whistler Pro 78 and Pro 78SE's K-band literally every other mile or so. What a nuisance. I mentioned if Uniden's DFR7 could filter this out, I would consider it miraculous.

    Yesterday I found myself motoring west bound along I-90 with the DFR7 and fully expected to have my hand on the mute lock-out button for the hour and 20 minute trip I was taking. I thought I was going to have to mark each traffic monitoring system and silence it on the unit during my trip. Much to my great surprise, I had ZERO (0) alerts the during my entire trip! In fact, after riding the first 20 miles, I actually took off my sunglasses and looked at it to make sure it was plugged in and working.

    This is not something I was expecting at all. In fact, I had the occasion to wonder if the unit happened to be defective. As I mentioned above with my "lot in life" when exceeding the speed limit, it happened to me again yesterday. I had my cruise set at 72 miles an hour while traveling in the right lane and was gradually catching up to a car in front of me. No one was behind us and I move to the left lane to pass. However, we started going down a hill and this car I had been gaining on started to speed up another 5 mph or so. If I pulled behind him, I knew what was going to happen: As the incline leveled and started going back up hill, he would slow back down to the speed he was going before....so I decided to get by him. I accelerated, passed him up going up the hill, and when I crested the hill there was a state trooper sitting in the median (yeah, yeah, I should know better). Not only was there a state trooper sitting there, he was sitting about 150 feet beyond a new speed limit sign that reduced the speed by 5 mph. Soooooo, now I find myself going a bit faster than I'm comfortable with when passing any LEO.

    However, at that moment, I was concerned and relieved at the same time. The radar detector stayed quiet. I thought I was going to get his attention, but this didn't happen. He was either waiting for someone a bit quicker or watching the flow of traffic in the other direction. I was relieved my unit didn't go off, but was concerned that it should have.

    After staying in Cleveland for a few hours, I returned home and was enjoying the same quiet ride home. Finally, and fortunately, the detector alerted a K band alert. I don't know where it came from...I was traveling in the express lanes, the local lanes separated by a median were to the right, and on coming traffic was separated by a wall that I could not see over hardly at all, so positive ID to this alert could not be made. However, I was essentially very relieved to have the detector sound for 60" or so, just so I know that it could!

    I think this unit excels and keeping the ride quiet. I can now confirm KayRac's comments above when he said I wouldn't need to engage the city mode on the DFR7 because it was "that good at filtering". What I experienced was simply amazing. Kudos to the engineering department at Uniden for being able to develop such a unit. Now all I have to do is confirm its ability to sniff out true alerts and see just how sensitive it is in doing so. This will be my new best friend if it can indeed do just as good of a job at detecting LEO's as it does filtering out the noise.

    Safe travels all.

    Rebel Gent
    Last edited by RebelGent; 10-31-2016 at 08:54 AM.

 

 

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