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  1. #1
    Radar Fanatic
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    Default Whistler Spectrum 1: Back from the dead and still hunting!

    This radar detector was the first that I ever laid hands on, purchased by my parents sometime in the late 80s. I never could get it to work with its own plug but tonight I thought I would give it another shot. This time I fabbed up a harness that gives it 12V power from the pre-existing hard-wire for my V1. And guess what? It powered right up!

    The Spectrum 1 is a bare-bones device, to be sure. You get one button for power, one button that does both filtering and volume, and a display consisting of a single red 7-segment character that doesn't seem to dim at all. That displays H for highway, F for filter, 1-9 for signal strength, and P for pulse (yup, that's a Whistler). As far as I can tell it is only capable of detecting X and K bands.

    So you're probably wondering, what good is a detector that's nearly 20 years old? In reality it isn't terribly useful since it won't detect Ka band, which is the bulk of law enforcement around here. And they hadn't even thought of LIDAR when this thing was built. But let me just say that on X and K band this thing is insane! I drove around my test-loop (roughly 15 miles) and learned that it picks up X and K band JUST AS WELL AS MY V1!. There are door openers on that route that I didn't even know existed. It alerted on time or early to those that I already knew about. So is it increased range or decreased filtering? Beats me, as I haven't tried it in "F" mode yet. Maybe tomorrow.

    I was fortunate enough to have one real LEO encounter that drove it positively insane on K-band (I assume...I hadn't gotten used to the video-game tones) and produced a "P" alert at first. I can't guess the range since we were coming at each other from odd angles and I really wasn't expecting it.

    Considering its age this is a truly phenomenal device. It just goes to show you that back in the day Whistler did know what they were doing. Now I have half a mind to pick up a Pro 58 to play with for comparison!

    So there you have it, a review of something that isn't the "top 3." And here's a terrible pic to go along with it:


  2. #2
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    Default

    i have a Spectrum 2 remote mount detector lying around somewhere. that thing was pretty good with K band also. glad to see that your fossil still works .

  3. #3
    Yoda of Radar
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    I have a nice Spectrum 1.

    It works well, and it fits, so beautifully on my dash! :?

  4. #4
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    I'm curious, does anybody know what kind of receiver the Spectrum 1 uses? I've searched all over the net for more information and actually did find a reference to it on the Whistler website, but the owners manual isn't there.

    I'm still playing with it since the V1 isn't back yet. I'm still getting the falses where I should be and lots of range, to boot. However I think that some of the other falses are coming from other sources. For example, I was driving around yesterday and had it go nuts on a small news van that was driving around. Later on I plugged it in to a transformer and watched it go nuts, pulling up X and K hits at ~1/3 strength every few minutes. I cycled the power a few times and then it just sat there quietly for over an hour. So it's a little buggy after 20 years.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by brick
    I'm curious, does anybody know what kind of receiver the Spectrum 1 uses? I've searched all over the net for more information and actually did find a reference to it on the Whistler website, but the owners manual isn't there.
    What info are you looking for for the "kind of receiver"? I can almost guarantee you that it's a cast horn using a GDO w/varactor diode. I can tell you 100% for sure after I go home and check out mine

  6. #6
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    Thanks, Jim. That's the information I'm looking for. I've had it apart a couple of times but it's not like I really know what I'm looking at, anyway.

  7. #7
    Yoda of Radar
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    Quote Originally Posted by brick
    Later on I plugged it in to a transformer and watched it go nuts, pulling up X and K hits at ~1/3 strength every few minutes. I cycled the power a few times and then it just sat there quietly for over an hour. So it's a little buggy after 20 years.
    I had mine just go nuts on some band (don't remember which) randomly in the middle of nowhere, not even a road, actually my cottage in the 'states. :?

  8. #8
    Yoda of Radar
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    Yeah, I have two of the original CMW Passport Escorts, man those things love their x&k band... really solid alerts on both those bands (well solid false alerts on X)...but on K its right up near to par with the 'top 3' of today.

    The good old days 8) (I wasn't even born yet...they are my dads old RD'S)

 

 

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