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Radar/Lidar detectors

I am interested in upgrading my radar detectors
with laser capability. Any opinions? Seen recent
magazine articles on comparisons?
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Comments

  • Same here Mike regarding upgrading. When you read reviews they seem to all come up with different "winners". Right now, the Valentine 1 appears to consistently be very highly thought of but I would like to know more if anyone has any thoughts...
  • Valentine 1 appears at the top of everyones list, but it is VERY expensive ($399, no discount). There was an excellent article in Oct 98 issue of Automobile, which rated Uniden 6599SWS #2. this unit while listing for $260, can be had for 139.99 It works very well and got excellent laser detection ratings.
  • Mike -

    The review by Automobile mag can be found at
    http://automobilemag.com/features/pages.cfm?page_id=165.

    Valentine 1 #1, Uniden #2. Also, Valentine has a website. They have a response there for some of the "negatives" in the article even though they were the highest rated.
  • Check out www.speedlabs.com - they test radar & laser jammers & detectors & have a videotape you can buy of their tests. As far as Automobile's report goes, I wouldn't give it too much weight...the V1 is a great detector, but probably not worth the price. The BEL 855STi beat it in Speedlabs' test, which was based solely on instant-on performance. Stationary radars, whether around bends, over hills, wherever, are *no* problem for any modern detector. Problem is, cops know this about stationary radar traps...everyone's gone to instant-on hits. In these cases, your only shot is jamming or to have a detector sensitive enough to pick up a hit on the guy in front of you (if there is one).
  • Forgot to mention...not one radar detector is going to save you from laser...when it goes off, you are getting a ticket. Get a laser jammer.
  • JohnQ

    With all due respect, I beg to differ on the relevance of Automobile mag review or whether their testing is inferior to Speedlabs. The Auto mag review, while somewhat puzzling at times, is far more thorough than one instant-on test. And while instant-on is the most feared and dangerous radar (short of laser which is not as common as yet), the others are still out there. Other factors such as false alerts, response to other bands, etc. are still very important.

    I own a Bel 745 which was top of the line Bel several years ago. I have not been pleased with the significant number of false alerts on K and Ka band to the point that I almost ignore it. That along with the fact that the 855 placed 4th in the Auto mag review makes me want to look elsewhere. Regarding the V1, it's high on my list as I can see the benefit for knowing which direction the signal is coming from, the benefit of a rear facing antenna, and I have several friends that swear by them. BTW, take the price of a Bel or Whistler and add a rear facing remote antenna and the price gets closer.

    I also believe the V1 can be upgraded as upgrades become necessary or available. My purchase of a 745 was an "upgrade" from a previous detector I had purchased two years earler...add the price of the two together and thats a few $$$. Now I'm in the market again.

    I don't like the idea of dropping $400 on a detector but unless I see or read something that convinces me otherwise I plan on going with a V1.
  • div2div2 Posts: 2,580
    A lot of people believe that Craig Peterson (Automobile's expert) is prejudiced against the V1. There is a rumor that Valentine Research had refused to hire him as a consultant. One of his persistant criticisms of the V1 was that the direction arrows were "confusing". I consider them essential. It seems that the V1's performance increased to the point that even Mr. Peterson had to acknowledge the fact.
  • div2

    I understood the same thing regarding Peterson's bias....which if true, makes the results of the Automobile review more credible.

    As mentioned previously, I actually found the review and tests somewhat puzzling. For example, why would one unit test longer on Ka than another on a straightaway but shorter when the Ka is hiding in a curve due "to higher sensitivity"?

    To me, false alerts are my biggest problem to overcome. Get enough of them and then you start ignoring real problems. It's not so much highway as it is metropolitan areas. You can drive all over the city of Atlanta and deal with 70+MPH speeds through areas loaded with radar emitting devices....most of which are not speed detection.
    At least if you have directional arrows like the V1 you may get some help discerning the difference between false and real problems.

    Still studying the situation.....before I buy.
    Just my .02 :-)
  • C13C13 Posts: 390
    Automobile's credibility has been challenged before.

    If memory serves, on one of their old radar detector tests, the expert (Peterson?) was later accused of being in the employ of one of the manufacturers (whose products did very well on the test). It turns out that the allegation was true. The magazine published an admission of this, "but we stand by our test results".

    I don't ask anybody to take my word for it, since I can't make specific allegations, but for my money, the magazine and the editor have lost all credibility.

    They're also one of the sillier, more juvenile car magazines.

    Car & Driver, which I generally think tries to do a respectable job of reporting, found the 'jammers' that they tested to be worthless.
  • Agree with you C13. Not an Automobile mag reader but do read Car & Driver. I do recall the article that stated that 'jammers" are worthless, based on the testing they did.

    C&D also has year-in/out put the V1 at the top of the list as well....to the point that I might wonder if they work so closely together that it hurts their credibility. I certainly am not making any allegations either but if you go to the Valentine website in Mike's labs you find a report where C&D asked Valentine to do a laser/windshield test for them in the August 98 issue. It would make me feel better if there was no other relationship other than objective 3rd party. Again...just my .02. Still want a V1!!:-)
  • bheplerbhepler Posts: 101
    Anybody had any experience with the K40 in-dash radar detector? I know it's expensive as all get out but I live in VA and that funny black box on the winshield is readily visible, you know?

    I have heard nothing but praise about the Valentine unit from people who have them.

    C13: when you said that C&D rated the jammers as useless, were these radar jammers or laser jammers?
  • C13C13 Posts: 390
    I don't remember. I'll see if I can find the article.
  • bhepler

    Can't help on the K40 question...however, since you are in VA where detectors are illegal aren't you concerned about police use of radar detector detectors. Some web research I did today did state that there is such a thing and they are being used. I guess if it's mounted in your dash they can't confiscate it and drive over it with the squad car. :-)

    Regarding jammers, check out this website.
    http://www.radar.co.nz/usa/usarticle4.html
    They basically conclude that passive radar jammers don't work and active radar and laser jammers have limited range. Also, legality questions for use in US. Very easy to detect.

    I recall the C&D article to be less positive than the info at this site.
  • bheplerbhepler Posts: 101
    Like most radar detectors out there, they (K40) claim that their product is shielded against VG-2 detectors. Essentially, it should be completely invisible to your friendly neighborhood speed enforcement. My concern is that it is illegal to have them in VA, and I don't want this funny black box taped to my winshield with a coiled black cord running to my cigarette lighter. An in-dash unit would be ideal, but Valentine only makes a remote view panel, you still have to have the box on your dash. The cops out here are very sneaky and if they ride your butt like they are prone to do, they'll spot a dash unit for sure.

    MongoaPawn: Thanks for the link. If the detector detectors is in use, I'm sure it's in VA.
  • C13C13 Posts: 390
    I'm in VA too. I once saw a copy of the applicable laws. I'll try to find it. I don't believe that they can confiscate the unit legally, though I hear that they do it all the time, possibly in ignorance, possibly in hopes that the owner is ignorant. I think that the extent of the law is just that you get a small additional fine on top of your speeding ticket - like $30.

    Some of the magazine tests rate the units for their stealthiness in the face of VG-2. The best units are pretty good at being invisible to radar detector detectors.

    You don't necessarily have to have your detector on the dash, but you do have to have it somewhere where it can receive the signal, and that usually means it's gonna be visible. I've been thinking a lot about where to stash it stealthily but still allow it to receive well. A lot depends on whether you need to turn it on and off at the head unit. I think it's weird that nobody makes a modular unit with separate antennas, display and head, and an on/off switch at the display.

    I have no faith in jammers, but I think a good police-frequency scanner could be very useful for locating the gendarmes when their radar is not on. They also know about these and try to stay off the radio as much as possible when they're out takin pictures.
  • bheplerbhepler Posts: 101
    I already have the scanner, I need the radar.

    Uniden BCT-7. Nice toy, and has already paid for itself.
  • avs007avs007 Posts: 97
    Buy a 2000 Caddilac DeVille, and get the NightVision option, so you can see the ashole hiding on the side of the freeway....

    Hey, maybe I'll go and buy a nightvision camera, and wire it into a portable LCD, and figure a way to integrate it with my HUD... :)
  • Regarding units with separate antennas, I believe there are several available that allow for install of separate antennas in front and rear of car. Whistler and I believe Bell also. $$$ when you add it all up. Uncertain about on/off switch. Excellent for stealth install and eliminates possibility of reduction in sensitivity due to rear window/windshield tinting.
  • bheplerbhepler Posts: 101
    laser detection in those antennas? Do you have a link I can visit to see product info about these remote antennas?
  • http://www.radar-guys.com/wh2270.htm. Separate laser antenna. Whistler probably has a site but don't know it. Don't know anything about this site or company but some info there.

    Re: VA police.... a friend of mine (out of state tag) had a detector confiscated about 13 years ago. About a year later I was driving through VA in mountains on interstate....stopped by a radar unit for doing 63 in a 55 while going downhill. Seemed somewhat anal to me! Cops walked around my car looking in the windows. I had taken my detector down at the state line (based on friends experience) and it was in the glove box.
  • C13C13 Posts: 390
    I finally found the K40 site...

    Really meandering, with lots of flashy, needlessly animated graphics that take forever to load and a trail of links that doesn't make much sense if your goal is to educate people about your product. I fear that their goal is rather to dazzle people with footwork. That doesn't necessarily mean that their product isn't good. It might be.

    They do have a modular detector with a very stealthy display. I'm interested in some info now on how well it works.

    They have a lot of other products. One is a laser "diffuser", I think they call it. Hm. I'll keep an open mind, but I'm not convinced yet. Hard to find any rational (non-sales, non-hype) talk on that site. How would a diffuser work? Seems to me you'd have to have actual physical lenses, like a fog. Maybe it's a fog machine.

    One of the coolest products I've seen yet (not a K40 product) is for photo-radar. It's a simple photographic lamp; a slave unit that is triggered by a bright light aimed at it. It senses the flash from the photo-radar and goes off, aimed at the license plate. The plate is then over-exposed. When the cops get the photo back from the drugstore, the license plate is a big white blob.

    Pretty clever, I think.
  • meredithmeredith Posts: 578
    Mind the language!?!...

    This is a family site. Keep it clean and keep it civil or I will be obliged to use my delete key.

    Front Porch Philosopher
    SUV, Pickup, & Aftermarket and Accessories Host
  • bheplerbhepler Posts: 101
    I am still considering the K40, but now that I have heard of other remote installs, I'll hold off. I used the K40 web site to have them send me installer information and I got a list of three in my area (N. VA). I talked to one of the guys who had one installed and his reaction was positive. I really like the one year we-pay-your-ticket guarantee, something I haven't seen before.

    Speedlabs (www.speedlabs.com) has a report floating about regarding laser jammers. They certainly liked K40's system.

    I did a search months ago on K40 installations. Some guy had one installed in his Z28 with the warning lights mounted into the rearview mirror. I'll look for the sight and post it hear after I get this proposal done. Speaking of which...
  • Ok, here's the deal with jammers. There are two types: Active and Passive. The jammers that the mags have been "testing" and I use that term loosely, are passive. This means that they absorb the radar, mix it with what the manufacturer's call white noise, and rebroadcast (sometimes amplified) it back to the radar gun. The idea is that the original signal will be overwhelmed by this now larger signal. Reality, as the mags have shown is that they just don't work. Legalities of this are debateable. Manufacturers are ready to fight it, and some were even saying that they would fight the suit for you for no fee if you got caught with one and charged with criminal misconduct. Anyway, the cops never would press charges because they didn't work and they pulled you over for doing 68 in a 55 anyway.

    Now. Actives. There are (in the black world) some real jammers. These suckers really do work. You see, radar works by emitting a signal at a known frequency and via the doppler effect, they receive the return signal at another frequency. The higher the return frequency, the faster you were just nailed. This signal once returned to the sending unit is at a much lower power level than it was when sent out. An active jammer will examine the received radar signal and calculate its frequency. You can actually adjust them to have the radar gun read whatever you want it to read. You can have it do say 80% of what you were really doing, or 55 at all times, whatever. The jammer then sends the appropriately higher or lower frequency to the radar gun, and voila the cop sees you were doing whatever you told him you were doing. This is done by the jammer sending out a higher powered signal than the gun would normally receive, thus over-riding the original signal, which is never seen by the gun.

    And one more thing. If you get caught with this thing. You are in DEEP Kimshee. You have just broken serious FCC laws. How do you get caught? Blow by the stationary cop at 110, and have his gun say 55. You in a heep o trouble.
  • Guess we can't do blink. Who knew?
  • What's the going price on a K40?
  • bheplerbhepler Posts: 101
    The quote I got from the installer was $1200 for the complete whiz-bang K40 system. That was for: Front and back super wide band radar & laser antennas, "sonar radar" system (basically a gieger counter-like system where the clicks get louder as you get closer), and a laser jammer on the front plate, installed. Like I said, pricey.

    Oh, that was before the 10% discount from their web site.
  • Hey, bhelper, where is the K40 site? I've long been interested in remote antenna units - used to be, even Cobra sold one & you could get it from Crutchfield. I'm in VA, so I can't have this thing anywhere visible. Back when I drove with a detector always - and I'd recommend this to anyone - I did a wiring job, where I ran the included wire through the included fuse and up in the molding of the door frame (it was an '86 Nissan Pulsar). You could NOT see the power wire...totally stealthed. Also, I hung a flap in front of the detector that was opaque...I could see the lights, but no one behind me could. I was told a couple times when I got pace tickets (before using the flap) that the cops had pulled me over because they saw radar detectors...as far as the kinky cord goes, to anyone who has a detector, that thing has got to go...cops zero in on it like flies on garbage.
  • bheplerbhepler Posts: 101
    This Way

    The above link will take you to the main menu, skipping the little slide show that they have set up as the intro.

    Here's the place that I got the quote from:
    Auto Sound Electronics

    They're the only one in Northern VA that I could find.
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