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Radar Detector Buying Guide

Posted on August 6, 2007
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When buying a radar detector, you first need to have a basic understanding of how the device works. The conventional police speed guns use either radar or lasers to transmit microwave pulses or light impulses.

In radar speed guns, they may use of the Doppler Effect and measures the frequency of the transmitted pulse comparing it with the frequency of the reflection in order to calculate the speed of the motor vehicle. In the case of laser speed guns, they directly measures the reflection time of the light rather than rely on the Doppler shift.

Radar detectors identifies the presence of such speed guns which gives the motorists sufficient warning for him/her to slow down as they pass the range of the speed gun. In cases where the radar detectors are equipped with jamming devices, the microwave signals or the laser impulses are distorted or disrupted by the use of microwave noise or flash lights.

We can categorize radar detectors into three kinds:

  • Corded
  • cordless
  • remote-mounted units

Corded radar detectors are normally placed on the windshield through the use of suction caps. These kinds of radar detectors have the widest range of detection compared to the other two.

Cordless, meanwhile, has the advantage of being mobile which makes it easy to transport the unit from vehicle to vehicle.

On the other hand, the remote-mount detectors are permanently mounted to your vehicle.

City modes

City modes are an option that you could choose when entering a suburban or residential area. This minimizes the radar detector’s sensitivity and range since some residential areas might have alarms that could be triggered by electromagnetic waves coming from your radar detector.

Laser detection

With laser detection, the detector will be able to see laser beams in front of your vehicles. These are quite reliable but can be a little more expensive than the radar versions.

The VG-2 and Spectre protection are technologies that give you warnings if the police are using radar detector detectors (RDD).

Range of detector

The range of the detector is also a good thing to study before purchasing one. Take note that even though a radar detector has been calibrated up to detect signals at a certain distance, this might not be true in reality. Instead of looking at the theoretical calibration, look at how the detector was actually tested.

Size, shape, weight, design

Other thing to consider before buying a radar detector include the size, shape, weight, and design of the unit. You should look at different models since the differences can really make a difference.

It would be useful to have one that you can easily stay away. Also, you need to consider the number of false alarms a detector raises. Obviously, you would choose a model and unit that raises far less false alarms.

 
 

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