How to use a Radar Detector

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bigx5murf
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How to use a Radar Detector

postby bigx5murf » 12/27/13 @ 00:58

So a couple of people I know got shiny new radar detectors for xmas, then come crying to me that the things are annoying, and they don't know how to tell false alerts from the real thing. I've preached about the virtues of a good radar detector many times, and it surprises me how many people still think they're too expensive for what they do. I've nearly maxed my license with speeding related points twice before I started using radar detectors, and learning how to use them effectively. Back in NY, a single driver's assessment fee violation, along with the actual ticket would've cost enough for a top of the line radar counter measure at retail. I've gotten these twice.

I don't claim to be an expert, but I haven't had a speeding ticket since 2007, and I've logged over 50k ticket free miles on the i95 between NYC and Stamford CT (the Mammoroneck area is known for heavy speed enforcement), I've also driven cross country from NYC to Las Vegas while avoiding trouble with the fuzz, despite no cruise control. I take no responsibility with what you do with this info, and will not be held responsible in any way if you decide to act with this knowledge in regards to your local traffic laws. In the end, these devices are just tools, and if you insist on driving a screw with a hammer, you won't get the most out of your tools. Common sense, and experience are the best weapons for beating traffic violations, a detector is just another info tool.

First things first, this guide mostly applies to beltronics and escort detectors, they're the only ones I have experience with (beltronics rx65 which was stolen, and meow escort 8500 x50, they're identical internally, but a few software differences). Out of the box, most detectors are going to be overly annoying, tripping over every little signal, and falsing all the time. To get the most out of your detector, requires a bit of programming.

Your detector should have a card in the manual similar to this one. From my experience, programming mode is reached by holding down 2 buttons. Then using 3 to change various settings. Your detector should also have the following modes City, Highway, Auto, it probably comes set to Auto right out the box. Manually selecting City or Highway, depending on what you're driving on will significantly reduce false alerts (in case it's not obvious enough, being in Highway mode is more sensitive). Radar detectors are pretty much useless in city driving anyway, turn them off.
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The only settings we're interested in are "BANDS", these are the ones we're going to modify. They're the only ones which really effect how often the detectors trips, and how accurate each time it alerts is. To know what to modify, visit the following link http://www.radardetectorforum.org/wiki/ ... cal_Survey

From there choose the area you drive most in. For me its Nevada, which I will use as an example. You'll get a chart similar to this one for your particular state.
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meow lets decipher the info in this chart. First the LSR, or laser/lidar, used by state troopers, and by Reno. You get hit by these, you are pretty much fucked (EZ Pass drive through tolls on the east coast used to trigger this alert for me), the popo's got your speed. Your best protection against this (without purchasing more counter measures), is just to know where it's used, and recognize obvious speed trap landscapes. Some say not having a front license plate, and having oxidized (non glossy) head lights can delay the Laser/Lidar from getting a reading, and give you enough time to slow down. Personally, I once slammed on the brakes as soon as I saw the LASER warning, and still got pulled over. But after harassing and scaring me, the cop finally admitted he didn't have me on the gun, and that if he had I might've not have my car anymore. This was at night, I was coming up on a crest, had a disappearing front plate.

Next we'll talk about POP Mode, this is a form of instant on radar, as opposed to constant on (my detector manual doesn't differentiate between POP and Instant On, not sure why the pics I posted do). Instant on radar guns are meant to defeat radar detectors by making it too late by the time you get the warning. Turning on this mode, will make your detector more sensitive, thus more likely to false alert. I recommend having this turned on if you're in an area where it's a risk. The best way to defeat this, is to have a speeding buddy, and let them lead. If you get a quick a alert that just comes and goes, or an alert that comes and goes repeatedly. That's most likely a POP gun. If you have a rabbit car in front of you, the POP was aimed at them instead of you. Not all is lost if you get hit by a POP gun though, in many states the info from a POP gun isn't admissible in court due to the fact it doesn't track you. If you drive in an area that doesn't use POP, turn it off, and lucky you, you've just reduced the amount of false alerts significantly.

Next I want to talk about TSR and SWS. My escort 8500 x50 has the TSR detection, I leave it off because as you can see, they're not used anywhere in Nevada. In California, on the other hand, they're quite common, and I turn it on to reduce false alerts. These are radar devices that detect the flow of traffic. My beltronics rx65 that was stolen had the SWS, which stands for Safety Warning System, which is supposed to be some sort of system that sends signals to warn of dangerous conditions. I used to leave it off, because, less false alerts.

Lastly, we'll talk about X, K, and Ka radar bands. Most alerts are going to show up as one of these. I highly recommend Signal Strength Meter to Meter EXP, which will allow the detector to display multiple radar sources, and using a bar display, the strength of each signal. This display mode is similar to the Valentine One's "bogey counter", except it also provides signal strength, but only displays up to 3 "bogeys" at a time (you will rarely, if ever see more than 2).

As you can see, my state doesn't use X band at all, so I turn it off completely (only NJ and Ohio use X band nowadays). This eliminate most false alarms from auto door openers, to fancy radar cruise control on those new luxo cars.

My state does use K band, as do many auto door openers in strip malls. Manually switching between City/Highway mode is the best way to minimize falses from these. State Troopers on the Hutchinson River pkwy used to make my detector show flashes of K. A weak K that comes and goes? Be alert, and slow down just in case. K signal in local? Ignore it. A constant K on the highway? Decide whether or not the landscape is suitable for a speed trap. If not, it's probably some douchebag in a german luxo with their radar cruise control on.

Ka band, slam on the brakes until you're doing speed limit! This is almost never a false regardless of where you are. The only time Ka has ever falsed on me is when I'm going into an underpass, and the trap was actually on the overpass, or vice versa.

Ku Band, my current detector doesn't have this band, but my beltronics rx65 did, and so does the 9500ix manual I posted. From my understanding this is a European only band, so Americans can turn it off. I left it on in the beginning on my RX65, and I remember it falsing a couple of times in CT.

For closing, I'm going to stress, looking ahead, paying attention, drawing on experience in recognizing possible speed traps, are what's most important. Speeding in packs is safest, check the plates especially of pack speeders, are they locals? Are a bunch of local plate cars suddenly slowing down? There's probably a reason for it. Coming up on a crest? Slow down. See repeating markers, check the sky. Do the guard rails or barriers have breaks? Only speed as far as you can see.
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Re: How to use a Radar Detector

postby banned » 12/27/13 @ 01:35

Or.....we could just drive responsibly and not endanger anyone.
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Re: How to use a Radar Detector

postby bigx5murf » 12/27/13 @ 04:05

banned wrote:Or.....we could just drive responsibly and not endanger anyone.


If only it were that simple. Think of it this way, I'm a cop, I see you going 15 over the limit. So I decide from a stop to cut into traffic, do 30+ over weaving through traffic, so I can get you a citation for going 15 over. Who did more endangering of the public? But because I have a badge I'm entitled to it while you're not.

I'll give Mammoroneck as an example, pretty much a bumble fuck nowhere quiet little town, as far as tri-state towns go. I went to court there for a 15 over ticket. The courthouse was full, to the point I had to stand while I waited to be called. The cops made everyone the same deal, no points for a higher initial fine. A number of people were for being as little as 4mph over (yes, 69 in a 65). You think this town's citation system gives a shit anyone's safety? Pretty obvious this is one of their major sources of income.

You'd be extremely naive to think traffic citations are for anyone's safety. They might've started out that way, but nowadays, they're just another business. If they weren't, why do we suddenly see the speed limit changes on interstates with no change in road conditions? Driving cross country I ran into numerous roads straight as far as the eye can see, littered with speed limit signs going from 55-75. Why?
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Hateoneveryone
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Re: How to use a Radar Detector

postby Hateoneveryone » 12/27/13 @ 07:56

After geting poped doing 110 in a 45 i went out and spent 300$ on a escort passport 8500.
It has saved me on many occasions but it has also taught me that not all highway patrol men have their radar on when pulled on the side of the road, many times i questioned if it works, but hasnt let me down yet.
Although im happy with my radar i highly sugest getting a more expensive one with a laser scrambler because i had a really close call one time from a cop shooting laser with his radar turned off. If he doesnt shoot anyone infront of you, you will not get a detection untill its too late and you are zapped. meow i heard they cannnot issue a ticket on lidar because its not 100% accurate do to human error, but we all know policemen especialy highway do what ever they want.
To add just last week i was speeding home from work noticed two motorcycled behind me ad i weeved threw traffic, no alerts on my radar next thing i know sirens behind me and the bike cop is punching my window yelling "slow the fuck down asshole". meow moral of the story is he did not pull me over or issue a ticket, was this because he didnt use radar to probe my speed? Or is he just lazy
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Derek
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Re: How to use a Radar Detector

postby Derek » 12/27/13 @ 10:43

Nice write-up. In PA, only State Police can use radar and I have never heard or seen them using anything other than always on K-band.
last edited by Derek on 12/27/13 @ 10:49, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: How to use a Radar Detector

postby Z-Train » 12/27/13 @ 10:45

Thanks for the write up.

I've been using an RX65 for a couple years meow. It has saved me numerous times.

I'm in the Indy area, but I actually live in a surrounding town and drive country roads most of the way to work. That was the main reason I got the detector, for when I'm driving country roads through farm fields where I drive fast (nobody around). Occasionally there will be sheriffs Deputy's out there, and I didn't want to get nailed with a big ticket.

Because of a lot of LIDAR use on the Indy highways, I usually stay with the flow of traffic on there to avoid tickets, even with the detector.

I get quite a few false alerts, but I usually can identify them pretty easily and click the ignore button.

I should switch between highway and city more often, but I'm lazy and usually leave it on highway all the time and just put up with the false alerts.
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Re: How to use a Radar Detector

postby bigx5murf » 12/27/13 @ 14:35

LIDAR is definitely admissible in court, at least it definitely is in Suffolk county NY. I've mentioned I've beaten LIDAR once at night, with no front plate, and a dirty car. But as mentioned, in LIDAR enforced areas, best not to speed alone, and use the flow of traffic, and your understanding of the landscape to judge a safe speed.
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