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A Radar Detector Review : For The Peace Of Mind, Not For Speed !

By Marc Deschamps

This radar detector review is a look at the history of product development as well as the features and brands that will offer you a protection against abusive speeding tickets and driving hazards.

Before we begin this radar detector review, let me tell you a personal story. We are on a quiet sunday morning, around 7h30, I am driving on a local road in a suburban area. I am all alone and working my way to the office to do some catch-up work. The speed limit is 50 mph and I am doing 60 mph in a downhill part of the road. I haven't had a coffee yet, so I am focusing on the road and nothing else. All of a sudden I see this cop waving down the hill and asking me to pull on the side. He tells me I am over limit and that residents have complained, particularly when school buses are on the road that people are driving too fast behind and have to brake suddenly or do not have time to stop and end up bumping into each other. I answer that we are sunday morning, there is no school and I am all alone driving 10 mph over the limit !! Not 30 !! Not at 80-90 mph !! Did not do too good and got a $125 ticket !!

Stories like that are by the thousands, so this radar detector review is biased. The peace of mind is worth the investment !! Ok, let's start our radar detector review

Detectors are scanning radar beams and catch them before they can catch you. They also detect beams around curves or over hills and it extends their range straight ahead. A X-band radar is the easiest to detect because of its lower frequency and higher power output. Depending on outdoor conditions X-band radars can be detected from a distance averaging three miles, yet it can only take accurate readings of speed from a distance of a maximum of one half mile.

Constant radar detector review and research of new technologies have allowed police forces to figure out how to combat the "ennemy". And so the Ka-band technology was introduced. Then came photo systems, combining Ka-band radar guns with an automated camera. A vehicle approaching at or above a predetermined speed triggers the camera. The photo shows the front of the vehicle, license plate, driver's face, the date, location, and time. But only a limited number of north-american cities use photo radar systems due to budget and legal constraints.

Think that was the end of the radar detector review and development process? Nope. Then came the Ka Wide-Band operating at frequency levels of 33.4 to 36.0 GHz which cannot be catched by detectors designed only for X, K, and photo radar. In response, radar detector manufacturers have developed the "Super wide-band" technology that sweeps all of the Ka-band allocated to radar, as well as providing continued protection against X, K, and photo radar.

Governments responded with the laser gun technology. The advantages of a laser gun are great : the laser light beam is far narrower than a radar beam, allowing more accurate pinpointing of a specific vehicle and the time needed for capturing a speed reading is less than half a second versus 2 to 3 seconds for radar.

The drawbacks are also important : laser guns are very expensive, they can't be used from a moving vehicle or from behind glass, and accurate aiming requires a tripod or a very steady hand. Despite initial claims that the energy from a laser gun is not detectable, it is. And as the laser beam moves away from the laser gun, it widens and becomes easier to detect.

Finally, the VG-2 radar detector detection technology was introduced allowing the identification of vehicles with operating radar detectors on board.

Copyright 2006 Marc Deschamps

About The Author
Marc Deschamps is the editor of Car Accessories Magazine, a free online publication dedicated to automotive accessories, car care and related topics. Other articles on car accessories can be found at http://www.car-accessories-magazine.com/shopping-car-accessories.html


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