>From: Albert Ng <email@example.com>
>Date: Sun, 25 Feb 1996 21:45:45 -0500 (EST)
>Subject: Radar/Laser detector
>Dear Audi fans,
>Today, my brother had ordered a laser detector from Home shopping network
>for only $98(including tax and shipping). Its feature, something like
>Vg-2, Ka K and others. Is it a good price? What is all those Vg-2, K, Ka
>about ? I really know nothing about radar detector. Can anyone be kind
>to give me some explanions about this?
Prices can range from under $50 to over $250. If you paid $98 for one
that you could have gotten at Radio Shack for $50, that's no deal.
In general, the more you spend, the better a unit works for you. Look
at the test in the recent Car & Driver mag at your local library for
all the gory detailt.
Here's what I remember about it all.
There are four bands, normally indicated by different types of audible
alerts and/or warning lights.
x - oldest band in use, radar guns are cheap, same signal is used by
grocery store door openers etc. leading to many stray signals and false
alarms. All units can be set to filter out weak signals and warn you
about strong ones.
k - newer band used primarily by "instant on" radar guns, which are
more expensive and harder to detect, since it doesn't broadcast until
the officer has you in his sites. You can detect it when there are
other cars around, because radar is not a tight beam, but a very
dispersed beam, so when a car a couple of blocks in front of you is
being timed, you can detect the leading edge of that beam and slow
down. However, on an empty road when the gun is in standby mode up
until the time he samples your speed, this is undetectable by any and
all radar detectors. This is the easiest way you can still get a
ticket even using the best equipment available. Moral of this story
is, slow down on empty roads, or don't plan to take completely empty
roads. For example, coming back to Wiggins MS from 'Nawlins you can go
on the coast in light traffic or inland on country roads that are
empty. If you want to make time, choose the former; the latter is
dangerous, any county sherrif can pick you off easily. If you're
looking for a pretty ride, choose the latter.
ka - very new band used for photo-radar. It's a very wide band and
hence also causes some falsing, but it's rarely used, and usually with
a stationary transmitter that broadcasts continuosly. You can ignore
weak signals, but if you get a strong signal, slow down and mark this
location in your memory banks. I've only gotten a strong signal once,
somewhere along I55 or I57 between 'Nawlins and Chicago, near Memphis.
Laser (this could be the vg band you refer to) - is used like the
instant-on K band described above, but has a very tight beam, so that
only the targeted vehicle can detect the signal, so you can't see the
officer a couple of blocks ahead of you sampling traffic. This stuff
is very rare and expensive, I've only seen a suspected actual laser
signal once, in Oak Park, a suburb of Chicago.
The biggest problem with the cheaper detectors is falsing from EM
interference. I bought a Uniden unit at the place where I got my
cellphone, an impulse buy without doing research first, at around
$150. It detects fine, but the laser circuit goes off every time my
cell phone searches for it's cell, so I had to wire things up so I
could easily turn off the radar unit when I turn on the phone, and I
can't keep the phone on all the time to get incoming calls. I also
have to remember to be careful when gabbing on the phone, since the
detector is off. Worse yet, I find that the radar ciruit falses badly
whenever I turn on the rear wiper on the 90 Z, and I once used the
thing in a rented Maxima, and the ignition falsed the K band alarm
continuously while the engine was running.
I use a Valentine in the UBERWGN ("96" S6 wagon), works well, tells you
where the signal is coming from (ahead or behind) and how many descrete
signals are being detected. The latest BEL was rated slightly higher
recently. Both cost around $250.
On the other hand, a friend of mine who drives a 89 Chevy Sprint has an
ancient Uniden that she keeps on the floor of the passenger compartment
(I guess there's no metal to interfere with reception anyway) and gets
excellent protection this way (no doubt coupled to her normal state of
extremely heightened awareness...)
== "When you believe in things you don't understand, then you suffer" ==
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