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Old 12-30-05, 12:13 PM   #1
banerjek
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Gizmo to set off radar detectors

Some of the other threads where cyclists are wearing cameras got me thinking -- does anyone know where I could buy (or how to build) a gadget to set off radar detectors?

Most of my miles are on highways where many people travel well above the speed limit. Traffic is heavy enough that I think that if I could set off a few detectors, it might get all people driving closer to the limit and reduce the speed differential between the slowest and fastest vehicles. At the very least, I think such a gizmo would help make some of the nuttier drivers more alert.

Anyone have any ideas or experience with such a gizmo or know of a common device that just happens to set off radar detectors (hopefully without interfering with the cops' radar guns)?
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Old 12-30-05, 12:31 PM   #2
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I've seen such a device advertised. Gotta try a Google.

[edit] No luck.

Last edited by scarry; 12-30-05 at 12:41 PM.
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Old 12-30-05, 12:36 PM   #3
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How about a radar gun?
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Old 12-30-05, 12:47 PM   #4
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Not that I think getting people to slow down is a bad idea, but from a cost effective point of view I think you'd be wasting you're money. The percentage of people who speed and have radar detectors, I imagine is relatively low which means you may be only cause a very small proportion to slow down. More importantly, you'd have people paying more attention to where the radar trap may be than to the road.

Besides, its not so much the speeders that I'd worry about, its the tailgaiters (because they don't see you till the last second) and the drunks.
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Old 12-30-05, 01:45 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GGDub
Not that I think getting people to slow down is a bad idea, but from a cost effective point of view I think you'd be wasting you're money. The percentage of people who speed and have radar detectors, I imagine is relatively low which means you may be only cause a very small proportion to slow down.
True, but on a crowded 4 lane highway, slowing down one person in the fast lane can change the pace of the entire line for a surprisingly long time because of the "slinky" effect in dense traffic. The slinky effect often forces drivers to slow to a crawl or even stop hours after an accident has been cleared even though the level of traffic is only moderately high.


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Originally Posted by GGDub
More importantly, you'd have people paying more attention to where the radar trap may be than to the road.
My guess is that they'll look along the sides of the road first since that's where the cops often are. That's where I'll be, so I'm hoping that the benefit from them noticing me is greater than the detriment caused by them paying less attention to the other vehicles for a few seconds.

I'm not saying I think I found a silver bullet. However, it's one of those ideas that might be worth a shot. Plus, I'm happy to do what I can to screw up any device that has no legitimate use and encourages people to be irresponsible on the roads.
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Old 12-30-05, 01:48 PM   #6
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Low percentage? Looking around our parking lot, probably half the cars have detectors.
It's not hard to do, all you need is a gun diode in a directional housing. Keep in mind that it's emitting microwaves, so make sure the housing is good if you don't want to expose yourself to microwaves.

Radar detectors are a pet peeve of mine. It would be possible to build a detector that picked up a radio tuned to police frequencies, especially if it were transmitting. Basically, a cop detector. The BBC in the UK uses detectors like this to tell which houses are watching TV.

You could then sell these cop detectors to vandals or burglars so they could avoid being caught breaking the law. I don't believe that this is qualitatively different than what radar detectors do. In fact, I have argued that radar detectors are MORE heinous; because they assist people to break laws in ways that endanger other people's lives in measurable ways.
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Old 12-30-05, 02:07 PM   #7
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I see a future where this will be standard bicycle safety option. Eventually, they will develop a transmitter small enough to be mounted to the bike and send a constant "cyclist alert" signal.

Quote:
The new generation of "smart," radar detectors includes a built-in liquid crystal display capable of displaying up to 64 characters. When such a detector receives a safety message, it first sounds a special tone to alert the driver before displaying the message.
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Enhanced transmitters, when they are coupled with `smart' radar detectors, will let the driver differentiate between various types of road hazards.
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Old 12-30-05, 03:24 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by ItsJustMe
Radar detectors are a pet peeve of mine. It would be possible to build a detector that picked up a radio tuned to police frequencies, especially if it were transmitting. Basically, a cop detector. The BBC in the UK uses detectors like this to tell which houses are watching TV.
Wonderful ideal, maybe we could call them.................................

Scanners?
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Old 12-30-05, 03:30 PM   #9
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Can't you buy an old radar gun for around $100 or $150 ? That ought to make those receivers buzz !

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Old 12-30-05, 03:54 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jasongilbert
I see a future where this will be standard bicycle safety option. Eventually, they will develop a transmitter small enough to be mounted to the bike and send a constant "cyclist alert" signal.
Interesting... basically a transponder much like what airplanes now use for IFF systems to "squawk" their location and height for air traffic control.

I can see something like this becoming very important in the future when actual driving is handed over to a computer.
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Old 12-30-05, 06:25 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by John Wilke
Can't you buy an old radar gun for around $100 or $150 ? That ought to make those receivers buzz !
I could. I was just wondering if there's some slick nonobvious device out there that's designed specifically for this purpose. I would think that parents of small children and elderly drivers might want to buy a unit for their car.
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Old 12-30-05, 09:05 PM   #12
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I think that you can make a supper small lightweight device that only transmitted. Might be a challange to tune.
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Old 12-30-05, 09:34 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by slagjumper
I think that you can make a supper small lightweight device that only transmitted. Might be a challange to tune.
What you want is a device called a gunnplexer. If you search around, you might find one from a surplus electronics dealer pretty cheap. I had a couple about 10 years ago that I got for about $20 each from Nebraska Surplus. It was a small unit, about 1 inch square. You attach a tiny horn antenna and hook it up to about 6 VDC. You want to find a K-Band gunnplexer which will transmit on 24.15 GHz to set off radar detectors.

A person with a bit of electronics skill could put one together without too much difficulty.
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Old 12-30-05, 10:00 PM   #14
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I regret being a spoil-sport to such a lively thread but have you considered the penalties for an unliciensed (sp?) transmitter operating on police frequencies? Shudder! On a par with the company that was selling kits that allowed you to build a transmitter that could turn all streetlights red. Legally used by emergency vehicles on high speed runs. Box had a warning; For Technical Interest Only. Do Not Use.
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Old 12-30-05, 10:11 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by banerjek
...Anyone have any ideas or experience with such a gizmo or know of a common device that just happens to set off radar detectors... ?
--- There used to be a product called the "Highway Zapper" made by Electronic Rainbow. I saw one in action on a busy road. When the owner pushed the button, lots of brake lights came on.
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Old 12-30-05, 10:24 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ken cummings
I regret being a spoil-sport to such a lively thread but have you considered the penalties for an unliciensed (sp?) transmitter operating on police frequencies? Shudder! On a par with the company that was selling kits that allowed you to build a transmitter that could turn all streetlights red. Legally used by emergency vehicles on high speed runs. Box had a warning; For Technical Interest Only. Do Not Use.
If you're power is low enough, there is no problem. 24.15 GHz is not a "police frequency". It's used for many applications. Hence the availability of surplus low power (~1mW) gunnplexers. Now, if you plan to jam a police radar, that's a different story.

You can buy a K Band speed radar off the shelf without any license (http://www.stalkerradar.com/sports_sport.shtml for one of many examples). Low power microwave transmitters are used for motion detectors in burglar alarms and automatic door openers. Did you know that farm tractors have radar? It's for measuring ground speed to optimize the amount of wheel slip.
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Old 12-31-05, 12:07 AM   #17
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This could be a good start on the project:

http://www.ramseyelectronics.com/cgi...action&key=SG7
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Old 12-31-05, 12:43 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by banerjek
True, but on a crowded 4 lane highway, slowing down one person in the fast lane can change the pace of the entire line for a surprisingly long time because of the "slinky" effect in dense traffic. The slinky effect often forces drivers to slow to a crawl or even stop hours after an accident has been cleared even though the level of traffic is only moderately high.
Absolutely true and exploited by law enforcement in Alberta. The RCMP regularly parks empty cruisers along stretches of highway that are deemed dangerous because of conditions or heavy traffic (used frequently on the road between Banff and Lake Louise). They turn on the radar and leave it on. On a two lane highway it slows traffic down for miles in both directions.
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Old 12-31-05, 07:27 PM   #19
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Thanks for the nice response. Well said.

There was an aircraft beacon along I-10 in New Mexico that was triggering radar detectors. Once some drivers knew they were getting a false signal they would just keep speeding. Smart drivers would slow down there knowing that the local police had started waiting there for speeders. This was somewhere near Grants, NM.

When using a transmitter to slow traffic one might be somewhat random in using it to make it harder to be caught. Also, don't always do it on a bike: same reason.
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Old 12-31-05, 07:41 PM   #20
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Try your local sports shop that's big on baseball. They are selling radar guns that measure the speed of a baseball from a pitcher (honest they really are!)
Ya gotta love technology. It's not enough to buy your kid a bat, ball and mit. Now ya gotta buy spikes, uniform, glove treatment, pitching machine, ball stand and, the latest, a radar gun to see how fast the little tike can through the ball.
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Old 12-31-05, 08:21 PM   #21
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Ya gotta love technology. It's not enough to buy your kid a bat, ball and mit. Now ya gotta buy spikes, uniform, glove treatment, pitching machine, ball stand and, the latest, a radar gun to see how fast the little tike can through the ball.
"Ya" don't HAVE to buy anything unless "Ya" want to buy it around here.
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Old 12-31-05, 08:24 PM   #22
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"Ya" don't HAVE to buy anything unless "Ya" want to buy it around here.
Where's here?
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Old 12-31-05, 09:58 PM   #23
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Where's here?
Everywhere.
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Old 01-01-06, 02:31 PM   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ken cummings
Thanks for the nice response. Well said.

There was an aircraft beacon along I-10 in New Mexico that was triggering radar detectors. Once some drivers knew they were getting a false signal they would just keep speeding. Smart drivers would slow down there knowing that the local police had started waiting there for speeders. This was somewhere near Grants, NM.

When using a transmitter to slow traffic one might be somewhat random in using it to make it harder to be caught. Also, don't always do it on a bike: same reason.
Yes. The RCMP moved the units around. They occasionally hid manned units in these areas too, to pick off the people who figured out the ruse. They'd even sit in these areas with no radar active and set up with Lidar. Most people didn't have laser detection capability. Even with laser detection capabilities if you're getting targeted by laser, it's probably too late to drop speed.

Reminds me of the only time I got ticketed for speeding while using a detector. I was travelling 85 in a 75 on the interstate in Montana. There was no eastbound traffic ahead of me for as far as I could see. Two cars approaching westbound. When the westbound trooper was within range he hit me with the instant on radar. Of course the radar detector went nuts. Too late of course. Remember, if you use a radar detector, you're relying on other driver's speed being sampled in order for you to get an alert. Fortunately, I only had to post a $20 bond, the equivalent of the fine for speeding. Fortunately, I had $20 cash or Trooper Troy and I would have become acquainted on the ride to the local state police post lock-up.
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Old 01-03-06, 10:53 AM   #25
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It appears that there are a max of 128 preprogrammed messages that can be triggered on smart radar detectors (7 bit codes):
http://www.americancityandcounty.com...etectors_warn/
I couldn't find a list of phrases, I saw some reference to there being about 60 but I don't know how old that list is. Slow moving vehicle is one of the options for sure.

It appears that this system is licensed by Safety Warning Systems of Florida. That means specs are probably not available publicly.
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