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Old 05-21-06, 11:01 AM   #1
bennyk
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Radar Detectors?

Looking for recommendations for radar detectors that I can get cheaply, probably used. I borrowed one last summer that detected X-band, K-band, Laser, and some other-band, is it possible to get a used one that would do these? Or do I even need that many options since most radar is certain bands nowadays.

And for bonus fun (SLVOID), which radar detector over $1000 will go with my carbon fiber / nikon camera / bicycle frame / tube amp / espresso machine?
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Old 05-21-06, 06:13 PM   #2
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Valentine... cheap on the used market, even cheaper compared to speeding-tickets and higher insurance premiums...
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Old 05-22-06, 03:39 PM   #3
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I'm extremely happy with my Escort Passport 8500. It was $300 or so new back in 2001. It's still working great, and I've yet to get a speeding ticket with it.

Prior to getting the 8500, I used to pick up $50 detectors at Target or Walmart. They'd generally last about 5 months before they were no longer functional. I think it had something to do with the heat in Texas. That's partially why I got the 8500, sure, I spent $300 on it, but that works out to $60/year so far.
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Old 05-22-06, 03:40 PM   #4
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Radar detector?

You aren't that fast, are you?
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Old 05-22-06, 04:03 PM   #5
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I don't use a radar detector, but from what I know, Danno's advice is good advice. Prudent driving helps, too. I present my personal rules for speeding, codified as my 5/10/15 rule back when I was doing a cross-country trip and had too much time on my hands to think about such issues.

5/10/15 rule
Taken directly from my write-up of my trip, so there may be some irrelevant info in there.

The other common question relates to my driving speed. Since 100 mph is a misdemeanor in many states, I set a hard limit of 98 mph for myself on this trip. No exceptions! The risk of arrest during this trip simply was not worth it, no matter how small that risk may be. During the trip, I developed a 5/10/15 rule for myself, which I used both during the trip and afterward in my daily driving. When the road was passing through a community (no matter how small), I would respectfully stay within 5 of the speed limit, even if the speed limit was low. In the open, I would maintain cruising speeds up to 10 over if other vehicles were around, and 15 over if the road was essentially deserted. I allowed two general exceptions. The first was if the flow of traffic allowed me to go faster without exceeding the 95th percentile speed (98th percentile speed if enough cars are around). Then I would adjust to be near the fast end of the flow of traffic. The second was if the surroundings made me not at risk of being clocked by a line of sight device (ie radar or laser). Under these conditions, I allowed myself to make better time, right up to the 98 mph hard limit if conditions permitted.

What do I mean by being not at risk of being clocked by a line of sight device? Radar and laser both work by sending a signal out at a target, having the signal bounce back, and calculating the rate at which the object that bounced back the signal is closing in on the location where the radar or laser gun is. Thus, one’s true speed can only be determined if one is in a direct line of sight with the gun. Hills can easily defeat the gun, though one must be careful not to be speeding when cresting the hill. Cops are known to hide on the other side of a hill and point their radar or laser guns at the top of the hill, waiting for an unsuspecting speeder to crest the hill. Less obviously, curves defeat the gun, too, since the closing speed is much lower than the actual speed if the gun is not pointed straight on with one’s direction of travel. Lastly, other traffic can block the gun. (As a note of caution, other traffic can also make it easier for a cop to visually identify a speeder since the flow of traffic serves as a reference point. So using traffic as a radar or laser shield does not preclude speeding tickets since a cop could still visually pick you out as a speeder. However, if you are too far away to be visually identified by a cop, it allows you to close in on the vehicle in front or even pass without being positively ID’d.) So when all vehicles in sight could be visually ID’d, the sides of the roads clearly could not hide a cop, and a hill, a curve, or a leading vehicle precluded being caught by radar or laser, I allowed myself to increase my speed, making sure to return to speeds dictated by the 5/10/15 rule (even lower under certain circumstances, such as cresting a hill with no way to ascertain ahead of time the absence of a cop on the other side) by the time this situation ceased to be. By the way, I do not use radar or laser detectors. They’re not particularly effective since the guns are usually kept on standby until a quick zap is used when a suspected speeder is in sight. The detectors only work when the gun is in use, at which point it’s too late anyway.
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Old 05-22-06, 04:38 PM   #6
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I have some similar speed rules, and a very complex set of driving tactics that form a very solid overall strategy. Having used a RD once, though, it is very convenient, and even though I don't use it as an excuse to go ridiculously fast (I didn't really drive faster with the detector than without) it is VERY nice to have it, and to know when you're getting lit up.

I found this Whistler 58 detector on the web, what separates this from the more expensive 4-band units? Is it less-sensitive or does it just that it doesn't have any programmable modes? Also, is this radar-detector-detector stuff for real?

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Because the detectors are built around a superheterodyne receiver, and its local oscillator radiates a little, it is possible to build a radar detector-detector which detects such emissions (usually the frequency of the radar they are detecting, plus about 10 MHz) - some police radar guns are equipped with it. But electronic warfare cuts both ways, and the detector detectors use a superhet receiver too, so some radar detectors are equipped with a radar detector detector detector circuit, which shuts down the main radar receiver when the detector detector's signal is sensed, thus preventing detection by such equipment.
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Old 05-22-06, 04:49 PM   #7
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Radar detector detectors are for real. But there are many modern units that are virtually invisible to these devices. It matters because in some states, radar detectors are illegal. And I believe they're illegal for commercial trucks anywhere in the US. But if your unit is invisible to radar detector detectors, well hidden within the chassis of the vehicle, and with an indicator that's well concealed and that can be silenced, there's probably little chance of you actually getting caught.
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Old 05-22-06, 05:13 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by jschen
Radar detector detectors are for real. But there are many modern units that are virtually invisible to these devices. It matters because in some states, radar detectors are illegal. And I believe they're illegal for commercial trucks anywhere in the US. But if your unit is invisible to radar detector detectors, well hidden within the chassis of the vehicle, and with an indicator that's well concealed and that can be silenced, there's probably little chance of you actually getting caught.
Cool, according to this site, radar detectors are only illegal for non-commercial cars in Virginia, and, like, who cares about Virginia anyway. Of course, that web site hasn't been updated terribly recently, but I have confirmed it from other sources to a reasonable level of reliability.
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Old 05-23-06, 07:53 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DannoXYZ
Valentine... cheap on the used market, even cheaper compared to speeding-tickets and higher insurance premiums...
I have a friend who has a Mustang and he swears by his Valentine. Of course It doesn't catch 1/2 the cops who lie with their radar detectors and cars off and then power up bam and go chasing after people
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Old 05-23-06, 04:24 PM   #10
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Yeah, instant-on's kinda unfair, not very sporting... In California, they can't hide, so if you're an even halfway attentive driver, you should be able to see them well before they zap you. I like jschen's 5/10/15 rule, very methodical and precise. Effective and safe driving requires constant acquisition and processing of data and responding quickly and appropriately. Same thing with avoiding cops; if you're not paying attention and get zapped, radar-detector's not gonna protect you.

It's almost like a chess-match, both sides know all the moves, it comes down to who puts together the best combination. I can usually spot cops miles away in either direction. I follow one of my friend's crazy idea of "If you go faster then them in traffic, they'll never sneak up behind you to pace you". Cops usually don't travel that much faster than traffic, so if traffic's moving at 75mph, I'll go 77-80mph. However, one time he flew by and undercover CHP car, Ford Taurus, beige with only small insignia on door, no bubble-gum machine on top or anything. Damm! So he immediately pull off the freeway. This trick was taught by a CHP in traffic-school because they don't have jurisdiction on city-streets, unless they're in hot-pursuit. So he gases up, grab a snack and get back on his way. About 10-minutes later, he fly by the same undercover CHP AGAIN! This time, the guy calls in a regular CHP to pull him over and he gets busted.. heh, heh...

If they're following me a mile or more back, I like to speed up when I just get around a corner where they can't see me. Then I slow down to traffic speeds when they come around. Then speed up again after the next corner, then slow down.... Eventually, they fall far enough back that I can continue on at a steady fast pace.

Also be aware of the radar-usage laws in your area. In Cali, they can only use it in designated areas where an engineering survey has been done to confirm that the posted speed-limit is at the 85th-percentile of traffic. Without that survey, the radar ticket could be considered a speed-trap and tossed out of court.

There's actually a case working its way up the courts now that's challenging a lot of the speed-limits. Claiming that they're set artificially too low and not adhering to some existing laws on how to determine speed-limits.

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Old 05-24-06, 11:20 AM   #11
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Heh Texas wants to set the speed limit to 80 or 85 on 2 of our interstate highways. They're finally getting smart If 75+% of the people travel 5-10 miles above the speed limit.
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Old 05-24-06, 02:11 PM   #12
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Heh Texas wants to set the speed limit to 80 or 85 on 2 of our interstate highways. They're finally getting smart If 75+% of the people travel 5-10 miles above the speed limit.
It does seem crazy that the speed limits are getting higher, but if you think about it, cars are much safer now than they were even 10 years ago.
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Old 05-24-06, 02:39 PM   #13
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It does seem crazy that the speed limits are getting higher, but if you think about it, cars are much safer now than they were even 10 years ago.
Too bad drivers aren't.
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Old 05-24-06, 02:47 PM   #14
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If you made the speed limit that high, traffic congestion would be off the charts.

Lower it.
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Old 05-24-06, 03:08 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by 56/12 and 22/28
If you made the speed limit that high, traffic congestion would be off the charts.

Lower it.
How do you figure that? Barring extensive enforcement efforts, the flow of traffic has little to do with the posted speed. Surveys in California after our speed limits were raised (much of it from 55 MPH to 65 MPH, some from 65 MPH to 70 MPH) showed that people barely adjusted their driving behavior. Average (non-rush hour) speeds on the Los Angeles area freeways crept up from about 67 MPH to about 68 MPH. Accident rates and levels of congestion were essentially unchanged.
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Old 05-24-06, 05:10 PM   #16
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Too bad drivers aren't.
No, they are probably less safe. With a higher average driver skill, the limits could be even higher. Good drivers can be comfortable and safe driving at 85+ mph. I don't believe any driver is very safe above about 95, it's too easy to lose control.
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Old 05-26-06, 08:53 AM   #17
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Valentine 1...
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Old 05-26-06, 12:34 PM   #18
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Originally Posted by bennyk
No, they are probably less safe. With a higher average driver skill, the limits could be even higher. Good drivers can be comfortable and safe driving at 85+ mph. I don't believe any driver is very safe above about 95, it's too easy to lose control.
Yeah. I don't feel safe above 85 and currently my car doesn't like to be above 75 although I pushed it at 85 most of the time on all of the long trips between san antonio and Houston.
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Old 05-26-06, 12:35 PM   #19
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Valentine 1...
I thought 2 was the good one.
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