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Dec 03

Radar Detector Terminology

ALP – AntiLaser Priority. Currently the best laser jammer on the market. They are very sensitive, receive continued updates, and can jam both the older easier to jam guns as well as the latest lidar guns with anti-jamming technology. These are the current top pick for laser jammers. You can find them for sale online here.

Bands – Police radar guns operate on different frequencies. A radar band is simply a range of frequencies. There are a whole bunch of RF bands. Different radar gun use different frequency antennas (higher frequency antennas like Ka band are smaller and more compact than lower frequency antennas like K or even X band.) For more information on what’s going on and why, as well as the significance of receiving alerts on various bands, watch this video.

BS/RDR – Band Segmentation and Radar Detector Rejection. Features available on some Escort/Beltronics radar detectors. RDR helps filter out false alerts from leaky radar detectors. Band segmentation is used to turn on and off different portions of the entire range of Ka band. Turning some segments off increases performance while also disabling frequencies which have only false alerts and no legitimate radar signals, something you may experience more of by disabling RDR. The equivalent in V1-land are Custom Sweeps and Ka Guard.

BSM – Blind Spot Monitor. Many newer cars are equipped with blind spot monitoring systems and depending on the make and model of the car, it can cause a radar detector to false alert to K band. Newer radar detectors have special filters designed to filter out false alerts from BSM’s, but not all of them can be filtered out. GM and Acuras are especially difficult to filter. These are one of the most annoying false alerts and the most challenging to filter out. A modern radar detector is recommended to help deal with these newer false alerts.

CAS – Collision Avoidance System. Many modern cars are equipped with a variety of collision avoidance systems such as automatic braking, smart cruise control, blind spot monitoring, and so on. These systems typically use radar, laser, and cameras to monitor what’s going on around the vehicle and some of these systems can cause your radar detector to false alert so it’s recommended to use a modern radar detector that has the ability to filter out many CAS false alerts.

CM – Countermeasures that you can use to avoid speeding tickets such as radar detectors and laser jammers.

C/O – Constant On. There is where a police officer leaves their radar gun on the whole time while they are parked or driving around. This is easy to detect from a distance.

Custom Sweeps – A feature in the V1 where you can select which Ka frequencies are scanned rather than the entirety of Ka band. It’s comparable to Band Segmentation in Escort/Beltronics products.

CW – Continuous wave. The traditional type of radar where you are transmitting with a fixed frequency. The doppler shifted return frequency tells you the speed of of a target but not its distance. Contrast this with FMCW, explained below.

ECM – Electronic countermeasures. Devices that you can use to avoid speeding tickets such as radar detectors and laser jammers.

ECCM – Electronic counter-countermeasures. Technology designed to defeat electronic countermeasures such as radar detectors and laser jammers. Laser guns that have anti-jamming technology built in employ some form of ECCM technology.

FF – Forward facing. The officer is transmitting radar out the front of his vehicle as you drive towards him.

FMCW – Frequency modulated continuous wave. A more sophisticated form of radar that provides both the speed and distance of the target. It does this by taking a normal continuous wave radar and combining a frequency modulated signal. Basically instead of using a fixed frequency, you progressively raise the frequency from low to high, over and over and over. Doing this allows you to have a starting and stopping point and you can measure how long it takes for the start and stop points to be transmitted and received and from that you can calculate distance. This is a technique used by radar based collision avoidance systems and blind spot monitoring systems on many vehicles.

Interference – Radar detectors not only detect RF energy, but they also emit and “leak” some back out. This leakage can be detected by other nearby radar detectors and lead to false alerts. In testing, if you run two detectors at the same time, you’ll get wonky results. You’ll see not only false alerts, but missed alerts, reduced performance, and delayed alerts. Interference is sporadic and sometimes happens more than others, but it’s for this reason that you should never test two radar detectors in the same vehicle at the same time. See here for more information.

I/O – Instant On. This is a technique police officers may use to try and defeat radar detectors. The idea is they leave their radar gun in hold (not transmitting) and when they see a target of interest, they tell their radar gun to transmit and acquire a speed, not giving a radar detector any advanced warning. This is one reason why it’s important to have a sensitive detector. You want to be able to pick up I/O as it’s being shot at cars ahead of you.

IPT – Instant Punchthrough. It’s when a lidar gun instantly gets a speed reading on a vehicle when the trigger is pulled, despite there being laser jammers on the vehicle. It’s as if the jammers weren’t there.

JFG – Jam From Gun. Similar to JTG except from behind. It’s when your jammers jam a lidar all the way from when you pass an officer to when you drive away. The entire time, no reading is able to be acquired. While this is ideal in testing because it indicates solid performance, you never want to do this in practice. In the real world you always want to JTK. When shot, slow down to the speed limit and quickly kill your jammers as to allow them to get a reading.

JTG – Jam To Gun. When your laser jammers jam a laser gun all the time from when you’re initially shot to when you pass the officer. While this is ideal during testing situations, you never want to do this in practice. In practice you want to JTK and kill your jammers quickly (within a few seconds) once you slow back down to the speed limit.

JTK – Jam to Kill. It’s where you slow down to PSL once you’re shot with laser and your laser jammers are going off, then you kill your jammers and allow the officer to get a speed reading. This is critically important! You want to practice and be able to do this within about 3 seconds or so.

K Band – Police radar guns that are designed to transmit around 24.150 GHz operate within the K band frequency range. This is a pretty common frequency to see in use around the country. Unfortunately there are many sources of false alerts on K band such as speed signs, automatic door openers in shopping centers and drugstores, and even some vehicle with collision avoidance systems and blind spot monitoring systems. Because of this, K band filters are generally necessary to help filter out K band falses while alerting to the presence of police radar operating on K band.

Ka Band – Police radar guns that are designed to transmit around 33.8, 34.7, or 35.5 GHz operate within the Ka band. This is a very common band that’s in use all over the country and generally should be treated as a real alert. There are a few sources of Ka falses such as some speed signs as well as poorly designed leaky radar detectors that can make your detector alert to Ka band, but generally Ka band alerts are from the police.

Ka Guard – A filter in the V1 that helps it filter out false Ka alerts from other poorly designed, leaky radar detectors. Sometimes it’s simply called “guard,” as in running the detector with guard off.

KBJ – Kill Before Jam. Like JTK but even better. Here you kill your jammers when you see the officer up ahead and before he starts shooting you and your jammers start working.

Laser – Infrared laser guns are used to measure the speed of moving vehicles to issue speeding tickets. They work by sending out repeated pulses of light and measuring how long it takes for the pulse (traveling at the speed of light) to go out and back and calculating the distance. Sending multiple pulses over time means you can calculate the change in distance over time and thus speed.

LI – Laser Interceptor. The laser jammer that used to be the very best on the market. They’re still capable of protecting you against many of the guns in use around the country, but they are unable to handle some of the newer and more difficult to jam lidar guns. Here’s LI’s website.

Lidar – See laser.

LJ – Laser Jammer. A device that’s designed to installed on a vehicle and when it detects the presence of a laser gun, it shoots back jamming pulses that prevent the laser gun from getting a reading until the laser jammer is shut off.

LEO – Law Enforcement Officer

LNA – Low Noise Amplifier. It’s a special chip that’s usually placed right behind the antenna of a radar detector to help boost the incoming signal strength while minimizing added noise at the same time. This increases the sensitivity and thus range of a radar detector so it’s good for performance reasons.

Lockouts – A false alert filter where a radar detector learns the location and frequency of a false alert and mutes it / locks it out in the future.

LTI – Laser Technologies, Inc. They’re a company that produces lidar guns like the TruSpeed, TruSpeed S, TruCam, 20/20, Ultralyte, & Marksman.

Overdriving – Radar detectors are sensitive devices and are designed to detect weak signals far away. When a radar gun is transmitted very close to a detector, that’s like screaming into its ear and can lead to strange results. You may see incorrect frequencies displayed on screen, multiple signals popping up, delayed alerts, and even no alerts. It’s for this reason that you want to make sure, when testing radar detectors, that you avoid shooting the detector directly at point blank range. See this video for a demonstration and for more information.

PL2/PL3/PL4 – ProLaser II, ProLaser III, ProLaser IV. These are popular lidar guns produced by Kustom Signals.

POP – A very fast burst of radar designed to clock a vehicle without alerting radar detectors. Complete discussion about POP.

PSL – Posted Speed Limit

PT – Punchthrough. It’s when a laser gun punches through your laser jammers and is able to get a speed reading, despite your jammer’s best efforts.

Q/T – Quick Trigger. A technique used by police officers where they tell their radar guns to quick transmit a signal, clock a vehicle’s speed, and then stop transmitting. The idea is to do it too quickly for a radar detector to alert, but most modern radar detectors have no problem picking up QT.

Rabbit – A vehicle up ahead of you that you follow behind from a distance. If your rabbit is shot with I/O or laser, he’ll be the one who gets pulled over instead of you. A rabbit gives you added protection.

Radar – A radio wave that can be sent out and will bounce off of various targets. The return wave will be compressed if the target is moving towards you or stretched out if the target is moving away. This is called a doppler shift. You can look at doppler shift of the return wave and determine how fast the target is moving relative to you.

RD – Radar Detector

RDD – Radar Detector Detector. Two common examples are the VG-2 and the Spectre. These are commonly used in areas where radar detectors are illegal. Most detectors are detectable by RDD’s, with the notable exceptions of the M3-based detectors from Escort and Beltronics such as the Redline, Magnum, STi-R Plus, and 9500ci, as well as the Stinger VIP.

RDR – Radar Detection Rejection. A filter in Escort and Beltronics products that helps them filter out false Ka alerts from other poorly designed, leaky radar detectors. For a detailed explanation, read this post.

Reactivity – A measurement of how reactive or how fast a detector is. Can it alert to very brief signals? A detector that can alert to brief signals means that it’s better at alerting to quick trigger radar. It also means that, surprisingly, you’ll get longer range. The reason is that weak signals at a distance can be very sporadic. If all you get is a brief whiff of radar at a distance but your detector will alert to that shorter signal, it means you’ll wind up with longer range.

Sensitivity – A measurement of how well a radar detector can pick up a weak signal. The more sensitive it is, the longer range you’ll get, the more warning time you’ll get, and the better performance you’ll get.

Situational Awareness – Understanding your surroundings and what is around you. A radar detector can assist you in understanding your surrounding betters through their use of arrows, a precise rampup, and so on.

Spectre – A radar detector detector developed by Applied Concepts / Stalker Radar. There are several versions of the Spectre and it is newer and does a better job as an RDD than the older VG-2.

SWS – Safety Warning System. The idea behind this feature was to transmit warnings that would show up on people’s radar detectors and say things like “Emergency Vehicle Approaching” or “Construction Zone Ahead.” It operated on K band and if you have SWS enabled, you’ll see these alerts. If you have it disabled, you’d get a normal K band alert. It never really took off in practice and SWS is basically unused so it’s best to turn SWS off since that will also improve performance by telling the detector to not bother spending time scanning for it.

TMF – Traffic Monitor Filter. It’s the K band filter on the V1 that helps deal with traffic sensors along the highway as well as false alerts from vehicles with collision avoidance systems. For more information, watch this video.

TSR – Traffic Sensor Rejection. It’s the K band filter on Escort and Beltronics products that helps deal with traffic sensors along the highway as well as false alerts from vehicles with collision avoidance systems. For more information, watch this video.

TSS – TruSpeed S. A compact lidar gun produced by LTI. This is one of my favorite lidar guns. 🙂

V1 – The Valentine One radar detector. Here’s their website.

VASCAR – Visual Average Speed Computer And Recorder. A very simple technique for speed measurement requiring only a known distance between two points and a stopwatch. You can measure how much time it takes for a vehicle to travel from A to B and from this calculate its speed. This is a much more laborious method to measure speed, but it doesn’t trigger a radar detector or laser jammer. It’s a function built in to some radar guns and it’s also a technique used from the air.

VG-2 – A radar detector detector that’s designed to detect radar detectors. This is an older RDD that has largely been replaced by the Spectre but is still in use in some places. Many otherwise detectable radar detectors have updated the frequencies they operate on to make themselves undetectable to the VG-2. Watch this video to see the VG-2 in action.

WS – Windshield

X Band – An older frequency for radar guns with big antennas that operate in the 10.5’ish GHz range. With the exception of a few areas like OH, NJ, and some places in OR, X band has been mostly phased out in favor of K and Ka band which allows for smaller antennas and more compact radar guns.

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