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Car parts & accessories | 15.08.2013 - 20:30

Radar Detectors and False Alarms

A look into how radar detectors have changed over the last 40 years.
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A picture of a modern day Radar Detector

Radar Detectors, then and now


An item that has changed little with its basic functions since it was invented the radar detector.  When the first radar detector was invented there were very few types of police radar in use. The main one being used was X band. Over the years, other bands came into play such as K band, and Ka band in the mid 90’s detectors slowly evolved over time to detect each of these different bands. Where we are now in history is a turning point on how radar detectors are viewed, it’s just not about detection it’s about filtering.

X Band


When the very first detector was made few things emitted X band radar, and even fewer used it purposefully. Today, the world is filled with what most consider “false alarms” cause by a huge list of items in our everyday lives. X band is known as the catch-all frequency for a very large number of automatic door openers, and burglar alarm systems. Throughout the years, the false alerts have only gotten worse in the cities and now the local small towns. Some unlucky folks even have their cell phones set off their detector due to pinging cell phone towers for signal. Luckily X band is dying off rather quickly these day's thanks to new technology. Currently, it’s estimated only a small percentage of states, in the USA has any X band radar used at all, notably Ohio and New Jersey.
 

K Band


Our next journey through the tunnel to innovation is K band, introduced in the 80’s it was a new technology with no false alarms, and detectors adapted to it rather quickly. With K band being so new, you ran into very few false alarms like you did X band. However, in the last 10 years or so K band has taken over many shopping mall's automatic door openers where X band once set. Today in 2013, there are hundreds if not thousands of civilian uses for K band radar, even worse than X band. You most likely use K band in your daily life. Lane assisted systems on automobiles, automatic door openers, cruise control, K band drone traffic monitors on the highways, and even your restroom! Everywhere you turn today is a false alarm with K band unless you're on the open highway, as you can imagine this creates a very large issue for radar detectors.
 

Ka Band


Ka Band radar, by far the hardest to detect, but the least false alarms. As you may have noticed police radar has a lot of civilian uses making radar detectors abnormally chatty. Ka band, in particular, is not widely used yet on door openers, etc. due to it being more expensive than other options. As of today only a handful of items operates in the Ka band, including some satellite dishes, and other radar detectors. Yes, you read that right other radar detectors can cause Ka band false alerts.


How do we solve this issue with false alarms?


With so many false alarms in the world today it makes detectors nearly useless while driving in an urban area, they’re still quite useful on the interstate, but it might get noisy around town. Luckily, thanks to new GPS technology the Beltronics Pro 500, mounted with a new-style Rogue Mount can lock out all false alarms leading to a quiet ride. You can now drive quietly only being interrupted when there is a legitimate police radar source near you. This new technology brings the radar detector into the 21st century!

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