DETECTION RANGE FAQ
|| What's the
range of Valentine One?
How does it compare to Bel and Escort?
- L.M., Missouri
|| How much range, as a general
question, is unanswerable, because it depends entirely on
the circumstances. In our lab, we work on receiver sensitivity--how
weak of a signal can we find?--and in our tests we outperform
all others. Car and Driver tests range, and we outperform
in their tests too, which confirms our good sensitivity.
Radar is a line-of-sight beam, like a light, that's easily
reflected and refracted. Imagine a flashlight beam on a
foggy night; you can see the beam a short distance away,
even if you aren't lined up with it, because it reflects
off moisture in the air. But your best chance of seeing
it a long way off comes when it points straight at you.
Radar range is the same. In outer space, with the beam pointed
directly at V1, I'm sure we could find radar 100 miles away.
But on earth you never get a straight shot like that. You
might get 5 miles in the flats of Texas or Kansas. In the
mountains around Asheville, N.C., you might not get a half
Range tends to confuse people because they don't know all
the variables. For example, when you see a radar patrol
car, is the beam pointed toward you or away. When it's pointed
away, you have only scattered reflections to look for, so
maximum range is likely to be 1/20th of what it would be
when toward you, and this assumes no obstructions between
the reflector and your antenna.
Range over hills is confusing too. The only signal your
detector has to work with is what's left of the original
when it clears the last obstacle. For example, let's say
that V1 has a 3 to 1 range advantage over another detector;
that 3 to 1 applies only to what's left after the hill.
If the radar beam has already traveled a great distance,
the signal power remaining after the hill may be so weak
that 3 to 1 gives you only 100 yards of additional warning.
But that 100 yards can be really precious. It can make all
the difference. Getting extra seconds of warning in the
tight spots is worth more that a mile or two of bragging
distance on the easy ones.
Valentine One warn of photo radar?
- L.B., Oregon
|| Yes, absolutely, but you
don't get nearly as much warning. All the photo radars in
the US operate on either K or Ka bands, though they could
operate on any band assigned to traffic radar by the FCC.
The good news is that the radar beam is on all the time,
not playing hide and seek like instant on, so we have lots
of time to find it. The bad news is that it uses a narrow
beam aimed diagonally across the road. And it's usually
very low power, because photo radar doesn't engage the target
until it's within a few hundred feet. So you really need
detector sensitivity to pick up weak reflections. Today's
V1s, and older ones equipped with our latest radar upgrade,
offer reliable protection against photo radar, but you have
to pay attention.
|| Instead of your expensive
magnesium case, why don't you go plastic like every other
detector and give us a better deal on price?
- N.G., New Jersey
|| Our metal case serves as
a vault to keep out various electrical interferences from
other devices. These interferences are particularly insidious,
worse than false alarms, because they can be in there desensitizing
your receiving circuits, thereby hurting your warning range,
but you have no way of knowing. The magnesium is really
durable too, yet it's light weight. You'll notice the really
slick laptop computers these days have magnesium instead
of plastic cases.
|| I travel a lot in Europe.
Will V1 work over there?
- R.K., New York
Yes, with a few caveats. K and Ka bands there are the same as in the US, so all V1s (after a few very-early models)
will work as well there as here. When last we checked, Ku band is found in England, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Serbian
and Spain (but not in the US). Most V1s on the road also cover Ku band; the exception is early versions with serial
numbers having the last four digits lower than 0600.
More recently we've added Euro Mode, which adapts V1's radar sensitivity to the way radar is used for photo enforcement
in Europe and some other countries outside the U.S. It narrows and intensifies radar coverage to K and the sections of
Ka bands applied there to photo radar. V1s with Ku coverage and Euro Mode have those features installed but not
"activated" as they leave the factory. For do-it-yourself instructions on activation,
see techreport3 elsewhere in this site.