DETECTOR AGAINST RADAR
This time, the object of our examination was not the parts that were widely purchased to replace failed ones, not repair materials or fixtures, but the goods, one might say, of a narrow purpose, but which has recently become very, very relevant. It will be about detectors (translated from Latin - “detectors”) of the radar, which are incorrectly called “radar detectors” in our country. The latter are actually transmitters that can block the radar or change its readings. They are forbidden to use everywhere.
But before moving on to the actual examination, we would like to state our point of view on detectors. It does not differ from that adopted in civilized countries, where it is not forbidden to use them (it is even encouraged), since they, in the end, encourage drivers to reduce speed to a permitted speed, which means they contribute to safer driving. True, an explanation is required here: “there” the police use the radars mainly on dangerous sections of roads and primarily for the prevention of road accidents, and not for extortion, which, alas, we don’t even remember: traffic police ambushes are most often found in places rather safe (they limit, say, speed with the “40 km” mark, where there is no need for it), but it’s no secret to anyone why they are happy with it. Therefore, in this examination, we could not get around our realities. Nevertheless, we proceed from one main message: traffic rules - everything, and especially those related to high-speed modes - must be strictly observed, and in the radar detector we see just one of the tools that contribute to this.
And now about what comparative tests of several detectors present in our market showed, conducted by the Za Rule’s correspondent in Togliatti, Sergey MISHIN, together with experts.
SOMETHING ABOUT BARRIER-2M
The radar used by the traffic police, like five years ago, is still the same: "Barrier-2M" is a radar device for measuring speed, the capabilities of which are not great by today's standards. Recall them. Range of action - no more than 300 meters. True, there are specimens in which "vision" is enough for 500. A barrier can "snatch" that car from the stream, which is 20 km / h ahead of it, if the speed of the bulk of the cars has not reached 80 km / h, and 30 km / h if everyone is racing for a hundred. The radar has a timer (stopwatch), which counts the time from the moment of measuring speed to its reset. A meticulous driver can find out from him whether his speed is fixed on the radar. True, as practice shows, the demonstration of time only increases the amount of the fine.
Barrier-2M operates in two modes. Automatic - for "lazy" traffic cops. The device is aimed at the road, set the speed threshold at which it works (usually 10 km / h higher than allowed; at 60 it is 70 km / h, given the error of the speedometer and the radar itself), and wait for the intruder. This is usually done at stationary traffic police posts, where there is a lot of work. But nevertheless it will not be superfluous to punish a random haste. Another mode is manual. The "barrier" turns into a kind of pistol: he aimed the barrel at the car, took aim, the speed flashed on the scoreboard, pulled the trigger - ready - the numbers froze and the countdown began. This technique is being resorted to more and more often, especially in ambushes.
Another “Barrier-2M” can “shoot” in the back - the speed of the retreating car will be displayed on the screen. But this is rarely used - too few necessary situations.
RADAR DETECTORS AS SUCH …
Most of the foreign-made radar detectors available today. They are able to distinguish not only the strength, but also the frequency of the recorded signal of the traffic police radar. What does it mean? Let’s explain. There, in the West, and in some places our radars can operate at different frequencies, and not all drivers have detectors capable of receiving a wide range of radio waves emitted by radars. According to this feature (frequency), most radars are divided into four groups: radiating in the X-band (the domestic Barrier-2M and its previous models work in it), in the K- and Ka-bands. And besides, the police often use laser radars (the fourth group) - the most advanced speed control devices. Laser beam detectors can also detect.
For examination, we chose instruments that recorded signals of radars of all ranges, including laser: one Canadian “Bel” (Bel-500i), two Japanese “cobras” (Cobra-213 and 214) and three American “whistlers” (Whistler-1430, 1455 and 1480).
So, let's start studying the instructions and inspecting the detectors. The driver determines the type of radar or the emitted range on all devices by the flashing LED (for each range - its own color) and the sounds of different tones that are produced by the “tweeters” built into them. The exception is “Whistler-1480” - a specific word (phrase) is displayed on its screen at the end of the device. The power of the radar signal, increasing as you approach the ambush - the radiation source, is determined by the number of LEDs from the other row (alert), usually red, and also by the frequency of the sound signal. The closer the "Barrier", the more flashing LEDs (there are four to five in total) and the higher the frequency of the sound. By the way, the volume of all devices is sufficient even with the windows open.
Each detector device has two modes - “Highway” (Highway - highway) and “City” (City - city). From the names themselves, it is clear when which one to include. In the first case, the detector's efficiency (sensitivity) will be higher, in the second - lower. It is understandable: in the city, in industrial zones there are a lot of obstacles, which also cause a false positive of the detector. By the way, when the power is turned off, the selected “Highway” or “City” mode is “remembered” by “Americans” and “Canadian”. Radar detectors also have additional “services”. For example, you can turn on the night mode and lower the brightness of the lamps, adjust the volume of the buzzer or turn it off completely, etc. And one more thing: “Cobra-214” and “Whistlers” can receive laser beams of radars from all sides - the receiver observes 360 °.
Now let's try to fix the detectors in the car. Manufacturers offer two options - suction cups to the windshield and Velcro to the dashboard. The instruction recommends that you do not block the detectors with objects, such as cleaner brushes, as this may impair reception. We did so - mounted above the brushes.
It’s convenient to turn on “Bel” and “Whistlers” - just press the button. Cobras will have to turn the volume knob - not all experts liked this. After start-up, the devices “get ready for work” for about two seconds - they check the modes incorporated into them.
And NOW TEST …
In one car - "Samara" along the lower edge of the glass we line up the devices and move off. In the city, the Whistlers are silent, as if they had taken water in their mouths. All kinds of interference - radiotelephones, automatic doors, high-voltage lines could not squeeze out a sound from them, even in the "Highway" mode. "Cobras" occasionally squeaked at the "look" at the traffic lights. But the City did not silence them - less often, but they gave a voice. The most talkative was Bel. He reacted to everything - traffic lights, wires, radio stations, and even oncoming cars. True, every time he made different sounds. But to make out, when "Bel" warns of danger - the radar, can only a person with a musical ear immediately. There were none among us - it took a long time to learn his “language”. And the device is very sensitive to weather conditions and time of day. For example, in the dark, he "collects" less interference.
But it's time to get down to business. So, “cobras”, “whistlers” and “Bel” against “Barrier”.
Preliminary test - checking the range of radar detectors in a direct horizontal section of the highway. The radar is set to automatic control. Detected "Barrier" was considered from the moment of a clear, constantly working sound and light signals of the detectors (the results are in the table).
Unconditionally in the first place - all the “whistlers”: even the seven-kilometer stretch of the straight line was not enough to determine the maximum range of operation. And in the City mode, this indicator did not deteriorate, just the sound signal became a little quieter.
In second place are both “cobras”: the range is almost the same - about four kilometers. But single silent flashing red X-band LEDs of both detectors appeared even earlier. Experts noticed them about a kilometer before the appearance of clear sound signals.
But “Bel”, alas, disappointed. The opinion is the same - it’s better not to take it into “intelligence”. He tinkled, as in the city, for any reason - an oncoming car, power lines wires that crossed the highway, and also a sea of electromagnetic waves invisible to us. The inclusion of the City did not help, although the “language” shortened it a bit. At the same time, the sensitivity to the reception range decreased significantly (to a greater extent than that of the "cobras").
However, the distance of one kilometer from Bela - the worst indicator among detectors - is still sufficient to extinguish high speed.
The following comparison: the width of the receiver in the horizontal plane. The radar was placed at a distance of 300 m behind a smooth turn (approximately 120 °). The traffic police car was covered by a narrow forest stand. The beam “Barrier” was directed to a straight section of the road, where our “Samara” appeared, having already completed the turn.
And here all three Whistlers confidently won. They worked about a kilometer, that is, far from the turn with a larger capture angle than others. And again, the inclusion of the City mode did not reduce the detector width. “Cobras” and “Bel” worked almost the same, losing to the “Americans” 300 meters. But in the “City” mode, both “cobras” won 50 meters each from the “Canadian”.
We complicate the task - a closed turn. The road goes around a high hill. It was after him that we hid the traffic police car. From the turn to the radar - 250 meters. The "barrier" captures the speed of the machine as soon as it appears from behind the hill.
The “Whistlers” are again in front, everyone as if senses “trouble” with their nose already over 1, 100 meters. And before the traffic police car is still half a kilometer! “Cobras” and “Bel” in this situation on equal and not the best indicators - 600 meters. In the "City" mode, 100 meters remain to reduce the speed - this is not much. If the speed is high - it will not be possible to brake safely.
New introductory - we determine the capture range of the receiving devices of the detectors in the vertical plane. We hide the radar in a valley below a descent of 250 meters. The situation is not simple - at the very bottom, the road before the turning point turns 30 degrees. We aim the radar below the top of the turning point, so much so that the machine that appears is already under control. Well, what do you say now, gentlemen, detectors? In a closed corner, you clearly received signals reflected from cars, trees, terrain, finally. This will not happen here, because part of the rays of the radar rests on the road, the other - “shoots” into the sky!
Nevertheless, the “Whistlers” together signaled exactly one kilometer before the trap. Regardless of the mode. In the Highway mode, unexpectedly for everyone, Bel won 150 meters from both Cobras. Wow! And in "City" the "Japanese" together with the "Canadian" worked exactly 300 meters away, leaving the driver to think only 50. The brake pedal to the floor, and we manage to "lower" from 70 to the allowed 40 km / h, almost hanging on "Hook" of the inspector of GAI.
At the end of the checks, he proposed the most difficult and risky (for the motorist) operation - a frontal attack, where he promised to get the better of us and overseas things. They agreed - not to retreat. Inspector “Barrier” is off - he will launch it for 250-300 meters in the area of guaranteed reception. Our task is to manage to reduce speed from 50 to 40 km / h. We roll to the inspector of GAI already visible by us. Six protective devices are peering intently into a lonely figure. We see him throwing up the trunk … the Whistlers screeched indignantly, screeched the Cobras, heartbroken the Bel, the driver instantly pressed the brake - but … on the radar, alas, the mark 50! We lost, which is to be expected.
VICTORY AND DEFEAT
In the competition between radar detectors, the first place, with a wide margin, took the “Whistlers”. Regardless of the model, they work in typical situations for at least a kilometer.
“Cobras” firmly took second place, although in sensitivity they were slightly better than “Bela”. And here is the last detector - it is directly ruined by its increased sensitivity to interference.
However, within a direct “shot”, any detector does not help. So all of them are not a panacea, but only assistants warning about the proximity of the radar.
The editors thank the traffic police of the city of Tolyatti for their help in preparing the material.
The frequency ranges of radio waves received by the detectors and emitted by radars: “Barrier-2M”, its predecessors, new photo and video radars.
From left to right: Bel-500i (Bel-500i);