February, 2014

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How To Quiet Down a Valentine One

Introduction

The Valentine One is known as a pretty chatty detector that is prone to falsing. However, there are a number of things that you can do to help quiet the detector down and limit falsing. The V1 has some settings built-in that help with the filtering logic, and if you add in the free app YaV1, you can add a bunch more functionality.

There’s a variety of different ways to quiet down the V1 while minimizing the impact to legitimate alerts, and so we’re going to address a few different ways of doing this, and each way takes care of something a different. When you combine these techniques, you’ll find the V1 will become very quiet to most falses and yet will still alert quickly and accurately to legitimate threats.

Muting Techniques

The V1’s Built-in Muting Options

The Valentine One has some filtering options built into the detector which can really help. It used to be that the only way to do this was to use the big button on the front of the unit and turn different modes on or off. You can learn how to do it through the detector here. However, now that you can pair a phone to the V1, you can do all of the same stuff, except now it’s much easier to do.

You can access the phone’s filtering options through Valentine’s native app, or you can use YaV1 for Android. Both apps will let you set all of the V1’s options. For the purpose of this tutorial, I’m going to show you using YaV1 as it’s MUCH more capable than the native app and adds a ton of extra functionality.

Here’s a video walkthrough going through each option one by one and explaining what they do and the recommended settings.

and here’s a quick reference to my recommended settings. These settings will begin to unlock the full power of the V1 while also quieting things down (combined with some of the other settings we’ll get to in the next sections.

V1 Settings

V1 Settings

Let’s go over all the different features and I’ll explain what they mean and why you may want to run it like this or change something I’ve shown above.

Ka band

  • Ka guard: Enabling this make the V1 do some extra work to filter out falses from leaky RD’s like Cobras, at the expense of delayed alerts and reduced range. Disabling this filtering option greatly improves performance at the cost of increased false alerts, but some of the upcoming techniques will help compensate for this. After an initial alert to a false, the V1 may immediately followup with a second alert if it discovers this source is actually a false from a leaky RD. It will issue a “J-out” or an alert for a junk signal.
  • Ka ramping: Makes the rampup more aggressive when activated. The normal rampup is great.

Mute control

  • Muted volume: Can make the V1 go totally mute when muted, or will let you adjust the “mute” volume yourself with the lever on the V1 itself.
  • Bogey-lock volume: Changes which button adjusts the main volume.
  • Muting logic: Enabling this opens up some additional filtering options for K band.

K Band muting

  • Time period: How long a filtered/muted signal stays muted until it goes back to full volume. Longer keeps a signal quieter longer.
  • No muting above 3 on first alert: Alerts louder when you get hit with a strong hit of I/O, keeps the alert quieter at first when you pick up a weak signal that slowly builds up as you get closer.
  • Mute off above 5 dots: Goes back to full volume when the signal is strong, like when you’re approaching the kill zone of a radar gun.
  • Mute rear K band: Mutes all K band signals coming from the rear, no matter what. Greatly cuts down on falsing, but will never give you a full alert to K band from the rear.

Special

  • Euro mode: Enabling this lets you use custom sweeps so you’ll want it enabled even if you don’t live in Europe.
  • Traffic monitor filter: Introduces a delay in K band alerts to help with K band emitting traffic monitoring sensors on some highways. Enabling this also helps cut down on falses from some cars with blind spot sensors like Audis to some degree. I usually run with TMF off because I have a lot of K band around me and don’t want delays on alerts, especially short ones. However, in places where it’s mostly K band falses from Audis and there’s little to no legit K band threats, turning TMF on can be a huge help.
  • POP: Enables/disables POP mode. While POP mode isn’t actually used much, turning this off can really help limit falsing from blind spot monitoring vehicles like Audi’s (link) without actually impacting K band detection range (link).
  • Euro X band: Lets you enable X band in Euro mode.

Savvy

  • Unmute enabled: If an alert first happens when you’re below the savvy speed, the V1 will unmute if you speed up and go over the savvy speed threshold.
  • Override Thumb Wheel: Override the hardware version of Savvy so that the YaV1 Savvy emulation can take oer.
  • Thumb wheel speed: Savvy speed threshold. It’ll mute any and all signals below this speed, no matter what band or signal strength. Great for muting shopping center falses when slowly cruising around parking lots or down the street.

Custom Sweeps

Ka band spans from 33.4 GHz to 36 GHz, or 2600 MHz total. That’s a LOT of bandwidth to sweep and takes time. Legit police frequencies are typically only around 33.8, 34.7, and 35.5 GHz. If we turn off certain sections of the Ka band, this speeds up the V1 because it focuses in on only the areas where actual police radar signals are found, giving us better responsiveness and ultimate range, plus it gives us an added benefit of not scanning certain frequencies where some leaky RD’s can cause falsing in our V1. For example, falsing can occur around 35.3 GHz. If we tell the V1 not to scan there, it will no longer false to signals at this frequency.

In order to enable custom sweeps, you will need a V1C (or V1C LE for iPhone) and a smart phone. Download the free V1 app from VR for iOS or Android, or download YaV1 for Android, and you can set your custom sweeps.

Here’s a walkthrough of setting up sweeps for 33.8, 34.7, and 35.5, with a range of 100 MHz on either side to cover fluctuations in actual radar gun frequency. You can make the sweeps wider if you want to cover guns that have gone slightly out of tune, for example.

and here’s a look at sweeps set up for the three main police frequencies.

Custom Sweeps

33.8

Note that there’s no 33.8 sweep. 33.8 is automatically enabled and scanned when you enable Euro mode and thus custom sweeps. There’s no way to actually disable 33.8 which may be unfortunate because Cobras often cause falses in the 33.6-33.7 range, so we’ll address those falses in the next section using frequency boxes.

Because 33.8 is automatically swept, we don’t need to create a sweep for it. It may feel a little weird to not sweep it, especially if you have 33.8 used in your area, but it really will alert to 33.8 signals even without a sweep. You can watch the video to see this demonstrated. 🙂

34.7

Due to hardware limitations in the V1, you can’t sweep 34.7 in one single sweep. You have to break up the 34.7 sweep into two sections on either side of 34.770 and 34.774 GHz. While there is a 4 MHz gap created, the V1 does oversweep the edges a bit to fill in that gap, so you won’t miss any signals that happen to fall in that range.

35.5

35.5 is very straightforward and requires no special tricks. Simply create some sweeps for 35.5 if you want to scan for those frequencies. Unlike 33.8, if you don’t create a sweep for it, it won’t scan this frequency range.

Advanced Sweep Options

There are some things you can do with your sweeps like creating duplicate sweeps which will increase performance on those particular frequencies because the V1 spends more time focusing in on those frequencies. However, that’s beyond the scope of this article. For more information about how you can customize your own custom sweeps and to see examples of how others have set up theirs, see this thread.

ITB / OTB Muting

Frequency boxes are a technique that let you define specific behavior for certain frequency ranges. VR’s app has boxes as well so you can do this in both iOS or Android, but I’m going to show you how to set it up in YaV1.

You can specify a certain frequency range, or box, and tell the V1 to respond differently to signals inside the box vs. outside the box.

One thing you could do for example, is since there’s no way to disable 33.8 scans and since Cobra falses can still come through and often do around 33.6 – 33.7 GHz, you can use boxes to specifically mute any signals that arrive in the neighborhood of typical Cobra falses.

For the purpose of this example below, we’re going to assume you don’t have 33.8 used in your area, so we’re going to mute all Ka alerts that are around 33.5 – 33.9 GHz.

Box for 33.5-33.9

Enable Boxes

Boxes Muting Settings

Here’s a video showing how to set this up and how signals respond differently if they’re in or out of the box.

One variation you could do on this, if 33.8 is used in your area, is to set up a scan for signals from 33.5 – 33.7 or so. Mute anything in that range, allow anything above that range. This will let through cobra falses that are around 33.720, so you may want to play with the edge of the box to best limit Cobra falses while still letting legit 33.8 signals from MPH radar guns through.

You can play with the box display options to color either falses or true signals, or not use the colors at all and simply have it do audio mutes for signals in or out of the box.

GPS lockouts

This is going to be a really helpful feature and it’s unique to YaV1. GPS lockouts are extremely useful for filtering out falses from common sources like drugstores, shopping centers, and speed signs. Basically any fixed stationary source can be locked out using GPS. You can teach the V1 to mute a particular frequency signal near a certain location. This way, every time you drive past this frequency signal at this particular location, YaV1 will automatically mute this signal every time. This doesn’t work for moving falses of course, but it’s very helpful for stationary sources.

If you encounter a second source at the same location that hasn’t been previously locked out, like a cop shooting K band right next to the false source, the V1 will still alert you to the legit signal, even if it’s very close in frequency to the locked out signal. You’ll see an additional bogey, you’ll get an audio and visual alert of the new signal, and you can even watch the rampup of the new signal to help identify if it’s an actual threat.

Anyways, here’s how you enable lockouts.

Lockout settings

and here’s a video walkthrough on how to set this up and showing lockouts in action.

Note: You get a lot more control of lockouts with YaV1 than you do with Escort products. Escort’s products are designed to be as simple and effective as possible when it comes to locking out falses. They provide less information and are more aggressive with muting additional signals. YaV1 will require a little more understanding and awareness on the part of the user, but it makes it less susceptible to lockout out real threats.

Here’s a video showing the differences between the two techniques.

YaV1 does not currently support autolockouts the way Escort’s products do. For the time being, you have to manually lock out every signal yourself. You can’t drive around and have the detector learn the falses in your area and lock them out itself. This auto learning process is something currently being developed for YaV1.

Savvy & Savvy Emulation

Savvy is a $69 accessory from Valentine Research. It’s a device that plugs into your car’s OBD-II port, reads the speed of your car in realtime, and automatically mutes the V1 when you’re traveling below a predefined speed. This is extremely helpful for muting the boatload of falses you get when you’re driving around parking lots in shopping centers or when driving around town at low speeds.

Savvy

Thanks to the way the V1 operates, you can change the degree of alerting you get when the signal is muted.

Do you want to totally ignore any and all falses altogether? You can do that!

Do you still want visual alerts so you can watch the falses in case there’s a new signal that pops up like an additional bogey from a LEO? You can do that!

You can purchase Savvy from VR and install it in your car easily. It will also power the V1 which is a nice touch so you’ve got an easy way to hardwire it.

Through YaV1, you can also emulate Savvy using your phone’s GPS.

Savvy settings

Here’s a video showing Savvy emulation in action through YaV1.

Having a physical Savvy is nice because it makes it really easy to hardwire the V1 into your car. It also makes your speed available as soon as you start your car so your V1 will be muted as soon as you start up your car, great for when you’re starting up next to a shopping center with a bunch of falses around, for example. If you use the app, it will take a little time for the app to start up and for the GPS to get a lock, so it may not actually begin muting for a few seconds. The physical Savvy is also great for both continued muting and showing your car’s speed when you travel through a tunnel and lose the GPS lock.

However, Savvy is much easier to adjust when emulated from your phone. It’s more accessible than reaching down to the OBD-II port to adjust the speed threshold, plus the app is totally free while the physical Savvy is not.

If you’re an iOS user, there is a $10 app called StealthAssist which will also emulate Savvy via your iPhone. See this thread for more details.

Conclusion

The V1 has a reputation of being chatty, but fortunately there’s a number of things that you can do to help quiet the detector down.

In addition to the muting options built into the V1, if you have a smart phone, you open up a whole world of possibilities of filtering out common sources of falses like drugstores, shopping malls, speed signs, cars with blind spot monitors, and leaky radar detectors.

If you want the V1 to minimize false alerts while still alerting to real alerts, you can set it up to run that way. This will also help limit it crying wolf so you won’t begin to ignore its alerts.

While following this guide won’t make your V1 100% accurate at muting falses and alerting to legit signals, it will go a long way to improving the experience for both you and all the passengers in your car.

Happy driving! 🙂