October, 2014

now browsing by month

 

ECCTG October 2014 Radar Detector Test

mwtc_rdtest_2014review

 

Introduction

On October 18,2014, three of the forum’s veteran ECCTG members (protias, PointerCone, and darkpenguin) along with four other contributing members (CobawLT2010, Tallyho, and GTO_04) conducted a radar detector test among nine (9) different detectors using different customized settings.  The timing for this test could not have been better due to the release of two new detectors – the Escort Passport Max 2 and Escort Passport (2014).  The test determined the reactivity of each of the radar detectors to K-band, and three variants of the Ka-band in a typical real world scenario.  Overall, some of the measured detection ranges were unexpected and surprising, but most importantly, the test revealed that some detectors perform much better at detecting certain types of Ka-band radar than other radar detectors.

 

Testing Course Information

      • Length: 1.3 miles (2.09 km)
      • Road: Asphalt with a small incline after 870 feet (265 meters)
          • Max Elevation: 699 feet (213 m)
          • Min Elevation: 523 feet (159 m)
          • Elevation Gain: 102 feet (31 m)
          • Max Grade: 17%
          • Min Grade: -2%
        Graphical View of Course Elevation
         mwtc_18oct2014_elevation
      • Weather: Overcast and 41˚F (5˚C)
      • Test Course (note: there was no rain during the testing)

 

Radar Detectors

Radar Detectors Used For Testing
 Detector Notes Sold By RDF Preferred Vendors
Beltronics STi-R No longer in production; found on ebay sometimes
Beltronics STi-R Plus Band segmented (#2, #5, #8 ON)  ✓
Beltronics RX65 (S7 horn) No longer in production; found on ebay sometimes
Escort Passport Max 2 1st Run: Highway Mode, TSR Off; 2nd Run: Auto Mode, TSR Off, X Off, K On, Ka On  ✓
Escort Passport (2014) Highway Mode, RDR Off, TSR Off, X Off, K On, Ka On [Band segmented (#2 Off, #1, #3, #4 On)]  ✓
Escort Passport Redline Highway Mode, RDR Off, TSR Off, X Off, K On, Ka On [Band segmented (#2, #5, #8 On)]  ✓
Valentine 3.894 TMF 2 (enabled/disabled) in certain trials;Sweeps (34.593-34.770, 34.774-34.833, 35.394-35.615)
Valentine 3.893
Whistler XTR-658

 

Testing Charts

K-band Testing (24.125 GHz)

Test Results: K-band Detection Distances by Radar Detector

Test Results against the Falcon HR hand-held radar gun: K-band Detection Distances by Radar Detector

 

Ka-band Testing (33.8 GHz)

Test Results

Test Results against the MPH Bee III HR radar: Ka-band Detection Distances by Radar Detector

 

Ka-band Testing (34.7 GHz)

Test

Test Results against the Stalker DSR 2X radar: Ka-band Detection Distances by Radar Detector

Ka-band Testing (35.5 GHz)

Test

Test Results against the Decatur Genesis II radar: Ka-band Detection Distances by Radar Detector

 

Discussion Points

 K-band Testing (24.125 GHz)

    • Longest Range: 1,502 feet (Beltronics STi-R)
    • Shortest Range: 569 feet (Whistler XTR-658)
Distances (feet) in Detection: K-band Testing 24.125 GHz (Falcon HR)
 Detector Driving Away From Source Driving Toward Source Difference in Range b/w next detector
Beltronics STi-R 100 1502 269
Beltronics STi-R Plus #2 888 1233 25
Escort Redline #1 993 1208 46
Valentine One 3.894 (TMF II Off) 1237 1162 7
Beltronics STi-R Plus #1 1094 1155 26
Beltronics RX65 (S7 horn) 400 1129 29
Escort Passport (2014) 1090 1100 0
Valentine One 3.893  1170 1100  4
Valentine One 3.894 (TMF II On) 1116  1096 107
Escort Passport Max 2  1591 989  72
Beltronics STi-R Plus #2 (Upside Down)  944  917  3
Escort Redline #2  533  914 345
Whistler XTR-658  258  569

 Notes: 

    1. Traffic Monitor Filter (TMF) on the Valentine One decreases K-band sensitivity

 

Ka-band Testing (33.8 GHz)

    • Longest Range: 6,241 feet (Beltronics STi-R)
    • Shortest Range: 1,265 feet (Whistler XTR-658)
Distances (feet) in Detection: Ka-band Testing 33.8 GHz (MPH Bee III)
 Detector Driving Away From Source Driving Toward Source Difference in Range b/w next detector
Beltronics STi-R 600 6241 761
Beltronics STi-R Plus #1 1300 5480 1101
Escort Redline #1 1402 4379 29
Escort Passport Max 2 1990 4350 91
Beltronics STi-R Plus #2 (Upside Down) 1496 4259 10
Escort Redline #2 1292 4249 49
Valentine One 3.894 2223 4200 404
Beltronics STi-R Plus #2  1244 3796  88
Escort Passport (2014) 1500  3708 2443
Whistler XTR-658  947 1265  –

 Notes: 

    1. The Escort Passport Max 2 can detect 33.8 GHz about 150 feet further than the Valentine One (3.894).

 

Ka-band Testing (34.7 GHz)

    • Longest Range: 6,837 feet (Escort Passport Max 2)
    • Shortest Range: 1,320 feet (Whistler XTR-658)
Distances (feet) in Detection: Ka-band Testing 34.7 GHz (Stalker DSR 2X)
 Detector Driving Away From Source Driving Toward Source Difference in Range b/w next detector
Escort Passport Max 2 6837 6837 390
Beltronics STi-R 700 6447 556
Beltronics STi-R Plus #1 1200 5891 611
Valentine One 3.894 2775 5280 920
Escort Redline #2 1509 4360 238
Escort Passport (2014) 1220 4122 122
Escort Redline #1 1400 4000 1239
Beltronics STi-R Plus #2 (Upside Down)  1479 2761  230
Beltronics STi-R Plus #2 1503  2531 1211
Whistler XTR-658  880 1320  –

Notes:

      1. The Escort Passport Max 2 demonstrated incredible detection against 34.7 GHz (very common frequency); the testing team indicated that it held onto the signal for the entire length of the course.

 

Ka-band Testing (35.5 GHz)

    • Longest Range: 6,141 feet (Escort Redline)
    • Shortest Range: 1,161 feet (Whistler XTR-658)
Distances (feet) in Detection: Ka-band Testing 35.5 GHz (Decatur Genesis II)
 Detector Driving Away From Source Driving Toward Source Difference in Range b/w next detector
Escort Redline #2 1322 6141 337
Beltronics STi-R Plus #2 (Upside Down) 1462 5804 171
Escort Redline #1 1449 5633 533
Beltronics STi-R Plus #1 1590 5100 100
Beltronics STi-R 600 5000 632
Beltronics STi-R Plus #2 1545 4368 1603
Escort Max 2 1547 2765 437
Escort Passport (2014)  1793 2328  1167
Whistler XTR-658 297 1161

Notes:

    1. All the radar detectors appear to have significant differences in the detection range for 35.5 GHz.  Against the other two Ka-bands, the top radar detectors had a consistent “detection zone,” unlike the distribution shown here.
    2. The Escort Passport Max 2 has moderate detection capability against this Ka-band.
    3. Due to time constraints, the Valentine One units could not be tested against 35.5 GHz; unofficial measurements can be found in the thread listed below in the Notes section of this article.

 

Summary

Overall, this radar detector test shed light on the performance of the new Escort Passport Max 2, Escort Passport (2014), and demonstrated how some detectors alert to certain Ka-band frequencies better than other detectors.  The Escort Passport Max 2 was released this month, and is an upgrade to the Passport Max with respect to integrating a Bluetooth board for Escort Live, and having better detection range than its predecessor.  Also released this month, the Escort Passport (2014) is a new addition to the Escort line of detectors and has a redesigned frame resembling the Passport Max and Max 2.  It also has an integrated Bluetooth board for Escort Live functions, but lacks the GPS and fine screening capabilities (HD scanning) found on the the Max units.

First, the majority of the radar detectors tested very well against the K-band Falcon HR radar gun.  The highest detected range came from the Beltronics STi-R unit with a measured reading at 1,502 feet.  Most enthusiasts know about the incredible sensitivity of this great radar detector, yet despite its age, it continues to beat current top of the line radar detector units.  Trailing behind the STi-R in K-band sensitivity, the Beltronics STi-R Plus, Escort Redline, and Valentine One (3.894) radar detectors provided detection in the range of 1,162-1,233 feet.  The Escort Passport Max 2 tested fairly with a range of 989 feet; however, interestingly enough, was able to detect the K-band Falcon HR at 1,591 feet when the test drivers were driving away from the source.  Due to this strange behavior, one can speculate that the detector has the potential to detect K-band at great lengths once it becomes “familiar” with the environmental variables.  Lastly, the new Escort Passport tested fairly as well with an average detection range of 1,100 feet.

For the three Ka-band radar sources tested, the Beltronics STi-R did not beat the lineup every time.  This portion of the test highlighted the sensitive Ka-band frequencies for each detector, and also showed that most of the top end radar detectors, when properly band segmented, can alert to 35.5 GHz at 5,000+ feet, however, the deviation between those detections is fairly high on the order of 200 to 400 feet.  Against the popular 34.7 GHz Stalker DSR 2X radar, the Escort Passport Max 2 had impressive detection ranges measured from the source (driving away from the radar) and to the source (driving toward the radar).  It had the highest detection range of 6,837 feet, which is very impressive, as it topped the Beltronics STi-R.  What makes this impressive in another aspect is the fact that although the Max 2 cannot be band-segmented, it was able to provide the best detection.  Another interesting observation about the Escort Passport Max 2, as seen in the video above, is that the detector tends to hold onto the detected frequencies for a very long time.  Once the Max 2 detects a threat, it tends to lock onto that frequency found in that area, which is beneficial for drivers who encounter speed traps in their local areas.  Against 35.5 GHz, the segmented radar detectors rose to the top for detection range, while the Max 2 lagged behind providing average alert notification at 2,765 feet.  

The difference in detection provided by the “High Definition” scanning, which is found in the Max units, can be seen when comparing the detection ranges between the Max 2 and the Passport.  As observed throughout the four testing scenarios, this feature does improve the radar detector’s performance throughout the K and Ka-bands.  Secondly, the testing team observed an improvement in K-band sensitivity when the Valentine One (3.894) units had the Traffic Monitor Filter (TMF II) turned Off.  This behavior was expected, however, drivers need to be aware that disabling this function will also increase the occurrence of false alerts.  For drivers that live in rural areas or where there are no traffic systems that spew K-band, disabling TMF II is a prudent decision.

All in all, the test was a success and shed light on some interesting findings with respect to each radar detector.  The testing group showed how the new Escort Passport Max 2  and Escort Passport (2014) performed, and demonstrated how some detectors alert to specific Ka-band frequencies better than others.  This test offers valuable information for members and readers interested in purchasing a radar detector, and will help members at all levels gain a better understanding of how radar detectors work as well as an introduction to this neat hobby.

Notes:

For further discussion of this test, please refer to the following link: https://www.rdforum.org/showthread.php?t=39545.

After reviewing the observations by the Escort Passport Max 2, the group decided to run some more tests on this particular radar detector.  These findings will we updated in this article on or around the first week of November 2014.

We would like to thank our ECCTG members “protias,” “PointerCone,” and “darkpenguin” for taking the time to coordinate this radar detector test for the community.  Additionally, we want to thank our loyal members “Tallyho,” “CobawLT2010,” and “GTO_04” for assisting in this test and providing the necessary background experience to make this test as true to real-world as possible.

Interested buyers can find the Escort Passport (2014), Max 2, and Beltronics STi-R Plus units for sale by our Preferred Vendors who offer discounts and provide excellent customer service.