Radar Detector Horns

Radar Detector Horns

 

 

Introduction

Radar detectors capture signals (X, K, Ka bands) from the airwaves through the use of their radar horns.  The type of horns used in radar detectors are called pyramidal horns, since their shape is like that of a pyramid whose sides are flared and help direct the surrounding signals to the center ridge of the horn.  These horns use microstrip technology and the center ridge gives these horns their broadband characteristics as well as providing a contact point to the microstrip. The Valentine One is unique in that it uses a dual ridged horn.  Also, these types of horns are directional in nature, which means that they are adjusted and pointed in the intended direction for maximum reception.

Dating back to 1999 with the release of the Escort 7500 Radar and Laser Detector, there have been several radar horns used in radar detectors.  Below are pictures of radar horns beginning from oldest to current, as they relate to the Escort line of products.  There are many commonalities between Escort and Beltronics, and therefore, similar models from Beltronics share the same horns.

In terms of performance levels, the following is a listing of horns rated from best to good from the top down:  M3 > S7 > M5 > M4 > M2

The S7 and M4 are relatively close in terms of performance.

 

Horns

M2

M2 Radar Horn

M2 Radar Horn

Information on the M2 horn:

    • Detectors using this horn:
      • Escort Passport 7500
      • Escort Solo2 and Solo3 (battery operated detectors)
    • Aperture: 2.9mm x 1.3mm
    • Very compact and light-weight
    • Low power consumption
    • FCC ID on detectors will show xxxxM2 or xxxxS3 (Solo3 models)

 

M3

M3 Radar Horn

M3 Radar Horn (pic 1)

M3 Radar Horn (pic 2)

M3 Radar Horn (pic 2)

 

Information on the M3 horn:

    • Detectors using this horn:
      • Escort Redline
      • Escort 9500ci
      • Beltronics STi Magnum
      • Beltroincs STi-R Plus
    • Picture 1:
      • The internal pics of the STi show the original wire bonded LNA which is still used in the RedLine and 9500ci. Late copies of the STi switched over to the “packaged” K/Ka LNA which is currently used in the STi Magnum and STi-R Plus.
      • Nine_C1 : the original STi-R had the wire bonded LNA like the RedLine and 9500ci (thats why it still outperforms the STi-R Plus). The wire bonded LNA for the K/Ka circuit is worth a few extra db’s on average. The primary difference between the 9500ci antenna and old STi-R (and the reason they are not interchangeable) is that the STi-R antenna includes LEDs for laser reception and the 9500ci does not. For this reason the Firmware is different and the antennas cannot be interchanged.
    • Flagship horn design, featuring dual setup, manufactured and utilized by Escort and Beltronics
    • Highest performance across the linuep in terms of sensitivity to Instant On and off-axis threats; long range capability
    • Design suppresses microwave emission from the internal oscillators preventing the unit from being detected by Spectre and VG2 units
    • The  electronic detection programs and sensitivity levels differ among the Escort and Beltronics units.  For example, the Escort Redline detector has more sensitivity than the similar Beltronics STi Magnum, even though both units share the same horn layout.  Similarly, this applies to the remote units between both companies.
    • FCC ID on detectors will show xxxxM3 (windshield mounted units) and xxxxM3R (remote mounted units)

 

M4

M4 radar horn

M4 radar horn

 

Information on the M4 horn:

    • Detectors using this horn:
      • Escort Passport 8500 X50 (Black)
      • Escort 9500ix
      • Escort Qi45
      • Escort Passport IQ
      • Beltronics RX65
      • Beltronics GX65
      • Beltronics RX45
    • Developed and integrated into the Escort and Beltronics lineup by 2005. It replaced the S7 horn design
    • 1-piece design versus the 2-piece design of the S7
    • Very reliable and cost effective to produce
    • The tapered horn gave the detector a boost in On-Axis sensitivity while dropping sensitivity in the side lobes. Combined with new electronics, the new design minimized false alerts in the X and K band range. To mitigate this drop in detection and improve Off-Axis sensitivity, a condenser bubble was molded into the protective lens cover in front of the detector.
    • FCC ID on detectors will show xxxxM4 (windshield mounted units) and xxxxM4R (remote mounted units), and xxxxD05 for the Passport IQ

 

M5

M5 radar horn

M5 radar horn

 

Information on the M5 horn:

    • Detectors using this horn:
      • Escort Passport Max
    • Same horn as the M4, except the radio frequency (RF) component behind it is significantly different than the one found in the M4s in the 9500ix
    • Better off-axis detection than the M4, but not as sensitive as the M3 horn
    • 1-piece design, with a pitted gold-base on the lower portion of the horn

 

S7

S7 radar horn

S7 radar horn

 

Information on the S7 horn:

    • Detectors using this horn:
      • Escort Passport 8500
      • Escort Passport 8500 X50
      • Escort SR7
      • Beltronics RX65 (pre-2005)
    • Better all-around performance than the M4, although there are compromises
    • Circuitry is weak in design, and therefore requiring the user to send the unit back to the manufacturer for re-calibration
    • Outstanding performance in Off-Axis and Instant-On detection
    • FCC ID on detectors will show xxxx8500 (windshield mounted units) and xxxxSR7 (remote mounted units)

 

Valentine One Horn

Valentine One radar horn (pic 1)

Valentine One radar horn (pic 1)

Valentine One radar horn (pic 2)

Valentine One radar horn (pic 2)

 

Information on the Valentine One horn:

    • Picture 1:
      • This picture shows the flared horn would be either hardware version 1.6 or 1.7 (1.6 did not have laser detection)and the top pic looks like the original 1.6 hardware version.
    • Picture 2:
      • This picture is definitely hardware version 1.8 with the separate board on top of the antenna (the digital temp control board). The next hardwareversion (1.8A) deleted that board and went to crystal controlledfrequency tuning. The latest version 1.85 (which now brings us to Firmware version 3.893) has the ESP hardware incorporated into the detector.
    • Hallmark design among all detectors made — front facing and rear facing horns
    • Solid electronics; product goes through hardware and software revisions, where hardware refers to new components;the Valentine One has both hardware versions as well as Firmware (software) versions
    • Current setup is 1.85 (hardware) and 3.893 (software)
    • Outstanding performance in Off-Axis and Instant-On/POP2 detection
    • FCC identifiers are: QJAV18, QJAV18A; the A versions had a new digital thermal control board added and the FCC re-certified the product line again