TXCTG - Mt Calm 34.7, 35.5, and K-Band - 2017-08-13

Deacon

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INTRO

[MENTION=9768]Brainstorm69[/MENTION], [MENTION=201]Jag42[/MENTION], [MENTION=2579]TXLe[/MENTION] and I all met up at the Mt Calm course north of Waco. Each of them brought a Redline EX to the party, and we all had R3 units with the 1.30 firmware installed that needed testing. Plus, with the new DFR6/7 1.10 firmware update we wanted to test the LRD950 with it, especially compared to the LRD950's old 1.23 firmware. It would've been great to test my DFR6 as well, but without confirmation that the update was complete for it we had to forgo testing for now.

We needed to put the RLex units through their paces, figure out for the R1/R3 whether Ka Narrow or Wide really made a difference on the new 1.30 as well as how much the new 1.30's Advanced functions affect K-band sensitivity versus City and the LRD950. We loaded up Brainstorm69's Max 360 with 1.6We've reached over the year anniversary of the promised update and still nothing out of Escort on the Max 360 so we let it stumble and fall with 1.5 and then put it aside.

[HR][/HR]THE DETECTORS

Redline EX (Jag42)
Redline EX (TXLe)
Redline EX (BS69)
Redline (BS69)
Redline (TXLe)
LRD950 1.10 Ka Narrow (BS69)
LRD950 1.10 Ka Wide (BS69)
LRD950 1.23 (BS69)
R3 Pre-Prod Ka Narrow (BS69)
R3 Pre-Prod Ka Wide (BS69)
R3 Ka Narrow (BS69)
R3 Ka Wide (BS69)
R3 Ka Narrow (TXLe)
R3 Ka Wide (TXLe)
Max 360 (BS69)

Note that TXLe had just gotten his original Redline back from Escort after sending it in for the SERVICE REQUIRED message. It turns out it's still very, very sick. It was so bad it was running Max 360 distances. It was laid back to rest in his pack, and we shall not speak of its performance again. Looks like whatever Escort did, they did not cure its core problem, and it will have to go back again.

For these tests we used a Stalker Dual SL for K-band and Ka 34.7 (mine) and a Kustom Eagle Plus for 35.5 (Brainstorm69's).

[HR][/HR]THE MT CALM COURSE

See numerous instances of other tests at this course for more details. We set up 34.7 at a hair over 90 degrees across the road in order to induce separation. For K-band we tried one at the same angle, but detections were basically non-existent, so we went at 45 degrees instead. This clearly led to much longer detections, though we still weren't all the way to the extremes of being course limited. Annoyingly, there was more traffic than usual for a Sunday, which led to more waiting than usual and occasional concerns about casting shadows or reflections. But we soldiered on and did our best to iron out any wrinkles.

As we were setting up 35.5 testing, a local county mounty decided to post up on the side of the road not too far from where the radar car was positioned. He didn't appear to be running radar (nor LIDAR), just sitting there, but we didn't want to draw too much attention and poke the bear, so we marked him on Waze and adjusted the antenna to 45 degrees to ensure we could make our constant runs and turn-arounds farther down the course. Sadly, this is not ideal for tough testing, and it showed. Such is the struggle, and it is real.

It's worth noting on this course that it is not 100% flat. Instead, while it's not pronounced, there are a few dips into plateaus before a subtle crest into another dip and plateau. As such, it can lead to a stair-stepped graph of results, because if the detector failed to pick it up further down, odds are against it picking it up until somewhere over the next subtle crest. But this does help create separation, because if a detector can't hack it with the big boys at once stage of the course, it'll tend to show up more prevalently.

[HR][/HR]RESULTS

  • I'm not sure how many miles we put on Brainstorm69's car, but it was measured in triple digits. (EDIT: Apparently a good 250+ miles) Once again his car was used as the mule upon which we laid the lash for over 8 solid hours, not including road trip time to the testing site. Poor thing was asked to accelerate and brake with more than 600 extra pounds of TXCTG tester than it normally has to deal with...
  • We tested 10 different detectors in 15 different configurations and made nearly 90 approach runs, many of which were multi-mile affairs.
  • Units of measure in these results are feet.
  • First tables are sorted by detector so you can quickly zero in on a specific detector if you so desire.
  • Second tables are ranked by distance from first to last with range, delta from the leader and percentage of the leader.
  • All tables and graphs are color coded by detector.
  • Chart is ranked from first to last with range in terms of percentage of the leader.
  • All these tables and charts are a real tedious pain the rear, you should know ;)

Ka 34.7 - Mt Calm 90°

By detector:
TXCTG - 2017-08-13 Mt Calm 34.7 (By Detector).png

Ranked by distance of first detection:
TXCTG - 2017-08-13 Mt Calm 34.7 (By Rank).png

Chart of the results:
TXCTG - 2017-08-13 Mt Calm 34.7 (Chart).png

34.7 Commentary

  • Ouch. Just...ouch. All three Redline EXes are getting packed up and sent back for refunds this week. The one thing you can give them is consistency. The problem is they're consistently disappointing. Very disappointing in this test especially. Aside from two lucky traffic reflections off tanker rigs (easily monitored on this course) and one even worse result, the rest were all within 100 feet of each other--and 7 to 8 thousand feet behind the R3s. Remember, this setup is intentionally tough, but they were almost all hitting at less than 20% of the R3's distances.
  • The R3's once again were clearly ahead of the others. Not only does 1.30 NOT seem to shave any sensitivity off Ka, but it may have even restored it to its pre-production glory. The notion that it was ever dialed back even a little is pure speculation without any official confirmation, but if it were true for a while it's definitely no longer the case.
  • The original Redline (segmented 2/5/8) tried hard, mustering all its courage for a swipe at the bottom of the R3 stack, but it couldn't do it more than once, instead setting the curve for "mid pack" in this test. And yet it still beat its Mecha-Redline (EX) sequel handily.
  • Running the R3 in Ka Wide in this test seemed to only barely hold it back, giving a few shorter detections during one of the stairstep plateaus. Nowhere near as short as the RLex averages of course, even on its worst day.
  • The LRD950 with the DFR7 1.10 firmware and voice file pulled its weight, especially for an older analog model. If you've got one, you probably don't need to throw it away, especially now that you can run it in Ka Narrow, where it meets or exceeds the $600 RLex's performance on this test.
  • The LRD950 seemed to hate being thrown back to its old 1.23 firmware. Seems like there's no need to anyway!
  • The Max 360 did not alert until it was directly getting an earful from the side, after we'd exited the highway to turn around, and once it didn't even alert at all. Yikes.

Ka 35.5 - Mt Calm 45°

By detector:
TXCTG - 2017-08-13 Mt Calm 35.5 (By Detector).png

Ranked by distance of first detection:
TXCTG - 2017-08-13 Mt Calm 35.5 (By Rank).png

Chart of the results:
TXCTG - 2017-08-13 Mt Calm 35.5 (Chart).png

35.5 Commentary

  • This was the last round of tests we did for the day. We were out of time and out of energy. Remember, each of us still had a 2 to 4 hour drive ahead of us to get home after testing. So we ran each detector/config twice and once with the Redline O for good measure.
  • Wide or Narrow, it doesn't matter. The R3's once again clearly took the win, with only the Redline O being able to get a detection on the same plateau.
  • The Mecha-Redlines couldn't manage it even once, only catching it after the next subtle rise. And this was at 45 degrees, a MUCH friendlier setup. If there was ever a chance for an EX to eek out a single redeeming run, this was it. Oh well.


K-band - Mt Calm 45°

By detector:
TXCTG - 2017-08-13 Mt Calm K-band (By Detector).png

Ranked by distance of first detection:
TXCTG - 2017-08-13 Mt Calm K-band (By Rank).png

Chart of the results:
TXCTG - 2017-08-13 Mt Calm K-band (Chart).png

K-band Commentary

  • This test seems like it was a little too friendly, in retrospect. Though those who claim 2-mile detections on K-band are otherworldly will be impressed across the board, even with the 45 degree angle.
  • While the R3's were once again ahead of the others (in Highway mode unless otherwise noted), in this more friendly setup it wasn't by as much. At least in this test even the Mecha-Redline was able to see the signal at acceptable distances--as did the LRD950 even on the 1.23 firmware, so let's not get too excited.
  • Note that all R3s were run in K Wide for all tests. K Narrow is unlikely to affect performance much at all, given the much narrower range to start with on K-band. But K Narrow isn't particularly narrow on the R1/R3, so running it in Narrow may help keep some of the especially high- or low-frequency door openers and BSMs at bay.
  • Now we can see why City mode seems to make the R3 quiet like a tomb on K-band. Its 15dB sensitivity cut is just enormous. Remember that's a logarithmic scale. I think I remember hearing that every 3dB is about half the previous sensitivity (or every 3dB more is twice the sensitivity, however you want to think of it). I'm not a math guy, so maybe that's not quite right, but 15dB is a lot. What Uniden calls "30%" in their Advanced mode takes 10.5dB off Highway mode (100%). That shows in this test. Still preferable to a hard-coded 1-second delay (TSR/TSF) in some scenarios (tough terrain, I/O, and especially QT), but City takes distance down pretty hard. 30% seems up detection distances quite a bit while still being fairly quiet on BSMs, but even so it still can't hold a candle to Highway's detection distances. Each R1/R3 owner will have to find their own level of preference in sensitivity versus BSM pollution.

[HR][/HR]FINAL THOUGHTS

I had such high hopes for the RLex. I think a lot of people did. Sure, the M7 design in the Max 360 Ci didn't seem to deliver record-setting range, either, but hey, despite its enormous size it seemed to work well enough and be fairly quiet to BSMs. After all, if the original Redline was still scrapping for respect, a new and improved Redline with K-band filtering to make it usable on the road might be just the ticket. There may be some specialty exceptions where it's still still a legitimate make-the-best-of-a-bad-situation option, but we can only hope that Uniden brings out a solution to handle MRCD and such to save even those users from having to plunk down $600 on the RLex.

Maybe by this time next year Escort will have released updates not only for the Max 360 and others but will also have sorted out their dodgy overseas manufacturing quality and will have found a way for the Redline EX to at least compete with the original Redline--even if it can't reach the high water mark set by the Unidens. And god help them if Mike Valentine ever gets around to releasing something in the meantime that lives up to the promise of their various patents. Hopefully Escort releases their vaporware before V1 does.

Once again it's pretty clear that the new Unidens have not lost any of their verve from the pre-production units, nor have the firmware updates dulled their edge. Hopefully all the improvements and bug fixes Uniden has provided in 1.30 makes those R3 users who wanted more configurability or less ghosting happy. Max performance, selectable tones, customizable sensitivity, an array of colors, and on and on. Let's hope Uniden doesn't become the next Escort over time.

And as always, this is just one test.
 
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cihkal

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Re: TXCTG - Mt Calm 34.7, 35.5, and K-Band - 2017-07-09

Gentlemen, great work as always. You guys are awesome and I owe you all many beers!

Sent from my Pixel using Tapatalk
 

Jag42

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Re: TXCTG - Mt Calm 34.7, 35.5, and K-Band - 2017-07-09

It was fun as always ! I really enjoy BS'ing,cutting up with you guys during testing. Ka wide on the R3 really shined. We really get to know each other with 5+hours in the same car over and over.
 
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Bossdad71

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Re: TXCTG - Mt Calm 34.7, 35.5, and K-Band - 2017-07-09

so is it me or does it seem over all KA narrow and KA wide doesnt really make that much difference
 

Bossdad71

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Re: TXCTG - Mt Calm 34.7, 35.5, and K-Band - 2017-07-09

Ka wide/narrow on the R3/R1 is a hit and miss. It will need to be tested with zero traffic and about 20 runs on each.
it just seems like over time KA wide picks up as far or in some instances even farther. i was under the impression it was like the reline being segmintated but maybe it's just just help with the false alerts
 

fitz4321

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Re: TXCTG - Mt Calm 34.7, 35.5, and K-Band - 2017-07-09

Great data. Your time and effort is always appreciated. Tests like this reinforce my decision to sell all of my detectors so I can now own two R3 detectors (one for motorcycle one for car).
 

Brainstorm69

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Re: TXCTG - Mt Calm 34.7, 35.5, and K-Band - 2017-07-09

Yeah, it was great getting together with the guys and getting some more testing of the RLexs and R3s done. I put over 500 miles on the car yesterday between driving to and from Waco, and all the test runs. So it was probably 250 miles just from the testing alone.
 

Bossdad71

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Re: TXCTG - Mt Calm 34.7, 35.5, and K-Band - 2017-07-09

Great data. Your time and effort is always appreciated. Tests like this reinforce my decision to sell all of my detectors so I can now own two R3 detectors (one for motorcycle one for car).
and one for your ole buddy bossdad71 {: [MENTION=10881]fitz4321[/MENTION]
 

Deacon

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Re: TXCTG - Mt Calm 34.7, 35.5, and K-Band - 2017-07-09

Yeah, it was great getting together with the guys and getting some more testing of the RLexs and R3s done. I put over 500 miles on the car yesterday between driving to and from Waco, and all the test runs. So it was probably 250 miles just from the testing alone.
Man, I knew it was a lot of driving, but even I didn't realize it was that much. The use of your car is much appreciated! Y'all are welcome to squeeze into the back seat of the A5, but I'm not sure it'd be very comfortable ;)
 

infiniti

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Re: TXCTG - Mt Calm 34.7, 35.5, and K-Band - 2017-07-09

So much value here. Like the creative and meaningful tests you run. Along with the level of thoroughness of the runs & the writeup.

Amazing!! Thank you all.
 

Brainstorm69

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Re: TXCTG - Mt Calm 34.7, 35.5, and K-Band - 2017-07-09

so is it me or does it seem over all KA narrow and KA wide doesnt really make that much difference
Ka narrow seemed more consistent. With wide we had some runs on my detectors that were considerably shorter than the majority of the Narrow runs. And we had some that were right up there. But remember, this was with a Ka 34.7 gun pointed at 90* to the road. I think the differences would be considerably smaller if the gun had been pointing straight down the road. I do agree with Jag42 that we need we need to do some more testing focusing solely on Ka Wide vs. Ka Narrow, with more runs, less traffic, and more Ka bands.
 
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SixPackABS

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Re: TXCTG - Mt Calm 34.7, 35.5, and K-Band - 2017-07-09

[MENTION=12732]Deacon[/MENTION] , @Brainstorm69, @Jag42, @TXLe
Many thanks once again for this informative test.
 

drtoddw

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Re: TXCTG - Mt Calm 34.7, 35.5, and K-Band - 2017-07-09

Interesting outcome for Ka-wide. This seems much different than my R3 with 1.26. I think I'll need to see what I get against my Ka sign.
 

Bossdad71

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Re: TXCTG - Mt Calm 34.7, 35.5, and K-Band - 2017-07-09

Ka narrow seemed more consistent. With wide we had some runs on my detectors that were considerably shorter than the majority of the Narrow runs. And we had some that were right up there. But remember, this was with a Ka 34.7 gun pointed at 90* to the road. I think the differences would be considerably smaller if the gun had been pointing straight down the road. I do agree with Jag42 that we need we need to do some more testing focusing solely on Ka Wide vs. Ka Narrow, with more runs, less traffic, and more Ka bands.
i need to read slower, missed the 90* part. makes more sense now. it would be nice to see some straight on senerios. If a cop is at that angle chances are he/she using lidar, guess they could leave their gun on doing that, get a little advanced notice,
 

BamaFan

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Re: TXCTG - Mt Calm 34.7, 35.5, and K-Band - 2017-07-09

Thanks for all the work guys! Interesting results for sure.
 

Brainstorm69

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Re: TXCTG - Mt Calm 34.7, 35.5, and K-Band - 2017-07-09

Interesting outcome for Ka-wide. This seems much different than my R3 with 1.26. I think I'll need to see what I get against my Ka sign.
Just remember that is pretty much on-axis vs. having a 34.7 gun pointed perpendicular. I think the differences would be compressed quite a bit with the gun pointed on-axis.
 

Vortex

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Re: TXCTG - Mt Calm 34.7, 35.5, and K-Band - 2017-07-09

Wow... OUTSTANDING job guys!!! Tons of driving and test passes!

I love that you had 3 different Redline EX's on hand. I know that was intentionally a tough test but wow, what a huge difference compared to the R3. Just in a different league.

I love that you guys tested R3 on K band at 30% and with City mode (roughly 10%). The results are as expected and yeah. I like that you got some TSF on and off runs with the R3 too. The results looked pretty terrain limited with the TSF testing, but I love that you guys are playing with that too.

Also, as an aside, which program are you guys using for your colorcoded charts? I really like the way you guys do that.
 

Brainstorm69

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Re: TXCTG - Mt Calm 34.7, 35.5, and K-Band - 2017-07-09

i need to read slower, missed the 90* part. makes more sense now. it would be nice to see some straight on senerios. If a cop is at that angle chances are he/she using lidar, guess they could leave their gun on doing that, get a little advanced notice,
Yeah, it's not real world, but it brings out potential sensitivity differences. I agree that some straight on testing would be good to do also, so folks won't freak out about the differences. Again, this 34.7 testing was intentionally difficult to enhance differences.

- - - Updated - - -

Wow... OUTSTANDING job guys!!! Tons of driving and test passes!

I love that you had 3 different Redline EX's on hand. I know that was intentionally a tough test but wow, what a huge difference compared to the R3. Just in a different league.

I love that you guys tested R3 on K band at 30% and with City mode (roughly 10%). The results are as expected and yeah. I like that you got some TSF on and off runs with the R3 too. The results looked pretty terrain limited with the TSF testing, but I love that you guys are playing with that too.

Also, as an aside, which program are you guys using for your colorcoded charts? I really like the way you guys do that.
It's just MS Excel. You can color the cells. It take some work, but it does help picking out specific detectors from a sea of results. And it's easier to do on a table with all the same detectors lumped together first. Then you can sort them for the ranked results.
 
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