When I heard that Davek was getting a Max 360, I immediately decided I’d like to try testing it against the existing competition. So I asked him if he’d like to meet me halfway (I'm in Dallas, he's in Austin) in Waco, and do some testing of the 360 against some other detectors. I had recently gotten my two Magnums back from Belscort (one wirebonded LNA and one packaged LNA), and I wanted to test against my Redline and LRD950 also. Things started getting interesting when Jag42 purchased a Radenso Pro SE and said he’d like to participate. Unfortunately, the Texas weather intervened, and Jag42 and andesg were not able to make it because of flooding in San Antonio. But Davek and I decided to brave the weather, and made it through the rain to Waco Sunday morning about 11:00.
We had a little lunch, and Davek drove me around in his car for a bit in the Waco traffic just to get a feel for how the Max 360 handled K-band falsing. Where we were had some nasty stationary falses by the highway, and we did catch a little falsing in the short trip, but after the initial stationary falses it was hard to tell whether new falses were stationary or BSM. We then headed for the course, and thankfully, the rain let up about the time we got there.
Escort Max 360 (FW latest version) – Hwy, other settings unknown (Davek, if you can see how you have it set up and can let me know, I'll add it here).
Escort Redline (F/W Version latest, build date 1912) – settings were Hwy, Ka segmented 2/5/8, RDR off, TSR on.
Uniden LRD950 #1 (F/W Version 1.22, build date unknown) – Hwy, K filter was enabled.
Beltronics STi Magnum #1 (F/W Version Lastest (BSRDR), new build date 4015) – Hwy, Ka segmented 2/5/8, RDR off, TSR on.
Beltronics STi Magnum #2 (F/W Version Lastest (BSRDR), new build date 4215) – Hwy, Ka segmented 2/5/8, RDR off, TSR on.
Escort Max2 (FW latest version) – Hwy, other settings unknown (Davek, if you can see how you have it set up and can let me know, I'll add it here).
Beltronics RX65 M4 (F/W Version 6.5, build date 1915) - Hwy, Ka USA, TSR on
The course is a 3.15 mile straightaway down a rural highway just north of the Waco airport. Along with being long and straight, it was also pretty flat. So this was a test of flat-out, straight-line, on-axis testing.
Here is a picture of the course. Note that we used two different points for the radar source when it turned out that Vortex’s Bee III (33.8) had more power than we were expecting.
THE RESULTS: Pictures both from the old fashioned manual way, and the new-fangled, GPS, Google Earth way.
THE VIDEOS: To be added (sorry still working on them, but in the meantime, here are screenshots of the first alert by each detector, in rank order) - [EDIT 10/28: The 34.7 videos are now posted] [EDIT 10/29: The K-band videos are now posted] [EDIT 10/30: The Ka 33.8 videos are now posted. Note that I truncated these videos as it seemed like a waste to do 3 miles of video for each detector listening to the alert. Plus, that allowed me to get them doone and up faster.]
Ka 34.7 Testing:
LRD950 (2.2 miles) – a surprise winner in Ka 34.7, besting the Redline for the first time ever in my testing of Ka 34.7. It caught a whiff of Ka at 2.2, and then was silent for quite awhile before picking it back up at about 1.4 miles. But this was not a fluke. I had been down here doing my own separate recon work and testing a week ago. The same thing happened then. The LRD950 beat the Redline on this course that time also. The same way, With an early warning whiff.
Redline (1.5 miles) – definitely still a star at 34.7, but dethroned as the king, at least for this test. Second longest detection, and one thing about the Redline. One it gets a signal, it doesn’t usually let it go if it is C/O. It didn’t this time either.
Magnum #1 Wirebonded (1.3 miles) – a solid showing by my “new” old wirebonded LNA Magnum. But not up to Redline standards. So far it hasn’t beaten the Redline in any test I’ve thrown at it. Usually just a step slow.
Magnum #2 Packaged (1.0 mile) – so far I’m disappointed with the 34.7 performance of this “new” new Magnum. I bought a brand new old stock Driver with the packaged LNA and sent it in for upgrading. It had performed pretty well on 34.7 previously. Not up to BSRDR standards, but I had higher hopes for it after BSRDR fw was added. My paperwork from Belscort said that the tech adjusted the Ka mixer driver. Don’t know if that is what has caused this (what I consider to be) poor performance on 34.7.
Max2 (1.0 mile) – I had never been exposed to a Max2 before, so I wasn’t sure what to expect. I figured it would probably perform better than a standard M4, and in that regard, it didn’t disappoint, beating the RX-65 M4 in the mix by 0.3 mile. It also managed to tie the packaged LNA Magnum. Given how much folks malign it, I didn’t think it did too bad.
Max360 (0.9) – Not that I expected miracles out of the Max 360, but this was a bit of a disappointment. I know I was hoping (and I’m sure other were, too) that it would do better. That it was more than just a Max2 with arrows. But so far, it’s not quite even that on 34.7. I’ll have to look again at the video, but I’m pretty sure it did 0.7 miles facing backwards with it rear horn in a RR moment with Davek holding in his hand. Not too bad, really. But I expected more from the front horn. And the arrows do lag. It took about .1 mile for them to turn to the sides after passing the radar source, and then they quickly turned to the back after that.
RX-65 M4 (0.7 miles) – I brought the good old RX-65 with me as the low end for comparison purposes. And it did just that. Brought up the rear. But I lived for 4 years with nothing but an M4, and I never got a ticket. So in my mind, it’s still not that bad a detector. It just doesn’t match up with the best of the best, and its being surpassed by some of the new lower priced detectors like the LRD850.
Ka 33.8 Testing:
I have to say something right away about the 33.8 results. They really tell us very little on this course. @Vortex’s Bee III packs quite a punch, and it overpowered this 3.15 mile course with the strength of its signal. We started on the first radar source point, and quickly realized we were going to need a longer course! So Dave drove back to the far end of the course and set up shop, hoping that would be long enough. It wasn’t.
All the detectors basically alerted at about 3.0 miles, right after I turned the bend on the start of the course and came on axis. Which was really too bad, because I was looking forward to testing the units on 33.8. Especially the Uniden, since I have seen other tests indicating 33.8 may be a potential weakness for this stellar 34.7 performer. As it was, the Uniden did actually come in last of all the detectors, but what does 60 feet mean when you’re talking about 3 miles in detection? Not much, really.
If we had more time, we could have re-run the tests turning the radar off-axis a bit, but this was the last test we ran, and we ran out of time (and a guy who said he farmed the land we were on started getting curious about what Davek was doing). Darn land-owners, always sticking their nose into RD Forum business! lol
K Band Testing
Redline (1.9 miles) – The Redline is still very hot on K, and just managed to sneak past the LRD950. So it got partial revenge for the trouncing it took on 34.7.
LRD950 #1 (also 1.9 miles) – This particular unit is not only hot on 34.7, but has proven to be pretty good on K-band also. Was barely beaten by the Redline, but still did quite well.
Magnum #2 Packaged (1.6 miles) – The packaged LNA Magnum managed to pull one of against its big brother, the wirebonded LNA, beating it by .1 mile. Pretty solid showing here, although still not up to Redline levels.
Magnum #1 Wirebonded (1.5 miles) – Big brother got a small taste of comeuppance from its little brother, but it that such a bad thing, when K-band sensitivity can be a curse as well as a blessing, these days.
Max 360 (0.9 mile) – There was a pretty significant drop off from the Magnums down to the Max 360. But again, unless you have K-band actively being used in your area, is this such a bad thing? It was still 0.9 mile. That should be plenty for most people to haul it down to avoid a ticket. But it is still disappointing that the Max 360 isn’t doing better. Three years in the making, and Escort can’t improve the performance by any appreciable amount over the Max2? And it can’t even beat the Rx-65 M4?
RX-65 M4 (0.9 mile) – Well, Momma M4 would be proud. Here’s her runt of the litter, the M4, a platform that is close to 10 years old, managing to tie the latest and greatest offering from Escort. Way to go M4!
Max2 (0.8 miles) – Can’t say much except that we should expect the digital M4 (that is one gen out from the latest and greatest) to beat the analog M4, but it doesn’t always happen that way.
First, I had a lot of fun testing these radar detectors out and meeting @Davek in person! Thanks for all the help, man! Second, I want to thank @Vortex for loaning us his Bee III. That man is always helping the community some way! Third, this is just one test, with only one run per detector per course. So don’t necessarily take these results as gospel. As Vortex is fond of saying, you need to look at various tests, by various people, at various times, to try to get to a complete picture of a detector. This is just one test. Hopefully there will be many. But we need other tests, on other courses, and of other detection abilities other than just flat out, straight line, on-axis performance. We did not have time to try any off-axis testing, or any I/O testing, or any QT testing. There are plenty of other things left to be tested.
It was really exciting to be a part of the founding of the TXCTG, and I look forward to more TXCTG testing with more forum members in the future. It was also exciting to get some of the first formal Max 360 testing results in, and to share them with the community. And I’m disappointed we didn’t have the new Radenso Pro SE in the mix. Well, maybe next weekend!