Saturday, May 26, 2007

How (I Think, in Part) my BEL STi Drivers Occasionally Outperform my V1s in RADAR (not LIDAR) Reception

I continue to notice, that on occasion, my Beltronics STi Drivers outperform my Valentines and I believe I have formulated a possible reason for this that may go beyond simple model to model variance that is inevitable in production.


While my V1s tend to consistently outperform my STi Drivers from the rear and extreme sides (likely due to the antennae [one rear-facing] and their relatively large/wide shape(s) that uniquely are housed inside a Valentine's casing) my STi Drivers appear to occasionally alert sooner to police radar sources that are farther down the road which more directly face my vehicle front. (These are the kind that I am most concerned about when I drive on the highway).


And I think that this is probably due to the actual design and shape of the STi Driver's front facing horn antennae. It almost feels like these radar detectors "look" at [frontal radar sources] objects with a 600mm telephoto lens versus the Valentine's 550mm lens. At least that is the impression I am forming after many many thousands of driving miles with each.


While the V1's dual antennae arrangement and radar/laser locating arrows are awesome and unique, this design also tends to create a higher initial false rate from the side or rear, as well, so it is to some degree a double-edged sword.


The STi's somewhat "narrower" field of view appears to naturally assist in spotting radar slightly bit farther out, in some cases, while at the same time tending to false a bit less to other radar sources which emanate from shopping centers and outlet stores that are routinely adjacent to the highway. This is true even in "highway mode" and has nothing to do with the advanced radar signal processing that this radar detector is capable of.


It appears the both the Beltronics STi Driver and Valentine 1 provide stellar reception sensitivity in controlled test chambers, however the performance, to which I am writing, goes beyond mere lab numbers and these differences may only be observed in actual use with all the signal-reception-imperfections that real-world environments provide over an extended period of time -- which don't occur in a "vacuum."


This is why we pioneered our unique approach to long-term radar detector testing against real police radar speed traps. Some aspects, of radar detector performance, can not be revealed with mere performance charts.


Next week, we will be driving to and from Atlanta, Georgia, along I-95 and continuing our long-term evaluation of the top-performing best radar detectors.

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