Monday, April 23, 2007

'Jaw dropping' performance from the Beltronics STi Driver, Round II

It happened once again, coming home from a business dinner at about 9:20pm, this evening. This time it was the BEL STi Driver and the Valentine One pitted against a Pennsylvania State Trooper who was hiding in a very wide median strip using instant-on K against westbound drivers of Route 422 towards Reading.

This time the margin of advantage to the STi Driver was about 3-4 seconds while I was initially traveling at about 75-80mph in a 55 zone. Got the initial alert of K on the STi Driver followed then by the Valentine One. Proceeded at a more sedate pace of 60mph for about another 4-5 seconds and then nothing.

Knowing the area well, I usually don't get K alerts here unless there is a speedtrap. Sure enough about 15 seconds later, I spot a cruiser sitting in the center - which is about 200 feet in width with trees and bushes. And then almost an instant after that a full blast of K-band which instantly pegged the signal strength meters of both detectors.

To be sure, both provided ample warning to this particular ambush, but - and this is really the amazing part - I also believe that the STi Driver actually alerted to one additional trigger-pull of instant-on radar to the motorists ahead than did the Valentine 1 and at a point where I didn't have a perfect line-of-sight to the patrol car ahead.

This was a similar kind of scenario, a couple of week ago, with the NJ trooper, who was running an instant-on X-band speedtrap, where the advantage was with the STi Driver at about 7 seconds. I suspect that it too had picked up an additional trigger-pull of instant-on radar to the motorists who were ahead of me on that Interstate at about a distance that was a bit greater at the time of that initial alert. In this instance there wasn't a clear line-of-sight, to the NJ State Trooper, either.

Again, breathtaking performance and I believe these are the first times I have actually witnessed another radar detector [other than the V1] achieving such a performance level in all my years of driving with them.

I will be looking forward to my upcoming trip to Florida and back to see how the STi Driver does against instant-on Ka traps. The one encounter that I had in Florida several weeks ago gave the advantage to the V1 by about 2 seconds - which was pretty big considering the nature of that speedtrap and the fact that I was cruising at about 90mph in a posted 70 zone, but that was with the STi Driver with POP ON. Now that POP is off and the performance decidedly has gone up, I'll be anxious to see how it performs with this configuration.

If it's performance with X and K are any kind of indicator, the results could really be illuminating, indeed.

More to come...


Speedtrap Hunter OH said...

Bob I still think that running two detectors simulatenously is not a good idea and here is why. When Don came to Ohio for testing a few months ago we were running the STI and V1 simultaneously through Sheffield Village. The STI beat the V1 on K band on an encounter by about 3 seconds. Now when both of these units were tested individually at our tests my V1 beat his STI EVERYTIME on K band. I am confident that if you send your units in to Michael B. for lab sensitivity testing the outcome will be the V1 beating the STI on K band and X band EVERYTIME and Ka will be a toss up. I am willing to bet you dinner of your choice on this one. I am in no way trying to discredit what you are doing because you know how much I love your testing.

Veil Guy said...

Your points are well taken, Steve.

I have been re-running and making multiple passes when possible to re-confirm my experiences with only one radar detector on and have found similar results in those cases. I believe if you drive enough with the STi Driver at similar locations, you may also find that the STi does indeed exceed from time to time the reception performance of V1. Obviously, this in no way detracts from the venerable V1 - which remains our reference radar detector - as it has for years.

I believe that Beltronics has actually improved upon the performance of the RX-65 Pro which is already a terrific radar detector in its own right providing what is essentially Valentine-like performance on radar (not laser, of course).

Interestingly enough, I recently came across an advertisement from Valentine that included a customer testimonial who was running both a V1 and an 8500 together... Of course, I wouldn't even attempt such an arrangement with lesser radar detectors than the top premium and/or ultra-premium group.

If anything, I would tend to think if there were any inter-detector dynamics would not the STi driver be the one potentially more affected [by the V1] as the STi is considered a non-detectable detector which would tend not to leave an emitting signature typical of other detectors of which the SPECTRE can detect?

When my wife and I venture out to Ohio later this month, perhaps we can do a follow-up...

Unknown said...

I had an interesting experience testing the STI and V1 simultaneously in NJ. I mounted them vertically, with the V1 lower down. Both had clear unobstructed views. My STI came from the factory with POP off, which I turned on. The V1 was factory default with POP on. On two back-to-back occasions, the STI failed to alert. Both times, I had visual confirmation. Both times the patrol cars were running their radar continuously. Fist time the police car was stationary facing me on the opposite side of the road. Second time the chase car was stationary on my side of the road. After that happened I then switched the STI to POP off. The STI now alerted to threats but I noticed it generally lagged the V1 by a small margin.

Bottom line: I would rather run with a detector that works with POP in the on position.

Speedtrap Hunter OH said...

POP on is a waste of time and a drain of valuable sweep time. Do not bother with POP on. One has a better chance of getting struck by lightining than getting hit with POP

Unknown said...

From my understanding, POP is used to get a preliminary reading and then the officer locks on again for a definitive reading. If this is the case, I definitely want that little extra time to react.

Veil Guy said...

I felt this way originally when the idea of POP first came out. It's now three years later and I have yet to encounter it.

And I believe that Steve is on to something here. I too believe I have actually witnessed decreased performance with some detectors when POP is engaged ON and with the V1 that increased sensitivity comes at a price - in terms of an increased false rate. As theStaton has correctly observed, one can begin to fatigue and become accustomed to discounting all of the alerts, which is also not a good situation particularly if you won't actually encounter POP in your day-to-day driving.

The other thing I like about having POP OFF is that if you were to ever get pulled over with it, and your detector did not go off, you would have a pretty good idea that the ticket would be invalid because it would have been issued on POP-alone. Remember the V1 doesn't make a distinction between POP reception on either K or KA band, so there currently is no way to with the V1, which form the radar you are receiving - conventional instant-on or POP - so by having its reception to POP disabled you could then tell.

I am with Steve, leave it OFF, as you are not really giving anything up and may be getting a better performing radar detector in return and most certainly will get a quieter one.

RobHess9 said...

What firmware rev are you running on the STI?

Veil Guy said...

Rev: A4M9

Anonymous said...

I just purchased a Beltronics STi radar detector and because I live in Virginia (where all radar detectors are illegal) I want my detector to perform at it's absolute best ability, but I would also like to have some sort of stealth from passing LEO's so they can't see it as clearly. So my question is where could I place my STi in my car where it would get the best performance but also not easily seen by LEO's on the road? (I drive a Volkswagen Jetta if it makes a difference.)

Anonymous said...

Hey, Justin

I can help you out, i too live in VA and have an STI but I would rather not talk about it over this blog because there illegal in VA. But you can PM over

My screen name is: ytcd

Send me a message on there and remind me what its about.

Anonymous said...

How do you check the firmware rev on a STI?