Sunday, May 27, 2007

Ohio Really Does Have "Everything"

And that includes some of the highest gas prices I have seen [in the U.S.] -- $3.29 for regular and $3.49 for mid-grade, ouch! Am I glad, I don't drive a gas guzzling SUV.

Ohio also has the distinction of being the home to the three leading high-end radar detector manufacturers -- Beltronics, Escort, and Valentine Research. The state also appears to have a good quality road system, especially when compared to Pennsylvania. It makes me wonder why our state's tax dollars aren't be channeled as effectively in maintaining our highways. Smooth roads equal safe roads!

We also encountered just about every form of speed enforcement currently out there including instant-on X (10.5 Ghz), K (24.1 Ghz), Ka (34.7 Ghz), Ka (33.8 Ghz), and police lidar (904 nm) all in the course of a couple of days! WOW!

We certainly don't have that kind of action in PA...In fact, PA almost feels tame, in comparison, although I did run into a very tricky police radar speedtrap [in PA] on our return (more on that later). The only thing we didn't see in Ohio (and northern Kentucky) was VASCAR, Ka (35.5 Ghz), and aerial traffic surveillance although we understand that each of these additional methods are alive and well, there.

My wife and I covered about 1875 miles total over the course of our trip to Ohio (actually Kentucky) and back.

We were well received by each of the three leading radar detector manufacturers (thanks, each of you for your kind hospitality) -- we'll have to do it again, some time.

In the course of our visits, we were able to get our Escort Passport 9500i firmware updated, our Valentine 1 (V1) v3.826 dropped-off for a "tune-up," purchase a new retail model of the V1 (v3.861 /w digital temp compensation circuitry) directly from Valentine Research, and purchase another retail model of the Beltronics (BEL) STi Driver directly from BEL's/Escort's retail store. All told, it was almost $900 in total expenditures [all in the name of 'testing' of course!] We're going to have to hold off sending a check to Greenpeace, this month. (TA) :)

The most notable speed trap encounters were...

We "stumbled" upon a police laser speedtrap on our return trip on I-70E in Ohio about 30 miles west of Wheeling, WV. At the time of our initial laser hit (with an LTi Ultralyte at about 750 feet), we were traveling in excess of 95mph, to be honest. The traffic was fairly light, at the time, and we would have been toast, had it not been for our battery of laser countermeasures -- which, of course, included VEIL and a laser jammer.

My particular metallic silver sedan has a pretty lousy (in terms of stealth) frontal profile -- even without a front state license/number plate. At the distance we were initially targeted, we may not have had sufficient time to completely peel-off all of our additional 25-40mph speed had we used either VEIL or a laser jammer alone (due to the potential for punch through with this particular vehicle), however since my Dinan'd Bimmer was equipped with both laser countermeasures working in unison, we had more than enough time to safely slow down to a more sedate speed.

Both the BEL STi Driver and Valentine 1 alerted to the laser hit, as did the laser jammer. Once we got slowed, I turned off the laser jammer, to give the trooper his speed -- no sense "rubbing his nose in it."

I was so excited, I tried pulling a Jason maneuver, but by the time I made the return pass, the officer had already moved on to his next victim! I can understand how some guys have gone from fearing these police laser speedtraps to looking forward to them! Too bad Pennsylvania doesn't have this kind of action!

The other speed trap, that we encountered, worth mentioning was a tricky one -- either by design or coincidence -- in which a PA state trooper had left his K-band radar gun in steady-state (constant-on) mode while positioned between several radar-drone signs!

It was in the early evening and it was almost dark. In western PA on the PA Turnpike traveling eastbound towards the Reading/Morgantown exit. I was west of Breezewood when I stumbled into this trap. Of course, both of the radar detectors were screaming with strong K-band signals, but I almost completely disregarded them, as I incorrectly assumed that the K-band source was just another drone sign.

That could have been a very expensive mistake. Fortunately, I drive with "eagle eyes" and managed to spot the trooper's radar antenna on the side of his vehicle which was sticking out from the embankment that he was hidden behind. I was fortunate to get my speed down to a margin over that was not too excessive and managed to "squeak" by -- gotta love those effective BMW disc brakes (upgraded to cross-drilled with ceramic pads).

Another speed trap, worth noting, was an instant-on X-band hit from a rolling Ohio state trooper (white vehicle) from the opposite direction of I-270E. Steve (who lives in Ohio) is right. X-band is still alive and well in Ohio just like it is in New Jersey. If you drive in either of these states better not disable X-band reception -- that could be very costly, indeed.

Finally, I must write, Sheffield Village police really know how to use instant-on radar while cruising. They are prudent, quick, and lethal with their trigger-pulls. Be careful if you ever find yourself on River Road. A radar detector, alone, will likely not save you. My advice is to obey the posted limits.

The good news is that after almost 1900 miles of driving at speeds that would most certainly warrant speeding tickets (all in the name of real-world testing), we managed to successfully avoid every potential one [and it wasn't because we weren't trying, mind you] with our trusty radar detectors and laser countermeasures.

While I personally don't advocate speeding or the willful violation of traffic laws, it's nice to know that these products, can indeed serve to save your bacon and pay for themselves many times over, in the unfortunate event that you happen to be traveling a bit faster than the posted speed limit at the time you find yourself in a speedtrap.

Next week, we will continuing our long-term radar detector review series and comparisons, when we travel to Georgia and back (about 2200 miles round trip). Looking forward to taking our BEL STi Driver to a land "where 'no detector' has gone before."

Happy and safe motoring!

(Especially during this Memorial Day long holiday weekend. And please remember to buckle-up and watch the booze! Please celebrate our fought for/defended freedoms by driving safely, responsibly, and courteously. :))

Veil Guy

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