Saturday, June 23, 2007

Another Radar Detector Test Day Spanning Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York - Part I

I SWORE, to myself on Friday, that I wasn't going to conduct any testing of radar detectors this weekend only to find myself getting the itch to do so this morning—today was just too perfect a day—weather-wise—too not go driving.

As it turned out, I am glad I broke that promise to myself, because today I got hit with more police radar and police lidar—upwards of 14-16 times—than I can recall happening on any other day in recent memory. (What do you think of that Steve? :) )

I started out my day intending to simply test the relative performance of the new Cobra XRS-R7/G9 to our current reference radar detector—the Beltronics STi Driver—and a predecessor to the XRS-R7/G9—the Cobra XRS-9700, but ended-up inadvertently testing the capabilities of my VEIL and Blinder M-20 (video1—00:59,video 2—19:51) set-up as well—more than once, actually.

I began my trip in the usual fashion, heading out of the south-eastern part of Pennsylvania on my way to upstate New York—where I spent my college years—and West Point makes a good mid-way point for my travel route.

On the way there and back, I routinely see just about everything that there is to see—X (10.5 Ghz), K (24.1 Ghz), Ka (33.8 Ghz, 34.7 Ghz, 35.5 Ghz), and police lidar (904 nm). That's a lot of enforcement technology in one trip—even if that one trip is 600 miles-long.

I prefer testing the real-world performance of radar detectors in the North East region of the United States [more than any other] because of this great variety of technology—most of it operated in instant-on mode—not steady-state continuous and in a much trickier/riskier terrain.

And, while I believe testing here allows for a much better showing of performance differences between radar detectors than say, a flat desert, it also comes at a much higher risk of getting nailed, but fortunately I have been lucky to this point.

One thing is for sure—laser usage in this region is on the rise—and SUVs make extremely good targets. That's a good thing, because so is the value of using a police laser countermeasure product, like VEIL.

My first bonafide police radar encounter happened this morning on a back road close to where my wife and I reside. A Pennsylvania state trooper was operating instant-on K discreetly from an industrial business parking lot. It is unusual that I encounter state troopers operating police radar on anything other than major thoroughfares. As it turned out, this was just a harbinger of things to come.

My trip almost came to a premature-end this morning when I had realized that I had left my wallet at home and my gas tank was damn near empty. Knowing that it wasn't too smart to be tooling around well in excess of the posted limits, particularly in another state like NJ—all in the name of testing, of course— without any form of ID and knowing that the rate of gas consumption at those hyper-speeds is often in the single digits, I quickly decided to make a 180 and head back to a midway point between where I had been—a couple of miles into New Jersey on I-78— and home to meet my adoring wife—who just loved the idea of having to drive 45 minutes to hand me my wallet at the gas station that I somehow managed to make it to while my BMW's estimated fuel range had dropped below zero miles for about five of them.

What I didn't tell you yet is what happened on my return to that gas station. I was lasered at around mile marker 3 just east of the western NJ state-line on I-78. The only reason I knew that I was lasered was because my Blinder Xtreme M20 had managed to detect and jam along with VEIL down to what was essentially point-blank range. As I passed the NJ State Trooper—who had been on the other side of the road facing towards me just before a U-turn area—I noticed that the police laser gun he was using appeared to be a Stalker LZ1.

This is the first time, I have actually seen a Stalker LZ1 in use in New Jersey. It would appear that Kustom Signals' loss is Stalker's gain.

An important item to note here is that neither the Beltronics STi Driver nor the Cobra XRS-R7 nor the Cobra XRS-9700 alerted to being targeted with it. If you have already read my laser detectors review, you know that radar detectors have different sensitivity to different police lasers— some are more difficult to spot than others. The Stalker LZ1 is harder to spot than the Kustom Pro III, for example.

I know that if I had been driving with any one of my Valentine One radar detectors, the V1 would have most certainly alerted to it—I have yet to encounter a police laser trap—from the front— where a Valentine 1 hasn't been successful in alerting to it, while being targeted.

Thanks to both the Blinder Xtreme M-20 and VEIL, I managed on by, without incident or a speeding ticket. Remember, this is the M-20 that has one head that's been compromised by some debris—fortunately for me, the units were not acting up today and worked flawlessly.

At any rate, to get back to my little dilemma, thanks to the Veil Gal, I was able to continue on my journey back east towards New Jersey and New York, with ID and a full-tank of petrol.

Not one mile inside the New Jersey border on I-78, I spotted a bright red Dodge Viper pulled-over on the west-bound side by the NJ state trooper who had lasered me earlier. It would have made a nice picture—but I did have the time to pull-over and snap that one.

I am getting pretty tired—I have been at this since about 0915—so I think I will continue with the next portion of this trip tomorrow. I am pretty whipped...need rest—at least that's what the Whistler Pro-78 or XTR-690 would likely be telling me now had I been driving.

Too be continued...
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