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Reader Submissions about Radar Detectors

Remote-Mount Detector Experiences

Since I'm originally from Virginia, and still travel through there often, I have always used a remote detector. Since about 1984 I've used a Whistler Spectrum on each of my vehicles and have found them to be dead reliable on X and K bands. Having the unit out of site and out of mind is, in my opinion, a huge plus. I never have to worry about setting the unit up when I get in the vehicle or having to take it down to prevent a break in when I leave the car. Unfortunately, Ka and laser have left me a bit vulnerable with my old units, though 95% of what I see in my area is still X or K band. I have been experimenting with various new units for about a year. I went ahead and bought a V1 just to see what all the hoopla was about, and sure enough, it is the most sensitive detector made. In the heavy metro traffic that I travel it does produce more falses than I would like on K and Ka band from other detectors but it is tolerable all things considered. The Advanced Logic mode does a good job of reducing X band warnings from the local grocery or department stores and still keeps good sensitivity. Although the V1 is definitely more sensitive than my old Spectrum, I still consider the Spectrum's performance very acceptable.

With all this in mind I had high hopes of performance when I tried the BEL 815Sti remote. I was disappointed to see my old Whistler kick its butt on X and K band. Add this to a warning system that is nearly impossible to discern, and I sent it back where it came from. I had been unable to find a Whistler 2290 or 3300 until recently. I was able to get a 2290CI and perform the same tests on it. The X band is about the same as my old Spectrum but it was scary to see it not utter a single beep when a trigger K band patrol car passed perpendicular to my direction of travel. It didn't alarm when I was behind the patrolman either. In both cases I could have thrown a rock and hit the patrol car. Both Spectrum and V1 responded appropriately. When the 2290 is switched into its VG-2 mode it proceeds to spew out Ka band trash that sets off other detectors and makes me wonder if it would help hide the unit or allow the VirGinia2 patrols to see me coming. I believe the 3300s (old and new version) have the same antenna and receivers in them as the 2290 so I doubt that any improvement can be expected there. The 2290 has since went back to where it came from as well. I wasn't able to do any real world Ka band testing on the 815 or 2290.

I think the only other viable remote on the market is Escort's SR-1. I have seen one report (which the SR-1 narrowly won) that indicated the Escorts abilities were about the same as the BEL and Whistler 3300 so my confidence isn't very inspired with it either. With no real remote candidates, I'm going to try to fabricate an enclosure for the V1 to remote mount it and use the consealed display unit. It will be a less than ideal set up but I hope it will function reliably in my arrest-me-red Firebird.

If you hear or know of any other alternatives for us poor folks that still have to travel through the communist state of VirGinia2, let me know. Thanks!

- Name withheld by request
April 10, 2000

K40 vs. Uniden vs. V-1

I've been using radar detectors for over ten years now, and had experience with several of them. I used everything from the $20 sidewalk sale special to the $1,200 K40/concealed. First off, K40 SUCKS. It was installed in a 94 Toyota Supra (0-60 in 5 sec!!) I drove for a couple of years, but it frequently failed to detect Ka until much too late. Much better than the K40 unit was the $200 Uniden 6599 sws, however it still had one serious flaw: Upon detecting a new signal, it would announce the band in voice, which obscured the signal strength (being used to audio-cues).

About two years ago, I finally arrived at the Valentine 1, and I'll keep it no matter what car I used. For the first six months I had it side-by-side with my uniden and an old escort, just to see how well it worked, and it's the hands-down winner on all bands. I hardly have any falses in the city, and the audio signals are clear and unobtrusive. It's invaluable to have an indicator of WHERE the signal comes from (playing find-the-pig), and a great help to have the unit count out the radar sources for you.

I just bought a second unit for my weekend car (a vintage 'vette) and, yes, I take one of the V1's along with me when I travel and use rental cars...

- Andrea D.
August 30, 2000