Radar detectors FAQ

By

Robert Ferency-Viars

Robert Ferency-Viars is the managing editor for the Crutchfield car A/V learning content, and has been with the company since 1999. A Virginia native from the heart of the Blue Ridge Mountains, he loves spending time with his wonderful wife and sons, listening to music, writing, and playing games with friends. Robert's love for car audio began at 16 when he installed his first car stereo.

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Kenwood stereo

High-quality radar detectors, like this Passport 9500ix from Escort, can protect you from more than just a speeding ticket.

Q: What is sensitivity? How does it differ from selectivity?

A: Sensitivity is a measurement of how well a radar detector can pick up radar signals. The more sensitive the detector, the more likely it is to give you a timely warning. Selectivity refers to a detector's ability to detect police radar while ignoring such devices as automatic garage door openers and microwaves, which may operate on closely neighboring frequencies. A good radar detector offers an optimal balance between high selectivity and high sensitivity.

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Q: What is the range of the radar detectors Crutchfield offers? Or, how far away will they pick up a radar signal?

A: This a difficult question to answer. Because terrain, weather conditions, strength of transmission, and frequency band (X,K,Ka) all exert influence on sensitivity, this measurement will vary. In general, test results reveal that detection from a half of a mile to one mile away is possible, but cannot be guaranteed.

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Q: How much more range can be expected when stepping up to a detector described as increasing sensitivity?

A: This question also falls into the difficult-to-answer category, but again, based on test results of similar models, the difference could be anywhere from 1/5 to 1/2 mile.

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Q: What is Spectre?


A: Spectre is the latest generation in radar detector detection (RDD) technology. Like VG-2, Spectre helps police identify drivers using radar detectors in areas or vehicles where they are regulated, but it is far more accurate, has greater range, and can defeat most modern cloaking technologies. Fortunately, there are now radar detectors available that will provide some form of protection against this new technology.

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Q: How often do radar detectors false?

A: Any radar detector will emit a false alert at least once in a while. Detectors false most frequently in the presence of other microwave-emitting equipment such as garage door openers and security systems, as well as other radar detectors.

To cut down on falsing, the units we offer give you a reliable mix of sensitivity and selectivity, as well as the ability to select city or highway mode. (Detectors are more likely to false in the city, where these other microwave-emitting devices are more numerous.)

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Q: What are the advantages of a cordless radar detector?

A: Because no cord is needed for hook-up, a cordless detector gives you maximum placement flexibility and the easiest transfer between vehicles. It also leaves your 12-volt port free to accommodate other accessories like a cell phone charger.

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