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Summary (Abridged) Report

1. Introduction
2. The Equipment
3. The Drive/Ride
4. Conclusions
5. Credits
6. Useful Links

Full (Unabridged) Report

1. Introduction
2. What's Included
3. Costs
4. Build Quality
5. Display (Video)
6. Alert Volume (Video)
7. Alert Tones (Video)
8. Alert Gradient
9. Alert Muting
10. Size
11. Adhesion
12. Programming (Video)
13. The Drive/Ride
14. Test Day #1
15. Test Day #2
16. Test Day #3
17. Respite
18. Test Day #4
19. Test Day #5
20. Test Day #6
21. Conclusions
22. Epilogue I
23. Epilogue II
24. Credits
25. Useful Links

Radar Detector Review '05
Unabridged Version  

Valentine One Escort 8500 X50 Beltronics RX65

Epilogue I - 08 FEB 05 -Remaining Questions / Possible Explanations

Escort 8500 X50 (Decreased X-Band Sensitivity)

We were a little baffled by the apparent diminished X-band performance of the X50 so we decided to set out late one evening to try to ascertain the reason as to this radar detector’s behavior.  I am pleased to report that I think we found it.

We located a verifiable source of X-band and K-band radar and we spent a considerable amount of time making approaches in both directions to these sources with all three radar detectors and this is what we came up with:

We found that when the Escort 8500 X50 has its Ka-band circuitry enabled, the radar detector’s apparent sensitivity to X-band radar noticeably diminished.  K-band performance did not appear adversely affected, though.  When we disabled Ka reception, the >b?radar detector appeared somewhat quicker overall to alerting weak radar signals.

To be complete, we tried all of the Bel RX65 Pro ‘s Ka settings – USA, International, OFF.  As with the X50, the performance of K-band didn’t appear adversely affected by any of these settings.  But, we may have noticed a very slight (and we do mean very slight) reduction in X-band sensitivity when Ka was set to either USA or International modes.

We went a step further with the X50 and we repeated the approaches a number of times again - with Ka enabled -  but at very slow speeds and we were able to detect the X-band source at almost the same distances when having the Ka function disabled completely.  This led us to believe, that perhaps the X50’s sensitivity wasn’t really affected, but the speed in which the radar detector may report an initial weak X-band source, may be.

We got to thinking, since a radar detector is essentially a specialized scanner and as Ka-band radar is quite wide, perhaps the X50 is favoring or is pre-occupied scanning this region at a slight expense of weak initial off-axis X-band detection.

We say this because once the X50 locked onto the X-band radar source, it tended to hold onto it even if we came to a complete stop and reversed backwards past the point where the radar detector initially alerted (and farther from the source.)  The difference in speed was less apparent when the radar detector had a better line of sight to the source.

Again, if you don’t drive in the state of NJ or any other place where X-band is known to be operated, this is merely academic.  We did want to get to the bottom of it, though and I am pleased that we did.  We believe that Escort can likely program this behavior anomaly out.  The firmware version indicated, on the radar detector during the reset operation, was 5.

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