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Not Enough!
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

Test Day #4, 14 JAN 05 – (Sasabe, AZ to Las Vegas, NV)

If was Friday, sunny and the temperature was 66F, our final leg of our trip out West started at 906 miles on the trip odometer. We set out towards Vegas from the small town of Sasabe at 1325.

dawn at rancho de la osa

us mexico border
sasabe mexico

sasabe general store

We began our comparison of both Valentines - v1.8/POP2 versus v1.7. They were separated by about 26 inches the left-side was occupied with the v1.8 and the right side was occupied with the V1.7. Both were mounted high on the windshield, but below any tint-strip.

While traveling on Route 86W the V1 v1.7 alerted about three to four seconds prior to the V1 v1.8 to what turned out to be an approaching cruiser operating steady K-band although both offered plenty of time to slow down to avoid speed detection.

Later on this route the V1.8 alerted prior to the V1.7 on Ka-band radar which turned out to be a cruiser approaching on the left opposing side of the road.

We encountered one more police cruiser on this road.  This time the V1.7 alerted first to K-band at a signal strength of two to three followed by the V1 v1.8 at level one.  Again, this turned out to be an approaching cruiser operating with steady K-band radar.

We briefly visited Kitt Peak National Observatory but couldn’t stay as they were closing at 1600 and we had a lot a miles ahead of us.  At 1620 we turned around before reaching Ajo and headed back east on Rt-86 towards Tucson, AZ.

kit peak national observatory
Kitt Peak National Observatory.

Later on I-10W the radar detectors falsed simultaneously to laser twice as the sun was setting – once at 1700 and once at 1720.  During this section of our comparison, the V1 v1.8 falsed with very weak K-band radar quite a bit more than the V1 v1.7.

On I-10W approaching Phoenix, both radar detectors alerted to a very strong blast of Ka from the rear during a lane changing / passing maneuver immediately after an overpass.  Fortunately for us, there was some traffic, otherwise we would have likely received a citation as we were traveling at about 90mph at the time both radar detectors went off.

Had it not been for the other traffic, we would have been dead-meat. Neither radar detector provided us with advanced warning to what was obviously a speed trap and no radar detector would have likely provided us with advanced notice as these officers were discriminating and patient with their operation of radar.

rainbow north of phoenix
Something We Did Not Expect to See in Southern Arizona

Even though the X50 and RX65 weren’t in operation at the time, given the strength of the radar, we are certain they would have sounded their alerts as well.  The V1 with its arrows, did allow us to quickly identify the source of the threat, although it wouldn’t have made a bit of difference as we immediately slowed down even before we actually noticed the arrows.

Roy later confirmed that pulsed-Ka is operated from the rear around Casa Grande on I-10.

We then changed up the radar detectors and mounted the V1 v1.8 on the left high side and the 8500 X50 on the high right side separated by about 26+ inches.  Time of day of the change was 1830. Temperature was 63F and the evening was clear. Miles accumulated so far were 1134.

In our first real radar encounter with this match up, the X50 alerted 1st to Ka-band radar at a reported 34.737Ghz by about a second before the V1 v1.8 did.  We felt the V1 v1.8 had the advantage as it had a better line of sight to the approaching vehicle on the other side of the divided interstate even though it alerted after the X50.  Our speed was about 80mph at time of contact. Both provided ample notice to slow down without detection.

We later received a brief false K alert for two-three cycles on v1.8 while the X50 stayed silent.

In the next real encounter, the V1 V1.8 alerted to Ka at 35.491Ghz about 0.5 seconds before the X50 which turned out to be a police cruiser operating steady Ka radar facing us with a car pulled over on the opposite side of the highway.

During this part of test, the 8500 X50 and the V1 1.8 performed virtually identically and both offered impressive performance.

As we made our way back towards Wickenburg, AZ north on Vulture Mine Road (and located in the middle of the desert) the v1.8 “falsed” multiple times to very weak K-band while the X50 remained silent.  We had a good laugh – even when we were in the middle of the desert, the V1 alerted to K-band.  What on earth was it listening to?  An overhead satellite?

At 2000, we switched up our radar detectors.  This time we positioned the 8500 X50 left and high and the RX65 right and high with about 26+ inches between them.  The temperate was about 50F, weather was clear and the miles accumulated to this point was 1226.

We called Roy, who promptly ordered us a pizza!  Thanks man, we were hungry!  We ate dinner with Roy and shared some of our experiences.

We left Roy's place at 2137 on to our final leg of our Western route.  Miles at the time of our departure were 1251.

On Route 93N back towards the Hoover Dam, we received a K-alert on the RX65 at a reported 24.138Ghz about 0.5 seconds prior to the 8500 X50.

Shortly afterwards, the X50 alerted 1st by a tick on K-band at 24.132Ghz.  The RX65 indicated the same source to be operating at 24.122Ghz (they routinely differed by 10mhz.)  Turned out to be a speed sign operating steady K-band radar facing the opposite direction on the other side of the road. After passing the sign, the RX65 continued to report a little longer than the X50.

Later the X50 alerted 1st to K-band at a reported 24.132Ghz briefly before the RX65 which indicated K-band at 24.122Ghz.  As we suspected with our previous encounter, it was another speed sign this time facing us.

As we got closer to the Hoover Dam the RX65 alerted 1st to K-band, at a reported 24.140Ghz, by a tick before the X50.  This source too turned out to be another speed sign facing the other direction.

hoover dam in the evening

This back and forth repeated a couple of more times as we continued north toward Vegas on Route 93.

Shortly after we entered the state of Nevada and continuing on our northerly track to Las Vegas, both radar detectors alerted to Ka-band simultaneously.  No visual confirmation could be made of the source. Was this a case of instant-on/pulsed radar? Perhaps.

Just before we exited off of Route 93 in Vegas, we received a K-alert on the X50 for two cycles while RX65 remained quiet.

We then received a false laser alert for approximately 8 cycles from the RX65 while the X50 remained silent.  We attributed this last behavior to the Vegas skyline.

Conclusion of this match-up based upon our experiences – the RX65 Pro and 8500 X50 provided nearly identical performance in alerting to K and Ka radar.

Total miles accumulated at end of our trip in the West were 1497.

Total speeding tickets accumulated were zero!

Way to go and a job well done with all three (four) radar detectors.  Up to this point, we would have been entirely happy with any of the three brands.  They all demonstrated that they were, for all practical purposes, equally adept in their primary function – to provide enough advanced warning to radar so as to allow their owners the time needed to safely slow down.

The following morning we washed and returned our rental vehicle and flew back home to the Keystone State of PA.

Up to this point we had encountered some instant-on and steady K and Ka radar speed-traps and no one radar detector consistently performed better than the others.

We knew however, that our radar detector comparison test was somewhat incomplete as we did not test for X-band sensitivity and/or laser performance.  Before releasing the results of this test we wanted to accumulate as much experience as possible with these radar detectors so we decided to hold-off on publishing our findings so that we could get some additional results with X-band speed traps. And there is only one place to go to get 'em…

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