Police RADAR Informational Guide

Police RADAR, POP RADAR - how they differ from police LIDAR.

RADAR is an acronym for RAdio Detection And Ranging. Unlike LIDAR, police RADAR directly determines a vehicle's speed by measuring the doppler shift in its returned frequency (such as the increasing or descreasing pitch of an approaching or receding train and emergency vehicle).  Instant-on or pulsed low-powered RADAR has been in use for many years. For some time to come, this will likely constitute the greatest occurrence in any area that has not already switched exclusively to police laser speed enforcement.  Most newer police RADAR guns operate on the wide Ka-band RADAR.  K-band RADAR still is extremely common, given it historical advantage to Ka RADAR.  X-band is still widely deployed in the state of NJ, however, newer digital (DSP) police RADAR guns are steadily coming on-line which operate on the newer Ka band.

Even instant-on police RADAR guns present some drawbacks to police. RADAR energy is quite wide in its dispersion (some European police RADAR waveforms of Gatso and Multanova are much narrower and low-powered and much harder to detect as a result) and is reflected in many directions which routinely provides ample reaction time to drivers who are following a vehicle being targeted. Also, police RADAR, in general, is not particularly precise in identifying which vehicle is responsible for the speed reading, requiring a visual identification by the traffic patrolman.

Other than the aformentioned Gatso and/or Multanova police RADAR setups - fortunately, for us - not seen in the US, police radar is fairly easy to spot from ahead with the top radar detectors provided it is in operation (steady or pulsed/instant-on). POP RADAR from MPH Industries set to change that.

If you will view a radar detector as a specialized radio scanner, you will understand how POP RADAR seeks to render it ineffective or at least give the appearance to municipalities who may consider purchasing MPH's radar guns so equipped. The idea is simple in principle - if a RADAR gun transmits a sole pulsed radar wave and that tranmission only lasts 67ms, conventional radar detectors won't likely spot the radar beam of such short duration as its busy sweeping (scanning) the multiple bands that radar detectors do.

While the 67 ms version of POP has essentially been mitigated by all of the major detector manufacturers today - all top models have specialized cirtuitry to specifically look for it - MPH has introduced an even quicker version of POP that's rated at a really blistering 16ms (that's 16 one-thousanths of one second!). Even the mighty Valentine 1 - arguably the best detector for identifying POP, struggles with this form and alerts to it only about one out of every 10 bursts.

We have seen POP used more than once and have found that, indeed, it creates accurate readings - at least during the brief times we have witnessed its operation.

That's not to say that it's not infallable. Valentine Research (they know a thing or two about RADAR) has suggested MPH's methodology is flawed and prone to error. Whether or not it will ultimately serve as evidentiary value has yet to be seen. Interestingly enough, MPH's site has modified their website POP section and one could reasonably assume they are leaving the door open for that eventuality.

We originally saw the potential of POP - allowing for traffic enforcement to be able to take spot-readings of traffic as a prequalifier to a conventional instant-on or pulsed RADAR.

Prior to POP-enabled detectors, there may have been a time that POP potentionally allowed for safer traffic speed monitoring - by minimizing the alerting of traffic to it and thus reducing the the sudden-slow downs that routinely occur around such speed traps - which in itself can be a road safety hazard.

At this point in time, we believe that POP's fleeting advantages have been more than offset with the continued development and proliferation of inexpensive police laser (LIDAR) guns.

Today's police laser guns accomplish the very same thing in so far as stealth operation and very quick acquisition of speed (provided you are not using a countermeasure like VEIL) - not alerting surrounding vehicles - but also provide the distinct advantage that tickets may be issued to would be offenders.

Regardless of the type, it's currently not an efficient single vehicle speed tracking mechanism as is police laser.

With police laser, the officer has already made a predetermination of your vehicle as he or she consciously selects and targets your vehicle much like a sniper with a rifle and scope. More importantly, laser is a highly focused beam that barely encompasses the front of your vehicle leaving little scatter, making advanced detection virtually impossible (unlike�RADAR) even with the use of the finest detector.

Furthermore, it is generally operated at greater range which adds to the element of surprise as one will oftentimes not even be able to see the operator of the gun.

This powerful combination of instant-on usage coupled with no advanced warning is the real threat of police laser (LIDAR) and even detector manufacturers acknowledge that the use of  laser detectors has "little" value other than to alert its user to impending speeding tickets.

Also, being on a crowded highway does not reduce your chances of being picked-off and getting a speeding ticket.

Luckily for us, there is a way to safely avoid speeding tickets.

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