RADAR is an acronym for RAdio
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 (unlikeRADAR) 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.