Police home in on radar dectectors
Inveterate speed freaks should beware of a stealthy new threat to their claim over the open road: a virtually unbeatable species of "radar detector detector " is quickly being adopted by Canadian police forces to nab motorists who have outlawed radar detectors.
The Spectre II, by Stealth Microsystems Pty Ltd., is selling briskly across the country. The Ontario Provincial Police now has about 60 units on patrol, as do other forces in provinces where radar detectors are illegal.
Spectre II picks up radio frequency "leakage' coming from the radar detector's oscillators (roughly, its electronic tuning forks) across a much wider range of gigahertz frequencies than in the past.
With older equipment, the Ontario police force estimated about 70 per cent of radar detectors slipped past its net. The technically superior Spectre II, built in Australia , has improved their capture rate substantially since it was introduced in 2002, says Sgt. John McNall , speed management co- ordinator for Ontario .
"The only reason people have a (radar) detector is they want to speed,' said McNall . ``What's happening now is they are being lulled into a false sense of security (whereas) we have an exceptional device.'
The Uniden LRD-967 is detectable at 986 metres , ditto the LRD-7055C radar detector at less than 560 metres , the Cobra 9560 at 1,400 metres , the Rocky Mountain Radar DLS310 at 1,650 metres , and the PNI Traveller II at 800 metres , he said.
"Currently, nothing on the market can defeat Spectre II,' said "Radar' Roy Reyer , a retired police officer and certified radar instructor who sells radar products from his Arizona-based website, www.radarbusters.com
Manufacturers including Escort and Beltronics are working on prototype devices to defeat Spectre .
Motorists from B.C., Alberta and Saskatchewan shouldn't feel entirely safe, although they can legally own radar detectors. In Ontario , Quebec and the Maritimes, where ownership is banned, police in recent years have begun meting out strict punishment to tourists, on the assumption they should have known to disconnect their devices, said McNall .
Along with better means of seeking out radar detectors, police have added to the arsenal they use to catch speeding cars.
"POP' radar, developed some four years ago by MPH Industries, sends a burst at 65 milliseconds that can defeat over 85 per cent of commercially available radar detectors. It's gaining popularity among state forces in Nevada , New York and Florida , though not yet in Canada.
And portable guns that point beams of light at speed violators, instead of radar, are becoming routine across North America .
Still, Reyer's site receives five orders a day from hopeful Canadians ordering mostly higher-end units, such as Escort's SR7 and the Beltronics RX75, or the newest products: jammers , such as Blinder's M-20, that stay dormant until they detect a laser beam, then send out their own flood of light to confuse the police device.
To increase the odds of beating light, there is "Veil,' a coating available since December that borrows the principles of stealth used in the U.S. fighter jet program. Painted onto headlamps and licence plates, it masks those key targeting areas by as much as 50 per cent, giving a car going about 120 kilometres an hour roughly seven additional seconds of warning.
Speeders should ask which technology was used to catch them, since radar and even POP radar are comparatively inexact, motorists hauled into court have successfully argued they weren't speeding, Reyer said.
Against Spectre II, Reyer can only recommend defensive maneuvers.
"It can't detect a radar detector that's turned off, so the moment your detector beeps, slow down, turn it off and keep an eye on the friendly police officer. And get out of the way.'
Idnumber : 200406250044