THE RULES OF ENGAGEMENT: How to run under the radar
by CRAIG LIEBERMAN
In Vietnam, aerial combat was made safer for American pilots through the use of electronic countermeasures. Aircraft like the F4 Phantom "Wild Weasels" carried a myriad of jamming and ECM devices to confuse their adversaries, the SAM (surface to air missile)sites. Today, radar-absorbing material and other stealth technologies make US aircraft all but invisible to their enemies.
On the roads of North America, a similar engagement is taking place between pilots of high end cars and law enforcement. As much as I'd love to make a cop's radar gun eat a Shrike missile, my respect and admiration for law enforcement demand that certain decorum be maintained.
That doesn't mean, however, that I'm prepared to go down in flames so they can chalk up another kill.
The rules of engagement have changed. They use their technology to extend their enforcement to beyond visual range (sort of), but savvy drivers are no longer sitting ducks. To get ready for future road rallies and in the spirit of fighting fire with fire, I decided to educate myself on countermeasures.
I searched out an expert and found "RadarRoy" of www.RadarBusters.com, who because of his vast arsenal of police radar and laser guns and his experience is the Stormin' Norman of the radar/laser world.
HOW TO RUN UNDER THE RADAR
Roy's site provides a crash course in developing a multi-layer approach to protecting a vehicle from electronic surveillance, detection and tracking by focusing on defeating all known methods of enforcement.
Roy is an experienced radar/laser operator, having served as a sheriff for 20 years. He now runs his website with great zeal and enthusiasm, offering his advice free of charge in the hopes of securing your faith (and patronage).
His site offers direct purchase opportunities for a wide range of electronic countermeasures, all of which are reviewed in detail and independently within his site.
Generally, experts agree that the first step is the radar/laser detector. These devices are designed to do one thing, alert you that you are being tracked.
Consider yourself a bogey being tracked by surface- to-air missiles. The game isn't quite that deadly, but the stakes are high. Roy offers a wide range of detectors, but most people settle on either the Valentine One, one of the Bel detectors or the Passport/Escort units.
All radar detectors share one common attribute: they are warning devices only. It is up the user to immediately take action, to 'yank and bank' in pilot jargon, to avoid electronic threats (read: slow down - immediately!)
Moving on, you should address your vehicle's "visibility" to electronics. Much like the Stealth bomber and fighters use RAM (radar absorbing materials), the use of Veil (a brush-on product)is recommended to be applied to reflective surfaces on the front of the vehicle. Obviously, Veil works best when used with a radar/laser detector because it buys you a few more seconds in which you can take corrective action.
Serious pilots will want to go a step further and consider any number of the laser jamming devices, which use several "heads" (little black boxes)spaced within 18-inches of your front plate and your headlights. Blinder and Escort manufacture laser jamming devices which are illegal in some states.
Independent testing confirms that these units work well and Roy enthusiastically recommends both. When you're "lit up" by laser, an 18-inch beam of light is bouncing off the front of your car(at a 500-foot range), but you can be tracked much further away, up to 2,000 feet on clear roads with a clean line of sight. Jammers work by scattering the beam so that no beam is reflected back to the officer's gun. The officer receives no signal, which means you've successfully provided a "jam to gun," (JTG).
Meanwhile, inside your car, your radar/laser detector should be going off, as will a warning light and tone from your laser jammer device. Use these few seconds to aggressively scrub off speed and you should come through the engagement without a scratch.
Collectively, the radar detector, Veil spray and laser jammers provide an effective cloak, and while your adversary can light up the sky like Baghdad, his chances of hitting anything will be greatly reduced. Total investment will be under $2,500, a reasonable price to pay to avoid becoming another notch on the fuselage of a police cruiser.