Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Relief From K-band False Alarms?

SpeedInfo solar-powered traffic-monitoring radar
If you're experiencing more K-band radar false alarms lately you're not alone. Increasingly, radar detector false alarms are being caused by the radar used by some traffic-flow monitoring systems.

Pole-mounted along a roadway, often at one-mile intervals, these measure and send real-time data on traffic volume and speed to transportation command centers. Radar detector owners will get a K-band alert whenever a transmitter is approached, often from hundreds of yards away.

Escort and BEL GPS-enabled radar detectors can lock out these signals. Other Escort and BEL models without GPS will do likewise when used with Escort Live.

Yet comparatively few radar detector manufacturers claim to offer a firmware-based solution for their non-GPS models. One exception, Escort, devised TSR (TSR Signal Ranking software) for Escort and subsidiary BEL (Beltronics) radar detectors. And some Whistler models—the Whistler CR90 and Whistler CR85 included—offer TFSR, said to achieve the same purpose.

But can TSR or TFSR really eliminate these K-band nuisance alerts? To find out, we traveled to Denver, Colorado, which has several metro freeways lined with nearly 150 radar sensors from Speedinfo. We used an Escort Redline XR with TSR and a Whistler CR90 with TFSR. Our test route was the bustling I-25 corridor, beginning at Arapahoe Road in southern metro Denver and ending 24 miles later at the city of Northglenn.

On the first run we set the Escort Redline XR to Auto-sensitivity mode, with TSR turned off. Over the next 24 miles it dutifully alerted to 12 SpeedInfo K-band transmitters lining the northbound traffic lanes, and we noted their locations.

For the second run we left the Escort Redline XR's settings unchanged except for turning on the TSR function. This time the Escort Redline XR ignored all of the SpeedInfo K-band transmitters.

Next we repeated the exercise with the Whistler CR90. With TFSR switched off, it alerted to the same SpeedInfo transmitters as had the Escort Redline XR. On the next run, this time with TFSR engaged, it filtered out all of the transmitters and stayed silent.

This should come as good news to anyone packing a radar detector in Denver, not to mention other areas where radar-based traffic-monitoring technology is used.


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