By on May 6, 2016

Fuzzbuster II Radar Detector, Image: dave_7/Flickr

by Richard A. Ratay

In 1974, Congress passed legislation establishing the national highway speed limit of 55 mph. The original goal of the law was to conserve gas during the first OPEC Oil Crisis. Later, proponents of the lower limit argued it reduced highway fatalities. (Remember “55 Saves Lives”?) In time, studies showed the lower limit accomplished neither objective. It did, however, irk just about every driver across America.

Truckers were already equipped with their own means of skirting the new limit. Using their CB radios, long haul truck drivers kept each other informed about the whereabouts of “bear traps” and “Smokeys” lurking along the highways.

But drivers of automobiles sought their own weapon for combatting enforcement of the new lower speed limit. They found it in a device called “The Fuzzbuster.” Released a year before passage of the 55 mph National Maximum Speed Limit, the Fuzzbuster was the creation of Dale Smith, an Ohio driver who had earlier found himself seething at the side of the road after being nabbed in a police speed trap.

Unlike other motorists, Smith was a man capable of responding to his ticket with more than just a few curse words muttered under his breath. He was a research scientist for the Air Force who had also worked on improving the technology used in police radar guns.

Working in his garage, Smith assembled a small parcel of electronics that could detect X-band radio signals — the kind used by police radar guns — at a distance greater than the operating range of the devices used by law enforcement. He then attached to the device a red light that flashed and an alarm that sounded every time such signals were detected. Finally, he added a coiled cord with a plug that allowed the unit to be powered by his vehicle’s cigarette lighter.

Testing the device around town in his car, Smith found his Fuzzbuster consistently identified lurking patrol squads well before he could see them. Confident he had a winning product on his hands, Smith founded his own company, Electrolert, to manufacture the device.

For nearly two decades, law enforcement had been able to unilaterally use radar technology against motorists. But upon its release, Dale Smith’s “Fuzzbuster” instantly leveled the playing field, perhaps even giving drivers a slight advantage over the police and state patrol due its greater operating range.

From the moment of their debut, Fuzzbusters flew off store shelves at the same pace its buyers raced along the roadways. In no time, the small black boxes appeared on the dashboard of nearly every car on the highways — every car but ours.

I never quite understood my father’s reluctance to buy one. The cost wasn’t prohibitive, even for a man as frugal as my father. A low-end Fuzzbuster retailed for less than the cost of two speeding tickets. We’d certainly get plenty of use out of the device, between the considerable amount of travel we did as a family and the many miles my father logged for work.

But my Dad could never get past the stigma that came with owning such a device. In a way, plopping a Fuzzbuster up on your dash was like extending a big electronic middle finger to the police. It smacked of the post-hippy, anti-authority sentiment still raging at the time, and my father wanted no part of it. He was, after all, a respectable family man, an upstanding member of society. He didn’t want to join the ranks of the long hairs and scofflaws, the wearers of fringed leather jackets.

When it came to the ridiculous 55 mph speed limit, my Dad didn’t mind breaking the law. He just didn’t want others to know he was doing it.

Plenty of other drivers had no such reservations. Fuzzbuster sales soared and soon the device was joined on store shelves by a crowd of imitators including such memorably named brands as “Super Snooper,” “Bearfinder” and the “Screamin’ Demon.” By the mid-1980s, radar detection had become a $400 million industry.

Most makers of radar detectors faded away with time. Even Electrolert and its Fuzzbuster succumbed as technology improved and law enforcement transitioned to superior K-band and Ka-band instant-on radar. But successors such as Escort, Whistler and Cobra rose to carry forth the blinking red torch initially lit by Dale Smith. Even today, in an age when there is an “app” for just about everything else, motorists continue to count on the humble radar detector to let them know when Johnny Law is watching.

In fitting tribute to its considerable legacy, Dale Smith’s original Fuzzbuster was named one of Time magazine’s “All-Time 100 Gadgets” in 2010.

[Image: dave_7/Flickr]

Richard Ratay is the author of the upcoming book “Don’t Make Me Pull This Thing Over! An Informal History of the Family Road Trip”. Follow him on Facebook.

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72 Comments on “Cruising Under The Radar: Rise of the Fuzzbuster...”


  • avatar
    Kyree S. Williams

    “Even Electrolert and its Fuzzbuster succumbed as technology improved and law enforcement transitioned to superior K-band and Ka-band instant-on radar.”

    To be fair, Waze does allow users to share information about police traps.

    But, in general, I don’t like the idea of having a radar, either, especially since—with my luck—I’d get pulled over *with* the radar in the car.

    • 0 avatar
      JMII

      I favor the Waze method. Only downside is because the data is crowd sourced you need ummm… a crowd. So lonely stretches of open highways at odd hours means nobody is looking out for you. Plus police have gotta wise to the app and often put up false reports in the hopes of (just like the radar detectors themselves) creating bogus alerts to confuse you. I generally follow the rule of not being the fastest car in the line, or staying with 10 MPH of the posted limit. To date I’ve gotten (knock on wood) just 1 ticket. That occurred with my wife’s new (at the time) Civic EX. The car was just so much quieter and smooth then our previous vehicle I honestly didn’t notice how fast I was going.

      Now my brother uses a Valentine 1 radar unit and swears by it. We do have the advantage of living in FL where its so flat cops can’t hide over a hill out of sight.

      • 0 avatar
        sgeffe

        Have a 1998-vintage V1 which needed a new suction-cup bracket. Unfortunately, it was made for the newer, slightly less bulky units. So the thing wouldn’t stick to the windshield without an act of Congress!

        My unit’s old enough that it would make sense for me to take advantage of the “upgrade” program where you can exchange your V1 for a new unit at a good discount. Fortunately, in the three years the V1 hasn’t been in the car, I’ve had no LEO encounters!

      • 0 avatar
        05lgt

        A newish V2 AND Waze. That’s the tick… er, no. That’s NOT the ticket.

    • 0 avatar
      Piston Slap Yo Mama

      At the first sight of a potentially ticketing smokey behind me I’ve got the Passport whisked off the dash pronto. As JMII points out, Waze’s Achilles heel is less traveled roads and lately I’ve seen a ton of police reported on Waze that weren’t actually there – which I’m sure are cops gaming the system. The Waze algorithm needs to more accurately weigh users inputs and give preference to the ones who’ve used it longer and have more thumbs up from other users.

    • 0 avatar
      lonborghini

      Radar detectors are legal in all states except Virginia. They’re also prohibited in Washington DC. I haven’t driven without a radar detector in forty years. I also use Waze and a CB radio. Tomorrow i’m leaving California and heading back home to New York. Don’t drive without protection.

  • avatar
    shedkept

    Lidar has made all of these pretty useless.

    • 0 avatar
      twotone

      Most cops here in Denver use laser guns and detectors are pretty much useless. Laser jammers work pretty well, but are outlawed in CO. I just let the cars ahead of me take point, pay attention to their brake lights and have not gotten a ticket in over 30 years.

    • 0 avatar
      sgeffe

      Occasionally you’ll get a return from a target ahead of you; I had a few such “saves” when I regularly had my V1 in the car.

    • 0 avatar
      danio3834

      My Escort picks it up pretty reliably. You don’t get as much warning as with K or X band radar, but if you act fast it’s useful.

    • 0 avatar
      MBella

      Laser has very many limitations, and can only be used while the cop is stationary and the line of sight has to be close to parallel with the road. It’s only really good on the side of the road or overpass that is relatively straight.

      • 0 avatar
        Flipper35

        And it isn’t reliable if they use it from inside the car and there is any motion to the car. Most have to set them on a tripod to use them without any issues.

  • avatar
    madman2k

    Good article. I did not know the history of these kinds of devices, it was interesting.

    I would not be surprised if all cars will be programmed with an electronic governor that does not allow speeding, within the next decade or so. Bummer if it happens, and police departments will have to come up with some other way of collecting mandatory donations.

    • 0 avatar
      TMA1

      More than likely, your insurance company will make it prohibitively expensive to not have their monitoring app active on your CarPlay/Android Auto equipped car.

      Yesterday’s MKX review indicates that SYNC3 is set up to work with such upcoming apps.

      Now you can watch your insurance premiums rise in real time as you try to keep up with the flow of traffic set by older unconnected cars doing 75 in a 55 mph zone.

      • 0 avatar
        Piston Slap Yo Mama

        TMA1: what a nightmare we’re heading into with our cars sending telemetry to these monopolies / agents of Big Brother and I’m not surprised that cars are now leaving the factory equipped to snitch on us.

        I have a stone-age Triumph TR6 that scoffs at their OBD2 ports, and Hagerty’s Insurance for it at least as of now, is quite cheap. I wonder how long that will last before they develop a stand-alone snitching system.

        Has the TMA1’s signal been triangulated back to its point of origin? ;^)

    • 0 avatar

      Paging Mr. Orwell…

      • 0 avatar
        TMA1

        Yeah, that book has had an inordinate influence on my life. On the other hand, the last era of acceptable performance (muscle car era) was helped into the ground the first time partially by skyrocketing insurance rates (along with pollution controls and the oil crisis). I think it’s a snowball effect – it just takes a few companies to get on board, and then the rest will just roll with it.

        Next thing you know, you get a notification on your touchscreen the next time you start your car that your yearly premium just shot up because you’re a high risk driver.

  • avatar
    30-mile fetch

    He even equipped it with the horrible fake wood veneer to match the dashboards of the era. Genius.

    I was never subjected to the 55mph national limit. But judging from my experiences driving across Oregon’s Highway 20, which carries a 55mph limit for something like 250miles of open desert, I can understand how a $400 million industry could be supported. In modern cars where 80 feels stable and nearly effortless, 55 feels like standing still.

  • avatar
    TDIGuy

    What I never understood is how some states would allow radar detectors and some didn’t. What was the justification used to allow it?

    • 0 avatar
      Firestorm 500

      Freedom of Speech.

    • 0 avatar
      285exp

      The justification to allow it is that it’s simply a radio that happens to pick up microwave signals. They’re transmitting, you’re just receiving, why should you be prohibited from receiving? Radar and laser jammers are an entirely different story.

      • 0 avatar
        ozzypriest

        Exactly. Federal, State and Local govs have way too much power as it is, it just blows my mind when people sheep up uncomplainingly, and just give away their rights. Here you go corrupt politician/LEO, just take my testicles and brain. Just make sure you give them to somebody who will use them!

      • 0 avatar
        lonborghini

        The federal communications act of 1934 established that constitutionally,the air waves belong to the people. Radar transmits radio waves. Radar detectors are radio receivers. Therefore radar detectors are legal everywhere in the USA with the exception of Virginia and Washington DC. The real question is, why haven’t their laws been successfully challenged?

    • 0 avatar
      operagost

      Liberty.

    • 0 avatar
      golden2husky

      The monitoring of radio transmissions is expressly permitted by the FCC Communications Act of 1934. Radar waves are just radio waves, so technically, it should be illegal for states to deny citizens the ability to monitor them. Too bad it never made it to the SCOTUS, though the pro-authoritarian half would likely rule in favor of the states.

      …..But my Dad could never get past the stigma that came with owning such a device. In a way, plopping a Fuzzbuster up on your dash was like extending a big electronic middle finger to the police. It smacked of the post-hippy, anti-authority sentiment still raging at the time, and my father wanted no part of it. He was, after all, a respectable family man, an upstanding member of society….

      My father was one of those types as well. Then again, my father never learned to have any fun. Maybe that’s why all of his kids eschew his logic in that regard. I run WAZE and use V1 when its time for a road trip. For commuting, WAZE alone is fine.

      Forced monitoring by the Corporate dirtbags (insurance companies) is almost guaranteed in the future. My work car has a “canceiver” that rats out all my driving habits to the company – pretty any parameter on the CAN network such as throttle position and brake pressure. Fair enough as the car is not my property. But for my cars, well, that’s just not going to happen. Locate where your black box is and destroy it in case of an accident. My property, my recorder. I should be able to do with it as I please. After all, I paid for it.

    • 0 avatar
      lonborghini

      The federal communications act of 1934 established that constitutionally,the air waves belong to the people. Radar transmits radio waves. Radar detectors are radio receivers. Therefore radar detectors are legal everywhere in the USA with the exception of Virginia and Washington DC. The real question is, why haven’t their laws been successfully challenged?

  • avatar
    Arthur Dailey

    The government of the province of Ontario stepped in rather quickly to make these illegal within the province. Most other provinces also followed suit.

    Some of my friends would hop down to the USA, buy one and try to install it under a kleenex box, etc to hide it.

    From Wikipedia:
    Regardless of whether they are used or not, police there may confiscate radar detectors, operational or not, and impose substantial fines in provinces where radar detectors are illegal.[10] Quebec penalizes $500 CAD for use of a radar detector, along with confiscation of the device.[11]

  • avatar
    Steve_S

    Time for a good quad laser jammer.

    • 0 avatar
      Drzhivago138

      Dunno about that, but the Millennium Falcon’s quad laser cannons wouldn’t be amiss…

      http://www.thestarwarstrilogy.com/starwars/Magazines/Build-The-Millennium-Falcon/001/SW-BTMF-001-005-The-Secrets-of-Spaceflight-The-Falcons-Quad-Laser-Cannons-2.jpg

    • 0 avatar
      kefkafloyd

      No one can defeat the Quad Laser. The bullet is enormous, there is no escaping.

  • avatar
    jacob_coulter

    I remember I got pulled over for having a radar detector in a state where it was 100% legal to have a radar detector. He said he pulled me over because my perfectly legal radar detector obstructed my view.

    It of course didn’t, it was just an exercise in LE chest thumping. He also kept me waiting on the side of the road for nearly half an hour while he checked for warrants out on me.

    Never got a ticket for the incident, he knew it would go nowhere. And I still use my radar detector. Its payed for itself many times over. I usually only use it on road trips where on the freeway they like to bounce around the speed limit from 75 to 55.

  • avatar
    bunkie

    I’ve never owned a radar detector. And I’ve never received a speeding ticket while driving a car. I completely understand your father’s point of view. It’s very hard to make the argument that you are unintentionally speeding with one of these things on your dash. And, frankly, going without one requires paying more attention to what is going on, a good thing when driving.

    • 0 avatar
      Japanese Buick

      I had one for a while but stopped using it for similar reasons. I found that I was no less paranoid with it than without it, I still felt like I had to use all the other ticket avoidance methods like constantly scanning, driving in others’ radar shadows, etc. Plus the false alarms were annoying, I called it the grocery store detector. Finally realized the quality of my driving experience was the same or even better without one in the car.

      I’m 51 years old and have only ever received 1 speeding ticket. I suspect the one I got could have been avoided with a radar detector but $300 to an attorney made it disappear. Much cheaper than keeping up with radar and radar detector technology for 30+ years.

  • avatar
    Kendahl

    I had an original Fuzzbuster. Around 1980, when K band became popular, I replaced it with an Escort. Price was $400 which was real money back then. In terms of the speeding fines and higher insurance premiums it enabled me to avoid, the Escort is far and away my most successful financial investment. I still have the unit but haven’t felt the need to upgrade to a modern, multiband detector because highway speed limits have returned to relatively sensible levels.

    Radar jammers have always been illegal under federal law. It has nothing to do with obstructing speed enforcement. The FCC doesn’t want microwaves sprayed around. (It stopped the Iowa state patrol from using obsolete radar units to fake out detector users.) Federal law does not address lidar jammers. Some models appear to work while others are worthless. Only a few states prohibit their use. (Unfortunately, I live in one of them.)

    • 0 avatar
      FormerFF

      I had one, too. I recall having to set the knob very carefully to get a balance between false alarms and no alarms. I also remember other sources of microwaves, like automatic doors, setting it off.

      I don’t use a radar detector any more, I just set the cruise at 75 now. It makes me wonder what all that 55 mph crap was about.

      • 0 avatar
        Japanese Buick

        @formerFF +100. As someone who came of driving age during the 55 era, it still seems amazing today that I can set the cruise at 75 and not worry about tickets.

  • avatar
    SC5door

    I got 1 ticket with a RD in the window….the cop laughed and said “Wasted money, huh?”. After too many false alarms, I quit paying attention to it.

    I sold it to a friend of mine a few weeks later who in turn wrecked pretty badly after becoming “invincible” while having that in the window.

    • 0 avatar
      ozzypriest

      They work very well, but are just a tool and you have to know its limitations. Yours must have either been junk, or a V1, where the owner has to be willing to put up with 8k false alarms per second.

      And the friend comment – well, it seem like you are trying to do something silly like blame a radar detector for your friend’s idiotic driving skills/habit.

  • avatar
    CaptainObvious

    I had a Uniden radar detector back in the late 80’s early 90’s. When it went off on the highway the first time I thought I was going to have a heart attack – false alarm. Oh – and they would always go off near shopping centers – due to the automatic door openers – at least that’s what I read at the time.

  • avatar

    The Valentine One is another great detector, the one I have sworn by for many years. Detectors are legal in the USA everywhere except Virginia and DC. If you are in medium traffic with some “cover” from other vehicles – even instant on radar won’t get you most of the time, assuming you pay attention to the few weak beeps as they shoot the cars 1/4 mile or more ahead. Lidar does not scatter very much, but a couple of peeps of the Lidar signal should cause INSTANT slowing, because the highway robbery road tax collector may have targeted someone one or two cars ahead of you.

    • 0 avatar

      My Valentine one with the junk k fighter is indispensable. I don’t go anywhere without it. I’ve owned radar detectors since the mid-80’s and I’ve never been hassled by a cop. The couple of times I’ve been pulled over it made them more worried than anything else. I got off both times with warnings.

      I own an older V1 and it’s all but obsolete. These new cars with lane warning sensors and collision sensors make it go off incessantly. The new one is just bad-ass. Time to send the old one in and trade up.

      • 0 avatar
        sgeffe

        I think the latest ones have some sort of logic to cut down on the falses from car-bound radar.

        Before I bought my Accord Touring, equipped with radar Adaptive Cruise Control/Forward Collision Warning, I arranged for a test drive of an identical car to the one I’d eventually order, a couple months after the 2013 Accords came out, expressly to test how my V1 would react. (Quiet as a church! Ironically, as I stated up the thread, I had to obtain a new windshield mount which didn’t fit my 1998-vintage unit properly, so it didn’t stick, and I didn’t want my dash in my new car scratched up by the V1 falling off! Like you, I may “upgrade.”)

    • 0 avatar
      Wheeljack

      I need to send my V1 in for an upgrade to get this new generation of filtering. The last time I had it upgraded was at least 4-5 years ago, maybe more. I also have never been thrilled with the windshield mount – I need to find a better solution to mount it.

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    My dad never wanted one, either, for the same reason. But in spite of his wild early days, he mostly kept to the limit.

    Here’s a solution: just drive the speed limit, or slightly over, if you must. If you’re doing the Cannonball Run, you’re not planning well.

    I’ve noticed that people with radar detectors are more nervous, since they’re always waiting to respond to the alarm.

    And I don’t believe ‘studies’ which say 55 mph didn’t save gas, and that people died just as frequently. Physics says you would save gas and die less often. If no gas was saved and more people died, it’s because people weren’t driving 55, or other reasons. Without 55, the numbers would have been worse than they were.

    Cue Sammy Hagar!

    Interesting chart:
    https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/6/6e/U.S._traffic_deaths_as_fraction_of_total_population_1900-2010.png

    • 0 avatar

      Davy and Warren wrote a report that confirms 85th percentile speed limits. Accident involvement is lower when you drive at the average speed or about 7 mph faster.

      • 0 avatar
        golden2husky

        The biggest problem I find is big variations in the speed of drivers around me. If everybody is going more or less the same speed, you greatly reduce the chaos on the road. Drivers that move much faster than the flow create hazards, as do the passive-aggressive types that intentionally go below the flow in the left lane. If the 85 percentile is the limit, you greatly reduce both of those threats. There will always be some idiots that go 90 in traffic, and some that insist of 45 on the highway, but nothing is going to change that.

        • 0 avatar
          JimC2

          I try to do my part about the passive-aggressive left lane slowpokes (and the space cadet left land slowpokes… there is a subtle difference). I cut closely in front of them and spray them with a long burst of my windshield washers as I pull away from them.

          I have a very clean windshield.

    • 0 avatar
      ozzypriest

      Just do what you’re told SCE, keep your head down, don’t question anything, take what they give you. Good boy.Good boy!

      • 0 avatar
        Japanese Buick

        “I’ve noticed that people with radar detectors are more nervous, since they’re always waiting to respond to the alarm.”

        This is the main reason I stopped using them years ago. It’s not having one let me stop doing the other things you do to watch out for cops and speed smartly. Its value-add to my driving experience wasn’t worth the cost and extra nervousness.

  • avatar
    indi500fan

    As someone so traveled the Ohio interstates on a daily basis in the 70s, I can confirm the Fuzzbuster was a wonderful accessory. I don’t remember Velcro being universally available back then, and using a rubber soap dish with a plethora of small suction cups to hold it on the dash.

    Obviously it needed to be removed in event of a traffic stop or overnight outside parking.

  • avatar
    AJ

    My last detector was purchased in 1990. It was cheap and everything made it go off, and eventually got stollen after my car was broken into. That’s the one thing I laughed about was the poor sap that tried to rely on it!

    “I hope you got a ticket punk!”

  • avatar

    I never had a Fuzzbuster, but had the first Big Box Escort, and eventually the first CM Passport. Back when radar was X band, and there was no instant on or door openers, you got two miles of warning. The golden era, which ended when I got K – hit on a Vermont Ski Trip.

    I saw these two great K and X Band receivers on dashboards in Courts I visit for a good five years after the NYSP went fully Ka Band. D’oH !

    I would not drive without a detector. It does not grant immunity…only a badge does that. It changes the odds, so that the House wins less frequently. Lots of cops forget the gadget is on. It will teach you tactics and hiding places too.

    When Mr. Valentine opened his own company, I kept buying, and am on unit #3. Know how to program a V1 and you are golden.

    Laser is a good weather threat and has to be shot directly at you…operationally the officer has to work harder.

    Waze is great for figuring out how to into or out of a crowded central city area….but I find it useless for cops, and folks who post every single thing as a “hazard”, when it isn’t. I don’t need folks posting “Fog” on waze. Invaluable for crossing NYC to an airport, though. My guy has the little sword…

    CB used to be helpful, back in the day. Currently, not nearly as much, at least in the NYMA….I sort of wish someone would come up with a replacement, on FM or digital, VHF with about 25 watts, but that isn’t happening. GMRS never took off, and MURS and FRS are too niche to fill that gap. CB antennas are too big and skip allows morons on the other side of the country to wipe out your local area.

    The current problem with radar detectors is the use of K band for blind spot devices will give you a K false for miles, and the fact that EVERY Volvo, Mazda and Infiniti has a laser rangefinder. Thanks Guys ! Audi has one radar system on the Q3 or Q4 that shoots for miles.

    If you get a detector, buy top shelf only, learn to use it and understand it before you trust it.

    Oh, and a ham radio license allows you a mobile scanner….which even in the age of Mobile Date Terminals can help a serious road warrior.

    • 0 avatar
      porschespeed

      Egads, live in CA I take it? Only there are you required to have ‘permission’ to have/use a scanner in your vehicle last I checked.

      It is illegal in several states to use one in furtherance of committing a crime, so it’s a pile-on charge.

      It’s all kind of moot though. Other than in the boonies where range really matters, all cops will eventually migrate to a current radio platform, which are digitally encrytpted, and none of us will be able to hear them anyway. Like this…

      http://www.motorolasolutions.com/en_us/products/two-way-radios/project-25-radios/mobile-radios/apx-6500.html#tabproductinfo

      Freedom. It was fun while it lasted.

      • 0 avatar

        There have always been scramble and inversion modes on analog FM-they aren’t the norm, because a lot of agencies listen, and you would have to buy the fire dept, dpw, etc new scramble radios. There are reasons to leave the normal dispatch in the clear.

        As time has gone by, some areas have gone digital. Some digital is scannable, not all of it is encrypted. Cost drives a lot of this, and politics trump radio science every time. Around here, at least, it is a very static situation, mostly analog. Governments will set up new systems only if their needs exceed the radio channels they can get from the FCC-in some areas something owns every possible channel.

        Mobile Data Terminals which do all the internet stuff you expect but glitch occasionally are next to classic radios, because they just work. They don’t want to marry them.

        Cops use cell phones for the juicy stuff, anyway.

        • 0 avatar
          porschespeed

          WTF are you talking about? ‘Scramble and inversion modes’? What kind of nonsense are you spouting? I’ve passed the tech side of Amateur Extra and I have no idea what you’re saying – because it doesn’t exist. ‘Inversion mode’ refers to MOSFETS, and ‘scramble mode’ is apparently your brain.

          Digital is not scannable, as it’s *all* encrypted. Nobody “owns all the scannable channels” as *all* frequencies are *allocated* *defined* and *proscribed* by the FCC.

          Seriously, you have no idea what your bull shtting about. So do shut up before you make yourself sound even more stupid.

          Police mobile data terminals are set up to use whatever system the cops want that supports TCP/IP – cellular, radio,digital radio, whatever the dept sees fit.

    • 0 avatar
      Japanese Buick

      re: Waze: “Waze is great for figuring out how to into or out of a crowded central city area….but I find it useless for cops, and folks who post every single thing as a “hazard”

      yes, there are so many pothole and “car pulled over on the shoulder” reports, like I care. I suspect people are doing it to get more Waze points.

      • 0 avatar
        JimC2

        “I suspect people are doing it to get more Waze points.”

        How else are you supposed to get to Waze royalty level?

        • 0 avatar

          Speedlaw knows his detectors! I’ve stretched out the useful life of my V1 1.8 by turning off the X-band.

          Remarkable device and lots and lots of unique programming ability. My singular complaint is the tediousness involved to program all it’s features. You almost have to make a flowchart for some of it.

          I thought they had it going on when they introduced the bluetooth smartphone apps. While somewhat useful if you want to disguise the detector, the app has none of the features I was really hoping for.

          LISTEN UP MIKE VALENTINE: Expand your app so you can program all the features with your smartphone. Then ya got a world killer. Maybe team up with Garmin or Google for traffic conditions. I wish my Garmin could tell me where traffic has slowed to the speed limit instead of just where congestion is happening. Should be simple. Garmin knows that GPS units and cell phones aren’t moving or moving slowly. Should be obvious to know what stretches of highway nobody is speeding on.

        • 0 avatar

          Waze is excellent for speed and redlight cameras-the crowdsourcing makes that part very accurate, even if I think it totally useless for mobile cop spotting.

  • avatar

    Sadly, Dale wasted his legacy. Car and Driver found Escort internals in a Fuzzbuster, and published. He didn’t capitalize on his name or the device. I met him one at an early National Motorists Assn meeting….

  • avatar
    danio3834

    My Escort IQ has been fantastic. Reliably picks up K, Ka, X bands and laser. It also has GPS mapping with red light and speed cams programmed in. With a touch of the screen you can add new ones as you encounter them too. It’s saved me thousands while traveling in speed cam happy Alberta.

  • avatar
    bachewy

    Daily driving and road trips – I only ever do 5 over the speed limit. I haven’t had a speeding ticket since high school (over 30 years ago).

    I’m not a crusty old man, just don’t feel the need to increase risk and use more gas going like a bat out of hell everywhere.

    My ‘toy’ car is another story. It has a detector because it’s impossible to drive slow :)

  • avatar
    05lgt

    Decades ago on a cross country trip entering NM from TX at the end of a miles long construction lane closure I ran my Integra through a few gears passing the semi that had been my view for soooo long. A NM trooper instant on pegged my cheap detector, so I pulled over quickly enough that he only idled down the shoulder to me. On reaching my window he saw a suction mount cup holder in the passenger footwell and said “I see you tried to hide your fuzzbuster.” I said “my mall detector is still right on the windshield and will start screaming about you when I turn the key”. Not having *liar* to lable me with, compassion kicked in. “You’re not even all the way out of the construction zone. This is going to be a big ticket. Why did you take off so fast?” My reply saved my a$$. “I’m just so damn happy to finally be out of Texas.” After *almost* stifling his laughter, the NM trooper said “Oh my goodness, that truck is tailgating a car!”, jumped in his cruiser and sped off.

    • 0 avatar
      lonborghini

      Two questions: Why would you waste money on a “cheap detector?”
      Why did you try to hide a device that you are legally entitled to possess, because it was embarrassingly cheap?

      • 0 avatar
        05lgt

        2 answers. 1: Didn’t know any better, no internet back then, most of the expensive ones were just shiney crap. 2: Umm, try reading it again.

  • avatar
    krhodes1

    I just can’t be bothered anymore. I had them way back when, still got popped plenty of times. Instant-on, or airplanes. Got older and wiser, and no more tickets, even though I drive just as fast.

    One ticket this century, in the middle of nowhere on a 2-lane in Montana in a rent-a-Taurus in ’05. 88 in a 70, $40 fine, paid on the spot. No record of it on my ME license. Two warnings, one for 10 over, one for an expired inspection sticker. In 17 years.

  • avatar
    dukeisduke

    After getting a ticket in the late ’80s while taking a friend to catch a flight, I bought a Cobra Trapshooter (X-K bands), and used it for several years. I actually got a ticket once while using it (didn’t pay attention quickly enough), but fortunately the cop didn’t notice it, as I had it mounted to the metal trim at the top of my windshield, using the sun visor clip turned upside-down, with death grip Velcro (the interlocking pins kind). When I switched vehicles, the Trapshooter got packed away.

  • avatar
    Wheeljack

    I run a V1 (that needs an upgrade at this point) and an old Uniden Bearcat Scanner (BCT-12) with a form-factor like a radar detector.

    The scanner was programmed with all the police bands by state, so you simply change to the state you are in to monitor police communications. It will automatically scroll through all the known frequencies on a continuous basis, and it will pause for a few seconds when a signal is strong enough, the idea being that you are close to the source, i.e. a police officer. You can even “hold” the frequency if you want to listen in.

    The other cool thing the scanner does is it will light up like a Christmas tree and make a bunch of noise if the officer keys the mic on his shoulder, activating the repeater in the squad car that amplifies the signal. Because of the momentary power surge, you know you are close to an officer, maybe a mile or two.

    Unfortunately it looks like many of the police frequencies have changed (mostly to digital) and my old scanner isn’t as good as it used to be, but between it and the V1, my bacon has been saved a bunch of times. It’s too bad Uniden never came out with a newer version of the same concept or offered upgrades like the V1.

    • 0 avatar
      lonborghini

      Yeah,i run a Bearcat scanner too, and an Escort Max 360, and a CB radio and i run Waze. Safe,efficient driving is using protection, lot’s of protection!


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