Are radar detectors illegal?
Radar detectors are illegal only in Virginia, Washington DC, and most parts of Canada. They are also illegal in all 50 states for commercial drivers, such as truck drivers and taxi drivers.
If you are not a commercial driver, and you are not in Virginia or Washington DC or Canada, then it is perfectly legal to use a radar detector.
What is the range of radar detectors?
In flat, open conditions the range is at least 2 miles. Please note that road conditions (hills and curves) can affect the range.
My detector will not turn on
First make sure that the cigarette plug is making good contact in the socket. Try reinserting the plug a few times.
You can also check the fuse by unscrewing the tip of the cigarette plug. There is a spring inside, be careful not to lose the spring. The fuse size is 1 amp. Replacement fuses can be found at Radio Shack.
If the problem persists, then please try a new power cord.
My detector keeps turning off and on
Most likely this is due to a broken wire inside the power cord. Please try a new power cord.
The fuse keeps blowing
Most likely this is due to a short in the power cord. Please try a new power cord.
My detector will not detect police cars
Your detector will only detect a police car if the car has a radar gun, and if the gun is turned on.
If the police car does not have a radar gun, or if the radar gun is not turned on, then there are no signals for your detector to receive.
I get short range
Please make sure that your detector is mounted at the windshield, and that it has a clear view down the road. Make sure it is not blocked by a windshield wiper.
If your detector has IntelliMute, then try turning off the IntelliMute.
Please note that shorter range can occur if the officer is hiding behind a hill, around a curve, of if the officer is using an instant-on radar gun.
My detector is giving false alerts
In today’s busy electronic world, there are numerous sources of stray microwave signals. Some of these sources are security systems, cell phone towers, and automatic door openers at supermarkets.
Most door openers at supermarkets operate right in the radar band, so they are actually a good way of testing your detector. You will typically get a warning when driving by.
Most false alerts will occur in the city, and you can turn on City Mode to help reduce false alerts.
Why didn't my radar detector alert me?
There can be several reasons why a perfectly functioning radar detector does not provide an adequate alert: The police car did not have an active radar/laser gun In order to alert, the police car must have a radar or laser gun, and the gun must be turned on. Just because a police car is on the side of the road does not mean it has a radar gun. And if you see a radar gun, it might not be turned on at the moment. Police did not use radar/laser to clock you The police may be using a non-radar method of clocking speed, such as VASCAR. With VASCAR, an airplane or helicopter measures the time it takes a vehicle to pass 2 markers on the road. A timer is started when you pass the first marker, and then the timer is stopped when you reach the second marker. Your speed can be calculated based on the time it takes to travel between the markers. The pilot then radios the information to a police car. Since no radar or laser is involved with VASCAR, it cannot be detected by a radar detector. Installation Issues The radar detector needs a clear, unobstructed view down the road. The detector should be mounted at the windshield, and there should be no obstructions (such as windshield wipers) in front of the detector. The detector also needs to be level. This is accomplished by bending the mounting bracket as needed until the detector is level. For best results against laser detection, mount the detector as low as possible on the windshield. Do not mount the detector behind any window tint, otherwise laser detection can be severely reduced. Issues with the windshield Your vehicle may have an electric defroster built into the windshield or a special coating on the windshield. Both of these items can block radar and/or laser signals. To check whether your vehicle has any of these, please inquire at your auto dealer or the auto manufacturer. Police used “instant-on” radar to clock you With instant-on radar, the officer waits until your vehicle is very close and then he turns on his radar gun. Your detector will not alert until you are right on top of them. The best way to detect instant-on radar is to detect the officer clocking someone ahead of you. If you are the only car on the road, be careful! Issues with the local terrain The officer may have been positioned over a hill or around a curve. Curves and hills will reduce radar range. Use caution when approaching curves and hills. Intelli-Mute was turned on On detectors with Intelli-Mute, the Intelli-Mute may have been engaged. This can result in only 1 beep which may have gone unnoticed. Try turning Intelli-Mute off.
What are Radar Bands?
Modern radar detectors have numerous "bands" of operation. Each band corresponds to a specific frequency range or function. Following is a description of the bands available in Cobra radar detectors. X BAND The frequency range of the X band is 10.475 to 10.575 gigahertz. The X band was the first microwave radar band introduced. Almost all false alerts occur on the X band, because there are many stray signals in this frequency range. Some examples are automatic door openers at supermarkets, some security systems, and microwave transmission towers. K BAND The frequency range of the K band is 24.0 to 24.25 gigahertz. This is the second microwave radar band introduced by radar gun manufacturers. It is rare to get a false alert on K band, but automatic door openers are currently being manufactured that operate in the K band. Ka BAND The frequency range of the Ka band is 33.4 to 36.0 gigahertz. This is the newest microwave radar band. It is rare to get a false alert on Ka band. Ku Band The frequency range of the Ku band is 13.4 to 13.47 gigahertz. The Ku band is being used in Europe. Although the FCC has allocated this band for law enforcement use, currently no radar guns in the USA operate on the Ku band. This may change in the future. Not all Cobra models can detect the Ku band. LASER Laser is light, so this is not a microwave radar band. The laser guns operate in the infrared region, which is invisible to your eye. The infrared region is extremely high in frequency, so it is typically described in terms of wavelength. Cobra radar detectors detect in the range of 860 to 960 nanometers. Cobra's newest models can distinguish between the different laser guns currently in use by law enforcement, so we have split the laser band into separate bands. Older Cobra detectors cannot distinguish between the different laser guns, but they will still provide an alert. It is extremely rare to get a false alert on laser. POP Mode POP mode is not a separate band. Rather, it is a special mode of operation. When the officer uses POP mode, the radar gun sends out a very short pulse. The pulse is so short that most radar detectors will not provide an alert. Typically the officer cannot write a ticket using POP mode, because it is not 100% reliable. But they will use it to sample your speed, and then decide whether to clock you in the normal way. Only a small percentage of radar guns offer POP mode. Higherend Cobra radar detectors can detect the POP signal. VG2 / SPECTRE The VG2 and Spectre guns are special devices used by law enforcement to identify the presence of a radar detector. It looks like a radar gun, but it does not measure speed. It tells the officer if you are using a radar detector. It works because all radar detectors leak a small amount of signal. Radar detectors are currently illegal in Virginia, the District of Columbia, and most parts of Canada. Radar detectors are also illegal in all 50 states for commercial drivers (truck drivers, taxi drivers, etc.). If the above does not apply to you, then you don't have to worry about being detected. All current Cobra radar detectors incorporate special circuitry so that they are invisible to the VG2 gun and to Spectre I. The above bands are all detection methods in use by law enforcement. The following bands are not for law enforcement, they provide safety information. SAFETY ALERT Designed by Cobra, Safety Alert is a system for alerting motorists to emergency vehicles or safety hazards. It requires a transmitter installed on the emergency vehicle. For radar detectors not equipped with Safety Alert, they will provide a K band warning. The motorist will then slow down and look around, taking notice of the emergency vehicle. For Cobra detectors, it will provide a Safety Alert warning, notifying you that an emergency vehicle is nearby. Safety Alert transmitters may also be present at railroad crossings and construction zones. Not all emergency vehicles are using Safety Alert. Each local municipality decides for themselves. STROBE ALERT Many cities have been using a special sensor mounted on traffic lights, which detects a special strobe light on emergency vehicles. When an emergency vehicle approaches the intersection, the lights turn red for all directions. This stops all traffic to help prevent accidents with the emergency vehicle. The newest Cobra radar detectors can detect the special strobe light, and warn you of an approaching emergency vehicle. Not all emergency vehicles are equipped with the special strobe light.
Do Cobra radars work in other countries?
It is extremely difficult to maintain accurate information on radar use in other countries. Not only is it difficult to determine the frequencies in use, but even more difficult is determining when changes occur. It is almost impossible to maintain up-to-date information on all the changes that occur throughout the world. For this reason, any Cobra radar detectors used outside the United States are sold "as-is", with no guarantee of compatibility with radar systems in the destination country. Compatibility has been verified for use only within the United States and Canada. Following are the frequency bands for Cobra radar detectors. We recommend that you try to determine the frequencies in use in your country, to verify that they fall within our range of detection. X Band: 10.475 to 10.575 gigahertz Ku Band: 13.4 to 13.47 gigahertz K Band: 24.00 to 24.25 gigahertz Ka Band: 33.4 to 36.0 gigahertz Laser: 860 to 960 nanometers Note: All models have the X, K, Ka, and Laser bands. Only some models support the Ku Band.
Hardwiring a Radar Detector to the Fuse Block
To hardwire a radar detector to the fuse block, it is highly recommended to purchase our part number RA-PSC-B. This is a special power cord just for hardwiring our radar detectors. The cord is approximately 10 feet long. It has a radar connector on one end, and has bare wires and a fuse on the other end. The polarity of the wires is marked. Using this cord makes installation much easier. The polarity of the connector is center-tip-positive. If you do not purchase the hardwire cord, then you must cut the cigarette plug off the standard power cord. Then open the cigarette plug and see which wire color goes to the fuse. This is the (+) wire. Since the fuse was in the cigarette plug, you should install a fuse holder on the (+) wire. The fuse holder should be at the end of the cable, so that it will be near the power source (typically the fuse box). Remove the fuse from the cigarette plug and install it in the fuse holder. Radio Shack sells a suitable fuse holder, part number 270-1281. Installation: Please read the note following these instructions. 1. Connect the fused wire to a fuse in the fuse box. The fuse for the radio is recommended. To connect the wire to a fuse, it is recommended to use a “fuse tap” which can be found at Radio Shack and local auto stores. A fuse tap makes it easy to tap power from a fuse. You can connect the fuse tap to either side of the fuse – it does not matter. 2. Plug the cable into the radar detector and turn on the detector. 3. Turn on the ignition. 4. Touch the other wire to various screws under the dash. When the detector turns on, you have found a ground screw. Attach the wire to this screw. 5. Run the cable to the detector, avoiding the brake and gas pedals. This completes installation. NOTE: The above instructions are for negative-ground electrical systems. More than 99% of all vehicles are negative-ground. If you are unsure, ask your local car dealer. If your vehicle is positive-ground, then you must connect the un-fused wire to the fuse box, and connect the fused wire to a ground screw.
What is VG2 and Spectre?
A VG2 gun is a special device that police can use to identify the presence of a radar detector. It looks like a radar gun, but it does not detect speed. It detects radar detectors. All radio receivers emit a small amount of radio waves. This property is inherent with radio receivers. The same is true of radar detectors, as they too are a radio receiver (microwave receiver). The VG2 gun looks for the radio wave leakage from radar detectors, and can thereby identify if a vehicle is using a radar detector. Radar detectors are illegal in Virginia, The District of Columbia, and most parts of Canada. Radar detectors are also illegal for commercial drivers in all 50 states. If the above does not apply to you, then you need not worry about VG2. Most modern radar detectors incorporate circuitry to be invisible to the VG2 gun, and are therefore "undetectable". It is rare to get a false alert on VG2. Most false alerts occur when another radar detector is nearby, within about 5 car lengths. Spectre is a newer model, made by a different manufacturer. It works in a similar manner to the VG2 gun.