Deep Dive Review: Valentine One V1 connection, Part IV
|Valentine 1 v3.894, V1 Connection LE, Custom Sweeps|
The Value of Band Segmentation to Improve Alerting Performance
A little more than six years ago when was road-testing the first M3-based Beltronics STi-R remote radar detector, I first discovered and published what may turn out to be the most significant development in radar detection for decades. That discovery was the performance gains that could be realized, in the real-world, when scanning smaller portions of the super-wide Ka band that was allocated for police radar use.
Clearly VR had not been sitting on their laurels as some had suggested over the years. Yes, the segmented M3s stole much of the spotlight over the years, but VR has made considerable improvements to the V1 over that same period of time. The first version of the V1Connection and its accompanying mobile app appeared on the Android platform. The V1Connection LE module and an improved version of the software came for the iPhone about six months later in the Spring of 2013.
Baselining the V1’s Performance in its Default Configuration
For a couple of months, I drove with the V1 in its default configuration without the use of the V1Connection option. I did this to get a very good feel for how the detector behaved without any tweaking.
Lidar (police laser) reception continues to be absolutely dominated by the V1. It is scary good. No other radar detector comes even close to the sensitivity of the Valentine and no other detector ever has. The V1 is the only detector that I have found that routinely provides advanced warning to laser when a vehicle ahead of me is being targeted. No other detector has the ability to do that. Zero. Zip. Nada. Given the instant-on nature of laser and the fact that it is you that is specifically being targeted when a detector alerts, I consider it to be the most important reception “band,” by far, of all of the others. The height of the detector both front and back plays an important in determining its laser sensitivity. Thinner detectors, while nice, have to sacrifice laser sensitivity because the size of the laser detection sensor has to be smaller and other detectors effectively have zero laser reception capability from the rear. The V1’s taller chassis, allows for large laser sensors, helping to contribute to its stellar performance for both front and rear detections.
This is especially true for drivers (like myself) who rely on Veil, a passive laser countermeasure which diminishes the ability of police to obtain your speed during targeting. When using Veil as part of your defense arsenal, it is absolutely essential that your detector provides more than adequate laser detection capabilities.
While detectors from Beltronics and Escort have been erratic with laser reception from model to model (the latest Max being absolutely atrocious at it), V1s appear to only get better.
Tapping the Potential of V1’s Detection Performance with V1Connection
|V1connection LE Bluetooth Module|
Just like segmenting took the performance of the M3s to a whole new level, I am pleased to say, so does custom sweeping the V1. Anyone willing to invest a small amount of additional currency ($49) for the optional Bluetooth module and some additional time and effort into programming the V1 with the app, will extract huge dividends in performance.
On the detection front, X and K-band remain unchanged and are still basically toss-ups between a segmented Redline. On 33.8 Ka band, the V1 appears to consistently dominate the M3 detectors. 34.7 Ka tends to favor the M3s and with 35.5 Ka, even a little bit more–in the most difficult reception scenarios–but the V1 is very much in the running now, out alerting the M3s on Ka enough for me to take notice. When the V1 trails, it appears to happens with extreme off-axis radar which I found didn’t typically lead to an actual speed-trap clocking encounter. Which is to say, I believe both detector platforms have begun reaching a point of diminishing returns. They are both that exceptional.
Valentine generally recommends setting the sweeps at 200 megahertz in total width–100mhz each side of the Ka center frequency. That equates to:
33.8 Ka (low): 33.700-33.900
34.7 Ka (mid): 34.600-34.800
35.5 Ka (high): 35.400-35.500
The nature of the configuration of the unit, the 34.7 sweep must be broken into two partial sweeps, thereby occupying two of the six total sweep slots.
But even though these are the standard recommendations, VR doesn’t suggest that these settings necessarily represent the most optimal settings either and they’ve expressed an interest in observing if other variations could return improved results in the wild.
To that end, I have spent a lot of time experimenting with different sweeping patterns and have settled on the following for the time being:
Sweep 1: 34.666-34.740 (tight, center weighted)
Sweep 2: 35.467-35.541 (tight, center weighted)
Sweep 3: 34.774-34.833 (tight, 2nd half of wide)
Sweep 4: 35.364-35.615 (wide)
Sweep 5: 34.666-34.740 (tight, center weighted, repeated)
Sweep 6: 34.563-34.770 (wide)
Original sweep pattern that I began to observe further improvement:
Sweep 1: 34.681-34.740 (tight, center weighted)
Sweep 2: 35.482-35.541 (tight, center weighted)
Sweep 3: 33.782-33.841 (tight, center weighted)
Sweep 4: 35.394-35.600 (wide)
Sweep 5: 34.774-34.804 (wide)
Sweep 6: 34.593-34.770 (wide)
Note: 33.8 sweep built-in to custom sweeping profile.
For those astute readers who notice that there exists no wide sweep for 33.8, you are correct. It is not needed because the V1 automatically widely sweeps 33.8 no matter what additional sweeps are programmed.
|Veil Guy’s Center-Weighted Interleaved Profile|
I am continuing to experiment with other variations (including one that drops the narrow 33.8 sweep altogether or replaces it with a narrow 34.7–which seems to be working quite well) to see if further performance gains can be had. The above profiles are balanced for each of the three Ka frequencies one will encounter throughout the U.S. and is good general profile for driving in all states regardless of what specific Ka bands are used. As I continue to experiment with variations, if I find something that impresses me even more, I’ll post an update.
Another very important benefit of custom sweeping, that I have also noticed, is that the V1 becomes lightning fast with its initial alerts–more so than any M3-based detector, including the Redline EE, and perhaps equal to the Escort Passport Max (a product marketed as being exceedingly quick at alerting).