Wednesday, June 30, 2010

2010 SML Radar Detector Shootout

We were back in Texas last weekend again for the 2010 Radar Detector Shootout, conducted by Speed Measurement Laboratories.

As with years past, I rode the bike out there from LA.  I left on Wednesday afternoon around 3, which was a couple of hours later than I wanted to.  I ended up fighting LA traffic for the first couple of hours just to get out of town.  Thankfully we are allowed to split lanes here in California or else it would've put me way behind the schedule that I had in mind.  After getting out of town, I was able to open up the throttle a bit.  As always, CHP was out in force, but I was on good behavior and didn't encounter any real threats.  The cops were also out and about in Arizona, as the state is notorious for dishing out speeding tickets.  Again, I didn't encounter any real threats, although I did notice a significant drop in their mobile radar camera units on the side of the road.  It probably has something to do with the fact that the entire radar camera program is going to go away comes middle of July.  The ride through Arizona was a scorcher and I ended the day in Chandler, AZ.  When I got off the bike at 9PM, it was at a balmy 105 degrees!

I left early next morning, trying to avoid some of the heat... but to no avail.  It was pretty damn hot at 7AM already.  I made my way through Arizona into New Mexico, and finally, arrived in El Paso in mid afternoon.  Again, didn't encounter any real threats along the way.

We spent the next 3 days testing a few prototypes under the blazing Texas sun.  I'm happy to report that overall, the testing went well.  I don't have the official results to share, as they won't be ready for another couple of weeks or so, but I will reveal this: the much asked Laser Jammer tested very well, and looks like we can finally put the final touches on it and finally move into production phase.

After the last test finished up on the third day, I hopped back on the bike to head back to California.  Nothing too eventful for the first hour or so, but the TPX once again proved its worth going through New Mexico in the next few hours.

If you read my blog entry from my trip back from last year's SML, you'll remember that the TPX saved my butt a few times in NM on the way back.  I definitely remember them on the ride and I was being careful while speeding through the state.  The first save took place right outside Las Cruces.  I was approaching town, and was on a long incline on the interstate.  As I got close to the crest, the TPX started going off with a weak K band.  Immediately, I backed off on the throttle and let my speed drop down to the posted speed limit of 75.  I got to the top of the crest and the K band grew to 3 bars.  On the other side of the crest was a downhill bend, which I couldn't see much past the bend because of the trees lining along the side of the road.  As I started to go into the bend, what do I see on the side of the road hidden behind the trees?  A New Mexico state trooper waiting for speedsters.  Count that as a definite save.

As I went along, maybe an hour later, in the middle of nowhere, K band went off again, and it started weak but got to full tilt very quickly.  Again, I backed off on the throttle immediately and sure enough, a few seconds later, a cop hiding behind some overgrown bushes in the median was catching speedsters going in the other direction.  How do I know that he was catching speedsters going in the opposite direction?  The fact that I had a relatively short warning and I was able to pick up the signal as I headed away from the cop for the next mile showed that the cop had his radar pointed at the opposite direction.  Not a save, but it's always good to slow down in the presence of cops.

The same scenario would play out two more times before I crossed into Arizona.  I guess the cops were just focused on traffic going east in NM on that particular day.  I finished off the day in Goodyear, AZ.

Since I was pretty tired from 3 days of testing and the ride from the day before, I slept in a bit and left for the road a bit before 9 the next day.  Going through AZ I encountered a couple of mobile radar camera units and Arizona troopers, but no real threats.  In California, the TPX came through again.  I had just crossed into California and was going at a pretty good pace, when all of a sudden the TPX went off again.  It started as a weak Ka and stayed there for a while.  As always, I backed off on the throttle.  After receiving the weak signal for a bit, the signal quickly ramped up and I could see a CHP coming from the opposite direction.  I'm not sure if the CHP was catching people going in his direction or my direction, but I've seen cops making a quick U turn across the median to pull people over for speeding, so I would consider this as a save as well.

I made it back to the office in the mid afternoon safe and sound, and after over 1,800 miles, still no ticket!  And the best part is we are that much closer to having the Jammer available!

No comments: