How Radar Works

How Radar Works

In this article, we’ll focus on how radar works for the law enforcement officer. By having a better understanding of how the radar works, this will give you a better understanding on how your radar detector works.

Traffic radar, which consists of microwaves, travels in straight lines and is easily reflected by objects such as cars, trucks, and even guardrails and overpasses.

Radar works by directing its microwave beam down the road. As your vehicle travels into range, the microwave beam bounces off your car, and the radar antenna looks for the reflections. Using the Doppler principle, the radar equipment then calculates your

speed by comparing the frequency of the reflection of your car to the original frequency of the beam sent out.

How Radar Works – Limitations 

Traffic radar has limitations, the most significant of these being that it typically can monitor only one target at a time. If there is more than one vehicle within range, it is up to the radar operator to decide which target is producing the strongest reflection.

Since the strength of the reflection is affected by both the size of the vehicle and its proximity to the antenna, it is difficult for the radar operator to determine if the signal is from a sports car nearby or a semi truck several hundred feet away.

Radar range also depends on the power of the radar equipment itself. The strength of the radar unit’s beam diminishes with distance. The farther the radar has to travel, the less energy it has for speed detection.

Because intrusion alarms and motion sensors often operate on the same frequency as X and K band radar, your radar detector will occasionally receive nonpolice radar signals. Since these X band transmitters are usually contained inside of a building or aimed toward the ground, they will generally produce much weaker readings than will a true radar encounter.

Over the time, as you become familiar with the sources of these pseudo alarms in your daily driving, they will serve as confirmation that the device’s radar detection abilities are fully operational.

End of how radar works informational article.

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