How to Choose Between K and Ka Band Police RADAR Systems

When it comes to RADAR detection, officers must be equipped with the right tools to ensure safety on the road and effective enforcement of traffic laws. One important decision you’ll face is choosing between K and Ka band antennas for your RADAR systems. In this blog post, we’ll break down the differences between these two bands and offer guidance on how to make the right choice for your needs.

Understanding Police RADAR

The word RADAR is actually an acronym, which stands for Radio Detection And Ranging. When the radio waves from the police RADAR make contact with a vehicle, some of the signal is reflected back to the device. A phenomenon known as the Doppler Principle enables the device to accurately measure the speed of motorists by measuring the change of frequency of the signal reflected by a target vehicle.

Speed measurement devices can operate on several frequency bands.  The police RADAR frequencies have historically been allocated into four main bands. For the purposes of this post, we will focus on K and Ka bands that are in production today.

What Are K and Ka Bands Differences?

Before looking at how to choose between K and Ka band antennas, it’s helpful to understand what these bands represent. Both K and Ka bands refer to specific segments of the electromagnetic spectrum that have been allocated for use by different entities. The frequency allocations can change from country or region, so check with your local regulations before purchasing.

K Bands
  • Frequency Range – 18-27 GHz (Police typically use 24 GHz)
  • Prevalence – Common in law enforcement RADAR systems since 1970s
  • Measurement – Approximately 70 frequency shifts to calculate 1 mph
  • Antenna Size – Historically larger than KA, but current K-band antennas use a planar array and can be much smaller and lighter than KA antennas
  • Range – Generally shorter range when compared to Ka band.
Ka Bands
  • Frequency Range – 26.5-40 GHz (Police typically use 33 to 36 GHz)
  • Prevalence – Increasingly used in law enforcement RADAR systems since 1990s
  • Measurement – Takes approximately 110 frequency shifts to calculate 1 mph
  • Antenna Size – Historically smaller than K-band, modern Ka antennas typically use a horn and lens style antenna and can be heavier than their K-band counterparts
  • Range – Generally has a longer pickup range compared to K band.

Factors to Consider When Choosing Between K and Ka Band

The following are factors that should guide your decision when choosing between K and Ka band antennas:

  • Detection Range – Consider the typical enforcement scenarios in your area and the geographical characteristics of your enforcement environment (site considerations). If you patrol hilly or mountainous terrain, then K-band antennas may be sufficient.  If you patrol wide open spaces and can utilize longer detection ranges, then Ka band antennas might be more suitable for your enforcement operations.
  • Budget – Budget constraints play a role in the decision-making process. Ka band systems are typically more expensive than K-band, so it’s essential to balance performance needs with financial considerations.
  • Upgradability –  Assess whether your RADAR system is upgradable to support both K and Ka bands. Having the flexibility to swap antenna types can be valuable if budgets restrict what you can spend now.  You may consider an antenna upgrade if you move equipment to new patrol vehicles.
  • Reliability – Research the reputation and reliability of RADAR equipment manufacturers. Consider factors like durability, ease of maintenance, and warranty options.

While K and Ka band antennas each have their advantages and tradeoffs, careful consideration of the factors above will help you make an informed choice. Bear in mind that RADAR technology is continuously evolving, and it’s essential to stay informed about new developments and technologies to ensure your department remains at the forefront of traffic enforcement.

Police RADAR Technology from Kustom Signals

Kustom Signals offers a variety of RADAR technologies for speed enforcement, along with our patented Wireless Speed Sensing Module . Our Wireless VSS Module has an integrated antenna that uses satellite signals as an independent speed source to verify the patrol vehicle’s Doppler ground speed. This module is available for all Kustom Signals moving RADAR.

The Eagle 3 is the first RADAR to provide means for the independent verification of the Doppler patrol speed without an electrical connection to the patrol vehicle. 

  • New electronic tuning fork
  • Front and rear scan mode
  • Fan noise & interference learning
  • Advanced fork test with optional mandatory test
  • Certification management with optional lock-out on expiration
  • DuraTrak™ target tracking bars QuikTrak™ one button operation
  • Directional KA Antennas

The Falcon HR offers handheld K-band RADAR or dash mount options, allowing for flexible operation. Additionally, Falcon HR offers the performance of a high-end RADAR at a fraction of the cost.

  • Highly visible LCD with large easy-to-see numbers and indicators, even in direct sunlight
  • Track multiple targets with Digital Signal Processing (DSP)
  • Corded and rechargeable battery handle options
  • Display Fastest targets quicker than the competition
  • > 30 hours battery operation
  •  Upgrade to moving and moving same direction operations.
  • Interchangeable accessories like battery handles, chargers, cables with Talon II and Directional Talon RADAR

The Directional Talon is a high-performance directional Ka-Band RADAR, featuring a comprehensive display and indicators. Directional Talon is the preferred choice for handheld speed RADAR guns. 

  • Interchangeable accessories between the Talon and Falcon HR RADARs (such as battery handles, chargers and cables)
  • High visibility LCD with large easy-to-see numbers and indicators, even in direct sunlight
  • Track multiple targets with Digital Signal Processing
  • Corded and rechargeable battery handle options
  • High performance Directional Ka RADAR
  • Upgrade to moving and moving same direction operations
  • Easy-to-use interface

The Raptor RP-1 is able to quickly acquire targets at great ranges with K or Ka antennas. Directional capability enables the monitoring of approaching and/or receding vehicles for maximum performance and easy usage.

  • Advanced tuning fork test gets you operational faster (patented)
  • Certification Management with optional expiration lockout assists with asset management (patented)
  • Count-up timer (elapsed time since lock)
  • In-car video interface
  • Printer for roadside citations

The Eagle II is a proven, dependable RADAR choice for any agency needs. The Eagle II series can be customized according to your department’s needs.

  • Moving/Stationary Doppler RADAR system
  • Single or dual Ka-band antenna
  • TruTrak™ with Automatic Mode Switching
  • Smart Patrol Search (SPS)
  • Digital Signal Processing (DSP)
  • Simple six-button wired or wireless remote

Need assistance in selecting the right RADAR antennas for your department? Talk to the experts at Kustom Signals! Contact us today.

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