RADAR is an acronym. It is a word comprised of the letters from a description of the underlying meaning. In this case [RA]dio [D]etection (signal strength, angle/direction and distance) [A]nd [R]anging, hence RADAR.
That means to be a RADAR it must have all three components: that is;
- Radio waves transmitted and received
- Detection, internal to the device it can distinguish the angle/direction and strength of the received radio wave in relation to the transmitted signal.
- Ranging, that is through analysis of the way the received radio wave compared to the transmitted radio wave the system can determine the range of the target.
A handheld device that only measures speed may be missed named a RADAR. The direction of the returned signal is not controlled by the device but by the operator. That means the direction of the returned radio waves require interpretation based upon the subjectivity of the operator who may or may not know all of the factors that influence the direction of the returned radio wave.
How often are Speed “RADAR” operators taught or tested on their knowledge of radio wave propagation? Should we be worried that operators don’t know what they don’t know?
Just a few simple questions can determine if a radar operator is qualified to determine which vehicle may have been speeding.