Uniden R9 Review: Why it’s the best remote ever.
Uniden R9 Review
Uniden’s Game Changing Remote is Set to Shake The Industry Up…Again
Originally published: 6-21-23, updated: 7-16-23 by Veil Guy
- Uniden R9 Review Introduction
- Defining Radar Detection Performance Characteristics
- Sensitivity & Alerting Range
- Reactivity (Alerting Quickness to Constantly Transmitting, Instant-On, and Briefly Appearing Quick Trigger Radar)
- Alerting Latch Time
- Dynamic Range & Signal Strength Reporting
- Ability to Detect Difficult Speed & Photo Radars
- Customizable Radar Antenna Sensitivity
- Spectre RDD Detectability Test
- Customized K-band Filtering & CAS Falsing Resistance
- Extended K-band Detection
- Laser Jamming Head Configuration
- Laser Jammer Testing
- As Compared to…
- Future Development & Features We’d Like to See Added
- Professional Installation
- Future Product Offerings
- Purchasing Guidelines
- Why Purchase the R9 from RadarBusters?
- Review Highlights
- About the Author
Uniden R9 Review
Uniden R9 Review Introduction
The Uniden R9 is Uniden’s first custom installed radar and laser system.
Long before we started driving with and testing the Uniden R9 on our recent road trip, we’ve driven with other radar detectors since the late ’70s.
No other radar detector review site can even come close to making this claim.
What does this mean in the practical sense?
It means, we have driven with a ton of radar detectors and have encountered countless traffic enforcement, over a period approaching 50 years. That’s a long time.
Police radar and police laser traffic enforcement technology have evolved significantly over nearly half a century starting with the advent of the use of X-band, instant-on police radar, K-band, digital police radar, the introduction of the super-wide Ka-band, police lidar to the exotic and difficult to detect FMCW photo radars–including MRCT/MRCD, Gatso, and more recently MestaFusion as well as scanning lidar.
That’s quite an evolution in technology and the radar detector manufacturers have certainly had to evolve their products to keep up and to be sure, most have.
Now more than ever, those interested in protecting their driving privileges need to keep up with these technological advances as well and one way to do this is by owning the latest and greatest radar and laser countermeasures the industry has to offer.
Custom installed radar and laser systems are a special breed of countermeasure targeted to a special breed of drivers.
Typically these systems are quite pricey relative to their dash mount counterparts and individuals who purchase these systems tend to drive high-end vehicles who wish to have built-in stealth installations that look like they came from the factory.
They prefer to not have to have their radar detectors mounted on their windshields or rear view mirrors.
Such individuals certainly want to protect their vehicles from being broken into, damaged, and face very costly repairs by a thief intent on stealing their equipment.
They also don’t want an officer determining that they are using a radar detector or laser jammer during any traffic stop, especially in an area where their use is restricted.
Meaning, that price isn’t the primary driving factor, but performance, quality of components, stealth operation, and the appearance inside their premium cabins take precedence.
Uniden shook-up the radar detector industry six years ago with the introduction of two radar detectors, the Uniden R1 and Uniden R3.
The performance achieved was absolutely unheard of and easily surpassed those of other more established radar detector manufacturers of Escort and Valentine–who for decades reigned supreme as the very top brands.
Both of these Unidens quickly went from obscurity to industry defining and the other manufacturers were caught off guard.
It’s taken years for Escort and Valentine to play catch-up.
Valentine had to grudgingly release a completely redesigned windshield mount radar detector and Escort had to up their game too by offering redesigned radar detectors instead of simply creating product variations–built upon their existing platforms–something they had been doing for years.
This bring us to the Uniden R9 custom installed radar detector and laser jamming system.
With the Uniden R9, Uniden is once again positioned again to shake up this industry and the other radar detector manufacturers have already taken notice, even before the R9 has begun shipping.
Veil and RadarBusters had the pleasure of having contributed to the development of the Uniden R9 and were rewarded by their efforts in having been given the first look.
To this end, we drove with the Uniden R9 during a 30-plus day North American round-trip, during the month of May, which took us across many U.S. states and the provinces of Canada of Quebec, Ontario, Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta, and British Columbia.
All told, we logged more than 11,000 miles on our odometer and encountered a lot of traffic and photo enforcement in the process.
Upon our return, we conducted some additional controlled closed-course Spectre detectability and laser jamming tests.
It’s safe to say, we extensively vetted the Uniden R9 more than any other countermeasure prior to its release.
Cutting to the chase, what do we think of the new Uniden R9?
The simple answer is, we feel it is the very best custom installed we have ever driven with up to this point and given Uniden’s six-year track record, its performance is nothing short of what we would have expected.
For the purposes of keeping this review as brief as possible, we are going to focus on the highlights which distinguish the Uniden R9 from the other custom installed systems currently available.
We’ve published an in-depth Uniden R9 video review for those who wish to see the video version of this written Uniden R9 review.
Watch this video on YouTube
Uniden R9 Deep Dive Video Review
Defining Radar Detection Performance Characteristics
For two decades of radar detector testing, the Veil Guy and RadarBusters have put more stock into real-world performance than in static closed-course testing simply because there is more to rating radar detectors than just based upon which one “beeps” first to constantly transmitting radar on an isolated test course, free of RF interference.
A radar detector is more than the sum of its individual performance parts and to make an informed evaluation, we believe one most look at several radar detection characteristics and then determine how well the manufacturer has balanced those potentially competing dynamics.
Below is a video of an encounter demonstrating all of the four characteristics we consider essential and as the video demonstrates, the Uniden R9 performed exceptionally well with each one individually and in achieving a proper balance between them, making it one of the very best radar detectors currently available.
In the following instance, the Uniden R9 turned in a text-book perfect alert–one of the very best we have every seen in all the years we have been driving with radar detectors.
Watch this video on YouTube
R9 vs MPH 33.8 GHz I/O Ka-band from an Extreme Distance – Demonstrating the Perfect Balance of our “Big Four”
How we evaluate our “big four,” to take a true measure of a radar detector’s performance in the real-world:
Sensitivity & Alerting Range
Of course, raw sensitivity is one of the most important performance characteristics of any radar detector and in the Uniden R9’s case we have found it to be class leading, if even by modest margins.
At the current level of the top radar detector models, the relative alerting distances to constantly transmitting (ie; constant-on) police radar is getting smaller than ever and when interpreted in terms of additional reaction time provided, smaller still.
Even so, we give the edge to the Uniden R9 and for those that drive high-end vehicles in a spirited fashion (and we certainly fall under this category of driver) every second or fraction of a second counts.
But, the Uniden R9’s performance is even more impressive since its sensitivity is compromised somewhat by the lower mounting position of the radar antenna–typically located behind the bumper or grill relative to the higher positioning of a windshield mounted radar detector (generally, the higher a detector is in a vehicle the better its performance).
Another factor of mounting a remote installed radar antenna is the potential for some sensitivity attenuation by the bumper material itself–the paint, or chrome plating that can exist in front of it.
While these factors may have only modest impact on this aspect of a radar detector’s performance, we account for them and yet still, the Uniden R9 performed exceptionally well providing class-leading alerting ranges.
In terms of detection of three primary Ka-bands of police radar, the Uniden R9 appears to do the best on 33.8 GHz Ka-band, which we encountered quite frequently in the Pacific Northwest.
Reactivity (Alerting Quickness to Constantly Transmitting, Instant-On, and Briefly Appearing Quick Trigger Radar)
Beyond sheer sensitivity, we rate the importance of the ability of a radar detector to quickly alert to the presence of weak radar even more importantly than raw sensitivity.
Over the years we have driven with very sensitive radar detectors that were not particularly quick.
The results were, while sensitive, such radar detectors performed as if they were less sensitive than they actually were.
If a radar detector is sensitive enough to detect a weak signal and yet it fails to do so because it is too slow to react accordingly, its high level of sensitivity is of little practical value.
Veil first made this discovery when we drove with the Beltronics STi-R custom installed radar detector in 2008.
Tinkerer as I am, I experimented with a new feature that Beltronics, called Ka-band segmentation.
The feature was provided by Beltronics as a means of reducing falsing alerts to Ka-band radar that was not legitimate police radar.
What I found in my experimentation, however, was that the STi-R began alerting sometimes far ahead of our accompanying sister custom-installed Escort Passport 9500ci, even though they both were built with identical platforms.
I determined that by reducing the time that the STi-R needed to look at the three primary police radar Ka-bands of 33.8 GHz, 34.7 GHz, and 35.5 GHz, the apparent sensitivity significantly increased and what it came down to was improved reactivity.
Veil’s discovery, while slow to being accepted by Escort’s engineers, was eventually borne out over time and now every signal major radar detector manufacturer offers Ka-band segmentation in some form or another.
So fast forward to today, the best-designed radar detectors today are quick in reacting to brief detections of weak police radar and fortunately for us, Uniden has seen to it that their radar detectors are indeed blisteringly quick on all radar bands–essential performance characteristics needed for detecting the most lethal form of police radar, instant-on (I/O) and quick trigger (Q/T).
In that test, the R9 absolutely obliterated the Valentine 1 Gen2 and Escort Redline 360c radar detectors on K-band–clearly demonstrating why Unidens remain our top radar detectors for those wanting the best protection from I/O police radar traps.
K-band and Ka-band Reactivity & Latch Time Tests
Watch this video on YouTube
Uniden R9, Escort Redline 360c, Valentine One Gen2 K-band Test
Watch this video on YouTube
Uniden R9, Escort Redline 360c, Valentine One Gen2 Ka-band Test
Alerting Latch Time
The flip side of alerting quickness, is the time it takes for the trailing alert to occur and the nature of the signal strength alert decay when the detected radar (or laser) is no longer present.
Like reactivity, how well a radar detector performs in this manner is essential to properly conveying the “texture” of an approaching instant-on radar trap.
If a radar detector continues to alert as if a signal is still present when it is not, it will make it harder on the driver to properly interpret the specific nature of the threat ahead.
Dynamic Range & Signal Strength Reporting
The final alerting characteristic we consider essential is how a radar detector indicates how close a radar threat is.
You want a radar detector to alert accordingly–if the radar source is far away, your detector should alert in a fashion that indicates it’s far away with a weak alert.
If a radar detector alerts with too strong of an alert at a far distance, you will not be able to determine how serious is the threat you are detecting.
Do you have time to slow down or do you have to hit the brakes with authority?
Decisions like this can only be made accurately if your radar detector is alerting you properly.
The corollary is also true–if your radar detector does not alert with enough urgency when you are close to the threat, you may not be inclined to react as quickly as you should.
In either instance, your chances of being ticketed are increased more than they otherwise should be.
Unfortunately, in 2005 Speed Measurement Labs, began changing how they rated the performance of radar detector during their long-distance (9 mile) testing.
There had been a time when there were appreciable differences in alerting distances between the manufacturers of the time, including Escort, Beltronics, Cobra, Valentine, and Whistler but as each manufacturer’s sensitivity increased over time, these differences no longer existed at the 9-mile range.
Unfortunately, because manufacturers (and readers) want winners and losers in closed-course testing, SML changed their rating procedure by rewarding a radar detector’s performance on how strong the signal strength was being reported at far distances, to accommodate them.
Who ran with this?
Well, one manufacturer (who shall remain unnamed) did so and coincidentally began changing how their radar detectors alerted to weak far away radar.
It’s an unfortunate outcome and it was based on nonsense. SML’s intentions were good, but the resulting manufacturing outcomes were not.
So, after witnessing these sorts of tests over the years we attended SML closed-course testing, I decided to create a new testing methodology which I still use today, our signature real-world testing.
So, it’s important to consider these four aforementioned performance characteristics in their totality and in balance to definitively make a determination of how good a radar detector actually performs in the real-world, over time, and against a host a varying dynamic circumstances, versus the one-dimensional view of a static closed-course test to constant-on radar.
Ability to Detect Difficult Speed & Photo Radars
Like other Uniden radar detectors, the Uniden R9 remains one of the best (while not being perfect) at detecting FMCW (frequency modulated continuous waveform) K-band speed radar that most radar detectors miss.
This includes MultaRadar, Gatso, Mestafusion, and stationery Redflex Halo and mobile Redflex Radarcam photo radars.
MultaRadar can be found in an increasingly amount of cities throughout the U.S. and Canada.
Gatso is used throughout the state of Iowa.
Mestafusion and Redflex Halo systems can be found in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada.
Redflex Radarcam are operating in NSW, Australia.
Watch this video on YouTube
Uniden R9 versus Mestafusion Photo Radar in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
Very few other radar detectors even offer the capability to detect these types of speed radars.
Turning on these optional detection capabilities does increase the falsing rates to a modest degree (often caused by detection of K-band collision avoidance systems), but with subsequent firmware updates, consistencies in alerting to them will continue to improve.
Again, effective filtering must be balanced to maintain top-level performance to these difficult to detect exotics speed radars.
These advanced detection features are disabled by default, so it’s important to know what technology is being used in your areas of driving and turning them on where appropriate.
Most municipalities publish which systems are in use and often where they are being operated in both stationery and mobile locations, so you’d be well advised to do some online research.
Redflex photo radar is a horizontally polarized low-powered K-band photo radar which most radar detectors can’t even detect or alert to in time.
Watch this video on YouTube
Uniden R9 & V1G2 versus Redflex Photo Radar in Paradise Valley, AZ
Kustom Signals also makes the Raptor RP-1, which is also horizontally polarized ultra-low-powered K-band police radar that is also very difficult to detect at farther distances especially when used in an I/O fashion and is used exclusively by the Pennsylvania state police and to varying degrees in other states, such as Arizona.
Fortunately, the Uniden R9 has the sensitivity to provide ample time to react before the photo radar or Raptor RP-1 can acquire your speed, but again, it’s challenging to detect when it’s used in I/O mode at moderately far distances. It’s just the nature of this particular police radar.
Watch this video on YouTube
Uniden R9 versus AZ State Trooper Operating Raptor RP-1 K-band I/O Radar
Customizable Radar Antenna Sensitivity
The Uniden R9 allows you to turn on or off the detection of each X, K, and Ka radar band from each antenna as well as change to the sensitivity of each in increments of 10% from 30% to 100%.
We found it is unnecessary to operate the rear antenna at full sensitivity and by decreasing its sensitivity, we found it helped in providing more precise directional information and transitioning.
When the rear antenna is configured at full sensitivity (its default settings) the Uniden R9 typically alerts to radar from both the front and the back at the same time even though the source of the radar is ahead of you.
As a comparison to another radar detector, the Valentine 1 and the Valentine 1 Gen 2 do a better job at indicating the true source of the radar (compared to all other radar detectors, both in accuracy and quickness in transitioning) likely by a sophisticated detection algorithm.
Being the first dual-horned directional radar antenna and the precision the Valentine’s engineering, it’s not surprising that the V1 and V1G2 are class-leading
Uniden could take a cue from Valentine Research and improve the Uniden R9’s behavior in this regard with subsequent firmware updates to improve the indication of the detected radar source and when it is passed.
In the meantime, having the ability to change the sensitivity of radar does result in improved directional alerts as well as reduced falsing (from the rear), so for those interested in improving this behavior, programming is in order.
In our case we found the following settings work well:
- Rear X-band: 30% of full sensitivity
- Read K-band: 40% of full sensitivity
- Rear Ka-band: 60% of full sensitivity
We would like the Uniden R9 to allow the adjustment of sensitivity of both MRCD and Gatso as it would cut down on falsing from the rear of vehicle K-band collision avoidance systems since some of these systems’ radar signatures can appear like bona fide FMCW photo radar.
Spectre RDD Detectability Test
Watch this video on YouTube
Uniden R9 Spectre Detectability Tests
After testing with two Spectre RDDs (radar detector detectors), we found the Uniden R9 to be functionally stealth in the real-world.
The Uniden R9 is built upon the Uniden R4’s radar antenna platform, basically a dedicated front and rear facing R4 system.
The R4 platform is not completely undetectable, however, given the fact that the R9’s antenna is lower on the vehicle and behind behind the bumper or grill, any weak RF emissions that the Spectre would rely on to detect, may be sufficiently attenuated to make it harder or impossible for the Spectre to alert to them.
It’s important to note that the Brisbain, Australian manufacturer of Spectre has ceased operations and the amount of working units is on the decline as there is no formal way to service them, so stealth capability is of less value than it used to be.
Beltronics was the first to design a Spectre undetectable radar detector in 2008 and other manufacturers have since followed suit, so it appears to me that the radar detector manufacturers won this long-running battle.
But, it also important to note that police can still determine you are driving with a radar detector–when they target you with instant-on radar and you suddenly brake in response.
This happened to us recently while we were driving in a Canadian province where radar detector usage is banned.
Watch this video on YouTube
Real-world experience demonstrating the limited value of driving with a Spectre undetectable detector
Even so, it’s great to see that the Uniden R9 does extremely well in its ability, for all intents and purposes, to remain undetectable.
Customized K-band Filtering & CAS Falsing Resistance
In terms of K-band falsing to vehicle collision avoidance systems, the Escort Redline 360c and Valentine V1G2 are a little quieter in their default configurations.
However, this comes with a caveat–one doesn’t know what the manufacturers are doing to make their radar detectors quieter.
To use one manufacturer as an example, since the introduction of the Passport 9500i, Escort has tended to intentionally slow the response of their radar detector to reduce falsing rates.
There have been some notable exceptions including the Beltronics STi series and the updated Escort Redline.
But generally, they have tended to be sluggish in response to instant-on radar (particularly K-band).
With a recent firmware update, things have improved appreciably with Escort, but we believe there is still room for improvement.
Valentine and Whistler, on the contrary, have always opted for more quickness.
Slow responding detectors, while often quieter, can put you at increased risk for missing legitimate instant-on radar.
So, without really knowing the approaches taken by any given manufacturer, it isn’t obvious how they’ve gone about reducing falsing.
The Uniden R9 does quite well on resisting alerting to K-band CAS systems, in its default setting, but it still falsed a bit more than we would have preferred.
This is in part to a less-restrictive default filtering algorithms coupled with its extreme sensitivity and quicker reactivity.
But Uniden has an ace in the hole, allowing owners to take filtering to a whole new level. It’s called custom K-band blocking and we believe it’s a gamer changer.
K-band blocking give you the ability to selectively filter out K-band frequencies that are not used by police or photo radar, but often appear from collision avoidance systems.
It’s an extremely powerful feature to reduce K-band falsing that has minimal adverse impact on detections of genuine police radar.
What makes the Uniden R9’s unique filtering (up to eight custom ranges) especially useful, is the ability to not only select a segment of K-band radar to which a filter applies, but also the signal strength of the detected radar that if the selected threshold isn’t exceeded, the detector will not alert, but if it does, it will.
Put another way, it’s not an all-or-nothing filter, it’s essentially a user-selectable squelch.
Most CAS systems when even at close range, alert with a signal strength of two of less.
By configuring a K-band filter that engages until the signal strength exceeds what you’ve chosen, there will be no alert.
We’ve been experimenting with a variety of settings and have settled on a number of settings that do a very good job at reducing falsing that puts the R9 above the filtering prowess of others.
One just needs to do some tweaking in the menu system.
As we encounter existing (or new) CAS systems which may through our current settings, we can simply configure another filter to deal with them.
We are continuing to experiment as we drive and will continue to tweak these filter options.
A feature we would like to see added would be the ability to configure custom Ka-blocking in the same fashion as one can do with K-blocking.
The reason is that on occasion a K-band CAS system can create weak and short duration Ka-band alerts on radar detectors, even though it is actually K-band causing it.
Being able to “squelch” those sorts of Ka alerts would further enhance the falsing resistance, since both K and Ka falses can happen from these systems.
The video below demonstrates the effectiveness of the R9’s custom K-block filtering, in realtime.
Watch this video on YouTube
Filtering out CAS Systems in Realtime
Extended K-band Detection
The FCC defines K-band as a frequency range of 18 Ghz to 27 Ghz, but police radar guns, when tuned, operate in the typical range of 24.125 GHz to 24.150 GHz. But in the real-world a phenomenon called “frequency drifting” which widens that range, typically by up to 30 Mhz on each side.
This means that you will often encounter K-band police radar at 24.100 GHz through 24.180 GHz. No police radar is designed to operate outside that range.
However there are several occasions when you can encounter K-band below 24.000 GHz. One is when it’s very cold outside and photo radar is being operated.
In these instances, K-band radar can appear in the 23.950GHz range plus or minus 50 MHz. This has been documented in happening in Edmonton, Alberta.
We also came across one photo radar system in a small Iowa town, which we thought wasn’t operating at first since we did not initially get a K-band when we passed it.
Fortunately, Uniden allows their radar detectors to operate in “K-band extended” mode.
When this feature is enabled, such systems and circumstances can be detected and much to our surprise when we turned it on, our detector started to alert.
Many radar detectors don’t have the ability to operate in extended K-band mode, but fortunately for the Uniden R9 owner, the option is there.
This feature is OFF by default and has to be turned on using the programming menu. We found when the feature is enabled, K-band falsing doesn’t increase much, meaning its use comes with little penalty.
Laser Jamming Head Configuration
The Uniden R9 laser jamming (“shifting”) system is designed for operating three three laser jamming transponders in the front or the rear for optimal performance.
With conventional laser jammers, their laser jamming transponders operate in “duplex” mode which means the ability to both receive (ie; detect) police laser and transmit their laser jamming signals.
However, laser jammer manufacturers have found that when their systems are targeted by the variable pulse-rates of DragonEye police lasers, this approach doesn’t work effectively at closer ranges and punchthroughs–that is the ability of a police laser gun to still obtain a speed reading despite being jammed–can occur.
In response to this challenge manufacturers have designed systems where one of the heads operates solely in transmit mode at a much higher pulsing rate than the conventional jamming heads.
This approach was first mastered by ALP but other manufacturers have followed suit.
However, these other laser jammers are supplied with a dedicated VPR transmitting head.
This is true for ALP, TMG, and TPX. The very affordable TPX comes standard with a single VPR head at no additional cost, but both the ALP and TMG charge more for the optional head.
When confronted with a DragonEye VPR gun, the two standard laser jamming heads operate in receive-mode only and the VPR head does actual jamming.
Uniden takes another approach.
All of their laser jamming heads are capable of operating in a VPR transmit only mode, configured in the menu system.
But this does require proper placement on the vehicle and connectivity to the laser distribution module to assure optimal jamming efficiency against the DragonEye series of police lasers.
Proper mounting locations and assignment of laser jamming heads
Uniden’s default setting is the middle head (ie; TP2) operates in VPR transmit mode and the other front heads (TP1 and TP3) operate in receive mode.
The same is true for the rear heads, with TP5 acting as the center-mounted transmitting head and the TP4 and TP6 as the receiving heads.
For those that wish to use more than three heads on either the front of rear of your vehicle, there is the option to change each head’s function as either operating in the front or rear.
The Uniden R9 is the only laser jammer that allows this level of control.
Laser Jammer Testing
In terms of jamming efficiency, we recently tested the Uniden R9 against the latest generation of police lasers including the Kustom Signal ProLaser 4 or PL4, the LTI Truspeed SXB, the Stalker RLR (an XLR variant), and the DragonEye Compact.
Generally, the Uniden R9 jammed-to-gun, in which no reading was possible on any of these guns, with the exception of the passenger side headlight (due to a suspected mounting or connection issue).
When that side of the vehicle was targeted, we got punch throughs at very close range (still effectively jam-to-gun performance), with the exception of the DragonEye where we were able to get a speed reading at a somewhat farther distance.
Since these always occurred on the passenger’s side and when the center of the vehicle and the driver’s side headlight was targeted, the Uniden R9 did far better and the tones produced by the DragonEye were different when targeting the passenger headlight, we came to the conclusion that there was some sort of issue going on with the passenger-side laser jamming head.
We are going to troubleshoot this and retest when we’ve identified the issue and have corrected it.
Even so, the Uniden R9 performed extremely well, which speaks to the effectiveness of its design and its jamming algorithm effectiveness.
Below are the four videos, one for each police lidar gun, of our test:
Watch this video on YouTube
Uniden R9 vs Kustom ProLaser 4
Watch this video on YouTube
Uniden R9 vs Stalker RLR
Watch this video on YouTube
Uniden R9 vs LTI SXB
Watch this video on YouTube
Uniden R9 vs DragonEye Compact
The jamming function can be set to an auto cut-off (at 5 seconds by default) or continuously transmitting mode (for testing purposes only).
We strongly recommended that either the time mode be engaged or one turns off laser jamming manually by quickly pressing the PWR button to change the laser transponders to receive only.
It is essential not to attempt to jam-to-gun (JTG) an officer targeting you with police lidar.
Adjust your speed accordingly during jamming, then let the officer acquire your speed, be happy with the win, and let both of you get on with your day.
Otherwise, you are going to attract undue attention to yourself and risk getting pulled over anyway because your speed was never obtained–a tell-tale sign that you are using a laser jammer.
The Uniden R9’s programming and menu configuration options are extensive for those wishing to tweak its performance or operating behavior.
One thing we determined in all of our tinkering is that the Uniden R9 can configured to act quite differently in the manner of its detections and filtering behaviors and even be made to behave like a more sensitive version of another high-end radar detector.
We’ve been driving with a Valentine V1G2 as a companion detector, at the request of one our followers and as we tinkered with the settings of the R9 we found we could configure the R9 to act like a more sensitive and capable V1G2 while providing similar operating, arrow transitioning, and filtering behaviors.
Granted, most owners wouldn’t even think to tweak the Uniden R9 in such a fashion, but for those upgrading to a Uniden R9 who have an extensive familiarity of Valentine (or Escort) radar detectors, there may actually be a value in experimenting with the Uniden R9’s menu options to tailor the behavior of the R9 to mimic their favorite windshield mounted radar detector.
Alert Tone Selections
Ever since the introduction of the R1 and R3 windshield mount radar detectors, we have come to appreciate the tonal qualities of Uniden’s radar detector alerts that we have selected and the Uniden R9 continues offering a wonderful selection of alert tone choices.
I’ve regarded Escort’s X and K-band alert tones as the best (first introduced in the late ’70s) as I have Valentine’s X, K, Ka-band, and Laser alerts (first introduced in the early ’90s).
These are the tones I’ve grown up with over nearly five decades of driving with radar detectors and so, I have come to know them well.
However, in the case of the V1 and V1G2 when the volume is set to a lower level or the ambient noise inside the cabin is elevated (think road noise), it can be difficult at times to distinguish between X and K band alerts.
Uniden resolved this issue for me by enabling me to select an X-band tone that is very similar to the V1 but with a slight “twang” to it that makes it more distinguishable, offering the same K-band tone, and an alternate Ka-band tone which I consider superior making Ka-band detections immediately identifiable regardless of the volume setting.
When it comes to shortening your reaction times, have quality audio alerts are paramount to conveying threats in the shortest amount of time and Uniden easily accomplishes this.
While tone selections are subjective decisions, we provide our own preferred settings for those interested in what they are.
Watch this video on YouTube
Our preferred alert tones
Current Preferred Settings
As mentioned earlier, we continue tinker and experiment with a variety of settings to see the resulting behavior or the R9 and if we find it more pleasing.
Since we drive in the Phoenix area, we generally leave MRCD detection ON as it’s used here.
We generally leave Gatso detection OFF unless we are driving in the state like Iowa or other areas where it’s deployed and for testing falsing resistance.
We also use K EXTENDED on occasion to determine where such low frequency K-band is being used in enforcement, but for most individuals, this feature won’t need to be enabled and STANDARD or NARROW K-band will be adequate.
It would be wise to enable K EXTENDED while driving in Edmonton, Alberta during the colder months when some of the K-band frequencies in the systems they use tend to drift downward.
To be clear, we are still tinkering and looking to strike the “right” balance in sensitivity, performance, and filtering.
But, this is some of the fun of owning an Uniden R9 and others will surely have their personal setting preferences.
We provide our current selections to serve as a starting point for those wishing to experiment.
Watch this video on YouTube
Current R9 Settings as of 06/25/23
As Compared to…
At the request of some of our followers, we were asked how the R9’s radar performance compares to other windshield-mount radar detectors.
So far, we have driven with both the Uniden R8 and the V1G2 mounted on the windshield at times (videos of R9 encounters are viewable on RadarBusters’ Youtube channel).
We have yet to add the Escort Redline 360c into the mix, but will do shortly.
What we’ve found so far is that in the case of the Uniden R8, every once in awhile it out alerted theR9 by a small amount of time, as did the Valentine V1G2, and we fully expect this to be the case with the Escort Redline 360c.
But, we attribute this not so much to greater sensitivity, per se, of either the R8, V1g2, or 360c but to their mounting advantages (being higher-up on the windshield).
Depending upon the terrain or interference with objects between you and the radar source (such as other vehicles, elevation changes, foliage, environmental factors, and median separation structures like concrete barriers) these physical dynamics may have an occasional impact on the R9’s alerting performance.
But, it no case did we find the margins of alerting difference in those circumstance to amount to any significant differences in alerting time, the differences that could matter.
What is does mean is that the decision to go with a R9 (or any other remote for that matter) goes beyond alerting range as the sole reason to own one.
At the level of sensitivity of other models (thanks to Uniden), other combinations of windshield mounted radar detectors and other manufacturers’ laser jammers can perform similarly.
However, the advantages of having a single manufacturer’s fully integrated system–hidden from plain view–that offers the differentiating features and capabilities that we’ve have outlined here will remain most appealing to those that select the Uniden R9 as their remote of choice.
We have yet to test the new Escort Redline Ci 360c, but our expectations is that its radar performance will be similar.
The Uniden R9 has the advantages mentioned above, for those that appreciate them, and the R9 is quite a bit less expensive than the Escort remote–when configured as completely as the Uniden is out-of-the-box–so once again, we suspect selection decisions will not be based solely of radar detection performance, but other subjective factors.
Future Development & Features We’d Like to See Added
It should be obvious by now that the R9 provides the highest levels of performance and capabilities relative to other remotes, but there are always opportunities for new features and we have been sharing with Uniden ideas that they could incorporate into future firmware upgrades.
The following features we would like to see added:
- Identification of Mestafusion specifically, if possible by its RF profile
- More reliable detection and identification of Redflex HALO speed and redlight running photo enforcement
- Ability to filter out FMCW radar that is being used but not for photo enforcement purposes (more on this in a future article)
- Ability to turn off either front and/or rear detection of MRCD/Gatso FMCW radar
- Ability to configure sensitivity levels of MRCD & Gatso FMCW radar as you can with X, K, and Ka
- Ability for a voice alert indicating the frequency of detected K-band radar like the R9 can for Ka-band
- Ability to adjust individual band sensitivity from 10% to 100% as opposed to from 30% to 100%
- Ability to configure custom Ka-blocking segments
- Improved arrow directional indications as well as front to rear arrow transitioning when passing sources of radar
- Custom profiles of an aggregate of settings for rapid alternate configuration selections
- Slightly reduced latch decay times when Ka-band radar signals are no longer present
The R9 comes complete with an unheard of number of components and unlike every other system available, no optional items have to be purchased (at additional costs).
What’s particularly noteworthy is that the R9 comes with six laser jamming transponders!
The included components of the R9 are as follows:
- Front and read radar antennas
- Six laser jamming transponders
- Full color OLED display module
- Keypad module
- GPS receiver
- External speaker
- Laser jamming head distribution box
- Main CPU box
- All necessary cables
- Fused power cable
- Mounting brackets and associated hardware and level (for laser jamming head alignment)
We selected a local high-end shop to perform our installation. It’s imperative that the R9 be installed properly into your vehicle to ensure that you will be getting its best performance.
Most of these kinds of systems are professionally installed in high-end luxury and sports cars, so it is desirable to make them look like as if they were factory installed otherwise the value of the vehicle will be reduced, it won’t likely operate at optimal performance, and the installation may look cheesy.
So, it’s imperative that you do your research in selecting an installer capable of not only understanding these systems but the specifics of your vehicle, as well.
For example, the installation order of the laser jamming transponders must be adhered to and the center mounted head of the front and the rear must be connected to the laser control module as TP2 and TP5, respectively as those two heads are configured by default to operate in a special TX mode for DragonEye encounters.
If the proper connections are not made, the laser jamming system won’t perform as expected when it’s faced with a DragonEye VPR police lidar gun which would either require one to reconnect the jamming heads in the appropriate order or require a reconfiguration using the programming menu.
So, not all installers are created equal and you will want to select one that is capable fully understanding the nuances of the R9.
You’ll also want to select an installer that is capable of fabricating special mounting hardware if need be, as it was in our case.
RadarBusters is building out its own referral network where installers are being personally vetted for their capabilities and be available for those who purchase the R9 from them.
Watch this video on YouTube
R9 Professional Installation
The R9 clocks in at $3999.99. It’s expensive to be sure, but relative to other manufacturers custom install units, such as an Escort Redline Ci 360c, it is less costly and a more complete system out of the box, making it the best value going today.
Other systems from different manufacturers can be cobbled together at less cost and separate laser jamming systems can be configured with a windshield-mount radar detector that can also provide high levels of performance.
Popular “hybrid” alternatives could include a Uniden R8, Redline 360c, or Valentine 1 Gen 2 paired with either an ALP or TPX laser jamming system and some may choose to stand pat with such existing configurations.
Beyond the cost of the system, one must also take into account installation costs which, depending upon the vehicle, can run from $750 to a couple of thousand of dollars.
At this level of hardware, the customers who would use these high-end systems are not typically going to attempt to perform a DIY install.
Also, buyers of custom installed units will likely not make their determination of whether to get such a system strictly on price.
These are specialized countermeasures targeted at high net-worth clients who will typically drive high five-figure or six-figure luxury performance vehicles.
Having a professionally installed unit that looks like it came from the factory is not only paramount but will increase the sales value of the vehicle.
Custom installed systems are also difficult to spot by a police officers and potential thieves alike.
Over the years I have had radar detectors nicked more than once.
Recently, my BMW 5 series was broken into and multiple radar detectors, that I used for testing, were stolen.
The cost was about $5000 in product replacement costs.
Unfortunately, theft is on the rise and the cost of replacing stolen equipment coupled and the vehicle repair costs can easily exceed $2000 in just one instance.
Another thing to consider are the savings realized by avoidance of speeding and photo enforcement citations and their costly impact on driving privileges and insurance rates.
In our case, on our one cross continent trip alone, we avoided more than 10 traffic enforcement tickets which nearly paid for the cost of entry in just in 30 days.
Future Product Offerings
We often get asked the question, when and if will Uniden offer scaled down versions of the R9 for less cost.
It’s logical to assume that there eventually may be at least five variations of the R9, including:
- Single radar system only
- Dual front and rear radar system only
- Front (and/or rear) laser jamming system with or without radar
In our discussions with Uniden management, all of these alternate systems (with the ability to incrementally add additional components) are being considered, but for now the focus of Uniden is developing the R9 and a dealer-installation network and understandably so.
As such, there has been no established horizon for making such systems available.
If and when this changes, one would need to account for the additional incremental installation costs versus having a complete system installed only once.
Like other custom installed products, the R9 is going to be available for purchase under strict availability guidelines.
The R9 will generally not be available for purchase from strictly online dealers such as Amazon, Best Buy, Petra, Beach Camera, or other online dealers and is intended to be offered for sale and installation by custom installation shops that have the talent and resources to perform competent installations.
However, due to RadarBusters contributions to the development and extensive testing of the R9, the company will be permitted to sell it online.
So for the advanced user wishing to do the installation themselves or to allow for one’s own installer selection, RadarBusters is authorized to sell the R9.
Additionally, RadarBusters is in the process of developing its own word-of-mouth referral network of only the most capable 12-volt installers.
For high-end installers who wish to be considered to be included, RadarBusters has created a request procedure to be included in this referral network.
Given the cost of these units, there is a strict no return policy established by Uniden for these products as Uniden wishes to maintain the sale integrity of the R9.
If you happen to see the R9 for sale on website that doesn’t that return policy, the retailer is not authorized and you would likely purchasing a gray market product.
Uniden will be tracking who gets what to maintain the integrity of its distribution and so to be certain you will receive the manufacturer’s warranty, you’d be well advised to purchase from a legitimate authorized retailer like RadarBusters.
For those who are serious in purchasing the R9, RadarBusters is currently accepting a small deposit for those who wish to be included in Uniden’s first allocation.
The deposit will be refunded when the actual purchase is made and each RadarBusters will personally follow-up with each of you prior to shipping, which is expected to during the second week of July after the holiday.
Why Purchase the R9 from RadarBusters?
One advantage or purchasing the R9 from RadarBusters is that they will not charge you more than Uniden’s MAP pricing.
Their policy could end up saving you thousands of dollars as it is not uncommon for installers to sell their custom installed systems at a higher cost (sometimes double the true retail cost).
Buy purchasing your R9 from RadarBusters, you can rest assured that you won’t be overpaying for your system, leaving you in total control of cost management.
As an additional benefit, RadarBusters does not charge sales tax outside of Arizona and depending upon your state’s sale tax rates, you could have an additional savings of nearly $300 or more.
Finally, in terms of reducing your out-of-pocket costs, RadarBusters is developing a cost offsetting savings program that can reduce your overall product and installation costs.
RadarBusters is also experimenting with ways to increase the R9’s performance even further and will be sharing these advanced ideas when their testing is completed, so stay tuned.
To order the R9, visit the following link:
- Highest performing remote radar detector we’ve ever tested
- Game changing filtering options
- Able to alert to difficult to detect speed and photo radar
- Solid laser jamming performance
- High quality components
- Most complete remote system offered
- Lowest cost remote installed radar detector and laser jamming system available
- Unidens custom installer network not yet as robust as Escort’s and K40’s.
While Uniden is new to the custom installation market, the new R9 has clearly demonstrated to us that they are going to be at the very top of this specialized market both in terms of performance and value.
The R9 is the best and most capable custom installed countermeasure we’ve ever driven with and Uniden has set an incredibly high bar for other manufacturers to surpass.
As we stated in our introduction, Uniden substantially shook the radar detector industry up when they introduced the R1 and R3 windshield-mount radar detectors and we believe they are well positioned to do so again with the R9.
We are putting other custom-installed manufacturers on notice, there’s a new sheriff in town!
About the Author
As stated at the outset of this review, I have been driving with radar detectors for nearly five decades, longer than any other currently in the industry.
In that time, I’ve accumulated a ton of experience which I would like to share with you.
I have created a series of videos of a variety of topics which will make you a more informed user of radar detectors and other countermeasures as well as how to handle yourself in the event you have the misfortune of ever getting a traffic citation.
Hopefully this information will help you avoid some of the mistakes I’ve made over the years as well as arm you with knowledge that has resulted in favorable outcomes.
New material will be added to this video series as time goes on.