What is a Highway Zapper?|
A Highway Zapper, also known more loosely as a radar activator, is a small garage-door-opener-type of device that, when the button is pressed, sets off radar detectors that some drivers use to attempt to avoid tickets. Naturally, if the other driver thinks that they may be going too fast, will slow down to ånormal¼ speeds. They are generally available for about $50 and run off a 9v battery. There has been some questions about legality of using these devices as well, but it looks good if reasonable power limits are used. There are also some alternative things to think about using for those that want to home-brew their own radar activator.
This is the point where most everybody has an opinion, and the discussion falls into a flame war about speeders. We aren't going to do that - it's been done to death. The basic points to these arguments are 1) speeding is bad 2) stopping people from speeding is bad. 3) You are a pickle-headed moron. 4)You suffer from cranial rectal inversion. Repeat ad nausium. My personal reflection on this is that anybody who publicly flames immediately loses all dignity and respect in the net community no matter what their point.
|No longer available. All suppliers have stopped carrying them per the FCC's request.|
Other possible sources for those that like to do a little digging:|
There was once a magazine construction article which described how to make a small 10.525 GHz transmitter with a strip antenna, which would set off X-band radar detectors within a half-mile or so. Since then a couple of companies have offered kits (preassembled or build [AND **TUNE**] yourself versions). Cruise through electronics and ham magazines for ads from Innotek, Electronic Rainbow ("The Zapper") and JDR Microdevices (a computer parts outfit who are reselling a lot of the Rainbow kits).¾
Home Built Units|
Electronic Rainbow sold the Zapper II as a kit which is a modified version of the original Zapper. Instead of a single button for zapping, there is a small "test switch" and a code key input for morse code practice or possably remote mounting and control of the unit. It is a small, simple circuit with 3 resistors, a trim pot, a capacitor, and two transistors. You will also need misc. parts for it such as a push button, a LED, and a 9 volt battery snap. The caps and resistors are surface mount parts and thus a little more difficult to come by. You should be able to find them in packs for about 20 to the dollar. Substituting through hole parts is a bad idea since the lead lengths will affect the radio frequency circuit.
If you get the Electronic Rainbow kit book for $15, you could have got the plans for the zapper on page two. There was a layout for making the printed circuit board which is fairly small - 2" by 3/4" - but beware, it must be on .031¾ teflon board. Standard copper clad will not be able to handle those high frequencies according to the guy I talked to at Electronic Rainbow. If you're not much for making a printed circuit board, they did sell one for $13.
The toughest thing to get is one of the transistors. Normal parts places don't carry it. It is a GaAs FET Avantek AFT 26884-STR. Rainbow sold them for $13 each. One of the leads has to be cut off, and another one solders to a trace on the board that needs to be trimmed to the right size to give it the proper frequency. Trimming that strip by 1/64th of an inch will increase the frequency by about 50 MHz. They are very small and sensitive to static damage so a grounding strap and grounded soldering iron are minimum precautions. If these are not used, the GaAs FET could be damaged and fail without warning some time after the unit is built.
Besides the board and GaAs FET mentioned above, you will also need one of each of the following parts. 33 Ohm, 51 Ohm and two 270 Ohm surface mount resistors, .01 uF surface mount capacitor, 1K surface mount variable resistor, LM 317 LZ transistor/voltage regulator, wire for 3 jumps, push button switch, 3.5 mm code key jack, red LED, 9V battery connector, white plastic screw, 1/4" plastic spacer, LED holder, case with front panel, and hook up wire for connecting the switch, LED, and code key jack to the board. Unless you have most of thses parts already, it would be wise to buy a kit with all the parts from Rainbow Electronics.
1. Obviously the single best use of these devices is to slow the guy that just blew past you doing 90mph.
2. You may also be interested in testing the radar detector you plan to purchase (or demonstrate if you are selling them).
3. Activate the unit and see what break lights come on ahead of you, then reel åem in.
4. If there are more than one radar equipped cars, see if you can keep them in a group or single lane as long as possible. As soon as someone pulls out to pass, hit the button again and watch them fall back into line.
5. As a speeders aid - to break up those pesky groups of cars only doing 60 and blocking all the lanes. Chances are one will have a radar detector and slow down, breaking up the pack so you can get by.
6. A code practice transmitter for morse code
|Updated On: 9/99|
|By: The Staten Island New York Scanner Guide|