What are the Differences between Ka, K, and X Bands?

What are the differences between KA, K, and X bands?

Radar detectors are used to detect when a police radar gun is in use so that you can slow down in time and avoid a speeding ticket. It uses LIDAR (Light Detection and Ranging) technology to remotely sense light in the form of pulsed lasers to measure ranges. When a radar detector detects a radar gun, it will alert you with messages about X band, K band or Ka band. In Europe, they operate on another type of radar band called the Ku band. These are the bands that a police radar operates on, and by understanding these police waves, The article below explains what these bands mean and how they affect you.

What is a radar band and radar wave?

First off, let’s quickly explain what a radar band is. To understand this, we begin by explaining what a radar wave is. Simply put, a radar wave is a form of electromagnetic radiation that is between a certain set of frequencies. This is similar to radio waves, like when you listen to different radio stations. Each of these radio stations represents different radar waves. A radar detector works by detecting these radar frequencies on the different radar bands. For example, X band, K band and Ka band can be compared to 3 different radio stations. These specific frequency bands are what police radars operate on, which is why radar detectors are tuned to detecting these bands. Every time your radar detector detects these, it will emanate a "beep" sound to alert you.

What is an X band?

X band radar are radar waves that are between 8.0 GHz and 12 GHz, with law enforcement radar guns operating at 10.5ghz. X band is the oldest type of police radar frequency and is actually not used as frequently today. While some people turn off X band detection in their radar detectors, it is wise to simply leave it on as some older radar guns still operate on X band.

What is a K band?

K band radar are radar waves that are between 18 GHz and 27 GHz, with law enforcement radar guns operating at 24.125ghz and 24.15ghz. Police radar guns started detecting K band radar a few decades after X band was introduced, and offers much better performance than X band. Simply put, K band radar makes it so that radar detectors have a harder time detecting them at a long distance, but modern premium radar detectors such as the devices from Escort and Radenso have successfully combated this issue. The issue with K band, however, is that it is commonly used in everyday activities and equipment which leads to a lot of false alerts given out by the radar detector. This was, in fact, a common issue with older radar detectors that often gave out too many distracting false alarms - this is less of a problem today with the newer and more modern devices. For example, driving by automatic door openers or the blind spot monitoring systems on some vehicles may trigger a radar detector to give out a false alert. Although this radar frequency is commonly found, K band detection should still be enabled as law enforcement still uses K band very commonly.

What is a Ka band?

Ka band radar are radar waves that are between 33.4 GHz and 36.0 GHz. This is the most recent and best radar band frequencies that law enforcement can operate on. Ka band radar guns can operate on as many as five frequencies compared to the 1 or 2 frequencies for X and K band radar guns. Ka band is also harder to detect at long distances than both X and K band, making it so that only the best radar detectors will detect Ka band radar.

There are very few devices that emit Ka band other than actual police radar guns, so when a radar detector does warn you of Ka band, it is almost certainly a real threat.

General Tips

  1. Ka band warning? Slow down, it’s almost certainly the police.
  2. K band? Slow down, but it might be a false alert.
  3. X band? If you're in the city, it’s almost certainly a false alert. In a rural area, it might be the police or a false alert.

Find Your Radar Detector

What is a Radar Detector?

Learn about radar detectors and how it works

False Alerts

The solution to false alerts on radar detectors

Traffic Cameras?

Differences between traffic, red light, and speed cameras

Mounting Tips

The best way to mount your radar detector