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Hi guys,

considering buying Garmin Radar Varia RTL 510 bundle.

There are many reviews and opinions  around since first generation of the radar system from Garmin.  Without doubt, this is a great addition to safety.

However one aspect that is not covered or discussed is a potential influence on health after long term exposure of cyclist "sitting" on the radar beam.

Spec: Radio frequency/protocol: 24 GHz @ 12 dBm nominal/2.4 GHz @ 4 dBm nominal

I believe no one took this particular radar for any scientific test therefore concerns are more of general nature of being exposed to extra  radiation from radar 3-4 hrs a day.

Any thoughts?

Update 22.04.2019

Finally received Garmin Varia RTL510. 

On rear side of the box there is Warning from California Prop 65 saying "Cancer and Reproductive Harm". Right way to legally protect itself from Garmin. 

In supplied doccumentation there is a following text relevant to this post.

Radio Frequency Radiation Exposure

This device is a portable transmitter and receiver that uses an internal antenna to send and receive low level of radio frequency (RF) energy for data communications. The device emits RF energy below the published limits when operating in its maximum output power mode and when used with Garmin authorized accessories. To comply with RF exposure compliance requirements, the device should be installed and operated with a mimum 5 cm (2 in.) distance between the device and your body. The device should not be used in other configurations. This device must not be co-located or operated in conjunction with any other transmitter or antenna.  

40 comments

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srchar [1486 posts] 4 months ago
1 like

I assume 24GHz is a typo for 2.4GHz? Which is nowhere near the frequency of ionizing radiation.

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Sriracha [106 posts] 4 months ago
4 likes
srchar wrote:

I assume 24GHz is a typo for 2.4GHz? Which is nowhere near the frequency of ionizing radiation.

I would assume the 24GHz is the radar frequency whilst the 2.4GHz would be the data transmission. Neither is in the ionising spectrum.

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ktache [1874 posts] 4 months ago
2 likes

Covering your arse and head in tinfoil?

Though if you really are concerned, a good luck charm and as it wiould do no harm, covering the bottom of the saddle in foil?

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HoarseMann [250 posts] 4 months ago
3 likes

The 24GHz radar will be highly directional and very little radio energy will be directed at the rider anyway.

The 2.4GHz is just the Bluetooth/ANT link. No different to the phone in your pocket. 

In fact the phone in your pocket will have a much higher radio energy in the 1-2GHz spectrum for the the mobile signal, but again, not a health issue. 

That's the long way of saying don’t worry about it!

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HoarseMann [250 posts] 4 months ago
1 like

This is the likely radiation pattern that will be firing back down the road. Not much directed at the rider.

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Drinfinity [236 posts] 4 months ago
4 likes

If you turn it up high enough, will it grill Spam?

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Vovis [26 posts] 4 months ago
2 likes

Hi guys, 

thank you for taking time and answering.

Regarding specified frequencies, I took values from an owner's manual. See Page 4 of the pdf below

http://static.garmin.com/pumac/Varia_Radar_51X_OM_EN.pdf

For RTL510/511 radar unit  it specifies

Radio frequency / protocol --> 2.4 GHz @ 4 dBm nominal, 24 GHz @ 12 dBm nominal

For RDU (receiver, head unit) it says

Wireless frequency, protocol --> 2.4 GHz ANT+ @ 0 dBm nominal

So it means Radar is operating at 24GHz  @ 12 dBm  (there are 2 commonly used standards in automotive radar industry, 24GHz and  future 77GHz) and communication protocol between two units is 2.4GHz.

=======================================

I feel, to some extend, skepticism in your answer guys. 

Of course it is not ionizing enery spectrum.

How one would get certified ionizing radioactive device for consumer electronic sector??

No one considered smoking to be harmfull long time ago. Look how things changed and how cigarette box looks today compared to 50 years ago. But we are aware of the fact today because of Knowledge and those willing to smoke take that risk. 

======================================

@ktache,

you have very creative idea. I am not sure about it. Better metal bib shorts and jersey  1

@HoarseMann,

thank you for your consideration and showing radiation pattern. It's theoretical  pattern. There is no so sharp cut-off. Less intensity signal goes back and up to cyclist as well. There are different patterns simulated and you can find some examples below

https://www.remcom.com/articles-and-papers/em-simulation-of-automotive-r...

According to the manual, radar beam width of Garmin Varia RTL510 is 40 degrees (theta).

@Drinfinity, 

since when asking opinions is considered to be a spam? I don't spam you personally.

Don't like the thread? Move to the next one unless you have something valuable to say. Cheers. 

 

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srchar [1486 posts] 4 months ago
7 likes

Exposure to wifi signals can cause paranoia.

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FluffyKittenofT... [2667 posts] 4 months ago
10 likes

Can the intensity be turned up so as to act as a death-ray for impatient drivers behind you?  If not, then I fail to see the safety benefits.

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Drinfinity [236 posts] 4 months ago
5 likes

You want my opinion? Really? Here it is. Turning up on a cycling site to promote WiFi-woo is spam. 

You are not just asking an opinion- you are pushing a WiFi conspiracy theory. As others have pointed out, WiFi is not doing us harm. Pulsed signals do not produce damage which is non-linear with dosage. Antioxidants or beetroot juice or goji berries do not protect against ‘WiFi intolerance’ - the fact that no effects being measured when they are used is suggestive of no effect of anything.

There are many pollutants to worry about as a cyclist - NOx, particulates, second hand cigarette smoke*, taxis etc. I’m not going to add radio waves to that list based on a study of military radar from 1971.

Get one of those new wave cell helmets, the wavelength of the lining is perfect for interfering with WiFi signals. People on here have lots of opinions on helmets you might be interested in.

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Drinfinity [236 posts] 4 months ago
0 likes

* I did Skyride Manchester once with the family. Great event, but I almost got taken out by a cycling smoker who suddenly stopped in the middle of Deansgate to light up.

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Drinfinity [236 posts] 4 months ago
4 likes

You also asked 

 

How one would get certified ionizing radioactive device for consumer electronic sector??

 

Sunbeds are an example of just such a device.

 

UV radiation I take very seriously, as it is a very significant health risk that cycling increases my exposure to. Opposite end of the spectrum to radio.

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hawkinspeter [3862 posts] 4 months ago
1 like

@Vovis - there's a place for people like you: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-14887428

I don't mean that to sound rude as I'm actually quite intrigued by conspiracy theories and how they highlight the way that a lot of people think (i.e. tribal thinking and not really understanding why/how the scientific process should work).

What is interesting is the testing that they did on someone presenting EHS symptoms:

Quote:

She was seated on a wooden chair while voltage was applied to metal plates for pulses of 90 seconds to create a series of magnetic fields. The woman was asked to describe her symptoms after each exposure and after random sham exposures when, unknown to her, there was no voltage.

She reported headaches, pain and muscle twitching during the genuine exposures and no symptoms for the majority of the sham exposures.

The scientists concluded that such consistency could not be attributed to chance.

There's other stories of people reporting symptoms from phone masts when it turns out that the masts weren't switched on yet, so there's obviously some kind of hysteria going on too.

My advice to anyone suffering from EHS is to do some double-blind testing - get someone else to operate the power switch randomly and record symptoms periodically and see if there's any correlation.

 

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Vovis [26 posts] 4 months ago
1 like

@ Drinfinity

there is nothing wrong to discuss device made mainly for road cyclists on this site. 

I am not spamming or supporting any conspiracy theory about pure WiFi signal effect (from which our bodies developped a natural protection by evolution). Thread is related to radar beam.

Will I do good thing to my frined cycling behind me 5 hours exposing his head to the beam or better I do a favour and cycle in the back? And, what if there are 5 of us with Varia? This is a question.  

Your sunbed has nothing to do with road cycling neither with electronic devices, it's  passive; but you are right, if you want to find similar physical effect elsewhere, you always can  1

@hawkinspeter

I do not suffer from any kind of paranoia, including one related to electromagnetical polution and I am perfectly fine in place where I am.  Take care of your health in 1st place and happy cycling !  1

 

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srchar [1486 posts] 4 months ago
5 likes
Vovis wrote:

I am not spamming or supporting any conspiracy theory about pure WiFi signal effect (from which our bodies developped a natural protection by evolution).

Either WiFi was invented much earlier than I thought it was, or I've misunderstood evolution.

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John Smith [270 posts] 4 months ago
5 likes
Vovis wrote:

Your sunbed has nothing to do with road cycling neither with electronic devices, it's  passive; but you are right, if you want to find similar physical effect elsewhere, you always can  1

And that right there shows you know far to little about the basics of the electromagnetic spectrum to be reading papers on it. 

 

The sunbed bed has everything to do with it. Both the sunbed and the radar release electromagnetic radiation. The difference being that UV wavelength is much shorter and more dangerous. If you want to worry about electromagnetic radiation being a danger cycling you need to worry about the big yellow fusion reactor in the sky emitting far stronger, more dangerous radiation than some battery powered radar thing.

 

If you really not convinced I have a radar protection amulet I can sell you for a barren price, and a bag of majic seeds.

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Mungecrundle [1526 posts] 4 months ago
5 likes

Just imagine what could happen when passing a wind turbine? Why the cancer causing soundwaves might mix with the radar to mutate you into some sort of Marvel supehero!

Long and short of it. If you are concerned about the possible unknown health effects to yourself or your riding buddies, then it's probably not worth the stress of taking the chance.

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hawkinspeter [3862 posts] 4 months ago
2 likes
Mungecrundle wrote:

Just imagine what could happen when passing a wind turbine? Why the cancer causing soundwaves might mix with the radar to mutate you into some sort of Marvel supehero! Long and short of it. If you are concerned about the possible unknown health effects to yourself or your riding buddies, then it's probably not worth the stress of taking the chance.

Sold!

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Mungecrundle [1526 posts] 4 months ago
4 likes

https://www.who.int/peh-emf/publications/facts/fs226/en/

Chapter and verse based on peer reviewed data and actual science.

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HoarseMann [250 posts] 4 months ago
1 like

5G mobile phones also use 24GHz, it’s nothing unusual or to be concerned about. I’m a comms engineer, so well versed in polar plots! The dB scale is logarithmic, so a 15dB drop represents a reduction in signal power of nearly 97%.

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Vovis [26 posts] 4 months ago
1 like

@Mungecrundle,

thank you for publishing the link!

Very interesting. Indeed, there were many studies performed, so questions arose in scientific community accross different fields a long time ago, and  it seems, many were answered. Good to know.

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Sriracha [106 posts] 4 months ago
3 likes
hawkinspeter wrote:

My advice to anyone suffering from EHS is to do some double-blind testing - get someone else to operate the power switch randomly and record symptoms periodically and see if there's any correlation.

 

I think you have described a "single blind" protocol. To be "double blind" neither the subject nor the operator must know whether placebo or real stimulus is happening. The truth should only be revealed at all after all data is collected, processed and analysed.

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Vovis [26 posts] 4 months ago
1 like

@John Smith, 

please calm down, pretty familiar with electromagnetic spectrum and its wavelenght/energy conversion. 

First of all, Excuse moi my bad English, I interpreted sunbed in a very different way  1 

 

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hawkinspeter [3862 posts] 4 months ago
1 like
Sriracha wrote:
hawkinspeter wrote:

My advice to anyone suffering from EHS is to do some double-blind testing - get someone else to operate the power switch randomly and record symptoms periodically and see if there's any correlation.

 

I think you have described a "single blind" protocol. To be "double blind" neither the subject nor the operator must know whether placebo or real stimulus is happening. The truth should only be revealed at all after all data is collected, processed and analysed.

Yep, that sounds better - you'd probably have to have the switch operator just record when the electricity is flowing and have several subjects (not in the same room at the same time) reporting symptoms every minute or so (depending on how fast the symptoms manifest) and then have someone else perform the analysis. Maybe wrap the whole testing facility in aluminium foil too.

 

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hawkinspeter [3862 posts] 4 months ago
3 likes
Vovis wrote:

@John Smith, 

please calm down, pretty familiar with electromagnetic spectrum and its wavelenght/energy conversion. 

First of all, Excuse moi my bad English, I interpreted sunbed in a very different way  1 

 

Here in the UK, that's more like a rainbed.

This is what I thought of when you mentioned sunbed:

 

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Gasman Jim [222 posts] 4 months ago
3 likes

I’ve been using a rear Varia unit since September last year.  I’ve just checked down below and my meat & 2 veg haven’t  fallen off so I’d say your worries are probably unfounded.

Hope this helps!

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Vovis [26 posts] 4 months ago
0 likes

@Gasman Jim

conclusion and message of the day, was missing in order to place my order smiley

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hawkinspeter [3862 posts] 4 months ago
3 likes

This seems a suitable place to leave this handy radiation dose chart. It's more to do with radioactive elements rather than radio waves, but I'm a sucker for XKCD (https://xkcd.com/radiation/):

 

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ktache [1874 posts] 4 months ago
0 likes

Loving the footnote - If you're basing radiation safety procedures on an internet PNG image and things go wrong, you have no one to blame but yourself.

Another great post.

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alansmurphy [2245 posts] 4 months ago
3 likes

I haven't an issue with your radiation concern as such, but how does knowing the car behind is going to kill you make you safer?

 

 

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