Just in case anyone throws a fit or raises a fuss, I hereby declare that I am not the owner of the featured image on this page. I shall give credit whereupon credit is due, in this case, I cropped the image from the 1987 Radio Shack Catalog.
For those of you who didn’t realize, I was born in January of 1987.
It wouldn’t be for fourteen and a half years before I would discover scanner radios.
I wouldn’t own one until I was fifteen and going on sixteen.
Since then I have gone through several.
In my early thirties, I began collecting and even using some vintage scanner radios.
In the Summer of 2021, at the age of thirty-four-and-a-half, I purchased my first Realistic Radio Shack Pro 2004. Then in March of 2022, I purchased another of the same scanner. The reason why I wanted these is that they were Radio Shack top-of-the-line model scanners in 1987 and the second one I purchased came off the assembly line in January of 1987, according to the date code. I keep my first one in a secure storage area and I keep the one that is as old as me, next to my bed, for sentimental reasons.
And that scanner is what this piece will be a review thereof.
The Realistic Pro 2004 was indeed Radio Shack’s premium model scanner for the year 1987.
It retailed brand new for $399.99 in 1987 which, in 2022 dollars, would be a whopping $1,042.83!
To justify that cost, there is a plethora of features on this scanner that made it truly top-of-the-line.
I will list some of the features and specs along with my commentary:
Frequency Range 25-520 MHz and 760-1300 MHz-Very generous coverage, especially for the late 1980s.
AM/FM/WFM Selectable for each channel-There are some modern scanners that do not have this.
300 Channels in 10 Banks-more than what most scanner listeners know what to do with.
10 Search Ranges-perfect for hiding hidden frequencies on specific bands.
1 Priority Channel-I could take or leave this feature, honestly.
Memory powered by 9 Volt Battery-this is what technology offered in those days.
Power Supply 13.8 Volts DC or AC mains-can be used even in a power failure with the right equipment, that is.
Weight 7 pounds or 3.2 kilograms.
Sound Squelch-more scanners should have this feature available as it would make them less annoying to everyone else.
Tape out jack-another feature that more scanners should possess.
10dB attenuator-this is something that is found on the higher-end models, well this was a higher-end model.
Backlit display-great for listening at night.
Triple Conversion Superheterodyne Receiver-this provides excellent sensitivity as well as selectivity.
Two Speeds 9 or 16 Channels or Steps per second-pretty obsolete by 2022’s standards and I cannot believe scanners with this much memory were this slow.
Because it is analog only, non-trunking, and has a slow scan speed by today’s standards, it is partially [mostly] obsolete in 2022.
However, it can still be used to hear traffic on Citizen’s Band, the neighboring 11 Meter Free Bands, Military and Civilian Aircraft, fire dispatch (if set up properly), most railroads, and virtually all VHF Marine. There is also a good bit of business band and some EMS traffic that can still be heard in some areas. Since it can do AM or FM, I programmed some FM CB frequencies, since I currently (at the time of writing this) live near a truck stop and major highway.
Railroad, marine, or fire calls can be difficult to hear replies if all banks are turned on, because of the slow speed. Still, when coupled with a decent antenna, this scanner can pull in a great deal of radio traffic.
I use this mostly for hearing CB, Freeband, and the little bit of military aircraft in my area.
In order to hear fire dispatch, I must only monitor the bank I have set for that, as the slow speeds will cause me to miss some of the details of the call between the tones finishing and the dispatcher beginning.
I know I have listed a few complaints about this scanner, but it is truly a workhorse.
Furthermore, how many scanners made in 2022 will be able to pick up any signals or even work at all 35 years in the future?
I know I purchased this for sentimental reasons and that, I can use other scanners to feed my listening hobby, but this is still a winner.
If I was old enough in 1987 to purchase this scanner, I would give it a full 5 out of 5 stars and I would probably lock myself with it in a room and be listening for days on end.
I still give it a 3 out of 5 stars for it in 2022 but am annoyed more than anything else by the excessively slow scan speed. Everything else makes this scanner awesome.
I guess this, therefore, concludes my review of the Realistic Radio Shack Pro 2004.
I hope that you, the reader, have been informed, entertained, and maybe even enlightened.
May God richly bless you!