A Review of the Realistic (Radio Shack®) Pro-32 Handheld Programmable Scanner Radio

I am a very sentimental person.

I also frequently think about what technology was like around the time I came into this world (especially radio and computer technology.)

Because of that, for years, I had wanted to own a Realistic (Radio Shack®) Pro-32 scanner.

Why?

Because it was put on the market in 1987, the same year I was born.

In 1987 this was Radio Shack’s premium handheld scanner. It retailed for $299.99 (which would be the equivalent of $674.84 in 2019 Dollars.) I bought mine second hand but in very good condition with the original box and paper work for $25 even (more on that in a bit.)

The Pro-32 runs on 6 AA Alkaline or Rechargeable (NiCad/NiMH) batteries. It also uses three watch batteries to power what was a vast memory (200 Bank+10 Monitor Channels) in 1987. The Frequency ranges it covers are:
30-54 MHz FM
108-136 MHz AM
138-174 MHz FM
AND
380-512 MHz FM

This scanner must have been a failure, because it was only featured in the Radio Shack Catalogs from 1987 to 1988.

In 1989, a significantly more sophisticated model was put on the market, the Pro-34. This better scanner also ran on 6 AA batteries, but did not require watch batteries for the memory. In addition to what the Pro-32 received, the Pro-34 had more frequency ranges:
806-823 MHz FM
857-868 MHz FM
AND
896-906 MHz FM

Many police, fire and EMS services as well as some bigger businesses would begin to migrate to 800 MHz in the 1990s.

The Pro-34 costed slightly more at $329.99 ($680.07 in 2019 Dollars)

What I find amusing though, is the Pro-32 seems to be the direct ancestor of several entry level scanner radios such as:

The Radio Shack Pro-79, which came out 15 years later in 2002 and is more power efficient (runs on 4 AA batteries instead of 6 and the memory is flash based instead of requiring those watch batteries) and costed $99.99 ($142.04 in 2019 Dollars.)

The Radio Shack Pro-82, which came out 16 years later in 2003 and has the features of the Pro-79 in addition to push button dedicated searches for certain radio services and costed between $79.99-$99.99 ($111.09-$138.87 in 2019 Dollars.)

The Radio Shack Pro-404, which came out 22 years later in 2009 has all the features of the Pro-82 in addition to a Signal Stalker/Spectrum Sweeper and PC programmable features and also costed $79.99-$99.99 ($95.28-$119.10 in 2019 Dollars.)

The Radio Shack Pro 649 which came out about 27 years later in 2014 and is almost a younger clone of the Pro-404, but can tune in more narrow frequency steps on certain bands and costed $99.99 ($107.94 in 2019 Dollars.)

The closest modern equivalent to it is the Whistler WS-1010, which came out 31 years or so in 2018 or so and has all the features of the Pro 649 but double the memory and costs between $79.99-$119.99 ($81.40-$122.11 in 2019 Dollars.)

I had checked on eBay quite a few times trying to buy this scanner, but there was always a problem purchasing it.

A few weeks ago, I had tried for the final time, when my transaction didn’t go through. Within seconds of the failed transaction, The Good Lord Himself told me stop and wait because I would be purchasing one at Ham Vention 2019 in Ohio.

I’m beginning to learn to obey Him and this time, I did just that.

And do you, the reader, know what?

The Pro-32 scanner I bought a Ham Vention was in much better condition and cheaper than any of the ones selling on eBay!

Any Christian (but only a Christian) is a child of the One True God. And God is a passionate loving Father who wants only the best for His children. This is a very small but still valid example of that.

By the way, this particular scanner is not very common. Case in point: It is vintage and it wasn’t in production very long. That means there probably aren’t too many in existence anymore. It would have taken basically an act of God for one to be available at the flea market, for me to see it there because the flea market is the size of a horse track and covered entirely with vendors and for no one else to purchase it. So the fact that God Himself told me I would be purchasing one at the Ham Vention flea market, strengthens my faith in Him and my walk with Him and it should be good testimony for believers and non believers alike!

I was planning to go to Ham Vention to purchase gently used flashlights and calculators in the flea market anyway, like I did last year.

I am indeed a ham and in fact, I do hold a General Class license.

Those of you whom were forwarded to my blog from Q R Zed already know this, but I don’t like to give out my call sign.

I’m not too active on the radio, because of where I currently live.

My lease forbids any sort of transmitting antennas and neither do I want to interfere with any of my neighbors’ electronics, because I tend to enjoy peace and detest drama.

So for that reason, I basically stay on 2 Meters and 440 with low power portable radios and usually only during emergencies.

I do all my HF, high powered long antenna activities at a friend’s house with his equipment.

So why besides it being as old as me would I want a Radio Shack Pro-32?

I mean, compared to the modern scanners: It is bulky as a brick in size and weight. It is power hungry as a starving pit bull in a butcher. It is slower than molasses in the dead of winter when it comes to scan and search speed. It is analog only which makes it obsolete, at least partially. And the coverage is limited.

Yes, that is all very true.

…BUT…

I find that for what I listen to most which is railroad and marine traffic, older scanners are far more sensitive than their modern counterparts. They clearly pull in signals from farther away that most modern scanners cannot even detect. Japanese electronics, which this particular scanner was made in Japan, seem to overwhelmingly outperform their Chinese and Vietnamese made descendants in ways where performance truly counts.

I interpreted the date code (5A7) to mean this particular unit was made in May of 1987. That means it was made thirty two years ago this month (the same month I bought it)!

What amuses and amazes me the most is that the model number is 32, I am 32 (at the time of writing this) and it is also 32! God definitely has His hand in this!

This concludes my review on the Radio Shack Pro-32.

I would like to thank and cite Radio Shack Catalogs for the picture (which I do not own) and the technical details.

I hope you the reader have been informed and entertained by this piece. Thank you for taking the time of reading and may God richly bless you!

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About Television

This piece is about television: Analog…Digital…Cable…Broadcast…

I watch broadcast television.

When I say that, I mean “free” television that is received over the air with an antenna.

I don’t subscribe to any cable, satellite or Internet Protocol television at all.

Many other Millenials like me also do not subscribe to any pay television.

BUT, initially, I did it for different reasons than my fellow Millenials.

However, many of my fellow Millenials do subscribe to one or more streaming services, I don’t.

I am a total cord cutter and my only data traffic comes in and out on my cell phone.

Growing up, my parents always subscribed to cable.

They are indeed Baby Boomers and that generation almost as a whole fervently believes in subscribing to cable.

I think this is because, when they were growing up, the only people who had “clear” television reception were the city dwellers and everyone else had frequent reception issues. Not only that, there were maybe three main channels in a given market when they were growing up, whereas cable offers dozens to hundreds of channels. Cable was also much cheaper in the early days. I remember both my parents and grandparents saying how cable television was $8/month when they began subscribing.

However, myself and maybe other Millenials have noticed that since about the late 2000s cable television has skyrocketed in cost but plummeted in quality programming-change my (our) mind(s)!

I would dare say that it is not even worth eight 2019 dollars a month unless one lives totally out of any broadcast reception range (like maybe Texas, between San Antonio and El Paso or other extremely rural areas.)

When the Baby Boomers were much younger adults in the 1980s and 1990s, cable was wonderful, I’ll admit it and I’ll admit it until the cows come home. I was a child back then, but I remember how cable used to be very good. Nickelodeon had awesome cartoons and sketch comedies. VH1 and MTV actually played music videos! Arts and Entertainment, The History Channel and the Discovery Channel didn’t show constant reruns, but actually had very original and equally educational shows! TBS and TNT and USA Network had much more diverse and sometimes original programming unlike now where they mostly air reruns of shows that are already on broadcast television for free! And get this: CNN actually reported credible news without so much biased commentary!

I first “cut the cable” in the Summer of 2003, when I was sixteen and a half.

I finally had my own television, a 1992 Zenith Sentry 2 and I wanted to experiment with it.

This means that my initial reason for cutting cable was strictly experimental.

So I purchased a set of rabbit ears and a loop and connected them to that aforementioned television.

I would spend hours scanning the channels and constantly repositioning the antennas to see which stations I could receive.

At the time, I lived about sixty miles from Baton Rouge, fifty miles from New Orleans, and maybe eight miles from Houma, the three closest cities with television stations.

The rest of my family thought I was crazy.

My classmates that found out also thought I was crazy.

Let’s just say I was a cord cutter well before doing so was cool.

I guess that makes me at least partially a hipster.

I may sometimes wear my newsboy hat, but I refuse to grow a beard, so there.

This went on from 2003 to about 2006 and was basically before the June 12, 2009, FCC Digital Upgrade Mandate.

I will say that when comparing analog and digital broadcast television, both have some advantages as well as disadvantages.

Since the television I had was only an analog model and I didn’t yet have a converter box, I was only able to watch analog television.

However, analog television signals were able to travel further and could be received with lower quality antennas than their modern digital counterparts. Also, an analog television signal could still be intelligibly received whilst the receiver was in motion and even mobile (like in a car!)

All I had were rabbit ears and a loop, but I could catch both of the then VHF High New Orleans stations WYES-12 (didn’t watch much on it, but it had the clearest picture of all) and WVUE-8 (watched The Simpsons every Sunday night on there) almost perfectly. Most of the UHF New Orleans stations WNOL-38 (watched The Simpsons every weeknight on it), WHNO-20 (watched some preachers on there), WPXL-49 easily. The other UHF New Orleans-area stations WUPL-54, WGNO-26, WLAE-32 were hit and miss. The two VHF Low Band stations in New Orleans WWL-4 (despite being one of the most powerful television stations in the country) and WDSU-6 were difficult to catch, and had lots of static on my then configuration but would come in every now and then (and WDSU-6 had beautiful color when it did come in properly, it was always fun to watch Golf or Racing on there.) I could also catch the VHF High Band station out of Baton Rouge WAFB-9 all the time, (in fact when I wasn’t in school or working, I would watch As the World Turns on there.) The VHF Low Band station in Baton Rouge, WBRZ-2 would come in every now and then but always had lots of static. As for the UHF Baton Rouge stations, I could catch WVLA-33 most of the time and every now and then could catch WGMB-44 (would also watch The Simpsons on there when I could), which wasn’t even on my parents’ cable service. Sometimes the picture was almost clear, most of the time the picture was overall intelligible, but with some snow and white noise. These results were pretty much acceptable considering the antenna was an indoor model maybe six feet up and up to sixty miles away from the stations. Sometimes various forms of radio skip would occur and I would catch television stations from other states! That was always interesting and of course, caught my undivided attention. KFOL-30 (HTV-10) out of Houma was almost always guaranteed to come in but sometimes had a least a little white noise and snow in the signal.

I will say that it is virtually impossible in that location with that antenna setup to receive most of those stations since they switched to digital mode.

In December 2007, my then girlfriend, now ex-wife and I purchased our first Digital Ready television. It was a 24 inch Dynex CRT we purchased from Best Buy and was a Christmas gift to each other. Later on that day, I hooked up my rabbit ears and a loop to it excited to see what I could catch. We were living in her parents’ trailer in Raceland, Louisiana, which adversely affect television reception with that setup. However, I was only able to get WWL-36 (virtual channel 4.1) though sometimes it would come in clearly and beautifully but other times it would freeze up and fade out. One of the first things I remember catching on there was the “Happy Holidays” commercial for the New Orleans Public Belt Railroad. We also watched the CBS Evening News where Democratic presidential candidate Bill Richardson was being interviewed. Later that night I went to Wal Mart and purchased a set of rabbit ears and a loop with a built-in amplifier. This only made a marginal difference. For almost a year, we watched broadcast television with hit and miss results, then in the Summer of 2008, my now ex-wife but then girlfriend began subscribing to cable, which also meant home internet and phone. Also in the Summer of 2008, I applied for the coupons for a digital converter box. When they came in, I went to Wal Mart, purchased one and installed it on my old Zenith at my parents’ house.

On June 12, 2009, all full-power American television stations shut off their analog signals and began broadcasting strictly in digital.

Fast forward to the Spring of 2016. My then wife, now ex-wife and I were living in a second story apartment in Raceland, Louisiana. I had a man cave with that Dynex television and bought a cheap flat panel antenna for it. My then now ex-wife either watched Uverse in the bedroom or living room. I could catch a good bit of the New Orleans stations and the one Houma station since I was on the second floor and had a height advantage. I was never able to catch any of the Baton Rouge stations though and that irritated me, especially since they weren’t on our Uverse subscription either. At the time, however, I was more interested in listening to railroad communications on my scanners. In late 2017, my now ex-wife was badgering me how she wanted a ground floor apartment and since our neighbors below us moved out, we applied for and got it. This put a damper on my television and scanner reception. But even though my marriage was falling apart, I knew she had mobility issues and was even then was trying to appease her and her family. In early January of 2018, we mutually decided to cancel our Uverse television subscription and use Netflix and antennas but keep the Internet service in order to save money and pay down debt. Being on the bottom floor meant less television [and scanner] reception. However, I remember my ex watching Inside Edition and they were doing a piece on President Trump’s questionable diet. We could only catch WWL-36/(4.1) and KFOL-30. I wasn’t too happy about that, but I chalked it up to her wanting so badly to move downstairs. Then, I had found out some stuff she was doing behind my back coupled with years of mistreatment and I left her later that month also later that month and I applied for an apartment on the outskirts of Houma, Louisiana. I stayed with a friend until that apartment became available.

My ex wanted me to keep that old Dynex television, but I refused because I didn’t want to be reminded of her. God only knows where it is now.

I got my own apartment on May 1, 2018, and what was really a blessing is that I was offered a second-floor unit and gladly took it (a vertically higher position equals better television and scanner reception.)

Between leaving my ex and getting my own apartment, I purchased a 24 inch LG flat screen model and watched it at a friends house. it was hooked up to an attic antenna and I caught just about every station from New Orleans but none from Houma or Baton Rouge. This is because that attic antenna was a directional model and pointed at New Orleans. It also doubled as my computer monitor for the time being.

A few days after moving into my apartment, I set up my LG television. I knew I was not going to get cable and since my ex kept the other televisions and antennas we had, I went to The Ruble, I mean The Dollar General and purchased another flat antenna. I tried multiple several spots in my living room, until realizing that placing it in the window that faces the Gulf of Mexico, for whatever reasons pulls the stations in. I caught a few New Orleans stations and of course the one station in Houma. What is very strange though is I initially tried placing my antenna in the window that faces New Orleans but didn’t catch ANY stations doing so.

I used my phone for all of my Internet use, but many times I ended up with throttled data. In July of 2018, I had begun subscribing to Internet through Comcast. I had it until April of 2019 when I purchased a good enough mobile data plan to where I didn’t need home Internet anymore. Once again, I became a cord cutter!

Also a few days ago, my brother and his wife gave me their Samsung 43 inch Smart TV, since they upgraded. I put my LG in my bedroom and this Samsung television in my living room. However, I’ve noticed that while Samsung televisions do have very beautiful pictures, their RF tuning circuits aren’t that sensitive. LG televisions have superior RF tuning circuits and I think that has something to do with the fact that they merged with Zenith! Okay, that 1992 Zenith television also had a very good tuner and actually it was in my family until about 2010 or 2011! My maternal grandma also swore by Zenith televisions to the point where she referred to all remotes as “the Space Command.” I’ve also been told that her husband, my grandpa also swore by Zenith products, but he died 29 years before I was born. Anyway, that’s why I am so prejudiced in favor of Zenith and now LG! It was January of 2006 when I had found out that LG and Zenith merged. I was highly ticked off because, at the time, I had found that LG made junky phones, however, nowadays they make pretty decent phones and because of that Zenith engineering that they inherited, their televisions have the best tuners, hands down. I could give other detailed examples of this too, drop me a line and I will. So earlier this evening I purchased a better antenna for the Samsung and if need be, I will also get an amplifier. I cannot wait for it to come in. Currently, it only catches WWL-36/(4.1, 4.2, 4.3) and KFOL-30/(30.1, 30.3.) By the way, the LG television in my bedroom picks up a few New Orleans stations and of course the one station in Houma. I purchased the antenna for it at The Family Dollar and it is mounted high up on the wall that faces the Gulf of Mexico.

Now digital television does have its advantages over its analog ancestor. While the reception range is shortened, the picture quality is highly superior when the signal comes in properly. Also, the bandwidth required for one analog channel can fit six digital channels! Couple a good tuner and antenna system, most users can have a choice of channels that is almost on par with basic cable, but it costs nothing! Well, one does need a good antenna and that might also mean a tower, some coax, amplifiers, and a digital ready television or converter box, but the setup would pay for itself in one to three months!

As I stated on Facebook, I wish we could marry the signal strength and transmission range of analog television with the picture quality and channel capacity of digital television…It was that Facebook post I made earlier today that inspired me to write this piece!

But wouldn’t it be nice if ATSC 3.0 solves that exact issue, though?

If I were to live alone forever, I would probably be a cord cutter forever!

In fact, the only way I can see myself ever subscribing to cable again would be when/if my girlfriend and I marry and buy a house together. This would be so she can watch her Hallmark movies and listen to her Christian music on Music Choice. I’ll also admit that I’d be glad to watch and listen to that with her as those are one of the few rare modern perks of cable television. She treats me so well and because of that, I want her to be able to spoil her as much as possible and while I don’t currently believe in subscribing to cable, I would do it for her in a heartbeat. There are so many other things I want to do for her too as well. For the record though, we would have an antenna though for a backup for when the cable goes out.

Broadcast television has overall gotten better and cable has obviously gotten worse.

There need to be drastic changes in the cable and other subscription television industries as a whole, or more and more will get fed up and start hooking up antennas instead. They will lose too many customers and that will serve them right for charging too much for too little.

One of those changes I suggest is, if hospitals, hotels/motels, and even prisons can have cable without that freakin’ box (pardon my language but this really irritates me and therefore, unfortunately, warrants such crude language) and just plug the television directly into the cable wire, why can’t the average consumer do the same? I’ve been asking that question publically since 2016, but it has been on my mind much longer. Most of it is fueled by seeing my paternal grandma struggle to operate her cable box and her husband, my Paw Paw (God rest his soul) flat out give up on television because of the complexity of operating the cable box

I discovered broadcast television as an experiment but now rely on it daily for entertainment and information.

I much prefer broadcast over cable and I get mixed reactions for this preference.

I hope this piece has been informative and entertaining…

My Interest in “Industrial” Pocket Sized Flashlights

I have had a special fascination with pocket sized “Industrial” flashlights since 1994 at age seven. I have since transitioned to fancy the “Tactical” flashlights more, but the “Industrial” flashlights will always have a place in my heart.

I am experiencing flu like symptoms right now, but need to meet up with my brother later this evening, so to pass the time, I am writing this.

In August of 1994, for doing well on a television interview, I was given several gifts, one of them was an Eveready Industrial 2 AA flashlight that I would carry on me almost everywhere I could. The model number I would later find out was Eveready IN-215.

This would seal the deal on my interest in pocket sized flashlights and was a factor in making me an early proponent of all things EDC.

The bulb blew out sometime in the latter part of 1995 and my mom instead of buying a new bulb, bought me an Eveready Value flashlight in March of 1996.

In late July of 1996, somewhat dissatisfied with my Eveready Value Lite, I purchased a 2AA Brinkmann flashlight. I to this day, do not remember the model number of it nor can I find any information whatsoever about it online. All I can do is give a physical description: I am almost sure it was made by Brinkmann. The main body was black and made of either ABS or PP or HDPE. I am almost sure it had a KPR104 bulb. The lens shroud was also plastic and made of glow in the dark material. To turn this flashlight on or off, one would turn the the lens shroud. I carried mine on me until about February of 1997, when, again, the bulb burned out. Afterwards, I had misplaced it. The last time I saw one of these being sold in stores was in November of 1998, around the time Hurricane Mitch ravaged Central America. The one sold in 1998 came with a fiber optic extension, but mine didn’t.

In June of 1998, I had purchased my first of many and what would become another rare flashlight, the Garrity Mini Rugged Lite. The model number was R300G. Unfortunately a few weeks later, the switch system became bent, so I exchanged it for another one which I had until it fell apart on me. I bought another one in October of 1999, which I had and EDCed until I misplaced it sometime in 2001. The final one of these I had purchased in a store was in June of 2004 at K-Mart on clearance. I had it for a few weeks, but then it was ruined by leaking batteries. I had suffered a mental breakdown between the time of purchasing it and discovering it ruined by leaking batteries. In 2007, I had purchased one directly from Garrity as New Old Stock, but it was different than the usual ones, so I gave it away. In 2011, I was mailed one by a fellow Candle Power Forums member, after he had found out my obsession with that said flashlight. I have since purchased three more on eBay, one I had to repair the switch.

My interest in flashlights was also beginning to take off in 1998, though I kept quiet about it because I was afraid of being harassed by my peers for having an uncommonly avid interest in flashlights.

In September of 1998, around the time of Hurricane Georges, I had purchased a 2 AA Rayovac Value Lite which I had until my late teens.

For Christmas of 1998, one of the gifts I had received was a pack of flashlights that were a Wal Mart house brand. One ran on a single AAA battery and the other ran on 2 AAA batteries. They were made probably of PP and used Krypton bi pin bulbs. Actually they function quite similarly to a Mini Maglite and a Maglite Solitaire and could be used as candles. I had them and even EDCed them on and off until 2001.

In January of 1999 I purchased both a General Electric 2 AA flashlight which was Navy Blue and Yellow and I believe it was geared for automotive use. I also purchased a Sam’s Choice (Wal Mart house brand) 2 AA flashlight which was an obvious knockoff of the Rayovac Industrials that were popular in the 1990s. These were misplaced over the course of growing up.

In March of 2000, I had purchased a Rayovac Industrial bundle pack which featured one 2 D and one 2 AA model sold together. These are now extremely rare as well, especially the 2 AA model. They closely resembled the Eveready Industrial line, unline the modern Rayovac Industrials. Also this 2 AA model came with a KPR104 or a K4 bulb instead of a bi pin bulb which is used on the modern 2 AA Rayovac Industrial flashlights. I wish I knew what happened to mine. As of the early to mid 2010s, there is a flashlight sold at some truck stops, which closely resembles the 1990s and early 2000s 2D Rayovac Industrial and is branded as Penzoil, but is a cheap knockoff.

In 2001 or 2002, my flashlight interest had waned a good bit, not to come back fully until 2005.

In the Summer of 2003, a new library was built which would many times feature interesting collections from local people. There was a collection of flashlights on display and me seeing this caused me to realize that there might be others out there who are interested in flashlights like I am. Prior to this, I was deeply ashamed of my flashlight interest and kept it quiet, in fear of harassment.

In January of 2004, I had just made seventeen and was seeking medical attention for my first of many ear infections. I was given a Cortisone shot and a round of oral antibiotics. While waiting for my prescription to be filled, I was looking around at the flashlights in Wal Mart and purchased a 2 AA Lumilite Industrial II flashlight with a push button switch. I did indeed EDC it for a while and I had it in my tool box until 2007 when it began to malfunction.

In the Summer of 2004, after suffering a mental breakdown, I was closely watched by my parents and didn’t get out much. I had spent many hours on the computer looking at flashlights. The interest was coming back, but slowly.

In October of 2004, Academy Sports and Outdoors opened a store in my area and I went shopping there. That day, I had seen many flashlights that I didn’t even know existed. This would be the beginning of the transition from my interest in pocket sized Industrial flashlights to pocket sized Tactical flashlights. However as I was an unemployed seventeen year old I couldn’t afford any of the tactical flashlights sold at Academy. I will say this though, Academy had a much better selection of flashlight in those days as did Target and even Wal Mart.

In January of 2005, I began to carry a knife on me, except for when I was in school.

Then on May 1, 2005, I was shopping at Wal Mart and saw a Garrity LED Aluminum flashlight. It resembled the Tactical flashlights I had long coveted, but was actually afforable! On May 5, 2005, I purchased it and from that day, I had pretty much carried a flashlight on my person ever since…

Donald John Trump: A Polarizing Figure

This is something I’ve noticed for years, but finally, I think the time is right to post what I see going on:

By the way, I have no agenda to push, I have no narrative to forward nor am I trying to sway anyone’s political views.

This is simply a casual observation of mine.

For the record, I belong to a one-man political party, known as The Ethical Party.

This means I am neither a Democrat nor a Republican, but my one-man party takes what I perceive as the good from both Democrats and Republicans, alike, and rejects what I perceive as the garbage from those two parties.

Without further ado, here I go:

It’s no secret, Donald Trump is a very polarizing figure.

He is someone whom you either revile or draw inspiration from.

There really isn’t any in between.

By the way, it has been like this for him long before he got into politics.

I’ll give examples of how he is both reviled, yet inspiring:

First, I’ll point out how he is reviled:

I have noticed that Hollywood for years has been hating on Donald Trump.

These years date long before he decided to get into politics.

The biggest example I can think of is back in 1990 when NBC aired a made for television movie known as, “The Great Los Angeles Earthquake.” I first saw this movie in 2008 when I purchased it on DVD. My ex-wife now, unfortunately, has that DVD, but she can keep it. I’m glad to part with it and all my other stuff she got when we split up if it means I don’t have to interact with her. Also, out of respect and reverence for my girlfriend, I don’t want to go around any woman whom I am not related to.

It is one of my favorite movies, actually, because, I think Los Angeles is a really neat city and would very much like to visit it one day, but also I like the movie for several other reasons: One of my favorite flashlights ever made has a cameo in that movie, the Eveready Commander No. 5122. There is footage of the now defunct railroad Southern Pacific, which is my favorite former railroad. Also, I am highly interested in technology from the late 1980s and early 1990s and there is a good bit of the then current computer, cellular phone and other technologies featured in that movie. I also like seeing all of the now vintage cars and trucks in that movie.

The arch villain in that said movie, Wendell Kaetes, or however his name is spelled, I believe is heavily inspired by Donald Trump. I mean, he resembles Trump physically. He is a real estate developer. He is a shrewd businessman with a quick temper. And there is a line in the movie where he is referred to as “The Donald Trump of the West Coast.” He meets his demise by falling out of his office window of the high rise building he owns when one of the quakes occur. The character has Donald Trump written all over it.

While Hollywood may be hating on him, other entities draw on him for inspiration.

This too has been going on long before he got into politics.

The biggest example I can find is in the Radio Shack Catalogs.

By the way, I do not own the featured image on this page, Radio Shack does-it is straight from their 1996 catalog.

From 1996 until 2001, in order to sell Business Band radios, Radio Shack featured a picture that entailed a businessman in a suit and tie supervising a construction project and giving out commands over a Radio Shack Business Band radio. The model in the suit and tie is obviously a reference to Donald Trump, which I would have never realized had I not seen that aforementioned movie. On one side of him there is a black lady holding the building plans and on the other side, there is a hispanic man going over a checklist. The ironic part is that these two models on the sides of him come from ethnicities of people whom the media vehemently tries to put Donald Trump at odds with.

The reason why I say that the model in the suit and tie is an obvious reference to Donald Trump is that he definitely resembles him physically, he is in charge of a construction project. He appears to be barking orders over the radio. And he is dressed like a businessman. If he isn’t the owner of the construction project going on, he is likely an executive in charge of it.

So, basically, my theory is Radio Shack likely capitalized on Trump’s image and likeness in order to sell their rebadged Motorola and other manufacturer’s Business Band radios.

I’m not sure of their success though, because I don’t have access to their sales data.

For whatever reason though, in about 2004 or 2005, Radio Shack quit selling Business Band radios and this was a huge mistake in my opinion.

This mistake probably was a factor in them going under in the mid to late 2010s.

My biggest question behind all of this is:

Has anyone else noticed these things or am I the only one?

By the way, prior to me watching that earthquake movie, the only time I had ever heard of Donald Trump was on the rapper Nelly’s album Country Grammar. This may come as a shock to just about all of you and I’ve only realized it in the past few minutes, but the lyrics in that said album subconsciously inspired parts of my infamous “Grocer and Writer” stories!

If there is anything to be learned from all of this it is that controversy sells and the juicier any content is, the more profitable it becomes…

As a writer, I am well aware of this, though I have yet to earn a single red cent on anything I’ve written. However, when I write something controversial, I know that is what attracts my readers more than anything else.

I hope, you, the reader, find me informative and entertaining…

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A Review of the Midland WR-120EZ Standby Tabletop Weather Radio

Before you read, please know that I do not own the picture featured in the piece, but Midland USA does.

I know I am several months late with it, but finally, I’m writing my review on the Midland WR-120EZ Standby Tabletop Weather Radio.

I’ve been planning and wanting to write this positively since August 16, 2018, but have had several distractions.

I guess I am better late than never.

Anyway…

I purchased this awesome device at my local grocer, Rouse’s, on December 26, 2017, and have been using it on and off since.

I say on and off because back then I lived with my wife, now ex-wife, I kept it on a table next to the sofa in our living room.

However, I left her a few weeks later on January 18, 2018, and thankfully was able to keep it and most of my other valuables.

I moved in with an older friend that same day and I applied for a new apartment a little over a week later.

While living with this friend, the radio was pretty much picked up.

I moved into my apartment on May 1, 2018, and this weather radio has been a bedside companion ever since.

My divorce was finalized on October 11, 2018.

Okay, enough about the details of my divorce and other personal details, I’m just thankful that all of it is behind me and now I am even more thankful that I have a wonderful lady in my life whom I love and revere immensely.

Now, let’s focus on the product review at hand once again.

This awesome radio cost me $29.99+tax, when I purchased it. By the way, that is cheaper than Wal Mart, who sells it for $32.99+tax and not every Wal Mart carries it either.

By the way, the MSRP of this radio is $39.99 according to Midland’s website, so I got it for roughly $10 off the MSRP.

Especially in the South and the Midwest, many grocers frequently sell Weather Radios and usually for very good prices.

Case in point, earlier in 2017, I got several of the portable standby Midland Weather Radios, the HH54VP2, on clearance for either $5 or $10 apiece at another location of my local and favorite grocer, Rouse’s. I gave a few as gifts that year.

The Midland WR-120EZ is Public Alert certified, which means it will only activate alert when the emergency occurs specifically in the area it is set for. Not only that though, it can also be connected to adaptive devices so people with various disabilities can still be successfully alerted to an impending emergency.

The Midland WR-120EZ is a slight variant of the WR-120.

The main difference is that the EZ model doesn’t neccessisarily require one to know the FIPS code, rather it comes preset for every Parish, County, Borough or other administrative division pre-programmed in it.

All one must do is select his or her geographic and administrative location and be done with it.

Also, alert selections are customizable, meaning that the user can turn off alerts for most emergency events that do not pertain to them except for a Tornado Warning.

The alert siren is very loud and distinct and will indeed get every the attention of every user on the floor of a residential unit.

The speaker has a very clear and crisp audio provided the signal reception is on par.

The blue backlight on the LCD display is bright which is great for low light conditions, but thankfully can be turned off to conserve energy and make sleep more peaceful.

The buttons are easy to press and are quite sturdy, plus the button beep feature can indeed be disabled.

The telescoping antenna pulls in signals from about forty miles away, but does need adjusting from time to time, especially at greater distances from a weather radio transmitter.

The radio is powered by line current but also can be run on 3 AA batteries as a backup or to take the radio into a safe room for monitoring the progress of severe weather.

There is also a switch to turn the radio off for leaving on vacation or conserving the batteries during an extended power failure without messing up the clock.

This radio has a very loud alarm clock which wakes me up on most days.

The clock keeps time pretty accurately but is a little difficult to synchronize properly.

There are three LED indicator lights on the unit to allow the user to determine if the bulletin being issued was a Warning (Red), Watch (Orange) or Advisory (Yellow.)

The cabinet is made of no nonsense white.

My one complaint about this radio is that it should have a better signal amplification circuit to pull in weather broadcasts easier. And maybe better noise limiting circuits for those who live in close quarters with their neighbors. One of these, either the noise limiter or amplifier doesn’t work well enough and that frequently gives me problems with reception every now and then and I have to move the radio around the room to correct the problem. If I had to guess, I would say it’s the noise limiting circuits, because I do live in an apartment complex and yes, myself and all my neighbors have WiFi and other stuff that generates significant amounts of electrical noise.

Other than that, I would reccomend this radio to be used in every single residence, business and institution that is located whithin range of a weather broadcast, yes I do believe that weather radios should be equally common as smoke detectors.

By the way, I give this product a rating of 4.8 out of 5!

Shopping at Target for Gentleman’s EDC Gear

Target can be an excellent place for purchasing a gentleman’s EDC items.

Well, this statement was even more true years ago, but still is somewhat true even today.

I know, most people associate Target shoppers with upscale suburban women, but there are quite a few items in Target that are perfect for a gentleman.

However, as I previously mentioned, this was even more true years ago than today.

Many of my current and former EDC items were purchased at Target.

I don’t know if I am truly a gentleman or not. I try my durn well best to be one and I hope at least my girlfriend sees me as one.

Okay, enough about me.

The first time I shopped at a Target was in August of 2002. I was fifteen and almost three-quarters years old and one had recently been built in my metropolitan area.

My parents brought me along with my brother and sister to check the store out.

I was interested in what electronics were sold there and was a little impressed that they sold the Motorola FRS and GMRS radios, but they were all out of my price range.

Later that day we went to Wal Mart and I purchased a BellSouth 2231 FRS/GMRS transceiver for about $10. I had EDCed this radio, mostly because, I didn’t yet have a working cell phone to keep in touch with family and I also liked to communicate with the maintenance staff at my high school on there. In these days, I didn’t carry a knife or a flashlight, just a two-way radio, believe it or not.

Fast forward to Black Friday, November 29, 2002, my mom, my sister and I went to a few stores just to look around. The only other time I had seen my mom go shopping on Black Friday was in 1992 at Southland Mall. As much as my mom likes shopping, she hates to shop on Black Friday. I was looking around in the sporting goods section at Target and for the first time, I had seen a real Swiss Army Knife in real life. I saw a whole bunch of them, in fact. In those days, Target had a much wider selection of Swiss Army Knives than they currently do. And those sold at Target came bundled with equally useful accessories. More on that in a little bit. Prior to that, I had knock-offs of Swiss Army Knives, but they were all flimsy and dull. I didn’t purchase any that day, because I didn’t have enough money on me and my parents being overprotective would have not been happy if I bought a knife.

I also saw the Swiss backpacks and luggage sold there, but all of those were way out of my price range. I had a very rugged duffel bag which I would take with me whenever I could, so I wasn’t really in need of luggage at the time. This bag’s zipper busted on me sometime in 2007, though, so that is when I began trying different bags to carry my EDC items in.

Fast forward to the Summer of 2005, I had secured a job assisting the maintenance crew at my high school and the way I became friends with them was by talking to them over their radios!

I was eighteen and a half years old and had a good bit of disposable income with no bills, notes or rent to pay. Also since I was eighteen I could own a knife whether or not my parents wanted me to.

After work, many times I would shop at Target in the sporting goods sections. One day, in July of 2005, I purchased my first Swiss Army Knife, a Victorinox Sportsman. At some point, I had upgraded and gave it my best friend and I hope he still has it now.

Also in 2005, my interest in flashlights was coming back. Target had a wide selection of flashlights in their household section and many of them couldn’t be found anywhere else. There were many rugged, Aluminum pocket-sized flashlights sold there that weren’t sold elsewhere. There was Coast brand LED flashlights. There were Mini Maglites in all sorts of exotic colors as well as the standard colors. There were Inova (as in Emissive Energy Corporation, prior to the Nite Ize takeover) flashlights both in plastic and Aluminum that were the brightest LED flashlights at the time. There were also some unique brands such as Rock River or River Rock. Target does not have such a wide selection these days and I think it’s a shame. All of these would have been perfect EDC flashlights for a gentleman’s pocket

On the afternoon of January 27, 2006, I was shopping at my local Target and looking at Swiss Army Knives, which came bundled with very neat and equally useful accessories. The Super Tinker model came with a compact pair of Simmonds Binoculars. The Recruit ii came bundled with a Mini Maglite (which this is where I was initially inspired to pair a Swiss Army Knife with a Mini Maglite, as I believe all gentlemen should EDC these items together.) The Climber came bundled with some high-quality German-made Victorinox Scissors. That is what I had decided to purchase on that afternoon. The package sold for ~$30, but I know the knife alone was worth at least that and the scissors had to be worth another $35-$40, but they were free! My mom sometimes sews in her free time, so I knew these scissors would be perfect for her. I was 100% right too-she still uses them almost thirteen years later at the time I am writing this. In fact, she recently used them to fix the hem on my pants. I would misplace that knife a few days later, but then my mom found it again in December 2010. Since that time, I have kept it in a secure place because of its sentimental value.

In April of 2006, I had some cash given to me as Easter presents from family members, so I was in Target after school and saw an Inova Radiant 2 AA LED flashlight. At the time, Inova manufactured the most advanced LED flashlights or at least in my humble opinion. Also, they were American made, not like today. I still have this flashlight but unfortunately, it doesn’t work anymore. However, this flashlight did come in handy multiple times for the rest of high school and the beginning of trade school. I would sometimes EDC it if I knew I was going to a very dark area or needed a light with a longer run time.

In December of 2006, I purchased from Target a Victorinox Super Tinker with Simmonds Compact Binoculars. I still have both.

Sometime in 2006, Target cleared out all of these Swiss Army Knives with neat and useful accessories and this was a big mistake in my opinion.

In January of 2007, I purchased my first Blue Mini Maglite from Target, as my Black one was getting very beat up. I had it until I misplaced it at some point.

In February of 2009, I was shopping at a Super Target and purchased an Energizer 3 Watt Tactical LED flashlight. I had EDCed both on my job and in leisure time until I traded it to my best friend sometime in early 2010. I hope he still has it.

In July of 2009, I purchased my first Wenger SwissGear backpack until I upgraded with another in March of 2010 and again in September of 2011. All three were purchased at Target.

In March of 2015, I purchased another Energizer 185 Lumen Tactical LED flashlight at a Super Target on Clearance.

Around this time, Target began to stop selling some of the Tactical flashlights they once sold, another big mistake in my opinion.

A year later, in March of 2016, Target quit selling the Mini Maglites, which I was able to get a Silver one on Clearance, for about $4, which I keep in my glove box.

Also, in March of 2016, I ordered a Casio G-Shock Wristwatch, which I wore until June of 2018, but still have.

In April of 2016, I managed to purchase the Victorinox Recruit ii and Mini Maglite bundled together in mint condition on eBay, but this was previously sold at Target a decade before.

In the past two years, most of the flashlights sold at Target were only appropriate for a domestic setting, though there are a few exceptions. Also, their selection of Swiss Army Knives has very much dwindled.

However, the said retailer still carries some decent items that are geared towards gentleman.

For example, in February of 2017, I purchased a Coleman Illumilast 2AAA LED flashlight at a Super Target, which I EDC on and off and I even wrote a blog entry partially about. In November of 2017, I bought another Wenger SwissGear backpack, which I still use AND In December of 2017, I bought a Wenger SwissGear bifold wallet, which I also still use.

There are a few EDC items in the sporting goods section, such as an OutDoor Products tactical LED flashlight with a strike bezel, I purchased one in October of 2018 and currently EDC it, though the pocket clip broke off. Also, a couple of Gerber products are sold in the sporting goods section, such as a Gerber Dime Multitool.

So, Target COULD be a place for a gentleman to buy his EDC gear still but imagine how much better it could be if the retailer would start carrying more items designed for EDC.

I think the company has reasons why they don’t carry some of these items anymore, but my post will become political if I begin to elaborate why.

But how about making Target a place not only for ladies to shop but also for their husbands and boyfriends to come shopping with them and not being bored to tears?

Those are my thoughts and experiences.

I hope, you, the reader, have been informed and entertained…

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A Review of the NiteCore MT20A LED Flashlight

NOTE: I do NOT own the featured image on this page, it is the property of NiteCore…

I am NOT an aviator by any stretch of the imagination.

I have only been on an aircraft four times and every time I was merely a passenger.

However, I am quite well rounded on the subject of flashlights as just about everyone who knows me is well aware of.

On this evening of November 16, 2018, I will write a review of the NiteCore MT20A LED flashlight and how I think it is the best aviation flashlight for the money.

I have owned one of these since January of 2018 and it is also featured in a short story I had wrote in February 2018. By the way, when I wrote that story, I had not yet been on an aircraft. No, it was composed and inspired strictly from my countless hours of researching flashlights.

I had purchased mine on eBay and I probably paid less than the MSRP, since the said website usually sells items for less than what they are suggested to sell for.

This flashlight only set me back $36.44 with free shipping. NiteCore’s website, to my knowledge, does not list an MSRP, but I would venture to guess it should cost no more than $50 brand new.

In other words, this flashlight should neither break the bank nor tie up too much of your credit line.

It is constructed of very durable Aerospace Aluminum, comes with a pocket clip as well as a lanyard, a ring, and a pouch. It features a forward clicky switch. The maximum light output of Turbo Mode 360 Lumens lasts for 1 hour and 45 minutes. The light settings can be set to lower outputs of High Mode 240 Lumens for 2 hours and 15 minutes, Mid Mode 120 Lumens for 5 hours and 45 minutes, Low Mode 17 Lumens for 24 hours and Ultra Low Mode 1 Lumen for 180 hours. In addition to those diverse light settings, it also has a dedicated red LED for preserving night vision. And not only that, there is a tactical strobe for self-defense, an SOS strobe for emergency location when summoning help and a red beacon mode for locating the flashlight in a dark room. Settings are changed by pressing buttons on the side of the light engine module to cycle through the different modes. The flashlight has an incredible memory and will always switch on to the mode it was last used in. It is impact resistant for a fall on concrete at a height of up to 1 Meter. It also has a waterproof rating of IPX-8, which means it can be submerged to a depth of 2 Meters. If you aren’t sold as of yet, might I add that this flashlight runs on two common, everyday AA Alkaline or NiMH batteries? This gives it a clear advantage over Sure Fire’s American made Aviator flashlights which run on those expensive and exotic CR123A batteries. In my opinion, this flashlight is the best flashlight and possibly product in general ever to come out of Mainland China-change my mind!

I have edced this flashlight on an off since January of 2018 and it has had a permanent residence in my Swiss Gear edc backpack when not on my person.

As I have said before, I am not an aviator by any stretch of the imagination, but I do think this is an ideal flashlight for all aviators and I will back up my claim in the following sentences:

First of all, Turbo Mode is ideal for preflight inspection of the aircraft. This setting should allow the user to find any defects in the aircraft’s body that need to be corrected prior to flight.

Also, the High Mode could be used for doing maintenance and repairs on the aircraft and the technician or pilot would be able to see all of the dark areas of the aircraft’s mechanical features.

Yet, Mid Mode could be used when walking at night to and from the hangar or airport lounge.

There’s more, Low Mode could be used for navigating around in an unfamiliar hotel room at night.

Ultra Low Mode could be used for reading your favorite literature or using the remote control without disturbing your roommate in the hotel room at night.

The dedicated red LED light feature is probably what makes this ideal for aviators more than anything else as it allows the pilot to read instruments and charts or perform minor cockpit repairs during a nighttime flight without degrading his or her night vision. That feature alone should sell the flashlight to any aviator out there in need of a flashlight!

The optional red LED Beacon Mode will allow the owner to quickly locate this flashlight even in the most cluttered of baggage.

Wait, there’s more, and these next features would prove indispensable should the something catastrophic happen:

The Tactical Strobe could help fight off a hijacker, by disorienting him or her. Also, the lanyard holes that recess on either side of the tail cap could do some damage to the hijacker’s face, eyes or teeth if struck hard enough, further disorienting him or her. A hard enough blow to the hijacker’s temple or windpipe could completely neutralize the situation. Take this advice at your own risk as the hijacker may also be a skilled fighter.

The SOS Strobe could be used in the case of a downed aircraft either on land or at sea (because it is waterproof) to identify your location to rescue crews on a dark night.

So, to all my aviator friends out there, I hope you all can see that this flashlight is a useful and equally budget-friendly option for your occupational illumination.

And not just aviators, but anyone who works in the transportation and logistics industries at night would quickly fall in love with the NiteCore MT20A.

This flashlight could also be ideal for boat and ship captains in the wheelhouse, for similar reasons, provided they keep it out of the engine room and away from any flammable cargo.

Long-haul truck drivers and locomotive engineers could also appreciate this flashlight for nighttime operations, again provided they keep it away from any flammable cargo and make durn sure to turn it off while refueling.

The only gripes I have about this flashlight are two and they are:

Why can’t the main LED be a Warm White, especially for inspection and maintenance purposes, but also for Medevac pilots to better examine patients?

AND

Why can’t American companies makes something like this in an American factory?

This therefore concludes my review of the NiteCore MT20A, I hope you, the reader, are now more informed on your flashlight purchasing options…