A Review of the Radio Shack Pro-404 Handheld Scanner

So, I had been interested in radio electronics since toddlerhood, but the interest didn’t come to fruition until the age of fourteen.

Likewise, I had been interested in trains since infancy, but somehow the interest became dormant until the age of seventeen, when I was walking around Schriever, Louisiana, and saw a train up close for the first time. This was in the Spring of 2004. I began downloading pictures of trains and trying to listen to them on my scanner but had very limited success with the latter. Then in June of 2004, I had a mental breakdown and was to be medicated for the rest of my life. The medication I took exacerbated my anhedonia, which is the inability to have interests or feel any kind of pleasure. I suffered from this until January of 2006 when I was prescribed a much better medication known as Geodon. By that time my train interest sadly went dormant again. It was so dormant that I rode on a train in June of 2006 and didn’t think much of it, whereas most people who love trains as I have felt at certain times in my life would have felt a state of euphoria just below that of worshipping God in Spirit and Truth and being overcome by His presence just from seeing a train, much less getting to ride on one. But I didn’t think much of it. It would be this way until some time in 2010 when I was attending a church near a mainline railroad and spending a considerable amount of time near the same mainline as well. In September of 2011, I quit my job, mostly due to my hours being drastically cut, a demotion from a position where I performed better than anyone else on-site, and just the toxic environment I worked in. I was able to live well enough off of my disability income in addition to my then-wife-now-ex-wife’s disability income.

It was during this time that my interest in trains came back in full force and stronger than ever before.

I planned to purchase a cheap scanner to take with me whilst foaming and decided on a Radio Shack Pro-404 and that is what this piece will be a review thereof. I had watched several YouTube videos that my fellow foamers created either reviewing this scanner or using it trackside. It seemed to be the perfect scanner for foaming. In those days and still, very much today though sadly changing, one only needs an entry-level scanner to listen to railroad traffic. I know times are changing, though, with this wretched Nexedge being slowly adopted as the new communication standard for railroads and therefore needing a top-tier model scanner to decode such transmissions. That was a factor in my decision to start listening to marine communications which I began in October of 2015 and still do to the present. Watching boats had sadly now taken priority over watching trains although I still think trains are much cooler and likely always will.

In mid-December of 2011, a friend owed me some money which I used to purchase a Radio Shack Pro-404. From December 2011 until March 2014, this was my EDC scanner and I had it until it died on me in July of 2014.

The Radio Shack Pro-404 was the first scanner that I dedicated to my foaming hobby. But I also used it for listening to fire departments and business band users among other things.

The one frequency I wanted to listen to most was 160.290 MHz (AAR Channel 12) which is assigned to BNSF’s Lafayette Subdivision. I also listened to other railroad frequencies on it such as 160.515 MHz (AAR Channel 27) which is heavily used in Louisiana and system-wide by Union Pacific, 160.920 MHz (AAR Channel 54), and 161.190 MHz (AAR Channel 72) which are used by Canadian National DBA Illinois Central in Southeast Louisiana and 160.260 MHZ (AAR Channel 10) which is used by Kansas City Southern on their mainline from Shreveport to New Orleans.

Sadly the particular unit I bought was defective and I didn’t fully realize this until it was out of warranty. The only railroad channel it received with any consistency was 160.260 MHz even most of the time I was 40 miles away from the dispatch tower. In those days BNSF’s Lafayette Subdivision mainline was my favorite railroad line mostly because it is and was the closest mainline railroad to me and because it is an ex-Southern Pacific line. When I became a full-blown foamer in 2011 and learned about the Southern Pacific and how it was split between Union Pacific and BNSF after merging with Union Pacific, I was angry because I had developed a tremendously strong prejudice in favor of the old Espee. I was married at the time, but as my marriage started to deteriorate, I had vowed not to ever date a young lady who was born on or after September 11, 1996-the date of Southern Pacific’s death. I pretty much stayed true to this vow, although in late 2020 and early 2021, there was one very brief online relationship with a young lady born several months after that date. So even though I resented BNSF for taking that former Southern Pacific mainline, I still wanted to tune them in and this scanner just could barely pull anything in on the required frequency. I even tried high-performance antennas but to no such avail. Union Pacific’s frequency came in but I had to be closer to one of their mainlines than I usually was and voice transmission on that frequency was so sporadic due to the heavy use of Centralized Traffic Control. I don’t remember how well this scanner performed on the CN DBA IC channels I programmed for it. In July of 2013, I traveled to Texas for the first time. The trip was with my now ex-in-laws and I didn’t have to pay anything. I did a little bit of foaming in San Antonio, and this scanner performed slightly better, to the point that I was disappointed when I had to go back to Louisiana.

My then-wife and I would make frequent trips to the New Orleans area to go shopping and of course, I would use my Radio Shack Pro-404 to tune in railroad traffic. It performed better in the New Orleans area and maybe even better in Texas. Still, for the one frequency, I wanted to hear most it wouldn’t even stop on but my other scanners would.

By the Fall of 2013, I could tell that this scanner was not as great as I expected it to be or as great as the ones I saw on YouTube. I had assumed that all Radio Shack Pro-404 scanners were like this but was wrong to assume this. I was an immature Christian in the early 2010s though I had been born again for almost a decade. I also did not consider the possibility of spiritual attacks, especially those on the personal possessions of Christians. I still had some superstitions and assumed that this scanner was cursed, which maybe I was partially correct, but not cursed entirely in the way I was thinking back then.

As obsessed as I can be with trains I know that my interest in them never was an idol but, rather it brought me closer to my God. Case in point, I was in Sunday School back when I attended a church near the aforementioned BNSF mainline. My then-Pastor-Teacher was speaking to the class and mentioned how so many people are not in church on Sundays and instead are engaging in worldly pleasures. At that moment a train passed through town and I heard it loud and clear and I felt spiritually vindicated in that moment, knowing I was in church. My then wife smiled approvingly at me but on the flip side of that, she would curse me lower than a dog because I liked trains so much. I think she is a borderline narcissist because she hated everything that brought me happiness anything besides her that made me happy was a threat to her ego. But I truly believe God approves of my train hobby because it is good, clean, wholesome, and harmless fun and every time God allows me to enjoy this hobby my heart is filled with pure gratitude and delight towards Him. And I know for a fact that God is glorified by such. So this could explain why this particular scanner was under spiritual attack. Furthermore, the friend who owed me the money which I used to purchase this scanner would also take me out drinking even though I was a married man. As a Christian, I felt so out of place in a bar room, although the food was delicious and the beer tasted wonderful at the time. I no longer think beer or any other strong drink tastes wonderful and praise God in Jesus’ Name because he delivered me from such desires! But because of the less than noble means by which I acquired this scanner, I can see it not working properly when trying to use it for a godly hobby and I now chalk it up to spiritual attacks.

To further add weight to this testimony, sometime after Hurricane Ida, I saw another Radio Shack Pro-404 for sale on eBay, and feeling nostalgic for those times when I was a full-blown foamer, I purchased it. When I used this new one, it worked very well. I remember taking it on a camping trip that the men from my current church had done and it was pulling in Aircraft, Marine, and dare I say even Railroad Traffic beautifully. While the campsite was close to an airport and a major waterway it was further from any railroad lines than my usual listening posts. I still have this newer unit and while I don’t EDC it, I still use it from time to time, especially if I want to hear Air Traffic because that is where this is a winner!

I will say that GRE made much better scanners than their successor company Whistler, but that is something for a different blog piece.

Below is a list of the features and specifications of the Radio Shack Pro-404 along with my commentary:

200 Memory Channels in 10 Banks-More than enough for anyone who wishes to use this for any sort of logistics listening hobby. Along with many memory spaces to spare for other listening interests.

Automatic AM/FM Selection-I wish there was a choice between AM or FM for any frequency but this is symptomatic of an entry-level scanner.

PC Programming/Cloning Jack-The cable needed for PC programming is not included and the software only supports Windows-not cool!

Specific Area Message Encoding for Weather Alerts-This could be helpful if used by a Skywarn Volunteer or storm chaser or just someone who needs access to reliable weather information whilst outdoors and on the go.

1 Priority Channel-I never saw this as a useful feature on any scanner because it interrupts reception on all other channels.

Signal Stalker (GRE’s Spectrum Sweeper)-very helpful for detecting unlisted nearby frequencies. This feature alone has lent tremendous aid to the scanning hobby in general.

Orange Backlight for Display Reading in Low or No Light conditions-This is another great feature but I wish it could be toggled on or off instead of pressing the light button and activating the light for only a few seconds.

Earphone Jack for Discrete Listening-this is a standard feature on just about every scanner I’ve handled.

Frequency Coverage:
29 MHz-54 MHz FM-I wish this could go down to 25 MHz and receive AM as well.
108 MHz-136.9875 MHz AM-The reception on this band is great but now partially obsolete because this band has narrowed down to 8.33 kHz steps as opposed to 12.5 kHz steps.
137 MHz-174 MHz FM-I wish the lower portions of this band (137-150) could also do AM because of some military and amateur radio users. It is also partially obsolete for railroad traffic because of the 5 kHz steps as opposed to the new 7.5 kHz steps and Nexedge.
380 MHz-512 MHz FM-The 380-420 “Feds and Military” portion is mostly obsolete on this scanner because most of the traffic there is either digital or trunked or both. But that wasn’t as much the case from 2008 to 2013 when this scanner was on the market. Also, this band goes in 12.5 kHz steps which made it partially obsolete in 2018.

5 Pre-Programmed Service Searches-This feature originated on the Radio Shack Pro-82/Pro-2018/Pro-2054 and was carried down to their successor models, the Pro-404 being the direct descendant of the Pro-82.

These service searches are accessed by dedicated keys for each one:
A key with a ship icon indicating VHF Marine.
A key with a flame icon indicating Public Safety.
A key with an airplane icon indicating Civil Aviation.
A key with an antenna indicating Amateur Radio Operators.
A key with a cloud and lightning bolt indicating Weather Band.

I think there should also be a key with a $ icon to indicate Business Band, a key with an eagle icon to indicate Federal Government and Military, and, of course, a key with a RR crossing icon to indicate Railroad.

Fun fact, the original ancestor of Pro-404 is the Radio Shack Pro-32 from 1987, which was the first handheld [Radio Shack] scanner to have 200 Memory Channels and the same frequency coverage.

I get that many scanner listeners want to hear Public Safety and Government communications but typically a premium scanner is required to do so. However, with a Radio Shack Pro-404 and any of its current successors, one can still hear things like many local business and retail operations (very interesting stuff, especially on the itinerant business frequencies), fire and EMS dispatch calls ( very similar to what is heard on Emergency! and Chicago Fire, and is still overwhelmingly in the clear. In real life, the Chicago Fire Department’s dispatch calls are encrypted but Los Angeles County Fire Departments are still in the clear!) almost all civilian aircraft traffic, Amateur Radio operators in FM mode on 70 centimeters, 2 meters, 6 meters, and some of the 10 meters bands (this is quite interesting at Ham Fests.) Civil aviation is also available and that is where this scanner performs best! Then there are my two favorites: Railroad and Marine. I’ve been defaulting more to Marine in recent years because not only are the days of railroad traffic in the clear numbered but there’s also the advent of Positive Train Control which may do away with railroad voice communications on the 160-161 MHz band altogether. Whereas VHF Marine will still be in the clear for years maybe even decades to come.

If it were between 2008 and 2013 and there was no demonic assignment on my first Radio Shack Pro-404, I could give it a solid four out of five stars simply because there are no additional dedicated searches and the scanner itself isn’t as compact as its competitor Uniden’s counterparts from the same era. The second one I purchased works very well even in 2022 and while it isn’t my main scanner, I still have some use for it, at least as a backup.

I guess this, therefore, concludes my review of the Radio Shack Pro-404 Handheld Scanner.

I hope that you, the reader, have been informed, enlightened, and maybe even entertained.

May God richly bless you as He has blessed me!

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A Review of the Radio Shack 12-795 Multiband Radio Receiver

So, in order to satisfy all involved parties, I hereby declare that I do not own the featured image on this page and I give credit to whomever credit is due. I cropped it out of the Radio Shack Catalog.

I had truly been fascinated by radio electronics since toddlerhood. However, my fascination became very strong at the age of fourteen and a half, in the Summer of 2001.

In the Spring of 2004, at age seventeen, I discovered the Radio Shack 12-795, which is a higher-end multi-band radio receiver.

Though I greatly wanted one, I could not justify the brand new price of $99.99+tax and even when it went on clearance, I still had other financial consumer priorities. Around that time that I wanted one, I was hoping to live in Schriever, Louisiana when I grew up and use that radio to tune in to Air Traffic and Railroad Traffic amongst other things. Now I do live in Schriever and keep reading because I also now own one of these radios.

I found one in fairly decent condition on eBay earlier this year and that is what this piece will be a review thereof.

I was able to secure the funds for one of these. It was second-hand and not in the best of condition. There are indeed a few scratches and one of the handles is broken, but receiver performance is up to par. It takes a few seconds to start up but once everything is ready, it pulls in most signals exceptionally well.

Below is a list of the RF bands it is capable of receiving:
Medium Wave AM Band 530 kHz-1710 kHz
FM Broadcast Band 88 MHz-108 MHz
Shortwave World Band 1 4 MHz-6 MHz
Shortwave World Band 2 7 MHz-12MHz
Class D Citizen’s Band 26.96 MHz-27.4 MHz
VHF TV Band 1 59 MHz-88 MHz (Channels 2-6)
VHF TV Band 2 178 MHz-216.5 MHz (Channels 7-13)

The two VHF television bands are now obsolete and I wish they would be repurposed for something else, especially since real estate in the radio spectrum is a very hot commodity these days.

On Airband, performance is more sensitive than that of a handheld scanner and maybe even some base scanners!

I haven’t used it much for the VHF High Band, although I would one day like to take it with me when watching boats since it could probably pull in several VHF Marine channels at the same time. A squelch circuit would have been very appropriate for this, but I digress.

Class D Citizen’s Band is questionable since I am a few feet from the main highway with lots of truck traffic and I barely hear anything on there. I’m not ready to completely write off CB receiving performance as of yet, because for two reasons: 1) I live inside a camper which hinders receptions considerably. 2) CB traffic even from truckers isn’t what it used to be.

Medium Wave AM performs very well, dare I say almost as well as my GE Superadio 3! It even has a turnable purpose-built antenna for finding the direction of the broadcast signal.

I was able to tune in FM broadcast and some signals came in better than on the stereo system that came preinstalled in my camper!

On shortwave, AKA world band is where this radio is a real winner, albeit this model only gets the lower portions of that band. Even though like Class D CB, shortwave broadcasting is on the decline, I can get a fairly decent amount of shortwave broadcasts and they come booming in nicely. For that reason, I keep this radio on my table (as my recent YouTube videos suggest) so I can listen in on Christian but also foreign and fringe broadcasts.

Weather Band comes in very nicely even though I am approximately 24 miles from the transmitter I listen to (KIH23.)

Other features include:
A microphone jack for use as a portable public address system.

A selectable Automatic Frequency Control circuit for pulling in those weaker FM stations.

A Fine Tuning knob in addition to the main tuning knob.

An External Antenna Jack.

A Tone Control Knob.

A Signal and Battery Power Meter.

It can be run on 120 Volt 50/60 Hz AC mains, DC vehicle power, or 4 D sized batteries.

The dimensions are:
14.6 inches (372 mm) wide 10.2 inches (260 mm) tall and 5.2 inches (132 mm) thick

There is a telescopic rod antenna for FM, Shortwave, and VHF Air and High Band reception.

As previously mentioned there is also a turnable antenna for AM reception which can be used for signal direction finding or just for better reception.

I think this device would have performed well on a boat, or out in the field, at least back in the day. However, in 2022 I am still finding a good bit of use for it and I don’t regret my purchase. I mean I waited eighteen years before owning one.

If it were 1999-2004, I would give it a 4.5 out of 5 stars and I am taking off half a point because of the high price it had back then because it would have cost between $152.18 and $172.55 +tax in 2022 dollars.

I would also give it a 4.5 out of 5 stars in 2022 because I wish it would have been constructed of more sturdy materials like its predecessor model was. There’s also the lack of a squelch circuit which can make listening between two-way transmissions very annoying to those around me.

However, as for audio quality, numerous features, and tuning sensitivity, this radio is a solid performer.

I guess this, therefore, concludes my review of the Radio Shack 12-795 Multiband Receiver.

I hope that you, the reader, have been informed, enlightened, and maybe even entertained.

May God richly bless you!

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A Review of the Uniden BC125AT Handheld Scanner Radio

Just to make sure we’re all on the same wavelength and properly tuned in, let me declare that I am not the owner of the featured image on this page. Here I give all credit whereupon credit is due.

I have known the existence of scanner radios since the Summer of 2001. I purchased my first scanner radio in September of 2002 and since have owned many, including duplicates.

Very few of my scanners are capable of tuning in the Military Aircraft band, mostly because such scanners are cost-prohibitive, especially for someone receiving disability benefits.

However, I had an increasing interest in tuning in said band, especially when I found out that I will be taking a road trip this Fall.

The usual scanners in my possession that are capable of tuning in the Military Aircraft band are either not portable (Realistic/Radio Shack Pro-2004) or too expensive to be taken out and about (Radio Shack Pro-106.)

By the way, when traveling out and about, I usually use an entry-level second-hand scanner, so if it gets lost or stolen, it won’t be severe of a financial blow.

Still, since the road trip entails traveling through the D. C. area, I would like to hear some military air traffic, but I couldn’t justify taking my Radio Shack Pro-106.

Meet the Uniden BC125AT, a mid-grade handheld scanner that is capable of tuning in the Military Aircraft band in addition to many other neat features. And that scanner is what this blog piece will be a review thereof.

I had wanted one of these since at least the mid-2010s, but I had other expenses during most of that time. I had owned two Uniden BC75XLTs and several second-hand Uniden BC72XLTs and one Uniden SR30C. These are what I would normally EDC and I use them primarily for listening to Railroad and Marine traffic but when that gets slow or isn’t available, Fire Dispatch Calls and Civil Air traffic. None of these are capable of picking up Military Air Traffic, though, much to my disappointment.

So, I had a little extra money in late March of 2022 and ordered a Uniden BC125AT brand new and at a significant discount. However, communications with the seller and the entire logistics aspect was a living nightmare.

When it finally came in mid-April 2022, I was thoroughly impressed, not just by the capability of receiving Military Air Traffic, but also by many other neat and useful features which I will discuss shortly. I had almost forgotten about the nightmare it was to get it delivered.

After unboxing, taking it home, and programming it, I set it to scan and was thoroughly impressed by the speed, audio quality, and sensitivity.

I also appreciate the fact that it will automatically discover whether a signal is AM or FM, something usually reserved for higher-end scanners, not mid-grade and entry level.

Close Call runs in the background by default, and I didn’t turn it off, because it is indeed an interesting feature. For those who don’t know Close Call, Spectrum Sweeper and Signal Stalker are all similar features on scanners that are designed to detect nearby transmissions, especially on frequencies that aren’t listed.

As per my current setup, I plan to use this scanner, especially when traveling, but also keep a Uniden BC72XLT in a special slot of my car, especially for railroad and marine listening. I also have a Uniden BC92XLT in my living room cabinet to take out while walking. I have other scanners as well, some as old as me (35 at the time of this piece) but still working!

I do plan on at least a few road trips this year and these trips will be near military bases so I cannot wait to hear all that is to be heard.

The friend with whom I go on these trips usually goes out to eat or do other things on the town, but, my ritual is to wash my face and shave as soon as I enter the motel room and listen to the radio (AM/FM) while shaving. Then, once I am settled in, I use the scanner in Search mode to hear all that I can hear.

I plan to use this to monitor Military Air Traffic while on the road, as well. Uniden makes decent scanning equipment so I don’t think I will be disappointed.

Uniden had this to say, about this scanner:

“Listen in and stay informed with the Uniden BC125AT Compact Bearcat® Handheld Scanner. This sophisticated scanner with 500 alpha-tagged channels boasts a convenient compact design and loads of features. Close Call RF capture technology instantly tunes to signals from nearby transmitters and the Do Not Disturb Mode prevents Close Call checks during a transmission. With this Bearcat scanner, you can listen to military and civilian air bands. You can also get important weather and safety alerts.”

Below are some features and technical specifications of the Uniden BC125AT (taken from Uniden’s Website) and my commentary following:

Listen to Over 40,000 Frequencies The Bearcat BC125AT handheld scanner gives you direct access to over 40,000 frequencies. You can listen to both civilian and military bands, including police, ambulance, fire, weather, marine, aircraft, railroad, civil air, amateur radio services, and racing.-While not digital nor capable of 700/800 MHz, this covers everything I wish to here and more.
Search More Efficiently with 500 Alpha-Tagged Channels Finding the channel you want to listen to is easy, with 500 channels divided into 10 storage banks. Organize your channels by department, location, area of interest, or any other way you prefer. Alpha Tagging lets you assign names to your channels, so you can keep track of who you are listening to.-The Alpha Tagging is convenient for those who cannot remember what frequencies are used by whom. Storage banks allow frequencies pertaining to a certain interest to be grouped together.
Lightweight, Portable Design Take this Bearcat handheld radio scanner with you on the road, or on outings. It packs plenty of features in a lightweight, portable design. The orange backlight display is easy to read, even in low light conditions.-Perfect for travel and EDC use. I’m glad scanners are now portable, compact and dare I say even concealable.
Stay Safe and Informed with Weather Scan Stay safe and informed with easy scans of NOAA weather channels. The weather scanning feature makes it easy to track storms and changing weather conditions. You can also activate Weather Alert mode to receive severe weather warnings.-This could be useful if severe weather was to pop up and one isn’t carrying a Weather Radio.
Pre-Sets for Popular Channels Get started listening right away with convenient pre-sets for the most popular searches. Frequencies are preset in ten separate Police, Fire/Emergency, Ham, Marine, Railroad, Civil Air, Military Air, CB Radio, FRS/GMRS/MURS, and Racing search bands. This makes it easy to find channels that interest you.-This feature is truly a God-send, especially when wanting to tune in frequencies of a certain interest and not knowing what is active in a given area.
Here is the frequency range and typical users:

25.0000 to 27.9950 MHz-Class D Citizen’s Band and Free Band.
28.0000 to 54.0000 MHz-10 Meter Amateur Radio, VHF Low Band and 6 Meter Amateur Radio.
108.0000 to 136.9916 MHz-Civillian Aviation Band.
137.0000 to 174.0000 MHz-Military Land Mobile, 2 Meter Amateur Radio, VHF High Band and Federal Government.
225.0000 to 380.0000 MHz-Military Aviation Band.
400.0000 to 512.0000 MHz-Federal Government, 70 Cm Amateur Radio, UHF Standard Band, UHF T-Band.

This is indeed a great scanner and I can’t wait to use it to its full potential. My one complaint is that I wish scanners were built to military standards for ruggedness and water resistance, but likely wicked people in high places don’t want such products to be made. And I will gladly retract that statement if I can be unequivocally proven otherwise.

I know it is made in Vietnam and their scanners can be hit or miss, but so far it has performed very well.

Since I have only had it a few weeks and it has served me well thus forth, I will give it a five out of five stars.

I guess this, therefore, concludes my review of the Uniden BC125AT. I hope that you, the reader, have been informed, enlightened, and maybe even entertained. May God richly bless you!

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A Review of the Casio G-Shock DW5600

Okay, so you and I and everyone else know, I do not own the featured image on this page. I must need to give credit whereupon credit is due and in this case, it is due to Casio.

I was given my first wristwatch for my sixth birthday. Throughout my childhood and teen years, I wore a watch on and off.

At the age of eighteen, I began to permanently wear a wristwatch.

While I have been through many of them, I am highly partial to Casio or the Swiss brand Wenger. I do hope to own a SwissGear watch one day as well. Well, SwissGear is basically a spinoff of Wenger.

Bombshell, I find Casio watches to keep better time than Wenger or Victorinox, both of which are Swiss-made!

I have owned two Wenger watches, one Victorinox watch, and one Victorinox travel alarm clock and I have concluded that Casio watches (even their entry-level models) keep better time than the Victorinox or Wenger.

Now, all of the Swiss time measuring devices I have owned are Quartz controlled. I never owned any mechanical models and that is due to me being on a disability pension and therefore a limited income.

While I am mentioning how the Swiss are known for high-quality time measuring devices, I must add that they make any sort of measuring instrument very well. I had emailed Victorinox a time or two petitioning them to make high precision, pocket thermometers for those employed not only in the foodservice industry but also in HVAC and other fields where accurate temperature measurement is a must. They probably could also make some fine kitchen timers for use in a culinary setting. Unfortunately, Victorinox never replied to any of those emails. It’s their loss.

So, I cannot comment on how accurate a mechanical Swiss movement is compared to its Japanese, Chinese, or especially Russian counterparts. I’d assume it would be superior, but I cannot say for sure. I mean, the Swiss are historically known for accurate time keepings instruments and that is likely because the Swiss are a highly punctual people.

But the Japanese are also a, dare I say, equally punctual people, so much so, that it is reported in the newspaper whenever a commuter train is not on time!

However, then it comes to an electronic Quartz movement, the Japanese are the clear winners, hands down, compared to the Swiss.

The Japanese and by some proxy, the Chinese are just that talented, especially when it comes to electronics.

My first Casio watch was one I purchased at Sears in the Summer of 2006 while shopping for clothing and tools to pursue higher education. I don’t remember the model right off hand but it was sure accurate and I had it synchronized with the time clock at my job. I had it until some point in 2008 when the band broke whilst moving a dresser.

I then switched to Timex and my favorite Timex watch was the Easy Reader with the white face, black numerals/red numerals for military time and day, and date at the three o’clock position. I wore it for three years straight from 2010 to 2013 and was disappointed when it gave out. I emailed Timex to ask if they would repair or replace it since a policewoman whom I had befriended told me that Timex would do so. The company replied in an email saying that the Easy Reader is not a supported model. I was ticked. I vowed to never buy a Timex again. While I have been tempted to buy another Timex a few times, I never gave in to it and it has been approximately nine years of keeping this vow at the time I am writing this piece.

I eventually switched back to Casio and aside from a few cheap non-name-brand models I wore in 2015, I wore Casios.

Up until 2015, I had preferred an analog face of a watch. But it had to be one with an increment for each minute, hence why I loved the Timex Easy Reader so much. In the latter parts of 2015, I had purchased a Casio F-91W. Yes, that is known as the terrorist watch, because it is worn by radical islamic terrorists and also used as a timer on improvised explosive devices. However, as I mentioned a time or two before, it was popular with law enforcement and firefighters in the Parish in which I grew up. I was impressed by the accuracy of the Casio F-91, that I began to look at more upscale digital Casio watches. I had then begun to read about the Casio G-Shock line of wristwatches and became an immediate fan of them. In March of 2016, I purchased an entry-level Casio G-Shock DW5600 from Target’s website. It came in a few days later and that is what this piece will be a review thereof.

As soon as it was delivered to me, I opened up the packaging and synchronized it with my now ex-wife’s Atomic Clock receiver.

Subsequently, I would wear it almost non-stop for the next two years.

I was thoroughly impressed by its ability to withstand all sorts of impact.

But what impressed me, even more, was the accuracy at which it kept time.

Those of you who know me well enough are aware that I synchronize my watches and other independent clocks with the U.S. Government’s Atomic Clock on the first of every month.

For the two years that I wore it, it was maybe off two seconds at most from the Atomic Clock when I would synchronize it again on the first.

I never had a more accurate wristwatch prior or sense!

Also in 2016 was when I started to teach myself how to cook.

This watch in addition to having the main time, the date including the day and year, and a stopwatch also have a countdown timer. This feature proved to be very helpful with meal preparation when the cooking time was time-sensitive.

It also withstands humidity, diverse temperatures, and the impacts of everyday life very well.

For those of you who read my recipe page, you all know that I had mentioned should I ever come into a significant amount of money, I would start my own restaurant known as, “The Dirty Drip Pan.” In fact, that is the name of my recipe page on this blog.

One thing I would do should I hire additional cooks would be to purchase them this very wristwatch and take it out of his or her first paycheck but then reimburse them the cost of the wristwatch after a year of employment.

Even though most users this watch would be employed as a public safety first responder or many positions in several military branches or even in a civilian job that is physically demanding and needs accurate timekeeping independent of a computer or cell phone, I think it also would be perfect for a cook in a restaurant. Shucks, it served me very well cooking for myself and my family. I would later use another Casio G-Shock to assist me in cooking for my former neighbors.

I have taken this watch with me on several road trips and vacations, and swam or rode on waterslides while wearing it. I also live in South Louisiana where the temperature can fluctuate and the humidity is unbearable at times. Still, this watch kept near-perfect time and as I said before more accurately than any other watch I have ever owned.

In June of 2018, I had upgraded to a Victorinox and a Wenger wristwatch but was highly disappointed in them. Around this time, the battery on my G-Shock DW5600 began to give out and since I had other watches, I could not justify traveling the distance to the only place that services Casio watches in my regional area to have the work properly done. I ended up keeping it in my dresser where it was when Hurricane Ida and Tropical Storm Nicolas ruined it and many of my other possessions.

While I do enjoy the G-Shock G-100 which I have worn since January of 2020, I would hope to someday buy a replacement of the DW5600 or at least one of its variants. I would especially use it when cooking although it could be used in many other applications throughout my daily life although it is overkill to a degree for someone with my lifestyle.

I know I have a knack for discovering unrealized markets for certain products and this piece is proof!

If I had to give a rating of the Casio G-Shock DW5600, it would be 4.75 out of 5 stars and the only reason why I took off a quarter of a point is that I wish it would be sold with a ten-year battery instead of a lousy three-year battery.

So this, therefore, concludes my review of the Casio G-Shock DW5600.

I hope that you, the reader, have been informed, enlightened, and maybe even entertained.

May God richly bless you!

A Review of the PowerTac Valor Tactical LED Flashlight

Just to let everyone out there know, I am not the owner of the featured image on this particular page, I give all credit whereupon credit is due, in this case, it would be to PowerTac.

I think anyone who has read this blog of mine for any amount of time knows that I have been fascinated by flashlights since infancy.

At the age of sixteen, I discovered the modern or at least modern (for their time) tactical flashlights.

To be clear, during that time (2003) a tactical flashlight ran on those Lithium high-capacity camera batteries and utilized high output Xenon lamp modules.

The first tactical flashlights, depending on whom you may ask, were either those angle head models that were introduced during World War 2 and perfected during Vietnam or the Kel Lite of 1968 which was the first flashlight to be constructed of Aircraft Aluminum and meant to robustly withstand the brutality of law enforcement use. I find it almost amusing that the Kel Lite was invented right around the time when law enforcement began to be faced with mass civil unrest, which was an aspect of the second half of the 1960s.

The tactical flashlight of 2020 is more diverse than those that I previously mentioned, but it typically entails a compact flashlight constructed of either aircraft or aerospace grade Aluminium, with an LED system that is powerful enough to provide situational awareness in low light or no light conditions and also temporarily blind an opponent enough to have the advantage in any violent or otherwise threatening confrontation. Additional bonuses would include a strobe feature that can be used for signaling others in your team or further visually disabling an opponent in a fight and a crenelated strike bezel to use as an offensive weapon in combat. And of course, most tactical flashlights should have a decent degree of water resistance (especially for the Navy SEALS and other specialized units carrying out amphibious missions) and an equally decent degree of impact resistance, a feature which would prove useful and be popular for just about every flashlight user. Sales personnel of the 1960s and very early 1970s Kel Lite were trained to give a demonstration of firing a .38 Special Revolver (most likely a Colt Trooper, because that was the chosen sidearm of American police personnel decades until the War on Drugs became heated) directly at the body of a Kel Lite flashlight at point-blank range white it was turned on and showing potential customers that the flashlight was indeed still lit after being hit directly by the live bullet. I have also read stories of a 5 D-sized Maglite flashlight stopping a .50 Caliber bullet fired from a high-powered hunting rifle that was aimed at a policeman. The flashlight with the spent bullet lodged in it but still working was later collected as evidence for trial. I believe the Kel Lite had a considerably thicker body than the Maglite and I wish it would never have been discontinued or that its surviving company, Streamlight, would have continued a classic version modeled after the Kel Lite. Speaking of Streamlight, I had misplaced my favorite EDC tactical flashlight, a Streamlight Junior LED, which had been my go-to flashlight from 2019 through 2021, though I had carried others. All I can say is that, despite being so small, it was instrumental in letting teenagers knocking on my former neighbor’s door at strange hours know that I meant business, although they subsequently referred to me as “mall cop” after that. A bright and rugged flashlight is quite effective when answering the door at a strange hour!

For other reasons besides misplacing my Streamlight Junior, I was in the market for a tactical flashlight that I could EDC, for both nighttime situational awareness and self-defense. In middle February of 2022, I discovered a flashlight company known as “Power Tac.” All I can say is that it seems to be on par almost with SureFire and better than Maglite or Streamlight. Like Maglite, SureFire and Streamlight, it is an American company, but unlike SureFire or Maglite, its factories are located in China. But, I have to admit, the Chinese (when they want to) can make flashlights that are equally as good as any flashlight America makes, just think of the companies NiteCore, Fenix, or WowTac. They have gotten this good by borrowing and improving on ideas they “borrowed” from making flashlights for American companies all these years. There is an Energizer Tactical flashlight that I recently bought for myself and another as a birthday gift for my sister which I plan to write a review of soon. Energizer is another American company that, for decades now, has outsourced its manufacturing to the Chinese. I have mixed feelings about all this. The good is that these flashlights and many other products are affordable because of the cheap labor but the bad is that we are giving money to an oppressive, authoritarian regime stained in the blood of its people.

All right, enough of that.

Moving on.

Around that time in mid to late February of 2022, I purchased a PowerTac Valor tactical LED flashlight and that is what this piece will be a review thereof.

Since it arrived in the mail a few days after ordering, I have EDCed it in my side pocket ever since.

I am thoroughly impressed by the solid build quality and generous light output of this flashlight.

Aside from walking around at night to get a bite to eat at my local restaurant and escorting the elderly to their vehicles after evening Bible Studies at my church, I haven’t used it for any truly tactical situations. However, the blinding level of brightness and the crenelated strike bezel does give me peace of mind from carrying it should I ever have to respond to any sort of threat. As I am sitting at my Chromebook writing this piece, my PowerTac Valor is resting in my side pants pocket.

The one feature I could take or leave is while the power switch is indeed tactically correct (forward clickie, thank God), the settings switch is located on the side of the head. And activating strobe mode is a tad complicated. However, I find that the regular high setting does just as effective as strobe in confronting an opponent in the dark. So to operate the flashlight, fully press the tail switch, then press the side switch on the head to cycle through the desired modes. This can be run on any 1.5 Volt AA battery, be it Alkaline, Lithium, or NiMH (my personal choice.) The pocket clip is bi-directional meaning the light can be carried head up or head down in the pocket or, in a pinch, can be attached to the bill of a cap and serve as a hands-free headlamp. One very helpful feature is that this flashlight memorizes which mode it was last used in, so, I can set it to the highest setting then switch it off. Should I need to deploy it for any tactical reason, it will turn on at 800 Lumens from the get-go. There is also reverse battery polarity protection, which should be a standard feature on all flashlights that use an LED lighting system. There is a considerable amount of heat sink provision which will prolong the life of all components and protect them from heat damage. The opening is O-Ring sealed to prevent water intrusion. It is comprised of machined aircraft-grade Aluminium and is given a Type III anodized finish. The lens is made of tempered glass to prevent scratching and breaking and the lens is also double coated to allow the maximum Out the Front Brightness and beam distance.

I will now list the technical specifications and give my commentary on them:

LED System: Cree XML-U3
Power Source: 2 AA ~1.5 Volt Batteries (Use of 14500 Type Batteries will ruin the light and thus void the warranty.)
Maximum Overall Light Output: 800 Lumens.
Maximum Beam Distance: 138 Meters or 452.756 Feet-that’s one and a half football fields!
Maximum Beam Output: 4150 Candlepower.
Impact Resistance Rating: 2 Meters or 6.56168 Feet fall on hard concrete-this is probably a modest estimate because I have seen other tactical flashlights survive much worse!
Length: 149.5 Millimeters or 5.8 Inches-long enough to not get lost easily but short enough to carry discreetly.
Diameter: 19 Millimeters or 0.75 Inches-not too thick, not too thin.
Weight (excluding batteries): 68.25 grams or 2.4 ounces-this will not weigh anyone down.
Waterproof Rating: IPX8-good enough for carrying out an amphibious assault!
Output Ratings:

On NiMH Batteries
Firefly Mode 0.53 Lumens for a 100 Day Runtime
Low Mode 97 Lumens for a 16 Hour Runtime
Medium Mode 358 Lumens for a 2.83 Hour Runtime
High Mode 800 Lumens for a 1.1 Hour Runtime
Strobe Mode 800 Lumens for a 1.75 Hour Runtime

On Lithium Batteries
Firefly Mode 0.41 Lumens for a 120 Day Runtime
Low Mode 93 Lumens for a 26.3 Hour Runtime
Medium Mode 366 Lumens for a 5.8 Hour Runtime
High Mode 750 Lumens for a 1.7 Hour Runtime
Strobe Mode 750 Lumens for a 2.8 Hour Runtime

I am amazed as to how LED flashlight technology is improving by leaps and bounds and how such light output and runtimes are now feasible that was unheard of not too many years ago.

I am equally amazed at some of the other flashlights that the company PowerTac has made, especially those designed for Aviation and Search and Rescue.

PowerTac might not have been around as long as the other tactical flashlight companies but it is gaining a fine reputation for itself.

For years I was prejudiced in favor of Maglite only, but since about 2016 or 2017, this attitude has changed, although Maglite will always have a special place in my heart.

Now I appreciate any well-made flashlight no matter its maker or country of origin.

If I had to give this a rating, it would be a 4.97 out of 5 stars, only because of the complicated means to activate strobe mode.

I guess this, therefore, concludes my review of the PowerTac Valor.

I hope that you, the reader, have been informed, enlightened, and maybe even entertained.

May God richly bless you!

Back to “Product Reviews”

A Review of the Uniden SR30C Handheld Scanner Radio

I had lost some of my electronics, including some scanners among other possessions during that wretched Hurricane Ida. So, in the aftermath of Ida, I replaced most of what was lost.

From July of 2016 until Hurricane Ida, my EDC scanner was a Uniden BC72XLT. I still, in fact, have it but realize that, while it may be great for listening to railroads, civilian aircraft, and marine traffic, there are signals that it is increasingly unable to receive. This is due to that unfortunate narrowbanding mandate. Also, it only has one hundred memory channels, which means real estate in this scanner can only accommodate radio traffic of the highest value. In my case that is local fire dispatch, local railroad, frequently used marine, same with civil aircraft, local businesses both itinerant and wide area, 11 Meter Citizen’s Band/Freeband, as well as national emergency (just in case of a total disaster) and local ham radio. Each bank had ten channels dedicated to those services.

When I wasn’t busy in the aftermath of Hurricane Ida, I was listening to this scanner and others that I managed to salvage. I don’t recall any VHF or UHF Federal Emergency traffic, so I am guessing they were using the Louisiana Wireless Information Network to communicate. LWIN is a 700/800 MHz statewide trunking system for government and public safety users and only one of my scanners can receive it. One day I might write a review of it.

So, I find Uniden to be Superior to Whistler in many ways and that includes the models they previously made for Radio Shack. GRE made fairly decent scanners, but after they were purchased by Whistler, they went downhill in quality.

For the past ten years and some months, I’ve realized the need to EDC an entry-level scanner as opposed to a premium model. Furthermore, to listen in on railroad and marine traffic, one only needs an entry-level model, though these entry-level models have advanced considerably in the past decade.

Meet the Uniden SR30C, which is their current entry-level handheld model, and that is what this piece will be a review thereof.

In between the Uniden BC72XLT and the Uniden SR30C was the Uniden BC75XLT, which I did own from March of 2014 until some time in 2019. Actually, in August of 2016, the display failed me. I think I just had a bad unit because I purchased another one at Hamvention in May of 2018 and it worked without any issues.

The SR30C is a considerable upgrade for both of those.

There are features in this scanner that make it the best entry-level scanner currently (at the time this piece is written) on the market.

I will list the features available and add my commentary:

Close Call RF Capture Technology-This equips the user with technology to find unlisted, even low power, nearby frequencies that are in use. GRE/Whistler has an equivalent feature known as “Spectrum Sweeper.” Radio Shack referred to this as “Signal Stalker”, whether the scanner was a rebadged Uniden or GRE/Whistler.

PC Programmable-The software is free to download and the USB programming cable is included with the scanner. However, it only, to my knowledge, works in Windows-and I hate Windows with a passion.

Custom Search-This gives the user to custom set ten different ranges to search.

Quick Search-This lets the user enter a frequency and search up or down from it.

Turbo Search-This provides a search speed of 300 steps per second on bands with 5 kHz increments.

Search Lockouts-200 (100 temporary, 100 permanent) frequencies can be bypassed during Close Call or Search modes. Also, any memory channel can be locked out. The lockouts can be temporary, meaning they are undone after powering the scanner off, or permanent, meaning they have to be manually unlocked.

500 Memory Channels with 1 Priority Channel for each bank.

Duplicate Channel Alert, will alert the user if he/she attempts to program a frequency that has already been programmed.

Two Second Scan Delay-Keeps the scanner on a frequency for two seconds after the transmission has ended to hear the reply.

Ten pre-set Service Bands-Weather, Police, Fire/EMS, Marine, Auto Racing, Civil Air, Ham Radio, Railroad, 11 Meter CB Radio, and Other (FRS/GMRS/MURS/Itinerant Business Band.)

Key Lock-Prevents unwanted accidental changes to the scanner’s programming.

Two levels of backlighting-This is a first.

Indefinite Memory Backup-The scanner retains its programming, even after an extended period with no power.

Three Power Options-The supplied USB cable can power or charge the scanner (with 2 optional AA NiMH batteries) from any USB power source. It can also be run on 2 AA Alkaline batteries.

Low Battery Alert-A tone sounds every 15 seconds to notify the user of depleted battery power.

Battery Save-When no transmission is detected for 1 minute, RF power is shut off for 1 second and instead is turned on in 300-millisecond intervals. This does not work in Priority or Close Call modes.

All of the other features are what comes standard on any modern handheld scanner.

It has the frequency range of an entry-level Uniden scanner and is as follows:

25.000-27.995 MHz AM (11 Meter Citizen’s Band/Free Band)
28.000-29.700 MHz NFM (10 Meter Ham Radio Band)
29.700-50.000 MHz NFM (VHF Low Band)
50.000-54.000 MHz NFM (6 Meter Ham Radio Band)
108.00000-118.99166 MHz AM (Civil Aviation Band)
137.000-144.000 MHz NFM (US Military/Federal Government Band)
144.000-148.000 MHz NFM (2 Meter Ham Radio Band)
148.000-150.770 MHz NFM (US Military/Federal Government Band)
150.77500-174.00000 MHz NFM (VHF High Band)
406.00000-420.00000 MHz NFM (US Federal Government Band)
420.000-450.000 MHz NFM (70 Centimeter Ham Radio Band)
450.00000-470.00000 MHz NFM (UHF Standard Band)
470.00000-512.00000 MHz NFM (UHF T-Band)

I know that this is an entry-level scanner, but I wish it would feature the additional Military Bands which are:
225.000-390.000 MHz AM (Military Aviation Band)
390.000-406.000 MHz NFM (Military Tactical Band)

Sadly it does not.

Entry-level GRE/Whistler scanners cover the Military Tactical Band, so I’m not sure why Uniden does not.

I have my theories as to why but will try to keep the controversy to a minimum.

The one theory I will disclose because I have mentioned it before on this blog is that I think the government (or at least people in high places) somehow coerces the manufacturers of firearms and scanners to deliberately jack up their prices to discourage the ownership of them. And as I have previously stated, I will recant this statement if I can be unequivocally proven otherwise.

For the record, if I want to listen to military traffic or the Feds, it’s not for any unlawful purposes, rather it’s simply for the wow factor. I mean I do find all military technology fascinating and I do respect our men and women in uniform, though some have severe anger management issues. I almost regret pointing that out because their anger issues are almost always brought on by the horrific things they witness in combat. Furthermore, even when I visit large population centers, the Federal Government bands are dead. I think most federal agents either use digital trunked systems operated at the state level or the federal government’s LTE system for communications. Honestly, those who know me well enough, know I’d much prefer listening to railroads and marine traffic. Fire and Medical calls are interesting as well and I think they display the heroic nature of our first responders. Some people want these to be harder to intercept because a bunch of knuckleheads wants to visit the scene of an incident. And then some simply think that public safety communications are none of the public’s business. I used to enjoy law enforcement communications, but now I find them depressing, especially when I hear domestic violence calls. Almost all law enforcement communications in my area are digital and now encrypted except for a few private security firms.

I’m not going to complain about the fact that it is analog-only, but I wish digital models could be had for cheaper and those aforementioned theories I have would explain why.

I purchased this scanner brand new on eBay for a total of $91.54-which I have to admit is quite a bargain. That includes taxes and shipping and it was still had for less than the MSRP of $119.99

In terms of battery life, narrowband capability, audio quality, compactness, and memory capacity, the Uniden SR30C is a wonderful scanner.

I wish scanners could be built more ruggedly but I also have theories as to why scanners are not built as ruggedly as they ought to be.

I had a hard time finding frequencies to store in all 500 memory channels, to where I had to do extensive research. At least I can travel to different parts of the USA and still hear some interesting transmissions on the channels I have programmed.

If one wants access to military aircraft traffic in a handheld model, the Uniden BC125AT covers it for a few dollars more, although I think Uniden needs to come out with an upgrade to its mid-grade handheld model. Although, I believe that was the first mid-grade handheld scanner to feature military aircraft.

Even though the Uniden SR30C is my EDC scanner, if I am going to watch trains are boats in a less than prime location, I will take an older, second hand, entry-level scanner, such as my Uniden BC72XLT, so if it gets stolen or damaged the loss would not be so bad.

I have only had this since September of 2021, but if I had to give it a rating, it would be 4.85 out of five stars, for two reasons:
Lack of military bands.
Programming software does not work in Linux.

I guess this, therefore, concludes my review of the Uniden SR30C. It took me the better part of the night to write this and I need to take my medicine. If anyone in my immediate circle is reading, they would likely agree, due to some of the comments I made in this piece.

All in all, I hope that you, the reader, have been informed, enlightened, and maybe even entertained.

May God richly bless you!

Back to “Product Reviews”

A Review of the Weltool M7-AM Eyes of Heaven General Amber LED Flashlight

Just so you, the reader, know, I am not the owner of the featured image on this page.

It is the property of Weltool.

Let me first say that while I think NiteCore is one of the best if not the best Chinese-made products, Weltool is right up there with them.

Yes, my primary fascination since infancy has been flashlights. I think anyone who knows me is well aware of this.

However, since that period of my life, I have been fascinated with anything that gives off light, including the Moon and stars.

One source of light that has been an on-and-off fascination throughout my life is the fog lighting system on a vehicle. This fascination started in December of 1989 when I was two going on three and wanting to play with the fog lights on my Paternal Grandparents’ 1972 Dodge D100.

During that time, I was a very picky eater, and I remember my Maw Maw urging me to eat breakfast so I can be strong enough to fix fog lights.

Fast forward to the Summer of 2005 and I was working on a story that took place on the fictitious Archangel Island. Because of the humidity associated with islands, they can be prone to foggy conditions, especially in the morning. I was shopping at Wal*Mart during that summer and I saw a Brinkman LED flashlight in the sporting goods section. It was made of flimsy plastic and had that unfortunate goofy Platinum color, but it came with three lenses that could be installed. One was Red, for any sort of nighttime operations. One was Blue designed to be used as a means to track blood trails of hunted game animals. And there was an Amber lense, which had the purpose of navigating through foggy conditions. Seeing that made me purchase it, hoping I could use it in the fog and have some inspiration for that aforementioned story. Sadly that flashlight gave out prematurely and the lenses were gradually all misplaced.

Going even further to the Spring of 2018, I had purchased an incandescent Mini Maglite on clearance from my local Academy Sports and Outdoors. I then went to eBay and purchased a vintage Amber lens made specifically for the Mini Maglite. The moment it arrived, I installed it on that Mini Maglite in place of the clear lens. I flew for the first time a few weeks later and it accompanied me on my nighttime flight without disturbing my fellow passengers. I also used it at night at one of my favorite boat-watching sites. I still have this flashlight, though it is picked up, there were times between then and up until recently that I EDCed it on a secondary basis.

A few days ago, I had rediscovered my Weltool M6 penlight and was trying it out. Before Hurricane Ida, I had it stored in my tactical communications briefcase. After that hurricane, I stored it with the rest of my [LED] flashlights. I had never really used it, but when trying it out, I was impressed by the detail of engineering that went into this flashlight. So, I decided to look at Weltool’s website to see their other products, and I came across the M7-AM, which is a dedicated Amber-colored LED flashlight for niche purposes. And that flashlight is what this piece will be a review thereof.

This flashlight is part of the Weltool M7 “Dark Adaptation” series of flashlights that are marketed towards professional users. It features a PMMA lens which allows efficient light transmission.  The body is constructed of precision machined Aerospace Aluminium and is hard anodized in that cool tactical stealth black color. The LED lighting system was engineered by the use of precise spectrum analysis. The beam is completely homogeneous and even, providing the user with a cone of light that is free of dark spots free and glare. 

There are two levels of output available: 
68 Lumens with 59.5 Candela for a distance of 15 Meters or 16.4 Yards and a runtime of 9 hours and 20 Minutes.
156 Lumens with 154 Candela for a distance of 24 Meters or 26.2 Yards and a runtime of 3 Hours and 16 Minutes.

I cannot get over all of the thought and detail that went into designing this flashlight:

Yes, there are a lot of features but it is still lightweight and compact and includes stainless steel pocket clip.

There is built-in constant current circuitry, which ensures consistent output throughout the life of the battery charge.

There is no Pulse Wave Modulation which means it shouldn’t cause interference with nearby electronics.

The threads are wear-resistant and the contact springs and Gold plated.

The impact resistance is rated for a one-meter drop and the water resistance is rated IP67.

It is run on a Weltool 2600 mAh button top 18650 battery which has a Micro USB charging port.

The main feature of the M7-AM is that it is only an Amber Light (590-nanometer wavelength.) While it doesn’t help the dark-adapted eyes nearly as well as a red light, it provides color rendering of objects somewhat better than red light. It can also reduce the presence of mosquitos during outdoor use. What stands out most about this lighting instrument is that an Amber light is easier to be seen in rainy, snowy, or foggy conditions. Also, because this flashlight has no hotspots or glare, it is perfect for the examination of machine components, reading, or any task where close-up lighting, gentle is a must. Because it is constructed from one block of Aluminum series it can achieve heat dissipation easily and not only that, it is also very shock resistant. There are other protection systems in place such as a low battery voltage warning, over-discharge protection, and a reverse polarity guard.

Each unit is serialized but unfortunately, there is no way to electronically register the serial number.

My main reason for purchasing it was so I could have a flashlight that is well adapted to fog or rain. I live in a coastal area, so fog can be frequent. And of course, my fascination with fog lights makes me want to take this out in the fog and try it out. Snow is rare where I am currently located, although, it would serve me well in snowy conditions. This would serve me well in Autumn and Winter when there is less daylight and the weather is typically more dreary. I have owned this for almost a week and I have used it at night around my residence. I am thoroughly impressed by the engineering and detail that went into making this flashlight. I think there is some German influence on Weltool, even though the factory is in mainland China. Aside from using it as a foot commuter’s fog light, I think it would come in handy when trying to read in the dark without disturbing others or using it as a passenger at night to not disturb the driver, as I have done with my red lights.

While I haven’t had it this long, for now, I have no complaints to make. That means as of now I give it 5 out of 5 stars!

I purchased mine on Amazon for $76.71 and it came in a few days later though I will admit that I am not a fan of Amazon.

I suppose this, therefore, concludes my review of the Weltool M7-AM Eyes of Heaven General flashlight.

I hope that you, the reader, have been informed, enlightened, and maybe even entertained.

May God richly bless you!

Back to “Product Reviews”

A Review of the Uniden BC80XLT Handheld Scanner Radio

I had first learned about scanner radios in the Summer of 2001.

However, I wouldn’t own one until September of 2002. That means that I have been listening to scanners for nineteen going on twenty years at the time of writing this blog entry.

For Christmas of 2002, I was given some cash and I went to my local Wal*Mart and purchased a Uniden BC80XLT and that scanner is what this piece will be a review thereof.

Before that, I had owned a Uniden BC144XL, which disappointed me at the time due to its inability to receive 800 MHz (which is where the bulk of law enforcement communications was occurring in my area at the time), no search feature, and a general lack of portability.

So I was beyond thrilled when I became the proud new owner of a Uniden BC80XLT, which indeed has those features that the BC144XL lacked.

It was a few days before Christmas when I purchased it.

I remember sitting in the Wal*Mart parking lot on that December evening and the first band I attempted to search was the 806-956 MHz band.

I, being a somewhat rebellious and troubled teenager, sure felt very smug and equally empowered when I could suddenly hear all sorts of law enforcement communications coming in!

For the next few days and eventually weeks, I searched this new radio band and listened to all that I could hear. It wasn’t just law enforcement, I could also hear some businesses and civilian government entities.

In either late January or early February of 2003, I started using the search feature on other bands.

The first one I tried was the VHF High Band (148-174 MHz.) From listening to that, I heard fire dispatch traffic from other fire districts besides the one I resided in. I also was able to hear railroad communications (which would become a staple in my scanner listening from 2011 up until very recently). The first time I heard railroad transmissions, I initially assumed it was The Feds. There was also some law enforcement activity from smaller towns and parishes, a few businesses, and ambulance traffic on this band. Aside from a very rare transition of a tugboat or towboat on the Bayou Lafourche north of Lockport or some pleasure craft hailing from Lake Fields, there is very little VHF Marine traffic available in Raceland, Louisiana. The Coast Guard Safety Information Broadcasts out of New Orleans do come in periodically, but are not very legible. I grew up on a bayou but sadly not a navigable one.

Another band I frequently tried was the UHF Low Band (450-470 MHz.) From there I heard lots of businesses and local government activity from neighboring parishes. There were also the brake pressure data transmissions from trains that could be heard on this band.

I had been fascinated by trains in early childhood, but somehow I forgot about them in late childhood or pre-teens. However, when I learned that railroad communications could be heard on a scanner, my interest in trains gradually came back and culminated in late 2011.

This scanner was instrumental in rekindling my train interest!

In Raceland, Louisiana, there were no nearby military bases and no MARS or CAP traffic, so the 137-144 MHz band was dead.

Aside from the hearing DEA out of New Orleans when conditions were just right, the Federal Government Band (406-420 MHz) was also dead.

Aside from cordless phones, the 29-50 MHz band was also dead.

6 Meter (50-54 MHz) FM Amateur Radio was always dead (actually, I never heard FM traffic on 6 Meters until May of 2018 at Dayton HamVention.)

2 Meter (144-148 MHz) FM Amateur Radio was pretty active.

70 Centimeter (420-450 MHz) was slightly less active than 2 Meters.

As for the UHF T Band (470-512 MHz), I could hear the audio portions from two television stations coming out of New Orleans.

Around this time, my sister was seeing a doctor at Children’s Hospital in New Orleans, so I convinced my parents to let me come along and bring that scanner. They agreed but made me use headphones. Once we crossed the Mississippi River, it was as if a flood of radio traffic started coming in-and on every band too, save the UHF T Band, which was and still is designated strictly for television broadcasts in the New Orleans area. Of course, my bands of choice were 406-420 MHz and 806-956 MHz so I could tune in the Feds and the NOPD, respectively. Chalk that up to me being a curious and, once again, rebellious teenager! But other bands were equally active, even the VHF Low Band! It was because of all I could hear on a scanner that initially made me want to live in the New Orleans area. And of course, up until recently, it was as if there was a type of energy of which I cannot completely describe flowing from the New Orleans area. The last time I visited New Orleans which was shortly before Hurricane Ida, I could no longer feel this wonderful energy. Instead, it is now as if there is a very evil presence in the City. But the former, no longer present, energy always inspired me to write some of my best works (including my “Grocer and Writer” stories) any time after visiting the New Orleans area. And this energy has inspired countless other writers, musicians, visual artists, and all other creative people. So it was radiofrequency energy and also, the mysterious creative energy that drew me so much to New Orleans. In my younger years, I would have tremendously desired to live there had the cost of housing not been so high.

…All right enough about that…

Even the former [seemingly] good energy which inspired so much creativity for so long is humanist at best and therefore not of God! As a Christian, I must need be tremendously careful around any sort of spiritual energy and thoroughly test it.

The radiofrequency energy in the New Orleans area has also taken on other forms and most of these are not available on a scanner. I’ve said it before and I will say it again that Hurricane Katrina and cheap unlimited cell phone plans took out the majority of the scanner traffic in the New Orleans area. However, when visiting other large cities, cheap unlimited cell phones plans have made wide-area business band radio more obsolete than ever. God be thanked that there is still plenty of railroad and marine traffic to be heard on a scanner in New Orleans!

Speaking of Katrina, it was shortly after that wicked woman did her wicked deed that my Uniden BC80XLT began to malfunction. It would not pull in any signals whatsoever. I opened it up and saw that the wire connecting the antenna jack to the circuit boards was cut. A part of me wonders if someone sabotaged this scanner. For Christmas of 2005, I would replace it with a Radio Shack Pro 95, which was a much-needed upgrade, though now itself is mostly obsolete.

Around Christmas of 2021, I was feeling very nostalgic for my teen years and the technology I used in those days, so I found a fairly decent Uniden BC80XLT on eBay in gently used condition with the box and all.

When it came in the mail, I tried powering it on NiMH batteries, but it didn’t work right. Sadly it prefers those useless, toxic NiCads or those pesky, leaky Alkalines.

So, while this scanner is very sensitive (as most Unidens from that era and before are), I can only use it sparingly.

After all, it only has 50 memory channels, which fills up all too quickly.

While most public safety agencies are now on a combination of 700 and 800 MHz, it is almost all digital which renders analog scanners useless for that purpose and frequently encrypted, which will leave any [legal] scanner in the dust. Many of the 800 MHz trunked and conventional systems were phased out and their frequencies recycled to be added with the 700 MHz trunked systems for greater capacity.

If I had to rate the scanner in its heyday, it would get a high four out of five stars, because it was a sensitive and reliable mid-grade scanner.

However, in using it nowadays, I would probably give it a high two or low three out of five stars, mostly because of the battery issues.

I guess this, therefore, concludes my review of the Uniden BC80XLT.

I hope that you, the reader, have been informed, enlightened, and maybe even entertained.

May God richly bless you!

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I Wish I had more Examples of People EDCing Weather Radios

I had known about Weather Radios since July of 1997, though I didn’t know much about them.

I wouldn’t actually own a Weather Radio until December of 2001. It was an Oregon Scientific WR-8000 and I had it until some point in 2003.

I didn’t EDC a dedicated Weather Radio permanently until June of 2015, but in my teen years, I frequently EDCed an FRS transceiver.

The model of FRS transceiver that was my favorite during my teen years was a Motorola Talkabout T6250 and it had a built-in Weather Radio with a Standby Alert function.

I used this radio very frequently to get Weather Alerts whilst on the go.

One event that stands out took place in the Spring of 2004. This was about a month before I became stricken with my disability, so I was volunteering as the camera guy for my high school football team. It was an overcast day and I had my Motorola Talkabout in my pocket with the Standby Weather Alert feature activated. I was also standing on top of the press box of my high school’s football stadium. The Weather Alert feature worked flawlessly and I was notified of a Severe Thunderstorm Warning. I took shelter inside the press box and continued recording, but was subsequently chewed out by the head coach over my fear of lightning. However, I felt vindicated when the school’s lightning detector sounded and practice was temporarily called off.

In this piece I wanted to document accounts from other people who may have EDCed a Weather Radio.

My initial focus was to interview members of Generation X and the oldest of Millennials, former latch key kids who walked to school.

Of course I would have also appreciated any input from any coach/athlete (especially golfers), mariner, farmer, aviator, or anyone else who is engaged in outdoor activities

The reason why I am singling out those two generational cohorts is that dedicated, pocket sized Weather Radios were not marketed to the consumers until the early 1970s. They are still marketed now in 2022, even with the advent of smart devices. And I’ve noticed from watching YouTube that there is a plethora of teens and early twenty somethings (Generation Z) who are highly fascinated by Weather Radio and radio electronics in general. When my generation (Millennials) was that age, very few were interested in radio electronics, except for those that used them for hunting and fishing. I was the exception to the rule and I, for some time, have felt that I should have been born ten years later. All in all, in the 1970s until about the early to mid 2000s, the most practical way to get instant, almost on demand weather data whilst on the go was to use a Weather Radio. So, I have figured that maybe there were some latch key kids from that time period who listened on pocket portable Weather Radio in order to be better prepared for their foot commute to and from school or wherever else they went. Unfortunately, just about everyone I asked didn’t reply. I’m not sure if it’s that they personally didn’t EDC a Weather Radio or if they don’t like the somtimes controversial nature of this blog. I wish I could have received some input to make this piece better than what it currently is.

By the way, the Weather Radio that which I am currently EDCing for commuting on foot is a Kaito KA-210, which also receives AM and FM. I had used it extensively when I was living close to my church and would commute there on stormy Wednesday afternoons. I have also been known to EDC a Midland HH50B, but more or less for long distance traveling, because of its automatic scan feature.

I do wish I could get some input for this this piece, maybe if not from former latch key kids, but from others who spent considerable time outdoors for either work or play.

I know that Weather Radios are typically associated with affluent white people and up until recently were almost seen as a status symbol.

Maybe this is why latch key kids didn’t use them to walk to school and thus the reason why I couldn’t get any data.

For coaches, unless they are college or professional coaches, they likely do not make much money if any money at all. But maybe the local school board or recereation districts could have furnished them with a weather radio of some sort, I mean for their safety not to mention the childrens’ safety. I have seen tabletop or permanently installed Weather Radios deployed in the building of government entities quite a bit. Actually about thirty years ago (at the time of writing this), before I wanted to be a writer or knew that there was such a device as a weather radio, I had envisioned a school teacher who walked to and from his job and carried a radio (let’s assume AM/FM) every day for weather related information. As for professional golfers, I know many of them EDCed Weather Radios, because the lightning danger that goes hand in hand with golf. And since golf and Weather Radios are both considered status symbols, the two likely go hand in hand.

For mariners, those that are indoors have a fixed mount VHF Marine Radio and those that are outdoors, such as deckhands riding on barges, have a portable, waterproof VHF Marine Radio and I know that Weather Radio comes standard on just about ever VHF Marine Radio.

I have read about farmers using Radio Shack Weather Cubes, probably because they were simple and cheap, but not easily EDCed. They likely though had them in their barns or coops. They probably had Weather Radio available on their mobile CB transceivers or on other two way radios installed on farm machinery with cabs. I know that in modern times, Midland Micro Mobile GMRS radios are very popular with farmers and they have Weather Radio receive capability. Since a good portion of the VHF Low Band is not used, I think there should be a license free FM two way radio service that is used for rural areas. I’m thinking it could be on 49 MHz with a five watt output and be allowed any type of antenna that one wishes to use.

For aviators, maybe they had a Weather Radio in their flight bags (especially those that fly smaller planes) but there was also weather forecasts broadcast in AM on longwave non directional aviation beacons. This service is probably totally phased out by now.

So, I don’t think I am the only one who regularly EDCs a Weather Radio, but I wish I would be able to find examples of others who do or at least did back in the day.

I know there are some who want to do away with Weather Radio, which would disappoint many people, especially those Zoomers on YouTube and myself.

However, I think it is very much needed, at least as a means for just about anyone to receive vital, sometimes life saving weather data and for free.

If you are reading this link and know of any situation you were personally involved in where EDCing a Weather Radio proved beneficial, please drop me a line and I will either include it in this piece or a subsequent piece.

I wish there was more content for me to provide on this subject by I hope that you, the reader, have been informed, enlightened and entertained, at least to some degree.

May God richly bless you!

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A Review of the Weltool M6 Golden-Eyed Tiger Cub LED Penlight

As mentioned numerous times before, both on this blog and in other forums and mediums, I have been fascinated by flashlights since infancy.

I had been carrying a flashlight on my person and and off since the age of seven and permanently since the age of eighteen.

For most of that period from age eighteen to present, I had been overwhelmingly prejudiced in favor of Maglite flashlights, especially the Incandescent Mini Maglite.

Why?

Because it is durable, affordable, American made and most importantly, EMP proof.

In the early parts of 2012, I had a dream that entailed America being hit by an EMP weapon and all LED flashlights, among other electronic devices were totally incapacitated. However, incandescent flashlights still functioned.

Because of that dream, I had vowed to only EDC incandescent flashlights and I kept that vow up until some time in 2017, though I still have incandescent flashlights in my EDC backpack as a backup for that very reason. I also have a stockpile of tactical grade incandescent flashlights and their bulbs at an undisclosed location, in the event of an EMP attack.

It was also in 2012 that LED flashlights were actually becoming better than their incandescent counterparts, in terms of brightness.

In 2017, I gave in and began to start EDCing LED models, such as the NiteCore MT06 and the Pelican 1920.

In 2018, I briefly EDCed a ThorFire PF04, but I sold it. I definitely want another one. Also in 2018, I was using a NiteCore MT20A and a Streamlight Pro Tac 2AA.

In 2019, I mostly carried an LED Streamlight Jr.

Also in 2019, I had purchased a Weltool M6 “Golden Eyed Tiger Cub” LED penlight, which this piece will be a review thereof.

It was in June of 2019 when I had purchased this flashlight on eBay on a whim, then I had stored it for the next few years.

I had kept in in my now decomissioned tactical communications briefcase.

After my residence being destroyed by Hurricane Ida and all of that misery and moving into a new place, I had rearranged what personal property that I could salvage.

A night ago, I was going through my stored flashlights and came across it.

It turned it on and was impressed by the very warm and evenly distributed LED light it gave off.

I am thinking of putting it in my EDC rotation, at least for non tactical and non night time commuting situations.

At the moment, I think it would be a great addition to my computer repair gear.

The switch boot on my Energizer Hardcase Inspection Light is beginning to tear, so I am thinking that I will use it to replace that very flashlight. The only problem is it wouldn’t be able to be used near live exposed circuits.

However, this version of the Weltool M6 is perfect for close up electrical and electronics work, especially where accurate color redition is a must.

It probably would also be a hit with the medical profession, though, I think there is another type of Weltool M6 that is marketed specifically for that.

According to the company website, it is designed to be a close up illumination to for professional users. It utilizes a no glare warm white LED with a color temperature of 3000 Kelvin. This provides a color rendering index of 85%, which is nearly the same as an incandescent bult and resduces blue light damage to the end user’s vision. The optics are professionally designed and feature a light emitting angle of 70 degrees through a high quality lense with a transmission rate of 90%. This provides a perfectly even circle of light with not hot spots, dark spots or glare. It is powered by 2 AAA Alkaline batteries and a stainless steel pocket clip is included. The website goes on to say that this version of the M6 is the perfect light for inspection, reading and any tasks that require close range illumination.

A night ago, I had begun to do my research on the company Weltool and it turns out that it is one of those Chinese name brand flashlight companies. From what I have observed, I can venture to guess that it is better than Lumintop and almost on par with NiteCore, though it serves a different market.

There is another Weltool flashlight I would hope to acquire some day and it is the Weltool M7-AM, which is basically a portably fog light. And I have been fascinated on and off by fog lights since I was a toddler and it was from playing with the ones installed on my Paw Paw’s 1972 Dodge D100 pickup truck.

I’ll admit that I haven’t really put my Weltool penlight to the test as of yet, but I am thoroughly impressed by the build quality and optical system of this lighting instrument.

I think it is perfect for most industrial, medical and scientific applications and maybe a few domestic settings as well.

However, this is not a tactical flashlight.

Nor is it something I would want for night time commuting.

Still, if I weren’t so disabled, the job I would probably perform best at would be something either in the facility engineering or information technology sectors and this flashlight would be perfect in both, provided that a more tactical model could also be carried.

For it’s intended purpose though, it is a clear winner.

I give the product 5 out of 5 stars and I wish I would have paid more attention to this company years ago.

I guess this thus concludes my review of the Weltool M6 Golden Eyed Tiger Cub Non Glare LED Flashlight.

I hope that you, the reader, have been informed, enlightened and maybe even entertained.

May God richly bless you!

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