A Review of the SwissGear 3918 Backpack

So, just to be clear, I do not own the image that is featured on this page. I retrieved it from Target’s website and am giving all credit to whomever credit is due.

So, as anyone who reads this blog on the regular knows, I do firmly believe in EDC. I have been this way since childhood.

I have employed a backpack as a means to EDC what I want and need to have with me since my early twenties. The brands of backpacks I have owned over the years were either Wenger, Victorinox, or later SwissGear (which is very similar to Wenger.) I am very prejudiced in favor of the Swiss for so many reasons. I just truly admire the people, the government, the products, and the culture of The Swiss Confederation. I am not Swiss myself, at least not that I know of, but I do have mostly French and a considerable amount of German blood flowing through my veins.

I am disappointed to report that my Wenger Origins backpack of which I had recently purchased and wrote a review on a few weeks ago has sustained some damage. When I can locate a competent tailor, I will try to have it repaired. What I think had happened was, a while back, I spent a few nights at a friend’s house and packed too much clothing in the main compartment, which tore the inner lining fabric. This is not the first time a backpack has torn on me, by the way. I was disappointed and slightly ticked because I now needed a new EDC backpack. I was only slightly ticked because of the low price I paid for it. I’ve also learned not to write reviews of products so soon after purchasing them.

In the meantime, on July 13, 2020, I borrowed some cash and took a drive to my local Target to purchase a replacement backpack.

I didn’t go to the luggage section as I usually do, but rather the back to school section, where there were more Swiss backpacks.

I considered a few different SwissGear models but eventually settled on the SA3918 18.5 (or 19) Inch Backpack.

I paid $54.99+tax for it, which ultimately came out to $60 and some change.

Afterward, I ran some other errands, then went home and did some research on my newly purchased backpack.

Not long after, I found out that Target’s Website was selling it for $49.99 but the local store sold it to me for $54.99.

The next day I went back with my receipt and explained this to them. Promptly, the lady at customer service refunded me $5.50 in cash. Kudos to her!

So, at the time of writing this piece, I have owned my new backpack for ten days.

For the most part, I like it.

I say for the most part because, while it is indeed sturdy and fashionable and it does boldly show the Swiss emblem, there are two features it lacks that I wish it had:

I wish there was a dedicated tablet sleeve in addition to the laptop pocket.
AND
I wish there was an extra zipper pouch to store my computer repair tools, as my previous backpacks have had.

But other than that I truly enjoy this backpack and those are just minor flaws.

Speaking of showing off the Swiss emblem which is a white cross against a red background, I see it as a dual purpose:
Not only am I making a statement on how much I admire the Swiss, but since it features a cross, I am also publically identifying myself as a Christian when I carry this backpack with me. If you, the reader, think I am highly prejudiced in favor of the Swiss, let me make it clear that I am infinitely much more prejudiced in favor of Jesus Christ and my fellow brothers and sisters in Him! By the way, my brothers and sisters in Christ come from every nation, color, ethnicity, and race, but we are all purchased by That Precious Blood of Jesus Christ Who is God come in the flesh! I just pray that God will give me the grace and courage to always name the Name of Christ no matter the consequences!

If that wasn’t enough, I do find that this backpack appears to be tactical and fashionable at the same time! That is truly rare to be both, although it is becoming less rare. As an American, I truly appreciate tactical-grade products. I’m not very keen on fashion, I mean I wore a Casio G-Shock to my sister’s wedding, but I know just about anything Swiss will automatically be fashionable. I had previously also written about the comparisons and contrasts of tactical and fashionable a time or two.

By the way, don’t take my word for all of this, here is what Target’s website has to say, “Searching for a modern spin on a classic tactical looking design, this SWISSGEAR 3918 Laptop backpack has exactly what it takes. Fully equipped to take on the battle of the day, this everyday carry backpack has the features you’re looking for.”

Here are some of the features, taken from Target’s website with my added commentary after the hyphen:
Padded laptop compartment with built-in corner hold-down strap designed to carry most 15″ portable computers-I currently keep my tablet in there but hopefully will buy another laptop soon. In front of the laptop is where I keep my Bible and Bible study materials…

Large capacity main compartments designed to carry folders, binders, and books-I carry my scanners, chargers, and reading glasses here.

Organizer compartment with key/clip fob, slip pocket, and multiple divider pockets-I keep my flashlights, multi-tools, USB drives, calculator and weather radio in this section.

Front zippered quick access pocket for more frequently needed items-This is where I keep my masks and medical supplies, and dual exterior side water bottle pockets with reflective pull tabs-I have an insulated bottle which I plan to store in these pockets for hydrating on the go.

Ergonomically contoured, padded shoulder straps with breathable mesh fabric and reflective accent material for added safety-This will keep me cool and visible if ever walking around at night (such as commuting to and from evening church services in the dark.)

Padded, Airflow back panel with mesh fabric for superior back ventilation and support-keeps the electronics reasonably cool even in hot climates., and an integrated add-a-bag trolley strap on back panel to easily glide over carry-on’s telescopic handle-This makes airline, bus, and railroad travel slightly easier.

Not mentioned on Target’s Website but this backpack also features a metal D-ring on the upper side near the top handle. I use this to attach my key lanyard.

Here are some of the physical specifications, also taken from Target’s website:

Dimensions: 18.5 Inches (46.99 Centimeters) High by 14.1 Inches (35.814 Centimeters) Wide by 6.9 Inches (17.526 Centimeters) Deep.
Tare Weight: 1.54 Pounds (0.69853225 Kilograms).
Capacity: 25 Liters (6.604301306 US Gallons or 5.499231207 British Gallons).
It is constructed of what appears to be a durable Polyester.

The recommended user age for this product is 10 years old and up and it comes with a 5 Year Limited Warranty.

Target’s website went on to say this, “At the heart of this bag is an electronics-only compartment complete with a built-in laptop sleeve for superior protection for your portable computer. Featuring a large capacity main compartment large enough to carry books and binders, side water bottle pockets, a breathable ergonomic suspension system and an organizer compartment up front, this bag has what it takes to get your through your day.”

Target seems to be correct on this.

I just hope this backpack will last me at least a couple of years.

All in all, I give it a rating of 4.5 out of 5 stars. I took off half a star for lack of a tablet pocket and internal small zipper compartment

I guess this, therefore, concludes my review of the SwissGear 3918 Backpack.

Praise God, my back doesn’t hurt as much as usual!

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

May God richly bless you!

Back to “Product Reviews”

 

 

A Review of the Realistic (Radio Shack®) 12-719 Deluxe AM/FM Radio

Just for the record, I do not own the featured image on this page.

Rather, I cropped it out of the 1987 Radio Shack Catalog.

The two books of which I have the most knowledge are of course The Bible and [most of] The Radio Shack Catalogs.

Unfortunately, I know the latter much better than the former.

Well, from 2001 until most of their stores were shut down, I was a very loyal patron to Radio Shack.

I witnessed their very last days of true glory before they became just a glorified mobile phone store and therefore put all other electronics on the back burner.

That, I believe, is what killed them, honestly.

Well, using cheaper components in their products was also a factor.

In 2014, there was an attempt to restore Radio Shack to its 1980s glory, but it never was fully realized. Too little, too late.

So, as of the past several years, eBay is my go-to “retailer” for just about any vintage or discontinued product my heart may desire.

eBay, by the way, is amazing because I can usually find what I am looking for and many times in fairly decent condition, sometimes even mint!

I own several AM/FM receivers that came off the assembly line from the 1980s to the present. I also own quite a few Weather Radios with production dates ranging from the 1970s to the 2010s. And I have some scanners dating from the late 1980s to the mid to late 2010s.

This piece will be about a pocket-sized AM/FM radio, sold at Radio Shack from the latter parts of 1986 until some point in 1992. It was first seen in the 1987 Radio Shack catalog. The model number is 12-719.

Mine is not exactly the same as the one pictured in this featured image.

How do I know this?

Well, the unit featured in the 1987 Radio Shack catalog features an AM frequency range of 53*10 KHz to 160*10 KHz.

However, my particular unit which according to the sticker behind the battery door was made in January of 1991 and it features an AM frequency range of 53*10 KHz to 171*10 KHz.

What strikes me as odd, though, is that I thought the AM (or Medium Wave) band in the United States was not expanded to 171*10 KHz AKA 1710 KHz AKA 1.71 MHz until 1993. At the time, I was too young to know the difference nor did anyone around me care about such a thing anyway. My family on both sides is very technology ignorant, unfortunately. Some family members of mine are even downright hostile to technology. The only immediate family member of mine that was as keen on technology as I am was my Maternal Grandpa, Hughie Gauslin, but he died almost 29 years before I was born. I’ll just say that he would have seen some wonderful things had he lived to be an old man. So, if anyone is willing to inform me about this AM broadcast Band Expansion of the early 1990s, I am well open for correction and/or enlightenment…

All in all, I had purchased this particular radio on eBay in the latter parts of 2019, mostly as a sentimental collector’s item.

However, I have found an everyday use for it, hence my desire to write this review.

I’ll explain:

I moved to my current residence in May of 2018.

Since the Spring of 2017, I had been listening to NPR on and off, usually tuning in All Things Considered while doing laundry. I would go to an ex-in-law of my now ex-in-laws’ house where my now ex-wife and I would use his equipment to wash and dry our laundry. In turn, we would cook a meal for him and, also, I would do shopping for stuff he needed. There was a Dollar General near his house, of which I would frequent to purchase groceries and supplies. It was on one of these laundry days in 2017, that I thought about my joke in which I started referring to Dollar General is “Ruble General.” My basis for that statement was that shopping at Dollar General must have been what shopping in the Soviet Union was like. Multiple sources present in detail the product shortages, long lines, and sub par merchandise. The official currency of the USSR was the Soviet Ruble. When not operating the laundry appliances or cooking, my now ex wife would watch television with his kids or play on her phone. I, on the other hand, when not shopping or folding the laundry was sitting on the back porch, listening to NPR on a small Sylvania boom box that had previously belonged to his recently deceased daughter. She was, in fact, the fellow aspiring writer whose untimely death provoked my desire to launch this very blog! While I do watch broadcast television now and then, I detest what subscription-based television has devolved into. Therefore, I neither subscribe to any television service or streaming service (mostly because of my low-speed home Internet connection) and therefore, only use an antenna. Usually, though, I am either listening to a scanner of some sort or NPR. Even NPR irritates me when they become biased in their reporting and especially their editorials and commentary. NPR is supposed to serve the entire US population, not just certain political factions, whichever they may be. Maybe, if they were more neutral, they could attract more listeners and therefore could have more revenue to budget with. Yes, I do listen to NPR for the news, sometimes at least, but I take it with a grain of salt. As a Christian, I am convicted when they start with their dissenting of the current administration and I continue listening. So much so, that one Wednesday Evening in February of 2020, I was listening to “All Things Considered” afterward I had walked to my church and was sitting outside waiting for the Pastor to arrive for the evening’s prayer meeting and Bible study. I was reading my Bible and came across Proverbs 31:3 which clearly states, “Don’t spend your energy on women or your efforts on those who destroy kings.” The Bible was written during a time when the only heads of state were indeed royalty, namely kings or queens. However, NPR like many other media entities is trying to destroy the current American head of state, even though he’s a president, not a king. I will go as far as to say that God has even the most oppressive rulers in power for a reason unbeknownst to me and that all government was designed by God to deter wickedness. If the private media wants to dissent, that’s their choice but public radio which is supposed to serve every American ought not to do it and God’s Word commands me to avoid them because of that. This can be a difficult command at times because I appreciate NPR much more for their content which covers the disciplines of technology, culture (especially the culinary aspect), and medicine rather than their political dissent or sometimes biased reporting. It is definitely of a much higher caliber than most of what is available on pay television, yet it’s free. And not only that, if I listen to NPR enough, my writing will be enhanced. Well, I was listening to it a few hours ago and I’d like to think this piece is well written.

So, yes NPR is heard primarily on the lower portion of the FM broadcast band, but you, the reader are probably asking, “What does it have to do with the review of a vintage radio receiver other than the fact that it can receive FM broadcasts?”

I’m glad you, the reader, asked, or at least, I assume you’re asking.

Remember how I briefly mentioned that I moved to my current residence in May of 2018?

I do enjoy living there for the most part.

I get along fine with the overwhelming majority of my neighbors, it’s relatively peaceful and safe, I am within walking distance to my church and a few retailers, just a short drive away from other retailers, medical care and family members. My one complaint is that my FM radio reception is terrible due to my residence being located in close proximity to an FM broadcast transmitter facility. This means that the signal from that transmitter bleeds all across the dials on most of my FM radio receivers.

Listening to NPR is impossible, even though the NPR transmitter tower I of which I receive the signal from is only a few more miles away as the crow flies.

There are, however, the radios in my possession which are pretty much immune to these ill-effects:

My car radio.
My kitchen radio, of which I had written a review of almost two years ago.
And the one I am currently reviewing in this piece.

The first two have high-quality frequency synthesizers that can filter out the overbearing nearby transmissions.

However, this radio I am reviewing features an AFC or Automatic Frequency Control circuit which enables it to lock on the desired frequency and reject all other frequencies no matter how close the offending transmitter is.

Therefore, because of its portability and rugged enough design, I can take this radio, a Realistic 12-719, anywhere in my residence and even outside and still hear most FM broadcasts within reason. I don’t have to be tied to my kitchen or my car. I also can sit in my bedroom and listen without needing the kitchen radio to be on so gosh durn loud and disturbing my neighbors.

I forget exactly how much I paid for it in late 2019, but it retailed for $19.95 throughout its run. That would be the equivalent of $36.66 (1992)-$46.93 (1986) in terms of 2020 Dollars.

This product was a success for Radio Shack, being in production as long as it was. Furthermore, there are plenty of them that show up on eBay still in good condition both cosmetically and performance-wise. Mine works better than just about all of my modern radios in a similar, modern equivalent form factor.

It was considered the deluxe model of all pocket portable AM/FM radios sold by Radio Shack during the time.

Some of the features include:
Aluminum Trim-Makes the cabinet reasonably rugged.
Built-in AFC-FM-This feature alone is why I am still using it in 2020!
Hi/Lo Tone Selector Switch-Lo for News and Talk, Hi for Music.
Rotary Tuning and Volume Controls-Self explanatory, but the Rotary Tuner is considerably accurate. The volume control needs to be dusted out, but that can be chalked up to its age of almost 30 years at the time of writing this!
Telescoping FM Antenna-I would rather a wire antenna because such an antenna is miserably flimsy, but it does pull in the FM signals generously!
A Monoaural Earphone Jack-Good enough for everyone except a die-hard audiophile.
2.25 Inch Speaker-Large enough to provide decent audio, yet small enough to be compact, at least to some degree I mean it was the 1980s and early 1990s.
The physical dimensions are: 5.1875 Inches High by 3.5 Inches Wide by 1.25 Inches Deep-Not as carrying friendly as modern standards dictate but semiconductors and other components weren’t as discrete as they are now.
Its power supply was a standard 9 Volt Battery-Most pocket portable radios of today are powered by AA or AAA batteries, but from the late 1950s until the very early 1990s 9 Volt batteries were the power supply of choice for many pocket-portable radios.
The frequency coverage was roughly 88 MHz to 108 MHz on FM and, depending on the year it was manufactured, 530 KHz to either 1600 KHz or 1710 KHz on AM.
For those of you who are curious, it was manufactured in The Phillippines to Radio Shack’s custom standards-As of the late 2010s there seems to have been a resurgence of manufacturing in that country but I don’t think it is up to what it was in the 1980s, 1990s, and very early 2000s.

Unless I want to receive broadcasts in stereo or high definition, this radio is still useful in 2020 and hopefully will still be useful for decades to come.

The audio quality is superb, especially considering that it is a mere pocket portable.

It beats most of my other radios because I can get NPR and any other FM broadcast without interference. AM performance is fairly decent as well. Before discovering NPR in 2017, I was more of an AM DXer. Talk radio, particularly on the AM band was wonderful in New Orleans until a very wicked woman named Katrina did her wicked works.

I have to quit now because my back hurts.

So this, therefore, concludes my review of the Radio Shack 12-719 Deluxe AM/FM Radio.

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

May God richly bless you!

Back to “Product Reviews”

A Review of the Wenger Origins 9550-43 Backpack

By the way, I don’t own the featured image on this page and I give all credit to whomever credit is due.

I have been carrying my most frequently used possessions in a bag since about the age of five.

I’m thirty-three and almost thirty-three-and-a-half at the time of writing this piece.

So that means, I have been employing a bag in some way shape or form to carry my stuff, on the regular for about twenty-eight years.

I have been through quite a few bags over the years. Most were either backpacks or duffel bags.

Since the age of twenty-one or twenty-two, I have converted to strictly a backpack and always one made for one of the Swiss companies.

From October of 2019 until June of 2020, I had used a SwissGear City Backpack, which was wonderful don’t get me wrong.

However, I eventually wanted a backpack with more storage space, like for carrying extra clothing

Then, for most of May of 2020, I was almost sure that I had developed Type 2 Diabetes. I mean I was showing multiple symptoms. So, in my mind, I knew I would need a bigger backpack and possibly also a small cooler to carry my medical supplies associated with diabetes in addition to what I take for other conditions of which I am afflicted.

Finally, I wanted a backpack that I could deliberately show off as being Swiss. My SwissGear City Backpack has the Swiss Cross but it is transparent black on black instead of white on red. Pardon me for being so gosh durn vain, but I really do admire the Swiss people and I guess I like to show off when I have a Swiss item.

So, in late May, I began doing extensive research for the perfect backpack.

I read about hundreds of different models in my research.

Then I got on good old eBay.

It was there that I found a Wenger Origins 9550-43 Laptop Backpack and that is what this piece will be a review thereof.

I discovered it on eBay in the latter parts of May 2020.

It was selling brand new with tags but had a base price of $15.99 and $8.49 for shipping. That is a steal considering this backpack previously sold for ~$70!

I was broke in the latter parts of May 2020, but I shot a message to the seller asking if she could reserve it for me and I would gladly pay her on June 3.

She gladly did! She even unlisted it!

Usually, I complain about shipping charges, but I did not in this particular situation. This seller got the highest feedback rating possible!

So I ordered it first thing in the morning on June 3, 2020.

Despite Tropical Storm Cristobal, it arrived at my residence on June 8, 2020.

I was tremendously pleased!

Let’s rewind to May 25, 2020. I saw my doctor for my six month checkup and blood work.

My blood is monitored routinely because of the medications I take.

One of the variables that is monitored in my twice yearly blood work is my Hemoglobin A1C.

When my medical app alerted me to the results, I was shocked but relieved that my A1C was still in the normal range.

I wasn’t diabetic after all, but gosh durnit, I still show many symptoms.

I still wanted a new backpack though and I am glad I have this one!

Here are some specifications on my backpack.

The physical dimensions are 12.6 inches wide X 18.1 inches high X 9.1 inches deep (32 cm wide X 46 cm high X 23 cd deep)-Yes it is considerably more space consuming than my SwissGear City backpack but it can also carry more.

The tare weight is 1.89 pounds or 0.86 kilograms-Shouldn’t weigh a adult down too much.

The storage capacity is 1,281 cubic inches or 21 liters-Very generous.

There is a padded laptop compartment and a dedicated tablet pocket-Perfect for a traveling blogger.

There is a Pass-Thru trolley sleeve which allows this backpack to be carried on the handle of wheeled luggage-Ideal for airline or railroad travel.

Finally there is an Essentials organizer-Makes EDC more efficient.

In the front most compartment is a pocket on the outer wall which is perfect for carrying medication, then there is a deep storage space and on the back wall there is the essentials organizer with a wide pocket, three slots, a mesh pocket and a smartphone pocket with silky screen protective material. On the exterior of the front most compartment is a D-Ring for hooking keys on.

In the middle compartment is a large space which would be ideal for carrying clothing and/or personal hygiene items. This is more than just a day pack or a commuter backpack like the SwissGear City.

Finally in the main compartment there is a laptop sleeve which will accommodate up to a 15.6 inch laptop. There is also a tablet pocket which should fit most tablets. And there is even more generous storage space for books (such as my personal Bible) or anything else within reason to be carried, I also have two scanner radios in there. Also in the main compartment is a large mesh zipper compartment of which I carry my computer repair tools.

I definitely can see why this backpack would normally cost upwards of $70, but God blessed me immensely when I only had to pay a total of $24.48 for it and the seller was willing to wait for me.

This is just a tip of the iceberg on how God is constantly showering me with blessings!

By the way, I think I will still keep the SwissGear City backpack, but not as my main EDC backpack.

I hope my Wenger Origins backpack will last me for years to come.

Mine does have a very discreet MasterCard logo embroidered on the very front, but I am willing to ignore that.

Actually, I think the Wenger Origins backpack line was meant to be corporate gifts with logos on it, but I am not totally sure.

All in all this is a great backpack!

I give it a five out of five stars!

This therefore concludes my review of the Wenger Origins 9550-43 Backpack.

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

Thank you for reading and may God richly bless you!

Back to “Product Reviews”

 

A Review of the Realistic (Radio Shack®) Pro-59 Programmable Scanner Radio

For the record, I do not own the featured image on this page.

I must give credit where credit is due and I cropped it out of the 1992 Radio Shack Catalog.

Since the age of fifteen going on sixteen (September 2002) I had been listening to scanners.

I didn’t know such a device existed until the Summer of 2001 when I first read about them on

https://howstuffworks.com

Specifically:

https://electronics.howstuffworks.com/radio-scanner.htm

I had wanted one ever since, but at the time I was a no income fourteen-year-old with fiscally conservative and technology ignorant parents.

There was no way I could own one, not even an entry-level model.

Without getting too political, I believe that the prices of firearms and scanners are deliberately jacked up in order to discourage ownership of them.

Governments likely demand this but it also represents pure profit for the manufacturers of these ever so controversial instruments.

I will stand by this belief until I am unequivocally proven otherwise.

And by the way, if I can be proven totally incorrect; I will be more than happy to recant this statement.

…Anyway, enough of that…

Scanners are expensive there is no doubt about that.

And since I am living on a disability pension, I cannot afford the latest and greatest scanner really not even an entry-level scanner.

Then why do I own so many of them?

Well, it’s simple, I either buy older models at a very significant discount or people who no longer use them due to their obsolescence or perceived obsolescence give them to me and I always find a use for them.

In the late Summer of 2019, a friend of mine, gave me a Realistic (Radio Shack®) Pro-59 and is what this piece will be a review of.

It is not the oldest scanner that I own.

However, it is indeed the oldest scanner that I use.

This particular unit came off the assembly line in July of 1991 and while it may not pick up what most scanner owners want to hear (police traffic) it still picks up almost everything I want to hear. I believe it is an aftermarket rebadged Uniden made for Radio Shack, but I’m not totally sure.

It may be totally obsolete for the overwhelming majority of scanner users.

While I don’t have a very detailed list of the technical specs, I know most of them right off the bat and will give them:

Frequency Range:
137-174 MHz FM
406-512 MHz FM

So, it does not Aircraft or 700/800/900 MHz and that’s understandable. But it doesn’t get VHF Low Band either and that seems like a mistake on the designers’ parts, especially since there were a lot more VHF Low Band users in the early 1990s then there are now. But I get it, this was a budget-friendly entry-level model that had a price tag of $99.95 in the 1992 Radio Shack Catalog. By the way that is $184.45 in 2019 Dollars! The only users on VHF Low Band in my immediate area anyway are some cheaper baby monitors and my local electric utility cooperative. I have other scanners to listen to those transmissions, anyway.

There are only eight memory channels and it does not have a full frequency display. However, it can recall the frequency assigned to any channel but will do it one digit at a time. But since there are only eight available channel memories, it shouldn’t be too hard to remember what frequency was programmed on each channel.

However, it has a dedicated Weather Band Search at the push of a button and it does indeed get all seven Weather frequencies. That is a pretty big deal since not all stand-alone weather radios made in 1991-1992 actually received all seven weather frequencies!

You, the reader, may think that this scanner is a piece of junk by today’s standards, but I am about to tell you why that is not the case.

It may indeed seem very limited both in 2020 as well as 1992 but the receiver sensitivity is where this model beats all of my other scanners. I have a ~12 Inch aftermarket telescoping antenna connected to the BNC terminal on the back, but it pulls in signals loud and clear that all of my newer scanners don’t even stop on. And some of my newer scanners have better antennas as well!

I cannot seem to get a listing of this receiver’s sensitivity as rated in microvolts, but it must be very sensitive.

And that makes this perfect for what I listen to most namely, railroad and marine traffic.

I keep this scanner on my kitchen counter and run it most of my waking hours.

It is running as I speak, but I am in my bedroom at the moment.

There are several navigable waterways within a few miles of my residence and this wonderful scanner pulls in all nearby transmissions on VHF Marine Inland Waterway Channel (156.650 MHz.) It also pulls in the Coast Guard transmissions on the International VHF Marine Distress Channel (156.800 MHz), some fifty miles away in New Orleans. There is a railroad line about ten miles away and it pulls in the dispatcher clear as day and sometimes the engineer’s side as well. I have a local amateur radio repeater that I listen to programmed in there and it works fine as usual. Finally, I have the Fire Dispatch Channel for all of Terrebonne Parish, the Fire Dispatch Channel for Lafourche Parish Fire District 1 (where a good bit of my family resides) and I have two Fire Tactical channels, one for my local fire department and the other for a neighboring fire department. Almost everything this radio picks up, comes in clear as day. And the other times, the signal is still intelligible. One advantage I have is that I live on the second floor. I specifically asked for a second-floor unit so I could get better television and scanner reception!

So, yes, to most this scanner would be a dust collector, given to a thrift store or perish the thought recycled for parts.

However, I have given it a new purpose and I use it daily.

Despite its age of almost twenty-nine years at the time of writing this, it still keeps me informed and entertained on a daily basis.

It even has helped me maintain my sanity during this quarantine!

Most people my age that have to stay home are likely watching various streaming services.

I, on the other hand, listen to scanners, which may have a considerable startup cost, but are free to use. Well aside from the electric bill and the cost of batteries.

My biggest question is:
Will any of the scanners made in 2020 still be operating without issue twenty-nine years in the future?

I guess this, therefore, concludes my review of The Realistic (Radio Shack®) Pro-59.

And yes, I give this product a rating of 5 out of 5 stars because it performs so well and does everything it is supposed to do!

Hopefully, you, the reader, have been informed and entertained.

May God richly bless you!

Back to “Product Reviews”

A Review of the Datexx DRC-604 Atomic Clock Receiver

 

For the record, I do not own the featured image.  I give credit to whoever credit is due…

In some (but not all) aspects of my life, I carry myself with fervent precision.

Case in point, I always wear a watch and I strive to keep that watch synchronized with The American Atomic Time.

To do this, I synchronize it with an Atomic Clock receiver at the beginning of every month.

I have been doing this since 2008 when I would synchronize my watch with the time on my GPS device.

I do this usually on the first over every month, but sometimes I am late with it.

I was late this month with all that is going on.

I synchronized my watches and clocks in the wee hours of the morning on May 7, 2020.

When I was thinking about that, I was prompted to write this piece.

My now ex-wife always had an alarm clock of some sort and always heeded that alarm, mostly to wake everyone else up in her family.

She still pretty much got up at a set time every morning when she and I lived together.

She probably still does to this day, though I am not sure.

Because of this, in August of 2010, I wanted to get her an Atomic Clock receiver for her twenty-third birthday.

There was one being sold at my local grocer, Rouse’s, and for only ~$10.

It was a Datexx DRC-604.

Money was so tight in those days though that I couldn’t afford it for her.

Well all of my disability pension and then some went towards rent and I was working part-time, maybe 15 hours a week at $8 an hour which almost all went towards groceries and utilities.

Our financial situation improved in December of 2010 when my disability pension got bumped up and in January of 2011 for our first anniversary, I bought her a different Atomic Clock receiver, from Wal*Mart, a Westclox, though I’m not sure of the exact model number.

I know I frequently talk ill of that marriage but there were some good times, believe it or not.

And I think what was the ultimate ruination of it was brain damage from my then wife’s chronic hydrocephalus that altered her personality and made her so gosh durn mean, so it’s not entirely her fault either, just a very messed up circumstance.

I tried, for years in fact, but there’s only so much a human being can take.

She did indeed enjoy it, though whenever she got angry at me she would give it back to me, but then take it back when she was no longer angry at me.

I used it as well to synchronize my watch and any other clocks that didn’t automatically synchronize itself.

I left her in January of 2018. And I made sure that she kept that clock.

I also gave back to her almost everything she ever gave me, yes even a Weather Radio, which hopefully she still uses.

I moved into my current residence in May of 2018 but for about one hundred days, I stayed with a friend.

On a stormy day in the Summer of 2018, I was shopping with my Dad at Rouse’s and discovered that the Atomic Clock receiver that I initially wanted to give my then-wife as a birthday present almost eight years prior was now on clearance.

I know Rouse’s is primarily a grocer, but they used to sell some pretty neat housewares, electronics, and even flashlights.

Anyway, instead of ~$10, it was now ~$5.

I had a little bit of cash on me, so I happily purchased it.

As previously stated the Atomic Clock receiver is a Datexx DRC-604 and is what this piece will be a review of.

Between January 2018 and the following Summer, I was unable to synchronize my watches or my other clocks with the Atomic time and that did irritate me tremendously. But somehow I managed.

So, I was super happy to have an accurate clock once again.

It’s not the best of Atomic Clock receivers, but I’d like to think it gets the job done.

There are three major strikes against it:

This clock only works in the Continental United States.

It is difficult to properly set.

AND

It has a difficult time acquiring the signal, even when placed by a window.

Still, it manages to accurately keep time and it synchronizes every morning with the Atomic Clock in Fort Collins, Colorado.

I especially like how it is efficient on batteries, which it runs on two AAA Alkalines and will run for at least a year before needing them to be changed.

Other features are:
Time Zone Setting.
Month, Date, and Day of the Week.
Two Separate Alarms that can be independently turned on or off.
Moon Phase.
Indoor Thermometer.
Bold Faced Clock indicating Hour, Minute, Second, and AM or PM.
Green LED Backlight activated by pressing the Snooze Button.

My biggest complaint is that I wish it could update more often and that it didn’t have such a hard time acquiring the signal but maybe it has a hard time because of all the electrical noise associated with modern technology and apartment dwelling.

Other than that, it has a plethora of nice features and it eventually does get the right time.

My main reason for owning this is so I can properly synchronize my watch and other non-automatic clocks to the most accurate time possible.

By the way, I give this product a 4.45 out of 5 stars, because of the issues with settings, frequency of synchronization, and reception issues.

I suppose this, therefore, concludes my review of the Datexx DRC-604.

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

May God richly bless you!

Back to “Product Reviews”

A Review of the Radio Shack 12-248 Sports Weather Radio

Just for the record, I don’t own the featured image.  It is the property of Radio Shack.

I have been fascinated and intimidated by the weather since I was a toddler.

Likewise, I have been interested in electronics and gadgets since I was a toddler as well.

The overwhelming majority of my childhood took place in the 1990s, so I do have a fondness for certain electronic devices that were made during that time.

Now, the first time I ever set foot inside a Radio Shack was on December 26, 1994, and all I did was look at a few computers.

I wouldn’t shop at Radio Shack again until November of 2001 and I wouldn’t shop at Radio Shack on the regular until some point in 2002.

After that, I was in Radio Shack all the time, until most of them closed down in the mid to late 2010s.

When I was in my 20s, I discovered that there was a website that archived almost every Radio Shack Catalog ever printed.

That website is http://radioshackcatalogs.com/

I have since frequently used it as reference material in my research.

When I was in either my late 20s or early 30s, I was looking at the 1998 Radio Shack catalog on that aforementioned website and noticed a neat portable Weather Radio, The Radio Shack 12-248, of which this piece will be a review.

For the next few years, I had wanted one and frequently checked eBay for it.

However, either the price was too high or it was too beat up to be used.

Then in late April of 2020, there was one that appeared to be in very decent condition and selling only for $15 even.

I couldn’t pass this up.

So, on the evening of April 30, 2020, I made my purchase and it came in the mail on May 7, 2020.

The transit times with the Postal Service are agonizingly slow right now, but I think we can all chalk it up to this wretched Coronavirus.

…Anyway…

While I have only had this radio for a few hours, I am still thoroughly impressed.

Some of the features are:
Rugged, Water Resistant Design-This makes it ideal for outdoor use, especially boating in stormy weather.
Bright Yellow Cabinet-This allows it to be easily located.
Standby Alert Feature-Allows the radio to stay quiet until a Weather Alert is broadcast.
Alert Lock-Allows the end-user to know there was an Alert issued even if he/she wasn’t near the radio when it occurred.
Receives All 7 Channels-Will provide Weather Radio coverage almost anywhere in The United States but also parts of Canada and Mexico.

I read the instructions and learned that while it is water-resistant, it is not waterproof. This means that it would probably be ruined if it went overboard. However, it could probably stand up to light rainfall, which I mean it was designed for keeping track of severe weather while outside.

Speaking of that, the rod antenna is considerably long, so maybe that would be a lightning strike hazard if used outside during an electrical storm.

The price was a bit high, especially for 1998 ($49.99) but a lot of Radio Shack products in the 1990s were overpriced. However, they were built very well!

I’m not sure if the channel selector is a PLL tuner or if it’s crystal-controlled, but it pulls in station KIH23 loud and clear from about forty miles away. Even with the antenna retracted, the signal is still intelligible. Granted I am on the second floor, but most of my other weather radios don’t perform this well. The station even bleeds over into adjacent channels, even from about forty miles away.

I tested the alert feature and it is very oud and will get the end user’s attention.

All in all, it seems to be a good weather radio.

I cannot understand why Radio Shack only sold it for a year.

Maybe it was the high price?

One could go make a week or two worth of groceries in 1998 for that price.

As I stated on social media while talking about this weather radio:
“While I don’t think the Gorton’s Fisherman is a real person, however, if he was, I wouldn’t be surprised if he EDCed one of these [a Radio Shack 12-248] in his raincoat pocket while sailing in US or Canadian waters.”

Gorton’s Fish, especially the Beer Battered variety, has been on my mind a lot lately, and now I can eat it as I please. Both my ex-wife and my ex-girlfriend didn’t like to eat it. Now that I am single I can eat it all I want and not hear anything.

I could picture any fisherman carrying this radio though, and what would be cool is if another company would reboot this design but make it truly waterproof and maybe have a more compact rubber duck antenna tuned to the Weather Band. Another idea that I could change it to have a scan feature that automatically pulls in the strongest weather station, instead of a channel selector knob. Other than that it is a great radio and for its time it was excellent.

Nowadays one can get a portable and waterproof VHF Marine Radio with Weather Band and Standby Alert built it for around what this costed in 1998, maybe even cheaper if inflation is considered.

For those that can get one second hand and want to go fishing either inland or in the coastal waters, this seems to be great, if one can get it in decent condition. There have been quite a few Special Marine Warning issued in my area within days around the time of writing this piece.

I imagine that this radio would be great for those with a budget in mind, especially for other outdoor activities as well such as golfing, farming, or hunting.

I’m glad that God finally blessed me with one.

I give this product a 4.7 out of 5 stars because it isn’t truly waterproof and the antenna looks quite flimsy. Other than that, it’s awesome.

This, therefore, concludes my review of The Radio Shack 12-248 Sport Weather Radio.

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

Thank you for reading and may God richly bless you!

Back to “Product Reviews”

 

A Review of the Midland Weather Center App

For the record I do not own the featured image on this page, I give all credit to whom credit is due.

As I’ve stated many times before, I am fascinated by the weather. I have been since early childhood.

By the way, my area is under a Tornado Watch as I am writing this.

I didn’t own an Android device until I was twenty-eight years old and I’m thirty-three at the time of writing this. This means I have been using Android for almost five years. I was late in the game, but that’s because I was more interested in rugged flip phones and later quick messaging phones because I didn’t like touch screens. However, once I bought my first touch screen phone, I haven’t gone back.

In May of 2015, I bought my first Android device, an entry-level smartphone which was an LG Optimus Fuel. Ever since all phones and tablets which I use have been Android.

In June of 2015, I bought a pocket-sized weather radio, a Midland HH50B. It came bundled with some literature about the Midland Weather Center app, of which this piece will be a review. Other Midland Weather Radios I have purchased also came bundled with this literature. This is my first review of a software product, so I hope you, the reader, will bear with me.

After I installed the batteries in my new weather radio, I promptly downloaded the app from Google Play.

And I had been using it on almost every subsequent Android device I own ever since.

I never was a premium subscriber to get automatic weather alerts for my geographic location, but I don’t need to be as I almost always have a Weather Radio nearby.

However, when a weather alert comes in on my Weather Radio, the first thing I do is check the app and then share the information on social media. If there is a Warning issued, I text that information to all whom I know located in the warned area.

The app gives a seven-day forecast for any given area in the United States and automatically does so for the device’s current geographic location.

It also gives near real-time images of all locations covered by NOAA’s Weather Surveillance RADAR network. These images are continuously updated every five minutes.

There are also detailed outlooks and discussions given from scientists at The Storm Prediction Center in Norman, Oklahoma.

When an alert is listed, a textual transcript of all of that alert broadcast on NOAA Weather Radio, along with visual graphics and maps of the affected area, is included.

Just about all of this can be easily shared via MMS and/or social media as well as other apps with a few taps of the finger.

Other features include literary as well as audio/visual information about how to program a Midland Weather Radio and a list of Weather Radios made by Midland.

As mentioned before a premium feature is push notifications alerting the user to severe weather in his or her geographic location.

This is a very neat app and in my humble opinion, the best weather-related app out there.

Here’s the kick in the teeth: It is no longer available for download on Google Play. This is a terrible mistake on the part of all parties involved in that decision.

However, this wonderful app can still be manually downloaded and installed on an Android device, if the user knows what he or she is doing.

It was in May of 2018 that I realized this app was no longer available on Google Play. I was pretty ticked off about it and vented on social media. I was confronted about my venting at a Bible study even, because of my choice of words. I didn’t use any filthy language but I can see where it could be misconstrued if I said how it “irks my butt” that I can no longer download Midland Weather Center.

So for a little over a year, I went without Midland Weather Center, but one evening in 2019, I was doing some related research and found out that I could download and install it to my Android device without it being on The Play Store. I was thrilled!

Not only does it still fully work, but it also seems to be fully supported.

Now I keep a copy of it on several of my flash drives.

Still, it would be much more easy and convenient to have this app on Google Play. And not only that, more people would be able to use this wonderful app.

If any Midland or Google executives happen to be reading this piece, please heed my advice.

Midland Weather Center is a great app and I will not be a happy man when or if it is no longer supported.

I have been forwarding weather information to social media since about 2012.

When I started, I simply would transcribe what my Weather Radio picked up and I was using a flip phone.

It was quite difficult, but I somehow managed.

I now heavily rely on this app to forward severe weather information to social media.

This is one thing I do for my friends, family, and neighbors and I do it calmly and precisely.

This app helps me disseminate weather information so well to those who need it whereas, it was a pain in the rear end to do it before I had this app.

I know there are other apps out there, but I like Midland Weather Center the most and I think others also would.

I give this product a 5 out of 5 stars.

This, therefore, concludes my review of the Midland Weather Center app, but keep reading, there’s a little more I want to say:

Now, I’ve been saying how much I like Midland Weather Center and I did give it a rating of 5 stars, but let me be totally clear, that an app should not be the primary source of critical weather information. It should merely be a supplement. The primary source of critical weather information must needs be a Public Alert certified Weather Radio because it is fairly simple and very fail-safe. It must needs also be one that is well maintained. And the end-user should have adequate backup batteries installed and change them every Spring Forward and Fall Back, along with smoke detector batteries.

I apologize if I seem to be on my high horse, but this subject has always been of importance to me.

All in all, I am done now. I hope you, the reader, have been informed and maybe, just maybe, a little entertained.

Thank you for reading! My back is starting to hurt, but I’m glad I was able to say all I wanted to say.

Back to “Product Reviews”

A Review of the Leatherman Wingman Multi-Tool

Just for the record, I do not own the featured image on this page, rather it is the property of Leatherman Tool Group, Inc.

I have been fascinated by tools and gadgets since my mid-childhood. I bought my first multi-tool at the age of nineteen (March 2006.) It was a Winchester and one of the very many Leatherman knock offs. I’ve also carried Gerber and Garrity multi-tools.

I bought my first “real” Leatherman, a Kick model, in January of 2010 as a birthday present to myself. That Leatherman Kick was what I was EDCing on my wedding day. Because that marriage was very faulty, I don’t like to be reminded of it and therefore I sold that particular Leatherman tool of mine at some point in late 2019 or early 2020. I wish wouldn’t have sold my Leatherman Kick, because it is now a discontinued model. For those of you who criticize me for being a divorced Christian let me just say that I bent over backward to make that marriage work, but after years of all sorts of abuse and neglect I suffered, not to mention frequent harassment from her family members, I gave up. I never once hit my then-wife now ex-wife and I never cheated on her either, though many times I was very tempted to cheat. I have since forgiven her and I’m only mentioning this as a teaching tool.

In the Fall of 2017, I purchased a Leatherman Style CS, second hand, but eventually sold it.

In February of 2018, I purchased a Leatherman Style PS, misplaced it and purchased a duplicate one in May of 2018 and I still EDC it to this day. It is featured in many of my selfies, usually clipped to the belt loop on my pants. I even wrote a review about it last year.

Earlier this month, I purchased a second hand Leatherman Micra.

Now, let me tell you, the reader, about my latest Leatherman, a Wingman, which I recently purchased and the story behind it.

I’ve wanted a Leatherman Wingman since it first came on the market in 2011 or 2012.

At the time I was married and definitely could not justify spending $30 for a multi-tool. But, oh man, did I ever want one!

I think most of all because a former coworker who was recently divorced in 2011 and had wanted me to be his wingman while he would frequent the bar rooms. As a Christian, I felt totally out of place in a bar room, but I didn’t mind drinking the very light amounts of excellent beer (for the taste, not the buzz) as well as eating the Buffalo Chicken and gourmet pizza, all on my friend’s dime. He’s now happily remarried and I can take some partial credit in that because I helped him set up his dating profile online in addition to being his wingman.

Anyway, I first saw a Leatherman Wingman at my local Academy Sports and Outdoors. When I got home, I did some reading on the said multi-tool and was thoroughly impressed. However, I was more focused at the time on buying budget-friendly (but name brand) flashlights because I always liked flashlights and entry-level scanners along with their accessories for my foaming hobby.

My EDC at the time consisted of either a Pelican MityLite 1900 (Xenon) or 1960 (LED), a 3 D sized Maglite (Krypton), a Klein Electrician’s knife, a Radio Shack Pro-404 and later a Mini Maglite (Xenon) along with a TI Math Explorer calculator. That was 2012 and incandescent flashlights were still in the mainstream market.

Fast forward to 2018-2020, I enjoyed my Leatherman Style PS very much and EDCed it continuously. I had a Sunday School teacher from May of 2018 until October of 2019 who also carried Leatherman tools on him, but his Leatherman tools were higher-end models than mine.

Starting in early December of 2019, I was footloose and fancy-free which meant that I didn’t have to answer to any significant other about what I had purchased. So I began to revisit the idea of purchasing a long wanted Leatherman Wingman

In January of 2020, I started going to my current church.

Now, Jesus Christ my Lord and Savior commands me not to brag about my love offerings and the only reason why I will in this piece because I find it to be a powerful testimony, otherwise, I would keep this to myself:
I do set aside a little cash each month to spend on myself for enjoyment, after my tithe, rent, utilities, credit cards, and debt management program are paid. In February of 2020, I was looking at eBay and discovered that gently used Leatherman Wingman tools were selling for $25 on there. I was planning on using that extra money to purchase a gently used Leatherman Wingman the following March. Then I was sitting in church one Sunday in late February 2020 and we were asked to consider giving to the building fund. God spoke to me right then and there and He told me to use that $25 for the building fund. He went on to say that if I did so, He would provide me with the funds for a brand new Leatherman Wingman instead of a used one. Because of some factors unknown to me, the MSRP for a brand new Leatherman Wingman is no longer $30 but $60. But I made a leap of faith and when I received my disability pension for March of 2020, I gave $18 of the $25 to the building fund. I needed to get some groceries with the other $7. Later this month I unexpectantly came into a decent sum of money, which allowed me to pay off the court fees for my divorce among other things. I also gave the remaining $7 of the $25 I promised God to the building fund as well as another 10% of the sum I recently received to my church. And of course, on March 17, 2020, I went to Lowe’s and purchased a brand new Leatherman Wingman and I own it free and clear! God did for me just as He had promised and He went above and beyond for me!

I’ve been so excited to share this testimony!

Now that I have shared it, I will write my review on the Leatherman Wingman:

This will be mostly my initial reaction because I have only owned it for about two days.

Let me first say that it is everything I hoped it would be.

It feels very comfortable but equally solid in my hand.

I dig the shiny finish.

The pants pocket clip is very sturdy and secure.

The spring action for the pliers and wire cutter implements are highly robust!

The nice clicking sound it makes while lining and locking the implements in place is very reassuring of how well it is made!

The Leatherman Wingman generously features 14 tools in 1:

I have commented on the implements that I have used since purchasing this awesome tool.

01. Spring-action Needlenose Pliers.
02. Spring-action Regular Pliers.
03. Spring-action Wire Cutters-I’ve tried these out on twigs and branches and they cut fairly decently, especially on drier pieces I’ve cut.
04. Wire Stripper.
05. 420 HC Combo Knife-This is both serrated and straight-edged and I must say the sharpness is almost on par with that of a Victorinox blade.
06. Spring-action Scissors-For these to work properly, the implement must be line and locked completely out, but it works very well.
07. Package Opener.
08. 1.5 inch/3.8 centimeter Ruler.
09. Can Opener-I wish the can opener design would be more like that of Victorinox, but maybe that would result in patent infringement?
10. Bottle Opener.
11. Wood/Metal File.
12. Phillips Screwdriver
13. Medium [Flat Head] Screwdriver.
14. Small [Flat Head] Screwdriver.

My only complaint thus far is the can opener because it isn’t as smoothly operated as what I usually use which is the can opener implement on a Victorinox Swiss Army Knife.

I know I’ve only owned it a couple of days, so maybe it will eventually wear out due to fatigue, but I plan to keep it and cherish it as a reminder of how my God blesses me and what just a little bit of faith will accomplish.

If I had my way, I would keep it on me at all times, but I must follow the laws of the land as a Christian, so therefore I will only carry it where I am legally allowed to do so.

Let me just say that weapons carrying ordnances won’t stop someone who wants to cause harm and may allow him or her to cause even more harm. We don’t have a weapon problem but we do indeed have a heart problem. Anyway, I wouldn’t want to use this as a weapon, to begin with, I see it more as a cool tool that happens to have two sharp blades on it, of which I could take or leave. But, I get it, the very concept that brought forth Leatherman tools, to begin with, was to have a pair of pliers with a knife on it and it was a multi-million dollar idea (maybe even in the billions now if we consider all of the knockoffs and copycats made globally.)

All in all, I give the Leatherman Wingman a 4.95 out of 5 stars, because the can opener implement is not what I am used to.

This, therefore, concludes my review of the Leatherman Wingman.

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

Thank you for reading!

Back to “Product Reviews”

A Review of the Maglite ML25LT LED Flashlight

Just for the record, I do not own the featured image on this page. Rather it is property of Mag Instrument, Inc.

Similarly to December of 2019 (but not as bad), money was tight again for February of 2020.

I wasn’t able to get out much or splurge much either.

However, a family member owed me $10.

Since all my other expenses were paid, I could get some groceries and something small for myself with that $10.

So on February 27, 2020, I went shopping at the Wal*Mart in East Houma, Louisiana.

As I always do, I checked out the flashlight section. It was there that I saw several quality flashlights on clearance.

One of them was a Maglite ML25LT LED flashlight going for $5.00 marked down from ~$20! I knew I couldn’t pass that up, since, almost three years prior, I had owned the incandescent version of it and it performs very well.

And it is that flashlight that this piece will be a review thereof.

I guess because of the increasing amount of crime of which our society is unfortunately subject to, Wal*Mart keeps even their flashlights under lock and key. So, to purchase this flashlight, I had to get an associate to unlock the glass case. I had to talk to several people and wait several more minutes to get that done, but finally, someone unlocked the glass.

After I selected the flashlight I had my eyes on, I walked to the grocery section and bought a few snacks.

The line to check out was agonizingly long, but then I finally checked out.

My total was just under $10 and I was happy.

Then, upon exiting Wal*Mart, the customers in front of me who had an extremely large order were checked by a doorman upon exiting and I thought I would be as well so I waited behind them, only to be told they didn’t need to check my purchases.

Talk about a waste of my time.

If Wal*Mart keeps up with these practices, no matter how necessary, it will begin to lose customers.

I get that these practices are in place in response to the ever-increasing amount of crime our society is subjected to, but the good are suffering for the bad.

Anyway, let me get off my soapbox because my preaching of morality probably does no good.

Now let’s talk about the flashlight I bought:

So when I got home, I unpacked it and installed two sparingly used Alkaline C batteries. Immediately, I was impressed by the brightness!

Days later, I discovered that mine is an updated version of the original ML25LT because it has two power settings whereas the original only had one.

To turn the flashlight on, turn the head counter-clockwise and turn until you have the beam pattern of your desire be it to spot or flood or something in between.

At the most optimum level of focus, the ML25LT is rated to have a beam distance of 337 Meters or ~1,105 Feet. This rating is believable as I will explain so in a bit.

On High Mode, it is rated to have a Light Output of 192 Lumens, which is also believable and it seems brighter than that, though I don’t have access to light measuring instruments.

The Peak Beam Intensity is rated at 28,474 Candelas, which is maybe why it seems to be brighter than 192 Lumens-there is quite a difference between Lumens and Candela/Candlepower, don’t be fooled!

It is rated to survive the impact of a 1 Meter fall onto concrete, which knowing Maglite, it can probably sustain much worse than that and still function perfectly! I’ve read stories of Maglites withstanding far worse abuse and still working, Mr. Maglica probably gives such a humble rating for CYB purposes.

It has a Water Resistance rating of IPX4, which means it is immune to splashing water from any direction (like commuting on foot at night in the rain.) Again, Tony Maglica probably agreed to that rating for CYB purposes because I’ve read testimonials of Maglite being immersed in deep water for months to years and still working. But don’t try and test the limits.

At High Power, it has a runtime of 7 Hours on two fresh Alkaline C sized batteries and at Low Power, it has a run time of 72 Hours on the same power source. Those specifications are pretty gosh durn generous if you ask me!

While I did buy this on impulse, I do find myself carrying it in my backpack for two reasons:
It is far lighter and more compact than my Bushnell T750L, which was weighing down and probably would eventually damage my backpack.
AND
While not as bright as that Bushnell, it is still bright enough for the purpose I was ultimately using the Bushnell, which was night time commuting on foot.

In December of 2019 when I purchased my Bushnell I was not attending church, but about two weeks later I found another church and I love it there. One of my evening foot commutes is for a weekly Bible Study. In the dead of winter, it is dark both going to the evening church service and returning, however, in the very late winter, spring and summer it is only dark for the return commute. I also sometimes make groceries or buy a small meal at night and I go on foot to save gasoline.

When the beam is set to focus, the downrange light foes very far and maybe even further than the rated 337 Meters or 1,105 Feet, of course, I’m just eyeballing it. And I can lower the power level by turning it off then quickly back on if I think the brightness will disturb neighbors or motorists I encounter while walking around at night.

There had been some talk floating around for years that Maglite was late in the game as for coming out with high powered, high quality LED flashlights, but now I think they are finally catching up. While they may not be a bright as their fellow American SureFire, they may be on par with the high-quality Chinese lights such as NiteCore.

Tony Maglica will be turning 90 years old this year (2020 at the time of writing this) if he hasn’t already, so I only wonder how much longer will he stay at the reins of Mag Instrument?

I hope whoever takes his place will have the same commitment to top quality and American-based manufacturing!

My main EDC flashlight which I have on my person almost constantly is a Streamlight JR LED. This Maglite ML25LT does seem brighter and depending on how you look at it, it is. While the Streamlight JR puts out a whopping 225 Lumens, the Peak Beam Intensity is only 2,700 Candela and the Beam Distance is only 104 Meters or ~341 Feet. Did I not say there was a difference between Lumens and Candela/Candlepower? I will still probably carry my Streamlight JR no matter what, but while I’m commuting on foot at night, I would like something more powerful, hence the Maglite ML25LT. The Bushnell was also good, but too bulky.

All in all most of the time and especially this time, Maglite is a tried and true winner!

I give this product a 5 out of 5 stars!

This, therefore, concludes my review of the Maglite ML25LT LED flashlight.

I hope, you, the reader, have been informed and maybe a little entertained.

Thank you for taking the time to read my review and may God richly bless you!

Back to “Product Reviews”

A Review of the Casio DataBank CA53W-1 Wristwatch

For the record, I do not own the featured image on this page, it is property of Casio America, Inc.

I have been fascinated by calculators since infancy.

I am also pretty adamant about wearing a wristwatch, especially one that is accurate.

So, you, the reader, are probably not shocked that I own a wristwatch with a built-in calculator.

I first bought a knock off calculator wristwatch in early 2015, but it didn’t last.

Then in, January of 2019, I bought another one, a Casio Databank CA53W-1, of which I still have over a year later.

This piece will be a review of that said watch.

First of all, let’s go back to January 2019.

I was going out for a night time drive. I drove all the way to the Gulf Coast in Terrebonne Parish, Louisiana.

There is something about cruising those roads in lower Terrebonne Parish that I find good for my soul.

I drove State Highway 56 all the way to its terminus at the Gulf of Mexico in Cocodrie, Louisiana.

Then I turned around and started up Highway 56 again, but turned onto State Highway 57 and drove it all along the lower parts of Bayou Grand Calliou.

Highway 57, especially in the lower parts of Terrebonne Parish is very curvy like a beautiful woman!

I stopped at a convenience store well below Dulac, Louisiana for a bottle of Starbucks Coffee and a Mister Goodbar, which was a frequent snack for me. Well, my peanut allergy has gotten worse, so I no longer eat Mister Goodbar or any other peanut product and I miss them terribly. However, I don’t like breaking out in eczema or any other adverse reactions that will result from me eating peanuts. One other family member of mine has had a peanut allergy since the age of two, but I gradually developed a peanut allergy in my late teens to early twenties but it didn’t get that bad until my early thirties. Peanuts used to be one of my favorite foods and I miss eating them.

…Anyway…

After getting the snack and coffee, I drove Highway 57 all the way to Houma. I wanted to do a little shopping because I had some extra cash on me. First I stopped at a truck plaza but didn’t find anything worthwhile.

Then I went looking around at the Wal Mart on Highway 57 AKA Grand Calliou Road.

I looked around at the sporting goods, then the men’s clothing then finally the jewelry.

I was looking at watches in particular.

There were three watches I previously had in rotation.

My Casio G-Shock DW-5600E which was starting to go on the blink.

My Victorinox Original whose nylon band was tearing.

AND

The Wenger that I only wear on special or formal occasions.

There, I saw a Casio wristwatch with a built-in calculator for ~$20.

I’ve owned several Casios prior to that, and I will say that they are more accurate than the Swiss models I’ve owned and they are built well.

So, without much thought, I purchased it then went home.

As soon as I was home I set it up and synchronized it with the Atomic Clock.

I would end up wearing it for most of the year 2019 and extremely early 2020.

In addition to telling the time quite accurately, it features:
An 8 Digit Calculator with the four arithmetic functions.
A Stop Watch-this came in handy when timing the four-minute intervals to flip my pieces of chicken when frying them.
A Calendar-In case I forget the day of the week or date of the month.
An Alarm Clock-I sleep to heavily to hear it but I suppose I could use it as a reminder to take medication.
An Optional Hourly Chime-Great to know when a new hour is upon me.
A Secondary Time Zone-I set it to UTC because of my amateur radio hobby.

Even though I bought this watch because it has a calculator, I rarely used that feature. This is mainly because the buttons are too small for my fingers. Also, I regularly EDC a calculator anyway. I wore it because it was accurate and to show off my fondness for calculators. It was as if I was making a statement!

Aside from the buttons being a bit small and hard to press, my only other complaint about it is it has no backlight. But maybe that is to make the battery last longer.

It also is not waterproof aside from maybe a little rain, but this isn’t the type of watch one would want to take swimming or diving anyway.

However, for light home or indoor work use, it is perfect!

I wore it until January of 2020 when I bought my second G-Shock, a G100-9CM, which I currently wear.

However, I may still wear this one, especially if I want my inner nerd to come out!

All in all, I give this product a 4.25 out of 5 stars because of the lack of a backlight and difficulty to press the buttons. But the timekeeping is very accurate and makes up for what it lacks.

I guess this, therefore, concludes my review of the Casio DataBaank CA53W-1 wristwatch.

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

Thank you for reading!

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