A Review of the Oregon Scientific WR601N Handheld Weather Radio with S.A.M.E.

For the record, I do not own the featured image on this page, rather I downloaded it from eBay and I give credit to whomever credit is due.

As you, the reader, can probably tell, I have an strong interest in Weather Radios.

I first read about a NOAA Weather Radio in the Summer of 1997 at the age of ten and a half whilst reading a hurricane preparedness pamphlet.

I wouldn’t actually own a NOAA Weather Radio until December of 2001 at the age of fourteen going on fifteen.

However, once I owned one, I would be completely fascinated.

My parents thought there was something wrong with me because of it.

Well technically there is something wrong with me, but when I was a teen, I was the only teen I knew of that was interested in radio electronics.

Nowadays, there are plenty of teens who are interested in radio electronics, especially weather radio, and sites like YouTube are living proof.

Sometimes I feel like I was born in the wrong generation and should have been born ten to fifteen years later.

Then, I realize that if I was born ten to fifteen years later, my girlfriend and I probably wouldn’t be an item. I’m an older Millenial and she is a younger Millenial and honestly, I don’t want anyone else. No one comes close to her not even by a long shot. We make each other happy and it doesn’t matter to me that hardly anyone if anyone at all my age shares my interests. So, because of those facts, I am very grateful to have been born when I was born.

It was in my mid-twenties that I began to collect weather radios.

Now at the age of thirty-two-going-on-thirty-three, I am frequently visiting thrift stores, flea markets, antique shops, and hamfests to purchase gently-used vintage weather radios.

On November 2, 2019, I had some cash on me and went to my local GoodWill.

It was as if God Himself was telling me to go there because I would find a weather radio.

And in the electronics/appliances section, I found an Oregon Scientific WR601N in very good condition, but selling for only $1.97+tax.

I had been wanting one of these for a couple years but didn’t want to pay the MSRP.

This piece will be a review of that aforementioned weather radio.

What I purchased at GoodWill only included the radio, battery door, and lanyard. There was no manual, cradle or AC adaptor.

Still, for $1.97+tax, I’m not going to complain.

Performance-wise, this radio is a true winner:
The size is very compact and can be carried on your person or in a backpack without weighing the user down.

The antenna is short and stubby, but is rugged and pulls in the Weather Radio broadcast very well, even from forty miles away!

The speaker audio is clear and crisp but can be annoying when there is noise in the signal.

The radio runs on 3 AA batteries and the runtime seems generous.

There are a clock and calendar which I must say keeps time very accurately, like +/-1 second in a week!

There are two separate alarm times that can be set and the alarm is loud enough.

The radio receives all seven weather radio channels.

The radio is equipped with S.A.M.E. technology and can store up to six administrative divisions or monitor all six.

The blue backlight lights up the display brightly and evenly. It is activated by pressing the snooze button.

The housing seems to be built very well and could probably survive a few drops.

Also, the face of the radio is yellow, meaning it can be easily found in a dark room or cluttered baggage.

There is an external speaker jack.

The display can be expressed in English, French or Spanish.

There are only three real [albeit minor] complaints I have and they are:
The radio can be a bit tricky to program and operate and takes some getting used to.

The radio also has trouble standing by itself, even on a flat surface.

The radio should have better noise limiting circuitry since it will not work well near any source of electrical noise.

However, at the price I paid, I’m not going to make any case about the complaints.

Even though I didn’t buy it brand new and I don’t have all the right accessories, I have been EDCing this radio for the past week and I am totally satisfied.

While Midland is my favorite brand of Weather Radios, I’ll admit they could learn plenty from this model.

What I like most are the rugged and compact build and clear crisp reception.

It is good to have S.A.M.E., but I could take it or leave it since I would use this for traveling or outdoor activities, where S.A.M.E. isn’t always necessary.

Like other compact portable models, the WR601N would be well suited for an EDC bag, a bug out/bailout bag, or a safe room, all for monitoring the progress of the weather, without needing line current.

I’m really impressed all in all and this is a vast improvement over the Oregon Scientific WR-8000, which actually was the first weather radio I had ever owned.

I give this product a 4.7 out of 5 stars!

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A Review of the Streamlight Stylus Pro® Penlight

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

In my late teens, I had first discovered Streamlight flashlights.  I wouldn’t actually own one, a 3C Twin Task®, until the age of twenty-two.  I would later own a Scorpion®.

In March of 2010, at the age of twenty-three, I bought my first Streamlight Stylus Pro® at my local Batteries Plus (now Batteries+Bulbs) in Houma, Louisiana.  It set me back between $24-30 and I did EDC it for at least a little while.  LED technology hadn’t advanced enough in 2010 and this particular version of the Stylus Pro® gave off a measly 24 Lumens for 7.5 hours on 2 AAA batteries.  Still, it was very rugged and bright for its price of the time.  I was working as a grocer and would use it when picking up shopping buggies at night.   It was fun to show off in the nighttime parking lot at work.  I had also used it for roadside emergencies involving now ex-in-laws.  In late 2011, I had given it to a friend and went back to everyday carrying mostly Mini Maglites.

In early April of 2018, I had purchased another one at the Cabela’s in Gonzales, Louisiana, for a price of between $16-20.  The model had definitely advanced.  Brightness was now 90 Lumens, but I only bought it as a cheaper replacement for both of the 2AAA Pro Tac® penlights that I had misplaced.  I EDCed it briefly but ended up selling it in October of 2018.

Since the Summer of 2019, I had been wanting another Stylus Pro®, especially since I enjoy my Streamlight JR® so much.  Also, the brightness went up another 10 Lumens, now at 100 Lumens.  Even though I hated my grocer job, I do romanticize grocery work, probably even more so because I wrote my  “Grocer and Writer” stories.  So in late October of 2019, I ordered a brand new Stylus Pro®.  It came in today, November 7, 2019.  The best part is, I only paid $16.99 for it with free shipping!

According to Streamlight’s Website, these are the specifications on the Stylus Pro®:

 

  • White LED delivers 100 lumens; 62m beam; runs 8 hours; 950 candela-good enough for just about any everyday carry scenario.
  • Push button tail switch – momentary or constant on operation-tactically correct for law enforcement use or for those who know Morse Code.
  • Includes two “AAA” alkaline batteries and tear-resistant nylon holster-quite generous offer.
  • Type II MIL-SPEC abrasion and corrosion-resistant anodized aircraft aluminum construction with unbreakable, scratch-resistant polycarbonate lens-will still look elegant even after long term everyday use. 

Streamlight is telling the truth about these specs, by the way!

In my opinion, the Stylus Pro® was always an awesome flashlight, but even more now since Streamlight regularly updates this product as LED technology improves.

I plan to EDC this flashlight in conjunction with my Streamlight JR®, possibly even side to side in my pocket!

If I ever to grocery work again, this will be my work flashlight, both for picking up buggies at night or working in dark coolers and/or freezers.  And if there was ever a power failure on the job, Lord knows I would light up the warehouse or sales floor.

What strikes me as odd though is that the Stylus Pro® is serialized while the JR® is not.

If an updated version of the Stylus Pro® is ever released, I will [eventually] be buying one.

Why can’t it be made here in America though?

Well if it was, it would probably cost that much more.

All in all, I give this product a 5 out of 5 stars!

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A Review of the SwissGear 3598 City Backpack

For the record, I do not own the featured image on this page. It is property of SwissGear and/or Group III International.

I have been owning and using Wenger then SwissGear backapcks since 2006, mostly for attending trade school.

I have been using them for EDC since 2008.

I have owned five Wenger backpacks purchased from 2006 to 2011 and carried between 2006 and 2015.

I also owned two Victorinox backpacks which I purchased from 2015 to 2016 and carried between 2015 and 2017.

I will say that while Wenger and SwissGear were more affordable and more durable than their Victorinox counterparts.

They are also more available at brick and mortar retailers.

In November of 2017, I purchased a SwissGear backpack, which is the successor to Wenger.

Then on October 10, 2019, I purchased a SwissGear City Backpack Model Number 3598, which this review will be about.

This will be a review of my initial reactions, because I haven’t even owned it for twenty-four hours at the time of writing this.

However, I want to do a backpack review since they are instrumental in the world of EDC and I have been EDCing since the age of seven.

As a child and up to age twenty, I had carried my posessions in an Out Door products duffel bag. I did so until the zipper broke.

When I began trade school at age nineteen, I carried my books and laptop in my first Wenger backpack.

I had other backpacks to get me through trade school which I graduated in 2009.

At some point in trade school, I had realized that a backpack is better than a duffel bag for EDC.

So I used mostly Swiss branded backpack since then, except for a few brief times.

On October 10, 2019, I had some cash on me and was in the market for a new Swiss backpack.

I went to Target where most of them are sold and had a team member check the prices on each one I was interested in.

All were out of my price range of the cash I had on me when taxes factored in and I didn’t want to use my credit cards.

But then I saw the most basic model had a display tag of $39.99 even though it was scanning for $44.99.

I was able to get it sold to me for $39.99 of which I had enough to cover the sales tax without using my credit cards.

God was definitely with me on this.

I left the store and went home to set it up.

My initial reaction to it was that it was more narrow and lighter than what I had previously been using.

It also seemed more rugged.

The engineering on this bag is genius as far as space management goes.

I am able to fit just about everything I was previously carrying, including my computer repair tools, yet it is considerably more compact.

The only device I have yet to find a spot for is my graphing calculator, but I don’t really need to EDC that anyway.

According to SwissGear’s website, the 3598 is, “…an everyday backpack that entails modern functionality for commuters and travelers.”

Also according to SwissGear’s website;

Some of the features this backpack provides are:
-Padded, Airflow back panel with mesh fabric for superior back ventilation and support.
(excellent for everyday carrying outdoors in the Louisiana heat.)

-Padded shoulder straps with breathable mesh fabric and thumb ring adjuster pulls.
(perfect for carriers of different sizes and statures.)

-Front Panel pocket with side zipper for extra storage space.
(ideal medication/medical supplies storage for everyday carriers with special needs.)

-Front organizer panel with divider pockets and compartments for IDs, credit cards, smartphone, travel documents, and other essentials.
(handy when traveling in foreign countries.)

-Spacious main compartment features a padded tablet pocket.
(useful for holding reading/writing materials research or studying while on the go.)

-Mesh water bottle pocket.
(esential to keep the user hydrated whilst on foot.)

-Side accessory pocket.
(this is where I personally store my computer repair tools.)

-Side compression straps to tighten down load.
(genius design secures load better.)

The SwissGear 3598 has the following specifications:

It is made of durable enough Polyester.

The physical dimensions are 18 inches (45.72 cm) tall, 9 inches (22.86 cm) wide and 7 inches (17.78 cm) deep, which make it small enough to take just about anywhere.

The tare weight is 1.5 pounds (0.6804 kg), though depending on the contents it should not weigh the user down too much.

The total storage volume is 15.9 Liters (4.2 US Gallons.), so it should allow the user to take at least the essentials and maybe a little extra.

I know I have only had this for less than a day, but so far I am impressed and pleased!

By the way, if I am not pleased or if it fails, then there is ten year extended warranty.

Right now I give it a five out of five stars, especially because of the space management!

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A Review of the Streamlight Pro Tac 2 AAA Tactical Penlight

Just for the record, I do not own the featured image on this page. It is actually the property of Streamlight Inc.

Since my teens, I have been a self-taught computer technician.

I had become considerably proficient at fixing computers in my early twenties and by my thirties, people are frequently coming to me for a repair or at least consulting me for advice.

I guess I can say that I am a computer nerd. And I am proud of it!

However, there are those that want to make trouble with people like me.

And then there are those who just want to make trouble.

There are people like these even in the best of workplaces.

Then there could just be someone off the street who wants to commit a robbery, I mean computer equipment is very valuable and computer repair equipment is also somewhat valuable.

How does one defend oneself against such a belligerent individual?

I mean, they are probably more fit physically and carrying a weapon of any sort is at best heavily regulated and at worst downright illegal.

Meet the tactical flashlight!

Specifically, meet the Streamlight Pro Tac 2 AAA model, which this piece will be a review of.

I have owned three of them, but misplaced two.

I bought my first one in January of 2018, then another in March of 2018 and my current one in March of 2019.

I EDC my current one with the rest of my computer repair tools for self-defense purposes, rather than general or specific illumination.

This neat little flashlight is slightly longer and thicker than an ink pen, meaning it can be tucked away in a backpack or purse and not noticeable until needed.

The Streamlight Pro Tac 2 AAA can be programmed to three different configurations, which is a feature known as “TEN-TAP® Programming.” The three different modes are:

1. high/strobe/low

2. high only

3. low/high

I have kept mine set on the default high/strobe/low configuration (more on why in a bit.)

The LED light engine has somewhat generous specs, at least for its hardware setup:

High Mode features a 130 lumen 70-meter beam, runs for 1.75 hours and has a beam intensity of 1,230 candelas.

Low Mode features a 20 lumen 30-meter beam, runs for 13 hours and has a beam intensity of 230 candelas.

Strobe Mode runs 3.5 hours and is available for signaling help or disorienting an opponent for defensive purposes.

This flashlight is somewhat water-resistant and has a rating of IPX7 which means the unit is waterproof to a depth of 1 meter for 30 minutes.

It is also impact forgiving and was tested to withstand a fall from a height of 2 meters.

It is constructed of a very durable and abrasion-resistant machined aluminum with a Type II Mil-Spec anodized finish.

The openings are O-ring sealed to keep harmful fluids out.

The glass lens is more robust than say a polycarbonate lens.

It is 5.62 inches (14.27 cm) long and weighs 2 ounces (57g) with batteries installed.

So how is this flashlight a potential self-defense instrument?

I will explain:

First off it is made of a hard Aluminum.

Then, the front bezel is scalloped making a semi-sharp striking weapon.

Finally, it features a strobe which can disorient an attacker, especially in darkness.

The idea is one knows he or she will near any trouble makers to have this flashlight in a place where it can be quickly deployed.

Then if confronted by a violent or threatening individual, especially in the dark, the idea is to activate the strobe, which is done by two quick presses of the switch and shine it in the opponent’s eyes. As the opponent shields his or her face, the next step is to either run away and get help, or to stike the opponent as hard as you can with the scalloped bezel. Places to hit would be the face, eyes, throat or temple as hard as you can. When the impact is made, push and turn into the point of impact as this will break the skin and cause more pain and therefore more stopping power. There are a few videos on sites like YouTube that can show how to execute these movements with better precision and effectiveness than what I am simply describing on my blog. Yes, this methodology turns a small flashlight into a potentially lethal weapon. The good part is that, while it is not considered a weapon legally, it, therefore,may be carried almost anywhere.

Also for the record, I am not liable for any criminal or legal penalties you, the reader, may incur for using this as a weapon. Take my advice and the advice of others at your own risk.

Unfortunately, we live in a society that punishes people for simply defending themselves, even against armed and dangerous criminals. This is a curse that seems to be falling onto the entire Western World.

However, it is better to be judged by twelve than carried by six.

I would advise using this only if the opponent is wielding a weapon, has battered you first or has demanded your property.

This is meant to be a defensive, not an offensive weapon.

Still, it can be a legal equalizer without the red tape, obligations, and requirements of a concealed carry weapons permit.

My one complaint about this flashlight is the faulty pocket clip.

That design needs to be completely redone, as it was the faulty clip that malfunctioned and caused me to misplace my first two.

I keep my third one in a dedicated compartment of my EDC backpack with my computer repair tools and if I felt the need to carry it, I would not clip it to my pocket but rather store it deep in my pocket.

I wish the LED could also be at least 200 lumens instead of 130, but that I pushing it, I get it.

All in all, I give this product a 4.75 out of 5 stars because of the faulty pocket clip.

If the pocket clip were as robust as its 2 AA sibling, I would give it a full 5.

This, therefore, concludes my review of the Streamlight Pro Tac 2 AAA.

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

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A Review of the Victorinox Cyber Tool S Swiss Army Knife

For the record, I do not own the featured image. It is the property of Victorinox.

As I’ve frequently mentioned before, I am a self-taught computer technician.

Repairing computers is one of my more useful hobbies.

Since July of 2018, I’ve added to the items that I everyday carry when working on computers.

I still have everything previously mentioned except for the Baval branded case, which broke on me-I was sorely disappointed.

In addition to the Incandescent Mini Maglite (which is carried with these items just for general personal lighting in a post EMP situation), a Texas Instruments TI-36 X Pro (which is for assisting a computer programmer or computer scientist, though probably overkill), an Energizer HardCase Inspection Light (for looking inside a tower or mainframe while it is running) the usual USB flash drives and a Victorinox Cyber Tool S (which is for actually having to open up a computer and what this piece will be a review of.) I have since added an additional flashlight, a 2 AA Streamlight ProTac in march of 2019 (mainly for personal illumination protection should I be needed to work on a computer in a shady area or be confronted by a trouble maker in any area.) These items are all kept in a dedicated compartment of my Wenger SwissGear EDC backpack.

I have been using Swiss Army Knives on and off since 2005.

I purchased this particular Swiss Army Knife (a Victorinox Cyber Tool S) in 2018 and it is currently my favorite one.

I use this mostly for when I am working on computers, but I will also open a canned meal with it or if I have to cut something open. Though the blades are some of the sharpest steel I’ve ever encountered, I wouldn’t advise using this for self-defense purposes unless nothing else is available. I see this as much more of a tool for nerds than a weapon for a fighter.

This is what Victorinox had to say about its awesome product, “We took the traditional Officer’s knife functions and added tools like a bit wrench to match new standards in the electronics industry. And that legend continues into the digital age with the CyberTool pocket knife. It’s everything you need to become a superuser.”

Victorinox is a very reputable manufacturer, that should be common knowledge. I mean they’ve been around since 1884. And Victorinox is a Swiss firm, which I believe the Swiss are the world’s finest craftspeople, change my mind! For the record, I am not Swiss, but I do indeed admire them as a people and a sovereign state. I’ve purchased their products many times before and they have always served me well. Furthermore, I have used this particular product frequently in conjunction with my computer repair hobby, so I completely and wholeheartedly agree with their aforementioned statement. The MSRP is 75 American Dollars. Yes, Swiss goods come at a premium price, but they are worth every single penny. Swiss Army Knives easily outperform and outlast all of their East Asian knockoffs and are a hair above their American-made Leatherman counterparts, or so I’ve read. The Swiss take pride in their work, probably more than anyone else, so their products are indeed superior so that is why they have a premium price tag. I justify this purchase because I use my computer repair hobby to assist others, especially since many times cannot afford a new one. Probably the most important lesson I learned at the high school I attended was the importance of being kind to others and I do get a tremendous amount of happiness when I can be a blessing to my fellow human being.

This handy gadget is 4 inches long, 0.8 inches thick and has a net weight of 3.4 ounces. This means that it is lightweight and compact enough to be carried in a pocket and not noticed until needed, but offers a plethora of useful items when deployed!

In addition to the main features of large blade, small blade, corkscrew, reamer, punch, and sewing awl, can opener, screwdriver (3 mm), bottle opener, screwdriver (6 mm), wire stripper, key ring, toothpick, straight pin and tweezers found on many medium sized Swiss Army Knives, there are also the following implements which are indispensible for all computer technicians: a pressurized ball point pen, a precision screwdriver slotted bit which fits onto the corkscrew, a slotted screwdriver bit (size 4), a Phillips screwdriver bit (size 2), a Phillips screwdriver bit (size 0) (Pozidrive), a Phillips screwdriver bit (size 1) (Pozidrive), a Torx screwdriver bit (size 10), a Torx screwdriver bit (size 15), a bit case, a bit wrench, a female Hex drive (5 mm) for D-SUB connectors, a female Hex drive (4 mm) for bits, a Hex screwdriver bit (size 4), and a Torx screwdriver bit (size 8.)

The handle is made of a red translucent plastic known as Cellidor, which means it could easily be located in a backpack when needed.

Actually, Swiss Army Knives are mostly red because there is a lot of snow in Switzerland and they need to be easy to locate should they be dropped in the snow! Probably also the colors of the Swiss Federation are red and white.

This is the least expensive of all the Victorinox Cyber Tool models, yet it has everything I need and even things I probably won’t need, but are still good to have.

The most useful implements in relation to computer repair are the Philips, Hex and Torx Bits. Of course, the Hex wrench that drives these bits is equally important.

These bits have just about every size needed to open up a computer and even a disk drive for the most advanced of users!

Honestly, if Victorinox could make a Cyber Tool without any knife implements, but instead had those important bits and a high capacity flash drive (such as 128 GB or 1 TB) where the knife blade would be, I would definitely save the money and buy it. The reason why I could want such a high capacity flash drive is to store all of the image files of the Linux distributions that I download. Also, if such a tool existed, it could be taken to school without the owner catching a charge and on a plane without getting confiscated. This would be a hit with IT students, professionals and even amateurs like me.

As I’ve said before, the knife implements are some of the sharpest steel I have ever seen and felt, but I would much rather a flash drive in their place.

The can opener implement would, of course, be useful for getting lunch out of a can in the break room or just to have should the power fail and one needs to eat canned food.

The bottle opener implement would be useful for drinking beer or high-quality soft drink after a stressful day when all the equipment had a mind of its own.

The wire stripper on the bottle opener implement would be useful for any computer technician should he or she have to assist maintenance personnel with wiring a receptacle or switch.

And I could take or leave the corkscrew, but I fully understand it could have a use when opening that bottle of bubbly to celebrate a career milestone.

The precision screwdriver bit that attaches to the corkscrew could be used to perform minor repairs of eyeglasses on the fly, Lord knows most computer repair people both amateur and professional will need some sort of eyewear because of all the reading of screens, components and motherboards that ages the eyes prematurely.

I don’t have any complaints about this product whatsoever, I just wish a more legal version was available.

This, therefore, concludes my review of the Victorinox Cyber Tool S.

I hope I have been informative and entertaining.

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All of the Industrial Grade Flashlights I’ve Owned-Written from 2013 a Conversation on CPF

Back in February of 2013, I was consulted on Candle Power Forums because I had frequently talked about industrial grade flashlights on there.  So I sent a private message detailing all of the industrial grade flashlights I had owned up to that point.  I had recently added to the list since it was dated.  At some point in 2015 or 2016, I had switched to more tactical models, but I still have extensive experience with the industrial models and they will always have a place in my heart.

 

Without further ado, here is the piece:

 

“…Well, I like the explosion proof models most. I don’t know why except for the fact that they are common in my area (South Louisiana.) We have plenty of sugar refining, oil production, grain storage, chemical processing and people working on boats. Incandescent explosion proof flashlights are significantly dimmer than a flaslight with a Krypton bulb. This is because the surface temparature of a bulb filled with a noble gas is much hotter than a vacuum bulb. This keeps the flashlight’s temparature below the ignition point of the hazardous dust or vapor that it is approved to be used in. I try to buy only American Made lights, but I have experience with both. IMHO I find smooth reflectors out preform faceted ones. I don’t know who brilliant idea (sarcastic) was it to start making those durn things. I will attempt to list, describe and review every industrial flashlight I have ever owned or used.

Rayovac Industrial 2D (1990’s version.) I have had mine since February or March of 2000. It is actually the flashlight that I have had the second longest. It has always preformed wonderfully and has a uniform beam. It came with a powerful, high quality PR Krypton bulb. It is American Made. Bought it from Wal-Mart when I was 13. Faceted reflector.

Eveready Industrial IN-251 (1990’s version.) Made in Macau. Incandescent. I had one for over a year from 1994-1995. From what I remember, it was VERY bright for its time. I remember one night I was playing in the backyard at dusk and my neighbor [and uncle by marriage] was coming in from working in the shipyards and I shined it at him from about 200+ feet away. He acknowledged it by shining his bigger and brighter flashlight at me. He also likes flashlights, in fact it was him who gave me my first flashlight. (playskool 2c lantern.) This was probably the flashlight that made me interested in industrial flashlights. The bulb blew finally and instead of buying a new bulb, my mom bought me an Eveready Value flashlight (the good 1980s-90’s version.) Came with a high quality PR bulb. Smooth reflector.

Eveready Industrial 1151 (very similar to previous model, 2000’s version) Made in China and no where near as good as the 1990s version. Bought several around 2007-2008. Unless I got used to brighter lights, this one seemed dimmer. Faceted reflector.

Rayovac Industrial MSHA (1990’s/2000’s version.) I bought one at an aviation supplier and hangar in 2006. It preformed just like my original Rayovac 2D, just not as bright. This is because it uses a standard PR bulb and not a Krypton bulb. I lent it to my aunt during Hurricane Gustav and never got it back. Smooth reflector.

Eveready 1251 (2000’s version.) I’ve had several of these and I plan to buy another. It is American Made. Almost as good as the Rayovac Industrial 2D from the 1990s. It also uses a high quality Krypton PR bulb, but is slightly dimmer. This is because of the contact point at the bottom of the bulb socket. It easily gets oxide on it and that comprimises the connection. Produces a uniform beam. Bought it from my local NAPA auto parts store. I gave the damn thing away. Faceted reflector. UPDATE: I also have a few of the 1990’s versions of the Eveready 1251 and I must say that they are brighter somehow and just look cooler in general.

Eveready 1259 2D and 1359 3D (1990s versions.) I currently have each. They are not as bright as their Krypton counterparts, but they have a much better connection system at the base of the bulb socket. Instead of a Copper or Bronze contact at the base of the bulb socket, it has a stainless steel wire coil. This makes a very solid connection and with fresh bulbs and batteries, it produces a decent amount of light for its class. They are both American Made. It does not produce an even beam and that is about the only drawback for a light in its class. Got the 1359 off ebay and the 1259 from Motion Industries. Smooth reflector.

Bright Star 2618 2D Incandescent (2000’s version) and 2618 LED (2010s version.) American Made (shame.) At first they seem like very good flashlights, especially for their price. BUT stear clear of them! Their switch mechanism, though replaceable, lasts only a few weeks with regular use. I bought the LED version a few weeks ago. Very bright and efficient (40 lumens for 200 hours,) however it also has a failing switch system and gave out within about a week. The good news is that Koehler-Bright Star stands by their products. They sent me a 2217 LED as a replacement. This one has a much better switch and also the LED engine that gives off 40 lumens for 200 hours. The Incandescent came with a high quality PR bulb. The LED produced a perfect beam. Got the 2618 LED from Bright Guy and the 2618 Incandescent fro Motion Industries. Faceted reflector.

Bright Star 2217 2D Incandescent (2000’s version) and 2224 3D (2000’s version.) They have a much better switch system than the 2618. It is more rugged and doesn’t move as much. I have had the 2D for almost 3 years and the 3D for almost 2 years. They are starting to flicker, but ONLY because I tampered with them and shouldn’t have. If I would have left them alone, they would still be working wonderfully. American made and came with high quality PR bulbs. Got them from Motion Industries. Faceted reflector.

Bright Star 1618 2D (1950’s version.) This is the ancestor of the 2618 and works almost infinitely better. It has a similar, but much better switch system than the modern 2618. It also has better contacts at the base of the bulb and metal rings pressed into both ends. I gave mine away because there was something on my shelf that ate the lens. These are getting harder and harder to find and many times they cost much more than what they were worth when they first came out. I personally call it the “Kel Lite of Industrial Flashlights.” It was American made and produced a very uniform beam. Also came with a high quality PR bulbs. Got it off ebay. Smooth reflector.

Eveready 330 2D (1970’s version.) This is American made and produced a decent beam. It worked fine in lieu of its age and came with a high quality PR bulb. Got it off ebay. Smooth reflector.

Railtek 992-321-AG Trainman’s Lantern 6 Volt 908 (2000s or 2010s version. Both LED and incandescent. Has a screw base Krypton bulb which has a specific model number. I am trying to look it up but the site seems to be down or slow. I have no idea what is the country of origin. It was given to me by a railroad dispatcher whom I initially heard on my scanner than looked up online. I have it as a shelf queen, so I don’t know how it would preform under harsh conditions. Supposedly they are very rugged since they are used by conductors and brakemen which are exposed to some of the roughest conditions a job can present. Faceted reflector.

Duracell Industrial-I was given this by some BNSF Railway maintenance of way workers. I seriously don’t know what the issue with this light is. It comes with a decent quality Krypton PR Bulb. The connection is very stable, but there has to be some kind of loss of current in circuitry. But it only gives off 6 lumens on a fresh set of batteries. It is made in Thailand. Beam is dim and ringy. Faceted reflector.

Garrity R300G 2AA Mini Rugged Lite (1990’s version.) It looks like an industrial flashlight and it could be used as an industrial flashlight. It is, however, also marketed to consumers and even children. This was my favorite flashlight growing up. It was made in 1994 and I got my first one in the summer of 1998 (age 11.) I’ve had several of them over the years. They were made in Macau. Garrity is now back in business and I will strongly petition them to bring back this flashlight again. It came with a VERY high quality Krypton PR bulb. Had a ringy, but very focused and uniform beam. The rings were produced by the Fresnel lens. These are now EXTREMELY rare and a fellow CPFer mailed me one. May God immensely bless him. Smooth reflector.

Energizer Hardcase 6 Volt 908 lantern (2006.) Made in China and built like a tank. It floats too. IIRC, it came with a Xenon PR bulb. Could have also made a good self defense weapon. Got one in the summer of 2006, but lent it to my now ex in laws and never got it back. Smooth reflector.

Energizer 4 AA Hardcase swivel flashlight (2000’s.) Made in China. Decent brightness. smooth reflector. Built like a tank.

Rayovac Workhorse 2 AA (1990s version.) Made in Malaysia. Focused, neatly ringed beam. Bright, Krypton PR bulb. I bought one when I was 12 and had it for years until I lost the spring. I even EDCed it on and off as a child and teenager. Smooth reflector.

Garrity G600G G-Tech Floating Lantern. Made in Thailand. This is not as rugged as an industrial flashlight, but it still rugged enough for the outdoors. It has plenty of features to brag about. High quality Krypton PR bulb. Strong, decent beam. I personally called my “fisherman’s lanterns.” I had two of them, [my now ex-]wife bought them for me at West Marine, two of the last three on the shelf. Faceted reflector. UPDATE: My divorce was semi-nasty and I gave back just about everything she gave me, including these lanterns. I told her to give them to her nephews.

Bright Star 575 2D made in USA, shame. (been around for a long time.) Do NOT buy one of these, unless only for shelf display. One of the flimsiest flashlights I have ever laid my hands upon. smooth reflector. I honestly don’t know how these railroad journeymen put up with such a flimsy flashlight, but it is very common among railroad electricians.

Lumilite Industrial 5451 with push button switch 2 AA. Made in China.  Bought one in the late winter of 2004. It lasted until about 2007, then began to flicker. Don’t remember too many details.  Faceted reflector. How do these railroad journeymen put up with such a flimsy flashlight?”

UPDATES (not in orginal text):
Eveready Commander Lantern (1970s version.) Made in Hong Kong. This was probably the flashlight that sparked my interest in flashlights. My Paternal Grandpa (God rest his soul) carried one on his job and also used it into retirement and there is a picture of him showing it to me as an infant. It produces a sharp beam, especially when the PR-13 is upgraded to a KPR-113. It is reasonably rugged, constructed of HDPE. It has a white riveted sliding switch.

Rayovac Industrial 2 D flashlight (1970s version.) Made in USA. I am not sure of the model number, but have one in near mint condition that was supposed to be company issue for the Kansas City Southern Railway. I could see it being rugged enough for an engineer, but not for a journeyman or conductor. However, it does cast a sharp beam and it is bright enough with fresh batteries. It has a smooth refelector and a Fresnel lens. Constructed of rugged enough PP.

Star 292 Conductor’s Lantern (current version): Made in USA. It seems to be built rugged enough, but the internal circuitry is very delicate, so don’t tamper with it. It runs on a 6 Volt 908 lantern battery and has a light for both signalling and car inspection (both KPR113 bulbs.) I’ve had mine since May or June of 2017.

Star 2012 Conductor’s LED Lantern (2012 to present version): Made in USA. It also seems to be rugged enough and the internal circuitry is all electronic, which adds to the ruggedness. It too runs on a 6 Volt 908 lantern battery, but is all LED. There are dedicated LEDs for both signalling and inspection or they could all be turned on. This is probably the most expensive industrial flashlight I own and I keep it as a shelf queen.

Energizer HardCase LED 2AA and 2AAA (mid 2010s to present version): Made in China, but built very well. Bought in December of 2015 and July of 2017, respectively. I use these for working on computers and other electronics. I mist admit the they are rugged (constructed of ABS.) They are also very bright and give off a pure white light. These are one of my favorite Energizer products.

Garrity Tuff Lite 2D and 2AA (1980s and 1990s versions): Made in Thailand. These are built very well and come with high quality Krypton bulbs. I’ve had my 2D model since Christmas of 1998 and it is the flashlight that I’ve had longest! Many men in my neighborhood also had these. The newer Garrity Tuff Lites (starting in 2004, or so) don’t hold a candle to these.

Garrity Power Lite 2AA (1990s version): I’m not sure the country of origin, but I bought a four pack of them in late 2017. They seem to be built fairly decent and cast a sharp pin point beam. They are fitted with Krypton bulbs and have a slide switch system in addition to a monentary on off button. I’m not sure though how much abuse they can withstand, and I imagaine they are on the fence between industrial and consumer grade. They do come with a Fresnel lens and a smooth refelector.
I hope I have been helpful. I hope you, the reader, have been informed and entertained.

A Review of the Uniden BC72XLT Handheld Programmable Scanner Radio

For the record, I do not own the featured image. I downloaded it from Radio Reference.

I have been listening to scanner radios since September of 2002, when I was fifteen going on sixteen.

In those days, I wanted to listen to police traffic, because I was a rebellious teenager and I felt very empowered when I did so.

At the age of twenty-two, I was seeing a new psychiatrist and she advised me that I shouldn’t listen to police traffic because it was too stimulating.

By that time, I was interested in listening to other stuff.

Since 2003 or so, I’ve been listening to retail, security and janitorial frequencies.

In 2011, I began listening to railroad traffic and was actually taught by others to understand what was being said.

Also 2011 was when I became a full blown foamer.

I say full blown because, since infancy I had harbored an interest in trains, but in late 2011 at the age of twenty-four going on twenty-five, I finally had the time to dedicate to my railroad hobby.

In 2015, after learning that railroads will eventually go to Nexedge, I was inspired by a dream in 2015 to start listening to marine traffic

I had been through several different scanners which I used specifically for my railroad and later my marine hobbies:
From December of 2011 until March of 2014; I used a Radio Shack Pro-404, it died on me in July of 2014, but always had receiver issues.
From March of 2014 until August of 2016; I used a Uniden BC75XLT, it worked great until the display failed-more on that in a bit.
From August of 2016 until October of 2018 and February of 2019 to present; I used a Uniden BC72XLT, which this piece will be a review of.

In August of 2016, the display on my Uniden BC75XLT had begun to malfunction. I was strapped for cash at the time and couldn’t afford a new one, so I looked on eBay and found a gently used Uniden BC72XLT for around $50. I purchased it and it came in the mail a few days later.

It was definitely a downgrade from the previous Uniden I had purchased.

For example:

It could only hold 100 memory channels whereas the BC75XLT could hold 300 channels.

It wasn’t narrowband capable like the BC75XLT.

It did not have a dedicated railroad search function.

It couldn’t be charged with USB.

Despite all of this, I find it was built more ruggedly and it was slightly more compact-excellent for when foaming or gongoozling on foot.

While it doesn’t have a dedicated railroad search, it does have dedicated service searches for conventional police, fire/medical, civilian aircraft, 10m/6m/2m/70cm FM amateur radio, VHF marine and weather radio.

This scanner can accept most frequencies between the ranges of 25-54 MHz, 108-174 MHz and 406-512 MHz.

It also has ten custom searches that can be programmed to search between those aforementioned bands.

There is a Uniden Close Call™ RF Capture Technology, which allows the user to detect nearby frequencies in use. This is especially useful for listening to retail or janitorial frequencies.

There is an orange backlit display for reading in low light conditions.

It has a generous runtime on 2 AA batteries.

From 2016 onward I had taken this scanner on just about every railfanning trip I’d been on and it pulls the signals in nicely and it does so even with just the stock antenna. The speaker has decent, crisp audio reproduction.

This scanner has assisted me watching trains in places like Raceland, Louisiana, (almost daily from August 2016 to January 2018), Des Allemands, Louisiana (every Sunday from August 2016 to January 2018), Schriever, Louisiana, (frequently between 2016 and 2018), Lafayette, Louisiana, (October 2016, January 2017, Ferbruary 2017, January 2018, February 2018, March 2018) Lake Charles, Louisiana, (February 2017, February 2018), Livonia, Louisiana, (December 2016), Plaquemine, Louisiana, (April 2016, December 2016, April 2018), Alexandria, Louisiana, (October 2016, January 2017, January 2018, April 2018), Oakdale, Louisiana, (October 2016), Meridian, Mississippi, (November 2016, November 2017), Baton Rouge, (April 2016, December 2016, April 2018), New Orleans (multiple times), Dallas (January 2017 and 2018), Shreveport (January 2017 and 2018), Little Rock (August 2018), Beaumount (February 2018), and Houston (February 2017.)

As for marine listening, this scanner has helped me in places like Houma, Louisiana, Amelia, Louisiana, Morgan City, Louisiana, Bourg, Louisiana, Bayou Blue, Louisiana, Lockport, Louisiana, Larose, Louisiana, Plaquemine, Louisiana, Tallulah, Louisiana, New Orleans, Baton Rouge, Baytown, Vicksburg.

Most of the fire dispatch voice pagers are still in analog FM and I do have their frequencies stored in this scanner.

Usually, I have it in a special slot of the console of my Buick Century and it keeps me informed and entertained.

So, even though it is 2019, there is still a good bit of stuff to hear on a budget friendly, entry level scanner.

In October of 2018, I had sold mine in order to have some extra spending cash.

However in February of 2019, I had ordered another one for about $60. Iinitially, I wanted it because I had planned to take it with me whilst fishing. However, I hadn’t been able to go fishing like I wanted to, but it is still frequently carried by me.

In fact, it is sitting on my computer stand in front of me as I am typing this review.

Even though narrowbanding to 6.25 KHz steps was mandated for 2018, many radio users are still using 15 KHz or 25 KHz steps in FM mode, including the railroads in 2019. They come in loud and clear in most cases. As for marine traffic, they will still be in 25 KHz steps for years maybe even decades to come, since VHF Marine is internationally implemented and regulated. This means that for listening to VHF Marine, this scanner is perfect and will be for a good while.

This scanner came on the market in 2004 and I believe was sold brand new until about 2011 or 2012. In the mid to late 2000s decade, this scanner was common among volunteer firefighters as a cheaper alternative to a voice pager. It was usually clipped to their belts next to the badge and a red Mini Maglite in its Nylon holster. It is now quite common on eBay, usually still in good condition.

I really enjoy this scanner, even though it was never top of the line.

I do give it a 4.85 out of 5 stars because it didn’t come with a dedicated railroad search and it didn’t cover 800 MHz, but other than that it is an awesome scanner radio.

This therefore concludes my review of the Uniden BC72XLT…

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