About AM (Medium Wave) DXing

As stated many times before, I have been fascinated by all radio electronics since early childhood.

It wasn’t until my mid-teens that I began to allow these interests to flourish.

At the age of 15 going on 16 (late 2002), I began subscribing to the C. Crane Catalog. It was through reading that catalog that I learned of two subjects:

AM (Medium Wave) DXing

…AND…

LED Flashlights

This piece will be about the former.

Some people AM DX because they are dissatisfied with the content produced by their local radio stations. I know there are a limited amount of frequency spaces in a given market and commercial radio doesn’t keep everyone in mind. I have been a fan of talk radio since the age of 16. I will admit that there isn’t much programming locally that catches my attention. I know I am not the only one and before the Internet, the way to catch a certain show in a distant city was by listening to AM at night.

Most do it because they are sports fans that live far away from the city in which their team is located, but still want coverage of that game. I think this is the main reason why most people who are into AM Dxing are indeed into AM DXing. Years ago, I had written in a piece I wrote about vintage electronics about how a middle-aged working-class man who enjoys nighttime sporting events and wants to hear a certain game. Maybe that game isn’t available on any local station and would cost extra on a pay television subscription. Maybe he doesn’t want to pay the extra amount of money to see it on his pay television service. Either he just cannot afford to or maybe he has that money set aside for things he deems more important. Whatever the case, he turns to AM radio as a means to still get the details of whatever game he desires to hear. This is because of the properties of anything broadcast on the frequencies at which AM (Medium Wave) radio is situated. These signals travel much further between sunset and sunrise, sometimes thousands of miles. So this is perfect for any sports fan who needs free coverage of a game that is not available on a local station. For this reason alone, I think that analog terrestrial radio needs to stay because it is a completely free source of information and entertainment.

Quite a few may do it because they live in one part of the country but are originally from another, so it is a means to keep up with what is going on in their hometown, though the Internet may have drastically reduced AM radio as the main means of accomplishing this task. Before free long distance and cheap, easy to use Internet devices, keeping tabs on what was going on in a distant city often meant listening to an AM station from that city at night. It seems to have made the distance a little shorter at times.

And finally others, like me, do it as a technological hobby. Although I am dissatisfied with the content produced by my local stations as well. However, I chalk the boring content on New Orleans radio stations up to a very wicked woman named Katrina. I just think there is something very neat how I can turn a radio on after dark and suddenly have access to dozens of extra stations from up to thousands of miles away and for free. I grew up with cable tv in the house and had Internet access since the age of 13. As an adult, I refuse to subscribe to cable, but I would be in trouble if I had no Internet. But the fact that I can get content from far away and for free is somehow empowering and I think is the main reason why I am into AM DXing.

In late 2002, I had found out from reading the C. Crane Catalog about AM DXing. However, I wouldn’t give it a try until a year later.

The two radios designed for AM DXing that were featured in the Fall 2002 C. Crane Catalog were the original CC Radio plus which was $159.95+shipping and the G. E. Superadio 3 which was $64.95+shipping. Both of these were well out of the price range for an unemployed fifteen-year-old. So I didn’t order them. In fact, to this day, the only product that I ever ordered from the C. Crane Catalog was a Sangean DT-200VX. I ordered it in the Summer of 2007 and it could do AM DXing fairly decently for a radio of its size. It was nothing to pull in WSM out of Nashville on any night while in Southeast Louisiana. My ex-wife wound up with that radio because she liked it more than I did and I guess I wanted her to have it. One day though I might order a CC Pocket Radio if I have some extra money, but that remains to be seen.

The first time I tried AM DXing was in October of 2003, but I ended up listening to a show on a local station because it had my undivided attention. The radio I was using was a Radio Shack 12-756, which I would come to find out is pretty decent for a budget radio. But that night, I would end up listening to that show until it was no longer available because the station carrying it slightly changed formats. However, when I would listen to that station at night, I noticed that other stations were trying to make it in on the same frequency. Many times those other stations were in Spanish which makes me think they were either in Central America or the Caribbean. That was the first time I observed AM stations traveling further at night.

In the early morning hours of February 15, 2004, I was up early and tried AM DXing for the first time. I was again using my Radio Shack 12-756. The first station I remember catching was KTRS on 550 kHz out of Saint Louis. I kept it in a log but unfortunately misplaced that log. However, after that, I kept on AM DXing, at least until I was done with high school. On my eighteenth birthday, I remember picking up WSM on 650 kHz on my LifeLong Baby BoomBox 2225. Later on, in 2005 I remember picking up KFGO on 790 kHz out of Fargo, North Dakota. On July 18, 2005, I passed the test to become a licensed amateur radio operator.

I met the girl who would become my wife and later ex-wife on January 7, 2007. After that I didn’t have much time for my radio hobbies because I was in a relationship, going to school, and later working. However, I would still do AM DXing every once in a while. I remember catching plenty of stations from The Midwest in those days.

After my divorce, another failed relationship, and being on disability, I find myself with a considerable amount of time to devote to the hobby. So much so, that I recently purchased a second-hand but in very good condition GE Superadio 3. I haven’t yet caught a station as far away as KFGO, but I did hear a station out of Charlotte, North Carolina. It is WBT on 1100 kHz. None of my other radios ever picked up a station from that area, so I must say I am impressed!

Unfortunately, AM DXing isn’t as easy as it once was. There aren’t as many AM stations to choose from and there is a lot more electrical noise because more people have WiFi and Bluetooth devices. However, during a power failure or on vacation in the middle of nowhere would be ideal times to try and engage in AM DXing. I plan to do just that the next time I travel. Of course, just traveling out in the country at night is the perfect time for AM DXing with a car radio. I’ve done it quite a few times.

I hope analog terrestrial radio even the AM band will be in place for decades to come and I hope there will be a revival of it and it will be better than it has been for some time.

Try it for yourself, after dark, turn your AM receiver on and see what stations are available. Likely, you will be pleasantly surprised!

This now concludes my piece on AM DXing.

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

May God richly bless you!

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A Review of the Radio Shack 12-756 Multiband Receiver

Just so we’re clear, I do not own the featured image on this page.

I am giving credit to whomever credit is due.

In the Summer of 2003, my interest in anything on radio electronics was flourishing. It was one of the best summers I had ever experienced because I was also just starting as a writer.

Being an unemployed sixteen-year-old at the time, I had to make every penny I had count.

Neither of my scanners could pick up the aircraft band and I was interested in hearing it.

I couldn’t hustle enough money for an actual scanner that was airband capable but I could eventually get a lower-end multiband radio.

So I began to scrape what money I could in hopes to either buy a Radio Shack 12-817 or a 12-756.

The 12-817 cost $29.99+tax and could be carried more easily but the 12-756 cost $39.99+tax and picked up more bands.

In mid to late July of 2003, I finally had enough money and ended up purchasing the 12-756, which this piece will be a review thereof. I think I paid less than the SRP because it was on clearance, therefore I even had enough money to purchase some Alkaline Enercells which back in the day were some wonderful batteries!

As I will be pointing out, this radio had a huge impact on my life.

Initially, I used it to listen to air traffic, but, months later, I find out that the AM receiver in it was pretty superb.

In October of 2003, while I was attempting to AM DX with this radio, I wound up catching WTIX on 690 kHz out of New Orleans. On that station was a show hosted by former Libertarian Presidential Candidate Harry Browne. The show had my undivided attention. So much so, that I gave up AM DXing for the evening. Though I wasn’t old enough to vote (or drink or own a gun), hearing his show for just a few minutes made me an instant convert to Libertarianism. I won’t lie, it was my love of alcohol and guns that caused me to espouse Libertarianism so quickly. I still hold on to some Libertarian principles but am now a fierce Moderate and have been since about 2019.

I would listen to Harry Browne’s show every Saturday Night. I soon would listen to other shows on that station.

I would frequently carry my Radio Shack 12-756 in my school bag and listen during class if nothing was required.

In the early morning hours of February 15, 2004, I was up early and attempting to do some AM DXing. I pulled in KTRS on 550 kHz. I pulled in several other stations that morning.

Later in 2004, I began listening to David J. Smith’s Newswatch Magazine which was carried on WWL and KAAY. I won’t lie, listening to this show contributed to me having a mental breakdown in June of 2004, but also prepared for an encounter and subsequent surrender to Jesus Christ and His Gospel in July of 2004. It was mostly listened to with my Radio Shack 12-756! I guess what captivated me about this radio program was even though David J. Smith was a Christian minister, he was against the Bush Administration, as was I. It also seemed that he was against the Iraq War, as was I. And his content was overall interesting. I was in catholic school, but during my religion class, the teacher, Coach Calvin “Buck” Buxton, God rest his soul, would allow me to read the Bible in his class, which further was preparing me for my encounter and subsequent surrender to Christ.

While I was hospitalized in June of 2004, this radio was a frequent companion, though the telescoping antenna had to be removed. I would listen to WBYU on 1450 kHz out of nearby New Orleans which was carrying Radio Disney. That radio helped me during one of my most trying times. Unfortunately, we could only listen at certain times. I was the only patient with a radio, almost everyone else had portable CD players.

I continued AM DXing and in February of 2005, on this radio, I received KFGO out of Fargo, North Dakota, the furthest known AM DX reception I have ever accomplished. And it was on my Radio Shack 12-756! I am currently trying to have better AM DX results with my GE Superadio, but I want to write a detailed piece on AM DXing in general and explain why it has gotten harder in recent years.

On nights and weekends, I was glued to this radio, especially listening to WSMB on 1350 kHz out of New Orleans.

On July 18, 2005, I became a licensed amateur radio operator and didn’t AM DX as much.

Then a little over a month later a wicked woman named Katrina destroyed many things, including radio broadcasting in New Orleans. I do want to write a piece on how wonderful radio in New Orleans was before Katrina.

On May 20, 2006, I graduated high school and at one point was working and going to trade school so I didn’t have much time for AM DXing.

On January 7, 2007, I met the girl who would become my wife and later ex-wife and didn’t have time for AM DXing.

In the Summer of 2008, I donated my Radio Shack 12-756 to a thrift store because other hobbies had occupied my efforts.

I could now kick myself for doing so considering the impact it had on me. Hindsight is always 20/20.

Here are some detailed specifications of this radio that I remember and also pulled out of The Radio Shack Catalog:

There are seven bands on this radio.
AM: 530-1700 kHz
FM: 88-108 MHz
TV Audio VHF Low: Channels 2-6 (now obsolete)
TV Audio VHF High: Channels 7-13 (now obsolete)
VHF Air: 108-136 MHz
VHF High: 145-175 MHz
WX: 162.4-162.55 MHz

The tuning accuracy and selectivity left something to be desired on most bands (FM and TV seemed accurate) but made up for it with sensitivity!

The power source was either a 6 Volt AC/DC adaptor or 4 AA batteries, which seemed to have a pretty generous runtime.

The audio quality was decent for a sub $50 radio but would get heavily distorted when the batteries were dying.

My one complaint about this radio is the color and the plastic cabinet seems a little flimsy, especially when constantly on the go.

I know I now have better radios for every band this device covered, but if God wills it I would like a duplicate simply because of the sentimental value. Or at least I would purchase the predecessor model, the 12-456, but again only if God wills it.

I guess, this, therefore, concludes my review of the Radio Shack 12-756 Multiband Receiver.

I know I am very biased towards this product, but because of the poor tuning accuracy on bands that count, the goofy color choice, and the flimsy plastic cabinet I will only give it a 4.25 out of 5 stars and that is being generous.

I hope that you the reader have been informed, entertained, and enlightened. May God richly bless you!

Back to “Product Reviews”

A Review of the GE Superadio 3 7-2887B

Just so we’re clear, I do not own the featured image on this page. Rather, I downloaded it from Pinterest.

As mentioned before, I have been interested in all radio electronics, since early childhood.

That radio interest began to flourish in my mid-teens.

I was 15 going on 16 when I first discovered the GE Superadio, which I saw in a C. Crane Catalog. That was back in the Fall of 2002.

It was from reading about that said radio that I learned of the hobby AM or Medium Wave DXing.

I first tried that activity in the Fall of 2003 with positive results. For those of you who are curious, the radio I used was a Radio Shack 12-756.

From that point until Hurricane Katrina, I was usually near some radio at night seeing what distant or local stations I could catch. I was entertained for hours on end.

Then Hurricane Katrina happened and as I’ve mentioned a time or two before, it ruined many things in New Orleans. Some of those ruined things have recovered, but radio broadcasting in that City has not recovered.

WTIX-AM/WIST-AM and WSMB-AM had some pretty neat talk programming before Katrina. Now those callsigns are no longer in use and their frequencies are used for other formats.

It is now 2021, almost 16 years after that hurricane and the radio stations in New Orleans still don’t have that much to offer.

I gave up on waiting for it to recover.

I will listen to the NPR station out of New Orleans but I can get NPR almost anywhere. Well, I will listen to it only when they are not trying to forward an agenda, then I change the station.

So, I’ve decided to do a little streaming with my Sylvania BoomBox and Samsung tablet when I want to hear stations from other cities, but I prefer to do this the old-fashioned way.

I have several capable AM-compatible radios, but I wanted a more high-performance model.

Meet the GE Superadio 3 7-2887B, that which this piece will be a review thereof.

This piece will be my initial reaction because I haven’t had the chance to take it out into the sticks and do some serious DXing with it.

Although I must say I am pleased thus far!

I had a little bit of extra money in May of 2021, and I’ve wanted one of these radios since my teen years.

God blessed me with one through eBay. The base price was $49.99. The shipping was free. and the total after taxes was $54.79. It was used but in very nice condition, especially considering the price! I ordered it on May 4th, 2021 and it arrived on May 10, 2021. God has blessed me tremendously, because not only was I able to get it for a very fair price, but it also doesn’t have any of the quality control issues that many GE Superadios suffer from. I thank Him and give Him the glory. Hopefully, aside from secular educational and entertainment programming, I can tune in some Christian programs as well.

I’m not sure of the actual manufacturing date but I know this particular version of the GE Superadio was made between 1992 and 2008.

Update:
I interpreted the date code to mean that my particular unit came off the assembly line in August of 2001. This means that it is almost 20 years old at the time I received it. It does work like a brand new unit!

Although made primarily of plastic and in China, it still seems to be solidly constructed. Even the carrying handle feels quite rugged. The radio is activated by an On/Off switch. There is a 6.5 inch/165.1-millimeter woofer and a 2 inch/50.8-millimeter tweeter for the internal speakers and I must say the audio quality is more than generous. The volume is still quite loud even at the lowest setting. (minimum audio output is 700 milliWatts.) There are dedicated Bass and Treble controls. For FM listening there is an Automatic Frequency Control switch and yes it does work wonderfully (especially considering I am a few blocks from an FM transmitter tower.) In addition, there is a Ceramic IF filter and 3 IF tuned circuits for FM. There are also 4 IF tuned circuits and a wide/narrow selector switch for AM reception. Narrow allows better selectivity. Wide allows better audio quality. I will say that in Wide mode, AM music sounds as nicely as if it were broadcast on FM. For power, it runs on either 6 D-sized batteries or the AC mains current. Yes, this radio is a bit oversized with physical dimensions of 12.5 inches Wide X 10.5 inches High X 4.5 inches Thick (317.5 mm Wide X 266.7 mm High X 114.3 mm Thick) but worth it.

Then there is the tuning capability:

I’ve read many complaints from others saying their GE Superadios were not accurate on the tuning dial, but mine was reasonably accurate for a vernier tuner. It’s not always dead-on, but it’s fairly near where it needs to be. The FM rod antenna is long enough (38 inches/976 millimeters) and pulls in FM stations wonderfully but the internal AM ferrite bar antenna is the selling point above all else on this model. It is engineered to pull in distant AM stations that most radios won’t even detect. This is because the bar is longer (7.875 inches/200 millimeters total length) than most internal AM antennas. If that weren’t enough, there are external antenna terminals on the back of the radio to connect to even better antennas both from AM and FM. I literally can’t wait to take this out to the sticks and try it out. Right now I live in an apartment, so along with all of the electrical noise from living in close quarters, I also have to consider not disturbing my neighbors when playing a radio at night. I would like to find a cabin by a lakeshore and try it out. If I do, I will amend my findings to this piece. I hope that by the time I purchase my forever home that AM broadcasting will still be available. However, if this year’s hurricane season is as active as last year’s, I will have plenty of reasons to use this radio.

Update:
I picked up a station that I’ve never picked up before in my 17 years of AM DXing. And yes I picked it up on my GE Superadio 3. On the evening of May 14, 2021, I received WBT out of Charlotte, North Carolina. I have never heard an AM station that far east before. I do have a friend in the suburbs of Cleveland and have been trying to pick up the station WTAM which is on the same frequency as WBT (1100 kHz.) I did receive WTAM for a few minutes, but that was earlier in the evening, but it quickly faded out. I will point out that AM DXing was easier 17 years ago because not everyone had WiFi or Bluetooth which many times interfere with AM reception. Also, 17 years ago, I lived in a slightly less populated community than I do now and I certainly was not living in close quarters like I am now. I do plan to write a more detailed piece on my AM DXing experiences.

I will say that as of lately, I am satisfied with FM performance since it can filter out the bleeding from the FM station near me. Not all of my radios have this capability. I haven’t been able to try out the AM performance as I want but I did receive AM stations from Dallas and San Antonio clear as day. I hope to try and catch more AM stations.

So far I do not have any complaints about this radio and I hope and pray that it shall serve me for years to come.

I do give it a rating of 5 out of 5 stars!

This, therefore, concludes my review of the GE Superadio 3 7-2887B.

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

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My Idea for the Perfect EDC Weather Radio

Here is my idea for the perfect EDC Weather Radio:

Does anyone besides me remember the Motorola i530?

For those who don’t remember, it was a rugged clamshell phone used on the Nextel System and maybe other iDEN networks.

I’m just realizing that some might not remember Nextel or iDEN.

Just Google it, because I have bigger fish to fry.

All in all, the Motorola i530 was partially inspiring for me to come up with this idea.

Due to writing the description in a video I posted to Youtube, I was discussing how I should design the perfect weather radio that would be used for travel and EDC. It could also be used for monitoring the progress of severe weather from a safe room.

Such a weather radio that I am envisioning doesn’t currently exist, but maybe a product designer is reading this blog and could apply my idea. I would be super thrilled!

I would want a weather radio that could run on either 3 AAA Alkaline/Lithium Primary batteries or have a proprietary Lithium-Ion battery that could be internally charged. The proprietary battery pack should have a charging port that features a USB-C or Micro USB connector. The charging port should NOT be located on the radio

The radio should be around the height and width of the Motorola i530 times 1.5. However, it should be more in a rectangle instead of a rounded shape. it should be able to easily and solidly stand up on a flat surface. The radio should be waterproof and buoyant. It would probably need to be thicker. And just for the record, it would be in a candy bar form factor, not a clamshell, like the Motorola i530.

The radio’s cabinet should be constructed of that same or very similar plastic that Glock pistols are constructed of. It should be all yellow except for the speaker, volume knob, channel selector knob and, power/listen/standby alert knob (more on those details in a bit.)

The battery door should be sealed, slide on, held on by a flat non-removable screw and, locked tightly.

The speaker should be front-firing and occupy the entire front side of the radio. The loudness should be comparable to other weather radios of a similar size and power source.

Another USB-C or Mirco USB port could be placed behind the battery for listening on line current or vehicle power.

The antenna design should also be proprietary and maybe feature two different antennas:
A removable stubby antenna for ease of carrying and durability. It should be properly tuned to quarter-wave in a coil to the weather band and housed in a hard plastic casing.

A removable telescopic antenna for extended range. It should be the same height as the stubby antenna when retracted but maybe ideally to a height of 18 inches when extended (quarter-wave on the weather band.)

The antenna connection to the radio should be female SMA with all appropriate gaskets to keep moisture and dust out.

All control knobs must be situated at the top of the radio and sealed, especially the volume knob.

There would be a knob to select between”Off” “Listen” and “Standby”

Off would of course be to save power when not in use.
Listen would be to hear whichever channel the radio is tuned to.
Standby would be to keep the radio silent until the 1050 Hz tone is broadcast, to which the user would turn the Listen setting.

The channel selector knob should be able to turn to all 7 channels, plus have an 8th position to scan automatically for the strongest signal available (perfect for traveling.) The name of the function maybe could be known as “Travel.”

To pay homage to the history of weather radios, I believe it should use the channel plan of:
1. 162.550
2. 162.400
3. 162.475
4. 162.425
5. 162.450
6. 162.500
7. 162.525
8. Travel Scan

There should be a loud click any time the channel selector knob is turned or the power/listen/standby knob is turned.

The channel numbers and their corresponding frequencies should be stamped or molded on the back of the radio, quite possibly on the battery door.

All other marks and labels on the radio should also be stamped or molded in, not painted. This includes the serial number and date of manufacture, which should be on the back of the radio, possibly behind the battery door.

The brand logo, model number, and NOAA logo could also be stamped on the front by the speaker

The alert sound should feature something like an air raid siren or a series of loud piercing and shrill beeps to get the user’s attention.

As far as the circuitry of the radio, to save space, it should be PLL tuned instead of crystal controlled. There should be some type of amplifier to allow decent reception at 40-50 miles from a transmitter. There should also be either an atmospheric noise limiter circuit or a noise blanker circuit.

This could be marketed to people from all walks of life.

It would be especially popular with those employed in the transportation sector.

I could also see coaches, farmers, teachers, hunters, fishers, campers, or anyone who commutes a considerable distance to work getting some serious use out of this.

Finally, it could be a perfect solution for anyone going on vacation within The US, Canada, Mexico, or Bermuda.

I would be thrilled to see this device come to fruition.

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A Review of the Sony ICF-24 AM/FM Portable Radio

Just so we’re all clear:  I do not own the featured image on this page.  I must and will give all credit to whomever credit is due…

I had been fascinated by all electronics since about the age of one or two.

Definitely, at age two, I developed a fascination with radios.

There was a hand-me-down Sears transistor radio that belonged to my parents. I played with it from the ages of two until four when it was suddenly misplaced.

At the age of eight is when I became even more interested in radios because my morning bus driver would play a station that was popular with kids, teens, and even young adults. That station was Mix 104.1 with the call letters KHOM, later KUMX. It kept this format from 1994 until June 29, 2001. I listened to it very frequently from late 1995 until the format changed and was pretty angry when it did.

My paternal grandparents helped raise me when my parents were working or running errands. And if I was sick on a school day, I stayed at their house. This means I saw them a lot.

At some point in probably late 1996, my Great Aunt gave my Maw Maw a radio. It was a Sony ICF-24.

I think it was so she could listen to the Thibodaux, Louisiana, station, KTIB on 640 AM. At the time, that station was playing music that older people would have listened to. My Maw Maw sewed safety hats for welders as a side hustle well into her 80s and my Paw Paw raised cattle and produce until the age of 89.

The only time I remember my grandparents listening to it was if the electricity was out, such as after Hurricane Katrina.

They were much more fixated on watching cable news channels, especially CNN and later MS-NBC.

I think they subscribed to cable just to watch those channels.

However, I frequently listened to that Sony as a child, teenager, and even into my adult years whenever I was at their house. While waiting to catch the bus for school, if I wasn’t watching television, I was probably sleeping or listening to that radio.

My Paw Paw died on September 4, 2018, and my Maw Maw died on December 28, 2019. They were both 94.

My family began to clean out their house in January of 2020.

They gave me that Sony ICF-24, to which I gladly took it.

And that radio is what this piece will be a review thereof.

Sony always made quality radios and they were a coveted item when I was growing up

Fun fact, I didn’t shop at Radio Shack on the regular until I was 14 going on 15. I didn’t know what a scanner radio was until I was 14 and a half. My family didn’t have Internet access until I was 13 and a half. There were no video game consoles in the house until I was 10 going on 11. So the bulk of my entertainment aside from watching television was listening to the radio. It was boring sometimes and I often believe that I should have been born 10 years later. What is weird is when I look at pictures of myself as a child, the hairstyle I had looks more like the hairstyles kids had in the 2010s and this decade as well. I think a time or two my classmates in grade school commented on how I was probably from the future, but I digress. Seriously I would have done better on so many levels had I been born 10 years later, but maybe my life would have been so good that I would have never realized my desperate need for Christ.

Most people in my age group appreciated radio in their childhood but have since gotten away from it and similar technologies. It seems to me that all they want to do is eat out and watch Netflix. However, it seems that younger people, as in those in their teens and early-to-mid-twenties are indeed interested in radio technologies. Because of them, it is making a strong comeback. See why I say I should have been born 10 years later?! And if you don’t believe me, just look around on YouTube. I will say that people my age watch more broadcast television than their GI, Silent, Boomer, and GenX counterparts. Millennials and Zoomers are either using a streaming service or watching broadcast television. This is because we realize cable is a ripoff and many of us couldn’t afford it anyway. However, I was watching broadcast television since my teens, mostly as an experiment. I was doing it before it was cool to do so. In my childhood and up until my very early twenties, even a basic cable package could deliver some pretty superb programming, but some time around 2010, things started to change. By the way, my Paw Paw was from the GI Generation and my Maw Maw was on the cusp between GI and Silent and as I said before, they were hooked on cable news, especially my Maw Maw. I can see why though, they were old enough to have witnessed plenty of history and they lived in an area that was not quite rural but not quite the suburbs either. So watching television with an antenna proved quite troublesome and I’m guessing they figured it was easier just to subscribe to cable.

Look at me I am very off track and way out of focus, but at least I said things that needed to be said.

Sometimes, more like many times, this blog is quite therapeutic for me.

…Back to the piece at hand…

I was always impressed by the tuning accuracy this radio provides, especially on AM. I am equally impressed by its AM DXing capabilities. That is what I used it for most these days.

And here is why:

It lacks an Automatic Frequency Control circuit for FM.

…And…

I happen to reside near an FM transmitter tower.

So, unless I want to listen to the signal that is provided by that said nearby tower, this radio is useless for FM because I cannot listen to any other FM station on this radio.

I do have other FM-capable radios with AFC and other signal filtering capabilities, but it would be nice if I could pretend I am Carlisle Snowden and use it to listen to NPR.

For those who don’t know, Carlisle Snowden is a character I created a little over a year ago. He is a tortured artist who listens to NPR to inspire his creativity. He lives in a cheap condominium because of his poverty and can only afford vintage or second-hand electronics. Therefore, he uses a Sony ICF-24 to receive NPR’s programming. The name of the story series is “Bohemian America” for those who are interested and I have a post containing excerpts from that series.

Let’s get down to the details of the radio:

It features a sturdy handle for carrying.

A telescoping rod antenna for FM listening that can be set in very diverse positions.

There is a very well-engineered internal ferrite bar antenna for AM listening.

The ample-sized speaker is excellent with the voice and even music reproduction.

There is also a headphone jack, but I don’t recall ever using it.

The power cord is hard-wired into the radio, but there is a space to place it behind the battery cover whilst using it on the go.

The alternative power source is 4 AA Alkaline batteries and the run time is highly generous. I mean, while I was growing up it had the same batteries for years, but still performed perfectly.

The power switch is independent of the volume knob.

And speaking of the volume knob, despite being in a house that could be tremendously dusty at the times, there is no static when turning it. That should speak volumes, no pun intended, in and of itself given the radio is about 25 years old at the time of me writing this!

There is a red LED tuning indicator to show when the radio is locked onto a signal.

The dial is clear and detailed, there is even a log scale for both AM and FM!

The cabinet is very sturdy and maybe even rugged, at least for home or office use.

So yes, even without an AFC circuit, this radio is still a fine piece of work, as are most Sony products!

I’m just wondering though if any radios made today, will still function flawlessly 25 years later?

I didn’t listen to AM on the regular until I was 16, but FM reception on this radio was nice as a child and early teenager since my grandparents’ house was not too close to an FM transmitter. When I play it now, I usually use it for nighttime AM Dxing experiments. It’s after midnight at the time of me writing this piece and if I wasn’t up to monitor the severe weather that is due in my area, I might be doing some AM DXing with this radio.

As I mentioned before, my one gripe about this radio is the lack of an AFC circuit as does my more modern Sony ICF-P26.

One would think a company like Sony could put an AFC circuit in their most entry-level FM radio receivers.

For that shortcoming, I will take off three-quarters of a point.

So that means I give this product a 4.25 out of 5 stars.

On a slightly related note, I am 34 at the time of writing this piece and I couldn’t tell you, the reader, a single hit song of this year or decade (aside from the Christian singers) without consulting Google. That makes me feel quite old because when my parents were in their mid-thirties they knew all of the popular music. My Dad kept up with the current music into his early 60s, maybe he still does. I mean he knew who Billie Eilish is. In my defense music at that time was awesome whereas I don’t think I would like the music of today. When I do listen to terrestrial radio, unless I am trying to receive distant AM stations it is either tuned to a Christian station or NPR. I would like to see [secular] music get good again, but I won’t hold my breath. If you, the reader, want my honest opinion: Country music became stupid at some point in early 2013. Before that, in fact, in 2012, it was still wonderful. As for mainstream music, it became stupid sometime after 2018, but before then it was pretty nice too. Rap became stupid some time in either 2004 or 2005. Christian Contemporary Music has become much better in the last few years though. I’ll be honest, I didn’t care for it, even after getting saved at the age of 17, but some time in my early thirties, I began to enjoy it thoroughly! Last Sunday at church, the sound system operator was playing a track while waiting for the service to begin. The melody sounded like something from the Post-Grunge era of the late 1990s and early 2000s, but the lyrics were all about praising God. I was thoroughly impressed! Never once did I think I could see Grunge music and Christian music fused like that but it was beautiful!

All in all, I guess this, therefore, concludes my review of the Sony ICF-24.

I know I had deviated from the main subject quite a bit, but I sincerely hope that you, the reader, have been informed, enlightened, and maybe even entertained.

May God richly bless you!

Back to “Product Reviews”

A Stormy Louisiana Monday

The alarm clock rings. A forty-five-year-old gentleman slowly wakes up.

He kisses his thirty-nine-year-old disabled wife good morning then gets ready for the day.

He brews some Community Breakfast Blend Coffee and drinks it mixed with half milk and half cream.

He also fries four eggs sunny side up and also toasts two slices of Evangeline Maid Wite Bread on his natural gas-powered range.

He slides his four eggs onto a plate and spreads some Clover Valley Strawberry Preserves on his two slices of toast.

Finally, he pours a tall glass of V8 juice and, says Grace sits down for breakfast.

He enjoys his breakfast then goes into the bathroom and freshens up in his washbasin, scrubbing his body with a bar of Dial soap.

He then shaves his face and splashes on some Aqua Velva.

Finally, he puts on RightGuard deodorant then gets dressed.

He dons a white Hane’s tee shirt with a left breast pocket, some Navy Blue Dickie’s work pants, a brown Dickie’s leather belt some white Fruit of the Loom crew socks and some brown Brahma work boots.

From his bedroom night table, he retrieves a SwissGear RFID shielded wallet, which he places in his left-back pants pocket, a Leatherman Surge multi-tool which he places in his right pocket and a Streamlight SL-20 LED flashlight which he secures in its belt holster. And he takes his Motorola smartphone secured in an Otterbox and places it in his left pants pocket. He places a bag of Clover Valley Cherry Sours in his breast pocket.

His wife prepares him two Creole tomato sandwiches with Rouse’s Mayonaise and Mustard and black pepper, then a Yeti Mug filled with Black Cherry Kool-Aid and places them in his Igloo Playmate Cooler and hands it to him.

They share a sweet hug and kiss, then she smacks his backside.

She then gets their young daughter ready for school.

Finally, he gets his keys and leaves his house, locking the doors behind him.

The skies are overcast and the wind is blowing as he steps onto his carport and opens the door to his 1993 Dodge Dakota.

He sits down cranks his engine and heads to work.

During his commute, he tunes in the Weather Band on his Midland CB Radio. He learns that the entire listening area is under a Tornado Watch and that a squall line is also due for their area this day.

He cusses under his breath, then asks God for forgiveness and places a couple of Cherry Sours in his mouth. Subsequently, he petitions God to protect his wife and daughter in addition to himself.

The sky is dark as he arrives at the local elementary school where he is employed as the facility engineer.

A bolt of lightning lights up the sky as he walks into the office.

He punches in and listens briefly as the principal’s radio is tuned to the local NPR affiliate.

He then walks to the boiler room and checks his work email on his Motorola Smartphone.

The cooler in the cafeteria needs to be tended to, so he retrieves his required tools and walks over.

There is a smell of bread rolls baking as well as red beans and rice along with smoked sausage being cooked. The aroma is very satisfying.

As the cafeteria staff continues to prepare the students’ lunch, the gentleman services the cooler. In due time he has the compressor pumping again.

One of the cooks attempts to flirt with him, but he replies, “Back off; I love my wife!”

The cafeteria manager warns her to respect his wishes and that he is a good man but a married man and not to mess with him again.

The buses are now dropping off the children.

He sees his young daughter stepping off the bus. She runs up to him and hugs him. He kisses her forehead then escorts her to her classroom.

He checks his work emails again and sees that the new light fixtures for the administration building have arrived and how he is assigned to install them.

He goes to the boiler room and secures a hand truck then walks to the receiving area to pick up the new light fixtures. He loads the boxes on the hand truck then transports them to the administration building along with his tools.

He steps into the administration building just as it begins to pour down rain.

NPR is still playing on the principal’s radio.

Morning Edition is interrupted with a Tornado Warning.

Immediately he assists the faculty and administration round up the children into the halls.

Just as the last student is in the hall, the electricity goes out.

He turns on his Streamlight SL-20 LED and lights up the dark school.

His daughter has an Olight I3E EOS on her lanyard next to her school ID. She also lights up her immediate area.

He stands next to her and begins to attempt to comfort the other students by telling them stories.

Suddenly his phone rings. It is his wife calling.

“I have to take this call,” He says, then quickly answers the phone.

On the other end, she frantically says, “It’s dark as night here bae. I think there’s a tornado nearby. Are you all right?”

“Yes. I am fine. I’m with all the students and my coworkers in the hall.”

“Is our little girl okay?”

“Yes. She has that little flashlight I bought her a while back on her lanyard and she is lighting up the hallways just like me.”

“That’s our girl! We’re blessed with a wonderful child!”

“Like mother, like daughter!”

“You’re so sweet!”

“Now baby, I’m not sure where the tornado is, but please go in the bathtub and cover yourself with a thick blanket!”

“Okay, I will. Do I have to let you go?”

“No. Stay on the line with me, at least until the warning expires. But if the call drops, just know that I love you.”

“I love you too and I won’t be at ease until you and our daughter are home and safe in my arms!”

“I love you, Mommy!” Their little girl called out.

Suddenly a horrible roaring sound was heard…

Now the middle aged man in this story seems to be what both a Christian and a non Christian alike would consider to be a good man.  After all, he works diligently, he loves his wife and is completely faithful to her.  He also loves his daughter.  He even cares about the students and coworkers.  I believe he is a shining example of someone who possesses a much Greater Love and it is because of this Love is the reason why he is so well equipped to be what most would consider a good man.  The Good News is that This Greater Love is available to anyone who accepts it.  Furthermore it does not have the stringent conditions and prerequisites that carnal or communal love tends to associate itself with.  Notice he is not totally perfect, but he is still in perfect possession of that Love!

Back to “Works of Fiction”

The Personal Crisis I Face whilst Listening to NPR

A recent personal conflict of mine is whether I should listen to NPR (National Public Radio) or not.

The local NPR stations that are available in my area are WWNO on 89.9 FM from The University of New Orleans and KTLN, its translator station on 90.5 FM which serves the Houma-Thibodaux Metro.

I do enjoy listening to that radio network because I find doing so enhances my vocabulary, therefore my writing. And not only that, I find it makes me more informed as an individual. It was through listening to NPR that I first discovered the Coronavirus back in January of 2020. I appreciate their science programs and some of their cultural programs as well.

Since my early thirties, I’ve also tried to be more civic-minded and involved in my community at all levels. NPR allows me to do this, at least at varying degrees.

NPR is very educational, entertaining, and informative. And best of all it is free. At the most, I have to pay for the radio receiver and the source of power. So it’s not free, but it is very cheap as opposed to other mediums of information and entertainment.

So, yes, listening to NPR does bring me a considerable deal of happiness and benefits.

…BUT…

I find some of their news reporting leads a little more to the left than they should. After all, NPR is supposed to serve the entire American public, not just certain factions.

Don’t get me wrong, throughout my thirty-four years on this planet (at the time I am writing this), I have been scattered across the political spectrum. Since the ages of thirty-two or thirty-three, though I would consider myself fiercely Moderate. All I’m going to say is that it was a combination of having disabilities, one of my romantic relationships, and just my strong sense of community in general that has made me more Moderate than I used to be. I espouse some Conservative values and I espouse some Liberal values as well. But there are a few Conservative values I eschew, likewise, there are some Liberal values I equally eschew. As I’ve stated before, I know, as a Christian that we live in a flawed, fallen, and imperfect world. There is no getting around it and there are certain judgments that God has placed in this world and humanity. What I have noticed in recent years is that Liberals try to completely remove God’s judgments while Conservatives try to exacerbate God’s judgments. Both of these tactics would be considered playing God in my book and they are both going to have to answer to Him for it.

Okay, so I think I have established my position on my Moderate political stance.

I’m not trying to just attack Liberals in this piece, but I will point out that NPR tends to be more Liberal than Conservative, especially in recent years. Ideally, NPR should not be Conservative, Moderate, or Liberal. NPR should be apolitical, especially because it is meant to serve all of America.

I find the said radio network was especially harsh on the recent Trump administration.

On a Wednesday evening in late January or early February 2020, I had finished listening to NPR for a sizeable portion of the day. They were consistently badmouthing the president at the time.

So, I walked to my church and was waiting for everyone else to arrive so we could have our Prayer Meeting and Bible Study.

At the time I was EDCing a compact Bible and its translation was The Christian Standard Bible.

I was reading that Bible and came across Proverbs Chapter 31 Verse 3, “Don’t spend your energy on women or your efforts on those who destroy kings.”

Immediately I felt the strong Conviction of The Holy Ghost come upon me for listening to NPR earlier that day.

Like most of the American media, NPR had an agenda to destroy the Trump administration.

Now when that scripture was written, the only types of heads of state were kings. Donald Trump was certainly not a king, but I can safely say that the Bible does not endorse destroying any other sort of world leader, no matter how unpopular. The 13th Chapter of Romans will back this belief of mine up, by the way.

Thus began my crisis over whether or not I should listen to NPR.

I know I am a Moderate and a Christian and most American Christians tend to be staunchly pro-Conservative and equally anti Liberal.

I think this is because conservatives tend to be more espoused to Biblical principles, protect religious freedom and they are also mostly Christian, whereas Liberals tend to be more humanist, are not in favor of all religious freedoms and some have been known to persecute Christians in diverse ways.

I’ve mentioned previously in lesser detail how a goal/fantasy of mine is to be married to a super-sized lady and living in a neighborhood that is gentrifying. We would spend our days reading or writing and listening to NPR, to be more informed and to provoke more creativity. Likely we would have a daughter who sings in the school choir. And we would be a civic-minded family in general. I still think of this as a goal and fantasy, but I’m more hesitant about it after I received Divine Conviction about listening to NPR. Also, I am quite single at the moment, but I would still definitely want to be married to a super-sized lady and eventually have children with her. God has shown me very certain attributes about my future spouse, by the way, and I know I just need to wait on Him to bring her into my life.

I’ve seen media sway the political minds of other family members of mine, on both sides of the spectrum.

NPR could even sway my mind if I still listened to it as much as I have in the past.

As a Christian, the only Liberal policies I can truly get behind are those that are meant to protect the vulnerable amongst us, but doing so without a hidden agenda!

By the way, I think I discovered NPR sometime in 2005 and I had listened to it at length for the first time in December of 2005. I had a pocket-sized radio and was sitting on the outside balcony of a public library. It was late afternoon and the skies were overcast. Still, the atmosphere was enough to be tremendously inspiring. And at the time I was on medication that crippled most of my emotions, yet I was still inspired. I don’t remember any of the content of what I had heard that day, but it was still powerful enough to lift my mood and make me more lively, despite all these artificial chemical restraints! I’m not sure what made me stop listening to NPR, but I wouldn’t listen to it again until the Summer of 2017 while doing laundry in the afternoon. During that Summer, I would frequently listen to NPR while sitting on the back porch of a friend. My then-wife-now-ex-wife would be inside watching television. It was a peaceful time in my otherwise stressful marriage. Usually, I would listen to the afternoon program, “All Things Considered.” By the way, she would get angry if I tried to listen to it on my car radio while she was riding with me. I would listen to NPR on the regular whenever I could. In May of 2018, I moved into my current residence, but it is difficult to catch my local NPR station because a nearby FM transmitter bleeds all over most of my radio dials. And even if I could catch it, this constant talk about Coronavirus and other unpleasant issues these days makes it very depressing and hard to listen to. It’s not like it was in 2017 and before!

All in all, I wish I could get in touch with someone who influenced NPR and tells him or her that maybe they would have more listeners if they tried to serve the entire American public instead of just pandering to liberals like the rest of the mainstream media. NPR is supposed to be of a higher caliber than that and therefore should at least try to do better. Imagine if they fairly and accurately reported the news and still did their educational pieces how much listenership they could gain! I won’t hold my breath though. It took Divine Conviction from The Holy Ghost to call me out on listening to NPR and therefore it will take Divine Intervention on a massive scale to make NPR better for everyone.

Until then I wish there was a comparable broadcasting service that was available on the scale that NPR is and truly served all of its listeners.

I guess this, therefore, concludes my piece on the crisis I face for listening to NPR.

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

May God richly bless you!

Back to “Personal Reflections”

A Review of the Sylvania Bluetooth CD Boombox

Just for the record, I do not own the featured image on this page, nor is it the actual image of the product I am reviewing in this piece, but it is close enough and it is related.

I was born in the late 1980s and was a child throughout the 1990s.

Therefore, like most people born during this era, I have an appreciation for the boom box.

As I’ve mentioned before, whilst I was married, my then-wife, now ex-wife, and I would frequently do laundry at the house of her ex-brother-in-law.

We would then cook and run errands for him, in exchange for using his washer and dryer.

His deceased daughter (actually the aspiring writer whose death compelled me to launch this blog), had purchased a Sylvania Boombox from the Ruble, I mean, the Dollar General sometime before being killed in a traffic accident. After her passing, her dad (my ex-wife’s ex-brother-in-law) kept that boom box on his back porch and frequently listened to Classic Rock stations with it.

I would use it to listen to NPR while doing laundry. My then-wife would watch television with her nephews.

I was surprised by the tuning accuracy, especially on FM, despite using the power cord as an antenna and having a fairly simple rotary tuner.

It wasn’t long before I wanted one.

In the late Summer of 2017, I drove to the local Dollar General to purchase one for myself. Of course, there were none in stock so I probably made my frequent remark on how it isn’t the Dollar General but rather the Ruble General. Subsequently, I ended up buying one on eBay.

The one I purchased on eBay didn’t perform as well, so I ended up donating it to charity.

In January of 2018, I left my wife, after years of a tense and faulty marriage, and in May of 2018, I moved into my own apartment after spending the prior three months with an older friend.

From this nicer Dollar General, I purchased a television antenna, a portable fan, and a new Sylvania Boom Box, which is the one shown in the featured image but not the actual model that this piece will be a review thereof.

This model could filter out the interference from a nearby FM transmitter despite having a seemingly simple rotary tuning system.

I used it for about a year, then gave it to a neighbor.

In March of 2021, as I had planned, I purchased the updated version which features Bluetooth.

The model number is a Sylvania SRCD202DG-BT-EO and this will be the product reviewed in this piece.

I have yet to use the CD player feature because CD’s have become mostly obsolete.

I haven’t tried the AM radio feature either, because I have other radios for AM listening.

I tried the FM feature because I was hoping that it could filter out the nearby transmitter like its predecessor models. It does to a degree, but the power cord doubles as the FM antenna and it needs to be in a certain position to catch the NPR station I want.

Unless I was anticipating a hurricane or other disaster that results in an extended power failure I wouldn’t like to purchase the 6 C batteries needed to power this off the grid.

If I had a device that didn’t feature Bluetooth, there is an auxiliary in jack that allows this to be used as a set of speakers.

The speakers put out decent audio, but nothing like a more powerful stereo system.

The Bluetooth feature is where this is a winner.

I have downloaded some scanner and radio apps for my tablet and I pair it with his device.

With this setup, I can hear scanner feeds and radio broadcasts both locally and around the world.

And, yes, NPR is among those feeds.

So is the BBC World Service.

So are some interesting railroad and marine scanner feeds.

As a Christian I know I must needs be careful whilst listening to NPR.

Like one of my recent characters, I listen to NPR mostly because doing so enhances my vocabulary. I don’t particularly care for their biased reporting and I find it is getting worse since I began listening in the Summer of 2017. Case in point, as I’ve mentioned before, it was after hours of listening to NPR for the first time that I began referring to the Dollar General as the Ruble General. Some of the content on there does indeed enrich my mind.

I used to romanticize finding a better woman than my ex-wife and she and I moving into the neighborhood where I used to do laundry, then she and I would sit at home and listen to NPR. We would later have a daughter who would sing in the school choir. This dream almost came true when I met my ex-girlfriend but sunk after she called it quits on me a year and some months later.

There is still something I romanticize about sitting on a back porch in the later afternoon and listening to NPR, but the biased reporting is getting to be too much for it to be enjoyable. NPR is supposed to serve the entire American public, not just certain political factions. I would consider myself politically moderate and so was NPR at the time I began listening. But now, I find, it is leaning way towards the left and that isn’t fair.

All right, let me get off of my soapbox because I doubt it does any good.

My one complaint about this boombox is that the FM reception could be a little better, but at least it appears to have an AFC circuit, though not as well-performing as its predecessor models.

I keep it in my living room on a shelf next to a vintage scanner, a Realistic Pro 2022. That scanner may be slow, but it has the best audio quality I’ve ever seen in a scanner.

The feature I use most is Bluetooth, which provides significantly better audio quality when streaming on my tablet.

I would give this a 4.6 out of 5-star rating because I wish the FM reception was a little better and I wish the speakers could be a little louder.

This particular model is sold only at The Ruble, I mean, The Dollar General for $26+taxes. Considering the build quality and all that it does, I would say it is a fair price, provided one is actually in stock. Some Dollar Generals are notorious for product shortages, long lines in checkout, and cluttered aisles, hence me calling it Ruble General, to begin with. For those who don’t know, the Ruble was the official currency of The Soviet Union and I’ve heard countless reports of the shopping experiences there similar to what I’ve seen in some Dollar Generals, hence me coming up with that idea.

All in all, I guess this, therefore, concludes my review on the Sylvania Bluetooth CD Boombox.

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

May God richly bless you!

Back to “Product Reviews”

A Review of The Sony ICF-P26 AM/FM Portable Radio

Just so we’re all clear, I do not own the featured image on this page and I give credit to whomsoever credit is due.

I always enjoyed listening to the radio growing up.

The style of radio that I enjoy most are those that resemble the transistor radios made from the 1950s through the 1980s. There is just something about that style.

By the way, such a style is getting rarer and rarer as time goes by.

I believe it was some time in 2015 when I discovered the Sony ICF-P26 and, fun fact, it was through a MEME I saw on social media.

I finally bought one in March of 2017 and so I have owned one of these radios for almost your years.

That radio by the way is what this piece will be a review thereof.

In reality, I had been wanting to write this review since July of 2018, when I started writing product reviews, but there have been numerous distractions that hindered me from doing so.

In March of 2017, I had a little bit extra money, so I ordered a Sony ICF-P26 on eBay.

It came in a few days later and I began to use it extensively. It even gained a spot for a few years in my EDC backpack.

I was thoroughly impressed by the clear and generous sound, the tuning accuracy, the reception range (especially on AM, but FM as well), and the overall solid feel when handling this radio.

On every trip I took, it was a frequent companion, allowing me to hear local radio stations. One of my rituals is while traveling I wash my face, then shave as soon as I enter the hotel or motel room. For some reason traveling in a car for an extended period, even with the windows up makes my face ultra dirty. I also like to be clean-shaven when going out and about anywhere, so after washing my face, I shave, then apply the Aqua Velva. Usually while shaving in a place besides home, I listen to a local music station. One particular memory I have about carrying out this ritual is being in Texas and hearing Jim Ed Brown sing “Pop a Top” on a local AM station. Music sounds so much richer when played on AM and Jim Ed Brown already had a very rich voice, so it was a very pleasant experience. When not traveling, I used to listen to NPR whilst I was doing my laundry.

I did keep this radio when my ex-wife and I split up the community property and I left her a Sangean DT-200VX because she always liked it and I was trying to make the divorce as painless as possible. She and I are on much better terms now but I am 100% sure that we are not compatible as husband and wife. I just wish I would have realized this before the relationship became too serious. Well, she clearly stated that she wanted to marry me six days after meeting me. At the time, I was thrilled, because I didn’t see the red flags yet.

Speaking of red flags, my one gripe about this radio is that it lacks an AFC circuit. This wasn’t an issue at my previous residences but is very much an issue at my current residence since I am only a few blocks away from an FM transmitter. That station’s signal bleeds all over my FM dial and drowns out almost all other FM stations that would normally be available. So I upgraded (and I use that term loosely) to a cheap, unbranded radio, that has a phase lock loop synthesized oscillator, for most of my portable FM listening. It also gets AM (mediocre) and Weather (quite well, actually), but isn’t as solidly built as my Sony. Although it is as small as an MP3 player and I do have a dedicated pocket for it in my EDC backpack. However, on some nights I will still use this Sony for AM listening, both local and long-distance. If I’m not in my neighborhood and have it with me, I will also use my Sony for FM listening.

A few evenings ago when Winter Storm Uri was wreaking havoc across the country, our local governments and our electric utility companies were advising us to conserve power until 10:00 PM. So, I unplugged all of my grid-powered electronics, set my central heater (which is electric) to 68 Degrees Fahrenheit and I even turned off the lights. To be able to see, I used a highly efficient battery-powered LED lantern. My previous product review was about that very lantern. And for entertainment, I listened to the AM band on my Sony radio. I did some AM DXing until finally, I decided to listen to WSB out of Atlanta. There is a local show on there that I have listened to a time or two prior. It is a good, wholesome, and even Christian show. They were talking about Rush Limbaugh’s passing. I listened until the signal faded out. By that point, it was past Ten O’Clock, so I resumed my “normal” nighttime activities. The AM ferrite bar antenna on this radio isn’t very big, so it’s not the best radio for AM DXing, but, in my location, it will catch most of the clear channel AM stations between The Rockies and Appalachians after dark.

A very wise feature on this radio is that it isn’t turned off or on by the volume potentiometer, but rather a three-position sliding switch “OFF” “AM” “FM.” There is a volume potentiometer and after almost four years of use and three years of carrying in my EDC backpack, it needs to be dusted out. To tune the radio, a knob is connected to a slide rule indicator. For FM listening, there is a telescopic antenna that can be changed out if it is ever damaged. Why can’t all radios be made this way?

There is also a removable nylon lanyard.

Two other features on this radio include a green LED, whose brightness indicates how much battery power is left and a red LED which indicates that the radio is locked on a station’s signal.

For power, it runs on two AA batteries. I always used Alkalines and always had generous run times. I think the run time is rated at 35 or so hours on a set of batteries but I’m not 100% sure.

Currently, I have my Sony radio on a night table in my living room, but if I were to have to travel, especially to evacuate from a hurricane, it will be coming with me.

If anyone is interested in purchasing one of these, they are widely available online and even in some brick-and-mortar establishments.

I give it a 4.85 out of 5 stars and this rating is subjective to where one uses it. Had it been manufactured with an AFC circuit, I would have given it the full 5 stars.

Sony is a reputable brand and they make some fine radios, so why couldn’t they have installed an AFC circuit and made this radio even better?

I’ve mentioned on social media in the past how I wish all FM radios would have an AFC circuit, but terrestrial analog radio is gradually dying out, much to my dismay.

In the event of an emergency remember KISS: Keep it Simple, Stupid! The simpler a communications system is, the less chance there is for failure and typically the cheaper the equipment. Analog terrestrial radio should remain in use, at least as a means of communicating important information to the public, especially in the event of an emergency!

I’ll get either one or another response for this statement and it is:

You’re preaching to the choir (from those who think like me.)

OR

Change is inevitable (from those who don’t realize what I realize.)

Currently, I am thinking of buying a Bluetooth-capable radio very soon so I can pair it with my tablet and Stream online radio stations. The model I am looking at is sold at The Ruble, I mean, The Dollar General and if it is like its predecessor model, then it will have an AFC circuit, which is the other reason for me to consider purchasing it.

So, yes I do embrace new technology, but I also have a prepper mindset, not to mention I hold a General Class Amateur Radio license, and therefore am very much aware of how older simpler technology is more reliable, especially as a means of mass communications.

Well, look at this, I’ve turned a product review into a lecture.

My apologies.

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

I guess this concludes my review of the Sony ICF-P26.

May God richly bless you!

Back to “Product Reviews”

Pairing a Royal Crown Cola with a Moon Pie

So, over ten years ago, I had discovered a Southern delicacy of pairing a Royal Crown Cola with a Moon Pie.

I drank R. C. Cola now and then in early childhood because my Paternal Grandparents were very frugal and R. C. is indeed the cheapest name brand cola there is. My parents on the other hand, especially my Mom fervently drank Coca-Cola. On and off since the age of nine, I had been a fervent Pepsi drinker, and especially since the age of twenty when I discovered their Wild Cherry version, which still to this day is my favorite soft drink.

I only consumed Moon Pies during Mardi Gras and Saint Patrick’s Day parades when they were thrown from floats to parade watchers. Growing up, we ate Little Debbies, especially the Oatmeal Creme Pie variety, more than anything else.

It was some time in 2009 or early 2010 when I had discovered the pairing of a Moon Pie with an R. C. Cola. I was researching scanners (as in the device used to listen in on two-way radio communications) and was reading about the Radio Shack Patrolman Radio receivers of the 1960s. Yes, the Patrolman line eventually included scanners, but before scanners being invented, the Patrolman radios were tuneable radios that initially covered either the VHF High or VHF Low Band and the AM (Medium Wave) Broadcast Band. These were very popular in the 1960s due to the high degree of civil unrest of the decade and citizens desiring to listen in on law enforcement communications. By the way, these communications were [almost] totally in the clear in those days. There was no encryption and certainly no digital communications. In my research, I discovered a picture of a Radio Shack Patrolman radio in the background and an individually-sized bottle of R. C. Cola with a wrapped Moon Pie in the foreground. That was the first time I had seen this combination.

Now as many of you know, I was born and raised in Southeast Louisiana. And yes I still reside there. Louisiana is certainly part of the South, at least physically, but the culture of Louisiana located below the U. S. Highway 190 corridor (give or take) is quite different from the rest of The South. For example, the white people here are mostly of French Canadian descent (Cajun-I have some in me.) There are also a few people of Parisian French ancestry here (myself included, as my surname suggests, and on both sides of my family.) In the heavily industrialized area between New Orleans and Baton Rouge along the Mississippi River, there is a high concentration of people with German ancestry (it is a lot like The Midwest, actually.) Among others, in the New Orleans area, there are people descended from Irish and Italian immigrants (quite similar to Brooklyn New York.) In rural parts of Louisiana, there are the Islenos, who are of Spanish ancestry (the Canary Islands, to be exact.) So this part of Louisiana is much more culturally diverse than the rest of the mostly Anglo-Saxon South. Therefore, some of the customs and traditions that are common and dear to most of the South are unknown to this part of Louisiana.

In more recent years, I had discovered that I do indeed have some more typical Southern (Anglo Saxon) roots on my Maternal Grandpa’s side. His ancestry comes not only from Germans and Irish people residing in Louisiana but also his ancestry can also be traced back to Mississippi and Alabama. It made perfect sense to me and explains a lot because I act more Southern than those that surround me. For example, I am Protestant as opposed to Catholic, although I was raised Catholic, at least in name only. I’m told that my writing and speech patterns sound more Southern, than Cajun though, my accent is a unique combination of New Orleans Y’at (which sounds similar to Brooklyn) and Cajun (which has a sound all of its own.) I’ve only known one or two other people who sounded like me and they were raised in a similar environment. I was not raised on Country Music, but acquired a taste for it in 2004. However, I think Country Music has had a sharp decline in quality since about 2013. I thoroughly enjoy listening to Redneck comedians and can relate to their humor. I am very Pro Second Amendment (which is indeed common between Cajuns and Rednecks, alike.) I am indeed attracted to plus-sized and super-sized ladies, a trait that is stereotypical of Redneck men, but I’ve since learned that men from all walks of life carry this trait. I frequently listen to scanners, another hobby many times associated with Rednecks. The only sport I will watch is NASCAR. I’m quite proficient at do-it-yourself projects when I need to be. I strive to be polite and mind my manners, which is highly valued in The South, but sadly not always in my part of Louisiana. And if I do it right, I can fry chicken just like Colonel Sanders. Therefore, I tend to associate and espouse more with Southern Culture than extreme South Louisiana Culture.

I think you, the reader, now get my point on how South Louisiana is different from the rest of The South.

The reason why I wrote all of this, was to explain how, despite technically growing up in The South, it wasn’t until adulthood that I discovered the combination of R. C. Cola and Moon Pie and when I did, it was totally by accident. However, I do have some true Southern blood pumping through my veins and I do indeed espouse its culture much better than the culture that surrounds me.

Moon Pies and Royal Crown Cola were both invented in Southern States, Tennesee and Georgia, respectively.

Moon Pies were invented as the result of a Kentucky coal miner suggesting to a Chattanooga bakery salesman upon being asked what kind of snack would he like the company to make. Legend has it, the miner told the salesman for the snack to have two round Graham cookies with marshmallow creme in the middle. He then proceeded to hold his hand up to the sky as if he were cupping the Moon in his hands and then continued that the snack should be “as big as The Moon.” The salesman took the miner’s request to heart and began producing Moon Pies, which were outselling all of their other baked goods. Initially, Moon Pies were plain, but soon afterward they were dipped in Chocolate. In later years they were dipped in other flavors such as Banana, Vanilla, and others.

Royal Crown Cola was ultimately invented over a dispute between a Columbus, Georgia, grocer and a Coca Cola salesman. The grocer thought that Coca Cola ought to give him a discount given the high volume of Coca Cola syrup he purchased from the company. The salesman refused. The grocer refused to ever purchase from Coca Cola again and began to formulate his own cola, ultimately coming up with Royal Crown Cola.

In my personal opinion, Royal Crown tastes better than Coke and almost as good as Pepsi, but due to its more affordable price, I drink R. C. more frequently than Pepsi. I think if R. C. followed Pepsi’s practices and used Cane Sugar in their drink, it would taste indeed as good as Pepsi. Coke typically uses HFCS in their American formula although, this wasn’t always the case. Had Coke continued using Cane Sugar, my Paternal Granpa may have been employed well into his 80s. He was a foreman at a local sugar factory and Coca-Cola was in the process of buying the plant. However, the deal fell through, the factory subsequently shut down and he was forced into retirement at the age of 61. I believe he genuinely wanted to be employed because, after retiring, he continued aggressively raising cattle and produce until the ripe old age of 89. He passed away at the age of 94. My Maternal Grandpa, on the other hand, worked for South Central Bell (now part of AT&T) but died twenty-nine years before I was born at the young age of only 42. He is the one that I inherit my Southern traits from and I am told how I take after him in so many ways. Like me, he was into technology and I wish he would have lived to be an old man so I could have known him and so he could have witnessed all of the great inventions that would come into existence after his death.

…Moving on…

I would drink R. C. Cola sparingly as a child and hadn’t drunk it for years until about the age of 26, when I was purchased some at a convenience store in San Antonio, Texas. Immediately, I recognized that it tasted considerably better than Coke and almost as good as Pepsi. I would drink it from time to time for the next few years.

After a failed marriage, I moved into my own place in May of 2018. My residence is but a few feet from a Dollar General, so I do a considerable deal of shopping there. Dollar General is also a typically Southern entity, though probably not as glamorous. I may give that said retailer some business from my testimony of what can be purchased there and not at other stores (R. C. Cola being an example.) But I also find myself poking fun at The Dollar General, comparing the shopping experience there to that of shopping in the USSR and their satellite states. I even go as far as frequently referring to it as “The Ruble General”, but only in harmless jest.

But I frequently buy my soft drinks at The Dollar General. And R. C. Cola is sold at the rate of 2 Liters for $1.00+tax. There are other quantities at which it is sold there but I don’t immediately recall the price. Coke and Pepsi most of the time are sold there for $1.80+tax unless they are on sale. I’m on a disability pension, so I must needs make my money stretch. I also buy some snacks at The Dollar General. A box of six Miniature Moon Pies can be had for, I think, also $1.00+tax. I would say that is indeed a bargain, considering inflation!

It was some time in 2020, around the time when Coronavirus became an issue that, I finally decided to try a Moon Pie and an R. C. Cola together. I indeed purchased them at my local Dollar General. I instantly enjoyed the combination and have been purchasing them ever since. As of lately, I am even getting my neighbors hooked on them. The way I most prefer consuming them is microwaving a Moon Pie for exactly 6 seconds (my microwave oven is rated a 700 Watts, your time may vary) and then eating it and then washing it down with an ice-cold R. C. Cola.

There are several theories on how Royal Crown Cola became paired with Moon Pies, but the one I’ll accept most is that during the Great Depression they were a cheap but energy-dense source of food and drink. They offered the most calories per unit of currency in a time when money was extremely tight. Not only that, they were very palatable and could hold up most men performing work that was many times physically demanding. An original Moon Pie which was four inches and diameter and a 12 ounce R. C. Cola paired together, sold for a total of one Dime. So it became an instant hit with the working class throughout the South.

But, nowadays, they are popular throughout the South and with more than just the working class.

Now I am indeed disabled. But, even with inflation adjustments, an R. C. Cola paired with a Moon Pie is a cheap thrill that can be afforded to me even though I am on a fixed income. I think of the pictured that I mentioned earlier in this piece and many times I too eat a Moon Pie and drink an R. C. Cola whilst listening to my scanner. This is a frugal way to have a good time. Some of my neighbors have also picked up on this habit.

Before I became totally disabled, I always wanted to have a son so he and I could hang out in the kitchen and listen to our scanners, especially at night. I’m 34 at the time of writing this and have no children, as of yet. God has shown me what my true future spouse will be like and He equally told me to be patient in finding her. If I ever do have children, I’ve always wondered if instead of singing songs they hear on the radio, as most kids do, they will repeat track bulletins and vessel names along with their positions that they hear on my scanners. I would get a kick out of that as would all my friends that also listen to scanners. I’ll have to be careful with the marine traffic, though, especially if I ever have a daughter, because of the foul language sometimes used on those marine channels. Just the other morning, I heard the Mother F word uttered on Channel 13 by an angry boat captain. Such a phrase is completely uncalled for in any circumstance and can get someone killed if he or she utters it to the wrong person. Enough about that, let’s focus on more pleasant things. Maybe one day, God will bless me with children and we will be hanging out in my kitchen listening to scanners, eating Moon Pies, and drinking R. C. Cola.

Because this blog is read worldwide, I’m not sure if you, the reader, have ever heard of combining a Moon Pie with an R. C. Cola much less if these products are available near you. My suggestion is if you live in The States, check out your local Ruble, I mean Dollar General.

If you’re able to purchase these, please do so. I don’t think you will be disappointed! After all, it is a tried and true favorite.

So, I guess this concludes my article on R. C. Cola and Moon Pies.

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

May God richly bless you!

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