Column: Lack of power supply for police scanner brings back memories of Radio Shack

The Borger News-Herald's police scanner, which was purchased at the now defunct Radio Shack.
By: 
Tim Howsare
Editor

Like most newspapers, we have a police scanner. Ours happens to be a hand-held unit that was purchased at Radio Shack. When? I don't know.
I can remember when newspapers actually employed full-time photographers, and those photographers would carry these things around attached to their belts attentively listening for car wrecks and fires and such.
Anyway, our scanner came with a power supply, which is now long gone. We've been running it off of two sets of rechargeable double A batteries. The only drawback is that ideally the scanner should be left on 24/7 and that quickly drains the batteries.
On Tuesday, I was thinking that I have one or two “orphaned” power supplies at home and maybe, just maybe, one of them might be compatible with our police scanner.
This is a big maybe, of course, because electronic devices that take batteries come in several different voltages — mainly 3V, 6V, 9V and 12V.
Also, the polarity makes a difference. For some devices, the outside of the power supply plug needs to be “positive” while on others it must be “negative.”
I brought the power supply in Wednesday morning and totally lucked out! The voltage and polarity matched!
This experience made me miss Radio Shack, which bit the dust in 2017. It seemed that every city and town in America, even the ones too small to have a grocery store, had a Radio Shack.
I know Borger and Pampa both had Radio Shacks.
You could walk in to any Radio Shack and ask whoever was working, “I need a quarter-inch stereo jack that goes to two mono RCA plugs,” and the guy or girl would quickly answer`, “Oh yeah. Got one right here.”
Nowadays, most new electronics have wireless connectivity, which is great, but I do miss that small rush of victory when I was able to find that little adaptor or cable that would “make the dang thing work.”
Along with all their little adaptors and gizmos, Radio Shacks had pretty cool computers, at least in the '70s through the '90s.
If you have a funny or oddball story about “the good old days” you'd like to share with our readers, please email to editor@borgernewsherald.com. Attach a picture if you have one.

Category: