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1979 Regency Touch K100 Scanner Review

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IBM

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The Regency Touch K100 (Model ACT-T-K100) http://www.radiopics.com/Regency/Photos/Regency_Touch K100.jpg was manufactured by Regency Electronics Inc. in 1979, its primary audience were the public safety officials that needed a programmable scanner with basic features at an affordable price. Since the use of scanners in vehicles was also increasing, Regency allowed the K100 to be operating using a standard 12V DC cigarette lighter power adapter as well. Basic features include:

1 LED Digital frequency readout and status screen.
12 LED units signifying Channel or S1 and S2 functions
Direct Entry keypad (membrane type)
Search Function
Manual (monitor) Function
Delay (2s post-transmission delay)
3.5mm mono audio jack on back panel

The K100 is a basic 10 channel HF/VHF/UHF analog scanner. It's scope only covers the following:

VHF Low Band - 30-50MHz Programmable 5KHz Steps
VHF Amateur - 144-148MHz Programmable 5KHz Steps
VHF High Band -148-174MHz Prgrammable 5Khz Steps
UHF Amateur - 440-450MHz Programmable 12.5KHz Steps
UHF Standard - 450-470MHz Programmable 12.5KHz Steps
UHF Extended - 470-512MHz Programmable 12.5KHz Steps

Airband and FM frequencies are not available in the K100 as listed. The K100 also lacks any preprogrammed frequencies as well, so all frequencies must be entered by the direct entry keypad on the front panel. Software programming is not available for this scanner either.

I currently own 2 of these scanners, and from personal experience, they are very good scanners. Their receive is clear, however PL tones and processor noise is present. The K100 scanner's internal processor will make itself known by being audible over any transmission as a low hum, not to be mistaken for a PL tone. The speaker is large and a front-firing type, so all audio is loud and clear. I use both of my scanners in a rather rural area, and repeater towers are spread out in long distances, coverage is poor, however this scanner seems to have no difficulty filtering out static and receives a clear signal each time (processor noise aside). I receive frequent transmissions from Virginia Beach City, VA (which is approximately 110 Miles from me) and all transmissions are clear and understandable. Elevation here is rather flat, slight graduations from county to county, I have used this scanner in Claysville, PA where the approximate highest elevation is about 1400ft above sea level, and it performs well. However, Washington County, PA where Claysville is located operates on Low band VHF and has several repeater towers scattered throughout the county. I am not too sure how close the nearest tower was to me at the time.

The K100's longevity is exceptional for a typical scanner, if it is still operating in 2013 and it was made in 1979, I do believe that it is doing a fantastic job at staying alive. In fact, one of my K100s is the unit broadcasting my live feed here on Radio Reference, here is the link to hear it in action Hanover County Fire and EMS Dispatch Live Scanner Audio Feed

The K100 is not only long lasting, but its overall appearance and asthetics are good too. Most electronics manufactured in the 1970s and 1980s were normally displayed and made with wood veneer, so it was easy to make this scanner blend in with a contemporary or rustic environment. However, if exposed to moisture or heat, the veneer on this scanner was very quick to peel off. Unfortunately one of my K100s has experienced this and I am not able to repair it at this time. However, it still functions normally.

All in all the K100 is a good scanner, my rating I give it a 4 out of 5. It's a basic scanner with not much to boast about. But the sheer fact that it can last as long as it does is why I am giving this rating.
 

typesix

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I had an ACT- T-16K (same case) and wished it had the 2sec delay instead of the inadequate 0.6 second delay, but it was designed before your K100. The big case makes for nice audio.
 

IBM

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I had an ACT- T-16K (same case) and wished it had the 2sec delay instead of the inadequate 0.6 second delay, but it was designed before your K100. The big case makes for nice audio.
That's a good scanner too, used to have one. Don't really know what I did with it. But I will be doing a review on the Regency Touch K500 scanner soon. Supposedly it was one of Regency's best.
 

typesix

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I was looking to buy a K500 in 1981 and couldn't find one locally. Ended up with the M400 instead, it's still around but not in active use. Before looking for a K500, I briefly had a Bearcat 250, but returned it when I found that UHF freq could only be programmed in 25khz steps. I had a couple of freqs that couldn't be scanned because of that limitation.
 
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n1das

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I was looking to buy a K500 in 1981 and couldn't find one locally. Ended up with the M400 instead, it's still around but not in active use. Before looking for a K500, I briefly had a Bearcat 250, but returned it when I found that UHF freq could only be programmed in 25khz steps. I had a couple of freqs that couldn't be scanned because of that limitation.
I had an M400 back in the 80's and got LOTS of use out of it during my college years at UNH. It's a workhorse of a scanner. I loved the features it had. I added a toggle switch and enabled the European low-band coverage. There's a jumper option to enable this and I installed a toggle switch for when I wanted it enabled.

One cool thing about this generation of scanners from Regency was that the CPU didn't restrict frequency coverage. If you entered and out of band freq, say 179MHz, it took it and would work, provided the PLL in the synthesizer circuitry would lock. When you finally reached the edge of where it would work or far enough that it stopped working (PLL won't lock), a message like "Error - Poor F." was displayed. I used it to listen to 10m FM and 6m FM stuff too by tuning out of band with it.

One thing that drove me nuts with the M400 and other Regency scanners of that day was the sputtering, crackling squelch circuitry. It was designed with absolutely NO hysteresis at all and it would tend to sputter or chatter exessively when a weak signal was present and hovered at the threshold. I ended up fixing it for the most part by lengthening the RC time constant in the squelch circuit. A 0.2uF disc ceramic capacitor got replaced with a 0.68uF tantalum cap. This gave it a noticeably longer squelch tail at the end of a transmission but it sputtered a lot less at the threshold. This simple mod (cap value change) worked well.

I loved my M400 back then and remember the K500 but never had one.
 
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mikepdx

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I loved my M400 back then...
I have an M400 packed away in storage.
A gent who is retired from cable TV gave it to me in 1999.
He used it mobile way back when, as a sniffer to look for cable leakage.

The only issue is that it's 5 KHz off frequency.
i.e. for 155.34, I must program in 155.345
in order to hear .34 clearly.

Otherwise, it's like the energizer bunny,
It keeps going and going and going.
 
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n1das

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The only issue is that it's 5 KHz off frequency.
i.e. for 155.34, I must program in 155.345
in order to hear .34 clearly.

Otherwise, it's like the energizer bunny,
It keeps going and going and going.
That sounds like the reference oscillator for the PLL circuitry is off-frequency, probably due to an aging crystal. There generally will be a trimmer cap in the circuit that you may be able to tweak slightly and pull it back on frequency. One thing to check is how far off-frequency are UHF freqs programmed into it? The higher multiplication factor required for the UHF section means that small error(s) in the reference oscillator frequency will become large errors in the final local oscillator frequency used to tune the desired UHF frequency. If it's 5kHz off on VHF, it will probably be farther off on the UHF band. If UHF is also just 5kHz off, then it's something else, probably an IF stage has drifted off-frequency (1st IF 10.7 MHz, 2nd IF 455 kHz) because that would affect everything.

It's been a while since I have dug into one of those scanners!
 

garys

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The "Touch" really revolutionized scanning. Direct frequency entry without combs or needing to know a binary (I think) code. I worked in retail electronics and was the ham radio, scanner, CB guy. At that time CB was the big seller, but we sold a lot of scanners too.

There were two programmable scanners made by Tennelec that were released slightly before the Regency. One was programmable by a similar method to the Bearcat 101. That was the TS-1. The other had direct entry and a LED display. That was the TS-2. Nice designs, crappy build quality. We had so send every single one back to the factory for repair.

Back to the Regency. I never owned any of those Touch scanners, but I did get to play with all of them. Plus, I think there there was an air band version of the Touch, but I'm not sure.

Considering how few frequencies were in use in my area at the time, they were terrific scanners. Now they are museum pieces, but if you have one that works and does what you need it to, you're lucky.
 

W5KVV

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Just thought I would throw my 2 cents in on these old scanners. I have both models, the K100 & the Flight Scan, & both are still kicking after all these years. The front end seems to be much tighter than my numerous newer scanners. They don't pick up all the other equipment in my shack like the new Uniden scanners do.

My dad was a dispatcher for OHP from '76-'06. I spent many hours at headquarters during that time. They had a K100 in the radio room to monitor local PD & SO traffic, It was bought new in 1979 & is still to this day in operation in the radio room. It's never been turned off or off power weather it be commercial, changeover or generator.

That should give you an idea of how well they were built. I give them a 5 out of 5 considering what they are. A first generation, programmable scanner with 10 frequency slots. Bare bones by today's standards, but top of the line when new.
 

IBM

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I will be posting my review on the Regency Touch ACT-T-K500 very soon. I've been a little busy with work and moving in to my new townhouse. Things are changing so fast for me! D:

-IBM
 

Ensnared

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Touch Screen Died

Back in the late 1980's, I paid around $500 for a Regency MX-7000. It was a continuous coverage scanner that intercepted analog cell phones as well. It was a wonderful scanner, until the day it died.

I never found anyone to repair it. The problem involved the touch screen malfunctioning. When you touched it, it would not engage. Otherwise, it was a very well-made radio. I also owned a HX 1500 hand held which was incredibly well-made. It even had shielding inside. It was heavy and stout. I bet I could have hammered nails with it.

In my opinion, nobody touched the quality of Regency.
 
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mm

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Great scanner this was my 2 nd non xtal model but mine was the rarer montgomery wards branded version of the regency. Other scanner kids that i new didnt believe it when i told them i had a monkey wards/ regency scanner until they actually saw and played with it. I also remember sears roebuck carrying some scanners back in the late 70' s and early 80' s that were made by bearcat but had their name on it.
 

yaesu_dave

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I just bought a Regency M100 on eBay for only $17.00 (including shipping), and it's amazing how well it works nearly 35 years after it was manufactured. The display is still bright, the audio is still crisp and clear, and the thing is built like a tank! It has excellent sensitivity in the VHF high band, especially on the railroad frequencies. Even with just the stock antenna, the M100 will receive trains 30-40 miles from my location. Sure, it doesn't cover 800 MHz or the aircraft band, but for less than $20.00 it's definitely a keeper!
 

RohnsRadio

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the m100 and m400 were good radios. i had them both........ not sure what happend to them. my m100 died and could not fix it, may have thrown it away. have no idea what happend to the m400
 

IBM

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Is there a market for these old scanners I have two (2) K100 one in a box and one used but in great shape?
The market is rather small for the K100, I mean if you have one that is in mint condition and has all the original materials and was never opened, it could be worth some green. But most collectors are looking for the more rare models of the Regency family of scanners such as the K500 or the ACT-T-16K. The K100 has absolutely nothing to brag about, even when it was new.

But with that in-box one, you should be able to get at least $80-$100 for it.
 
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