Scanner Tales: The life and death of my Regency TMR-8H

N9JIG

Sheriff
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My first scanner was a Regency TMR-8H (8-channel VHF-Hi crystal) that my Dad bought for me in the early 1970's when I was in grade school. He was a cop in the small town we lived in (Wheeling, IL, in suburban Chicagoland). I used it to listen to him when he was working and I still remember the channel layout some 50 years later:
  1. 155.130 WPD Day channel
  2. 155.760 WPD Night/Public Works
  3. 155.370 "City Channel" (later named Point to Point, the Illinois mutual aid channel of the day)
  4. 156.210 Lake County Countywide
  5. 155.700 Lake County secondary
  6. 155.655 Lake County Sheriff
  7. 154.445 WFD
  8. 154.430 Lake County Fire
I had that for several years before I blew it up connecting it to a grounded antenna. 30 years later I acquired another TMR-8H and sourced crystals for the same layout pretty much for nostalgia reasons. All those channels were still in use then, so I used it for another 10 years or so until I moved out of state and gave it away, along with boxes of acquired radio treasures my wife called junk. I really liked the sound quality in those old Regency radios, they were much better than the Bearcats and Realistic scanners of the day.

Here is how that scanner met its demise:

I was a high school senior in the late 1970's and my science elective was Electronics. The teacher was a ham who had a 2m repeater in the classroom and helped students study for their licenses if they wanted. I wasn't really interested in ham radio then but eventually did get a crystal for the repeater for the TMR-8H.

One day I had the scanner with me in class. We plugged the scanner into the wall outlet and noted reception of several local stations and the apparent signal quality. We saw that Waukesha County was booming in on a B.O.S. antenna from some 70 miles away on 155.130. We wanted to see if we could hear the Indiana stations that used the same frequency (Called "Plan A" in the statewide plan there) so we connected it to the repeater's antenna with an adapter.

As soon as we plugged in the antenna the scanner went up in a puff of smoke. Well, more than a puff, it filled the electronics lab and connected hallway. Soon enough the fire alarm went off, someone pulled the pull-box in the next hallway.

I pulled the power cord and antenna jack off the flaming hunk that was once my trusty scanner. The assumption is that the power connector polarity may have been reversed at some point (I know it was rewired at least once or twice) causing a short to the case ground from the coax. Regardless the scanner was toast, barely recognizable as electronics, much less a scanner.

Thankfully at the time I still had a handheld scanner but it would be another year or so before I could afford to buy a replacement for this one but that is a story for another day.
 

krokus

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Southeastern Michigan
Can't help but think that filter caps failed, possibly with some assistance of a failed rectifier, and/or step-down.
 
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