By Don Lindich
Week 27, 2021
Q. I need help with my stereo receiver’s FM reception. I listen primarily to WQED in Pittsburgh, approximately 35 miles away but the direct line of sight to the transmitting tower is blocked by a hill. I reside in an apartment and cannot install an outside antenna. I have tried mounting am indoor wire antenna but it is of almost no help. Our building has Comcast service for TV and we have access to Wi-Fi. I believe the hill is blocking signals of any kind. Is there any solution to my dilemma at all?
-J.G., Greensburg, PA
A. The wire antennas included with receivers are notoriously poor performers. A set of unamplified $10 TV rabbit ears makes a fantastic FM antenna. Try it, I think you will be surprised at the dramatic improvement.
Your Comcast Xfinity X1 box has analog outputs you can connect to your receiver. Add the NPR One app to your X1 box and you can use it to listen to WQED. There is an iHeart Radio app available for the X1 as well, and if you get a Bluetooth box for your receiver you can tune most FM stations via the internet and stream them to your receiver.
Panasonic ES-L97-K ARC5 Electric Shaver: I like a very smooth shave and this has kept me using shaving cream and multi-bladed disposable razor blades for my entire adult life. I loved the idea of an electric razor, but had never had much success with them and had resigned myself to long shaving sessions and a lot of waste and clean-up. I was recently encouraged to try the top-rated Panasonic ES-L97-K ARC5 ($249) and was told it would satisfy me. Indeed it did!
The ES-L97 is an electric razor with a flip-up trimmer and a lockable, pivoting head. It can be used wet or dry and comes with a cleaner-charger that makes owning and using it very easy. In my testing I only used it dry and was rewarded with a smooth, good looking shave that seemed very close to what I was achieving with my conventional setup.
After my first two shaves I went back to my conventional blade/cream setup, expecting it to come out much smoother. Surprisingly, though it was somewhat smoother it was not a dramatic difference and there was no visible difference in the mirror. With practice I believe I can improve my technique to the point where the tactile difference is almost indistinguishable. Still, alternating with a razor and shaving cream every few shaves may be a convenient way to get the best of both worlds.
The cleaner-charger is great. You remove a tray and fill it to the water line, then add a special detergent sold by Panasonic. (The razor comes with one detergent packet and additional packets sell for 3 for $15 online.) When you are finished shaving you put the shaver in the charger and push the clean button. The charger/cleaner then runs through a cycle that leaves it perfectly clean and dry for the next time you use it. The solution lasts for 30 cycles, with some users cleaning it every few shaves so the cleaning solution lasts several months. If you are traveling the shaver can be charged directly with the AC cord, and it comes with a travel case.
I have a trip coming up in a few weeks and I can tell you now that the ES-L97-K is going in my suitcase, and the can of shaving cream and blades are staying out!