A southeast Shreveport businessman has a wide-ranging business you might pass on a daily basis and never notice.

James Springer has run Computer Aided Technologies from his Southern Hills home since the late 1980s. It's almost completely Internet based. The only evidence of his passion and work is a room crammed with computers, radios, scanners, scopes and test equipment, largely rigged together with a nerve network of cables and wires.

"We write software," said Springer, 67, the father of two grown children and the grandfather of four. "That's the principal source of our sales."

His major product is Scancat, perhaps the standard for the computer programming of base and portable radio scanners used by the public, law professionals, the military and other government agencies. The spreadsheet-style program turns the tedious chore of programming scanners with frequencies, text identifiers and trunking codes needed to make them work right.

"His motto for Scancat is 'Once you use it you'll never use the keypad to program your radio again,' which is really true," said John Shidler, owner of the Shreveport private detective firm All the Facts Investigations.

"It's a very esoteric market, small but worldwide, locally produced and sold all over the world. He was one of the first people to get into the computer control of radios and he has become a big guy in that."

Ohioan Springer moved to Shreveport in 1967 and sold magazines, insurance and electronics supplies before settling in for a 15-year stint at the industrial supplier WW Grainger. While there, at the suggestion of a friend, he developed his scanning program, with sales beginning in 1989.

About four years ago, Radio Shack started using Scancat to program its scanners, something Springer says has caused his business to grow.

"Around 70 percent of our sales are now from Radio Shack," he said. "We do six figures. I won't say which side of the range we're on, though."

Another product is Copycat, a program targeted at ham and shortwave radio operators and also caters to many military and professional clients.

"We don't have competition," Springer said of his programs, which he constantly upgrades to keep up with changes in the radios. "It's a niche market."

He also is a national reseller of Hoka, a software suite from the Netherlands that allows high frequency and VHF radio digital signals analysis.

"We're a vendor and sell that product to government people, people in agencies with three letters in Maryland," he said. "Only 1 in 50 sales goes to a hobbyist."

His next product, Springloader, is about as far from programming as you can get, a plastic assembly that allows fast and easy reloading of clips for semiautomatic pistols.

"It's for avid gun shooters, people who go to the range, law enforcement," he said. "In fact, it's targeted at a lot of the same people who might use Scancat."

The work doesn't faze Alicia, his patient wife of close to 40 years.

"Huh," she said with a smile as he showed off his new creation. "I just ignore him."