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Emergency Radio & Charger Recommendations?

Discussion in 'Electronic Devices' started by EmberMike, Nov 11, 2017.

  1. EmberMike

    EmberMike Loaded Pockets

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    I have an Eton radio that is questionably reliable at best. The hand crank come loose and will likely break permanently at some point. I need to replace it with something that isn't made of garbage plastic.

    Any suggestions for an emergency radio that is more heavy-duty than the cheap junk? Preferably something that can be recharged without power, via hand crank or solar panel.
     
  2. aih

    aih Loaded Pockets

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    I'm doubtful about the hand-crank emergency radios. Actually I don't own one, but I have a number of radios for both home and travel. I use rechargeable batteries most of the time and stock up on alkaline batteries during hurricane season. Last thing I want to do is crank a radio, especially in a situation when I really am needing a radio.

    For an emergency AM/FM radio that is small and easily transportable in a pocket or bag, look at the Kaito models. I carried the KA200 (about $13 on Amazon) in my bag every day to work and on travel for a few years until I switched to the Sony ICF-S10MK2. Nothing wrong with the KA200; I just wanted to rotate. Small radios like this go a long time on a set of fresh batteries, and several sets of fresh batteries will get you through most situations, and they (radio and extra batteries) are easily carried. The Sony radio is very compact and picks up distant stations very, very well, but it isn't made anymore and it is hard to find.

    For home I would have a NOAA radio with Specific Area Message Encoding (SAME) that runs off household power with battery backup, and a decent portable AM/FM radio that can fill a small or medium room so everyone can easily hear it, but also portable if you need to bug out and take it with you. By decent portable AM/FM radio I'm thinking of something like the Sangean PR-D5BK. I mention that one as example, and plus I have a model like it that I've had for many years and no problems. For the NOAA radio I'm thinking of something like the Midland WR120/WR120EZ.
     
    Last edited by aih, Nov 19, 2017
    #2 aih, Nov 19, 2017
    Last edited: Nov 19, 2017
  3. _mg_

    _mg_ Loaded Pockets

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    I second the ka200. The hand crank and solar ones just all seem to be junk. Pack some extra batteries and save yourself some hassle.
     
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  4. aih

    aih Loaded Pockets

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    To add, Kaito also has the KA210 on Amazon. The 210 is a little larger but includes NOAA weather band in addition to AM and FM. It uses AA batteries. The 200 can easily fit in a shirt pocket, and uses AAA batteries.

    I have both, and I like the sound from the 200 better. I used it when traveling, in hotels to listen to local news and traffic radio in the morning when getting ready in the morning. As I say, I carried it in my soft briefcase all the time to the office and likewise on trips until I rotated to a different radio. It's durable and reliable.
     
  5. EmberMike

    EmberMike Loaded Pockets

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    Thanks for the recommendations. Kaito products in general look favorably reviewed on Amazon, so I get the feeling the brand is solid.

    @aih interesting point about the hand-crank. My Eton is probably a good example of just what is wrong with hand-cranks. Reliability is questionable at best.

    How long can those little portables go on a single set of batteries?
     
  6. Jean

    Jean Loaded Pockets

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    I still carry my Sony SRF-M37W, I understand its been discontinued. Sure you could find one in the wild.
     
  7. _mg_

    _mg_ Loaded Pockets

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    I meant the KA210 with NOAA.
    The county comm bundle is a nice option if you want it in orange.
     
  8. aih

    aih Loaded Pockets

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    The KA210 is a satisfactory option if you want one small portable radio with AM/FM and NOAA weather in the same package.

    I have a small pocket size weather radio from Radio Shack that must be close to 35 years old now, but it runs on a 9V and will run forever on a battery. The other nice feature is it tunes via a switch from station to station and not a dial, and the audio is clear and loud. If there is a version of this still available this would be a better option, separate from other radio for AM/FM. The KA210 weather band performance is acceptable but could be better.
     
  9. fisk-king

    fisk-king Loaded Pockets

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    Sangean DT-480W I've used for many years with rechargeable batteries. Works well for my needs.
     
  10. Moshe ben David

    Moshe ben David Loaded Pockets

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    You should preserve that radio as a historic artifact... bygone era ... Radio Shack has gone the way of the DoDo!

    I wonder what undergrad physics and engineering students will do for part time work now...? :-(

    L'chaim!

    Moshe ben David
     
  11. UrbanWarrior

    UrbanWarrior Loaded Pockets

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    I have a Takashi World Band Radio that my wife bought about 8 years ago and never used it so she gave it to me. I used to take this radio to work everyday and it has decent sound. This little radio came in handy about 6 years ago during a three day power outage. I used some rechargeable AA batteries and we had FM and news to keep us entertained until the power was restored.

    I'm hoping to retire the radio mentioned above and store it away for good and replaced it with a hand crank emergency radio that I will be receiving today. The hand crank radio does more of what I will need in an emergency situation than the radio mentioned above.
     
  12. aih

    aih Loaded Pockets

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    Yeah, and it is a shame. We joked about Radio Shack back in the day, but then you could find little jewels sometimes like this weather radio at your local store. I dropped it on a boat deck one time and it came apart. I snapped it back together and it was fine. I still use it occasionally. I would hope there is a variation on this one still available somewhere, but I do doubt it.

    Here are some pictures...

    [​IMG]IMG_20171211_130703_hdr by Ira Harkness, on Flickr

    [​IMG]IMG_20171211_130339 by Ira Harkness, on Flickr

    [​IMG]IMG_20171211_130443_hdr by Ira Harkness, on Flickr
     
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  13. Moshe ben David

    Moshe ben David Loaded Pockets

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    @Harkness: Thanks for the pics! ahh the memories...!

    (is that a remote for a Bose Wavemachine next to the radio? looks like it...)

    L'chaim!

    Moshe ben David
     
  14. Omega Man
    • In Omnia Paratus

    Omega Man Loaded Pockets

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  15. Westerdutch

    Westerdutch Loaded Pockets

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    Hand cranks are a bit of a novelty item. Fun to keep kids busy but not really more than that. Just buy a good quality radio that will run off ni-mh, alkaleaks and lithium cells and keep two packs of lithium cells near it. When using it in regular conditions you have the ease of the rechargeable cells and in emergency use you'll have the lithiums with super good lifetime. The sangean as mentioned earlier is a decent start as a brand. I myself have been using a cheap and cheerful little tecsun but i have not been using it for long enough to be able to tell you anything about its longevity, it does feel decent tho but it is a software defined radio.
     
  16. Blackheart

    Blackheart Loaded Pockets

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    Guess I'm in the minority here.

    I've got an older Eton hand-crank radio (mechanical tuner, don't recall the model number) that I keep under the sink in the kitchen for power outages (not frequent, but they do happen). So long as you don't beat up on it like some WWII crank field phone you've seen in old movies, it holds up just fine. The first time I used it, I was really impressed with the play time I got, at a respectable volume, with a modest amount of cranking. So impressed that I don't even keep any batteries in it (it does have that option). Reception was pretty good, too. The area I live in is notoriously bad for receiving FM radio and this unit worked just as well, if not better, than a couple of higher-end receivers I've got.

    edit: Looked up the model, it's the FR200
     
  17. aih

    aih Loaded Pockets

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    Someone has to be in the minority. But I think those of us who are thinking about this are in the minority. The smart minority, I believe, but minority nonetheless.

    As far as preferences, if it is working for you that's all that matters.
     
  18. SOS24

    SOS24 Loaded Pockets

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    I have a Midland ER310 which is AM/FM/NOAA. It has a built in rechargeable battery that can be charged by USB, solar or handcrank ; but can also take regular AA. It seems to get pretty good reception, but I also have not tested it in the deep woods middle of nowhere. I mainly got it because it did have the NOAA alerts and all the power options which ensure I should be able to power it somehow.

    I also have a Grundig Mini300 AM/FM/SW that runs off AA. SW isn’t that popular nowadays, but depending on the emergency it could come in handy.

    I thought about getting one of the Kaito’s that has AM/FM/SW/NOAA all in one but haven’t been able to really justify it when it wouldn’t give me any additional capabilities.
     
  19. CELICA XX

    CELICA XX Loaded Pockets

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    A basic HAM radio will easily fill this role. Some models will also charge through micro USB.

    AM / FM reception
    NOAA frequencies
    plus full access to 2m & 70cm bands
     
  20. I carry a Yaesu VX-3 with Widebanded Modification.

    Very small, reliable and powerful (specs not output).

    It uses a widely available cell phone battery.

    But also has a 3 x AA battery housing.

    Before Modification

    RX 0.5 - 999.99MHz (continuous)

    TX 144 to 146 MHz
    TX 430 to 440 MHz

    After Modification

    RX 0.5 - 999.99MHz (continuous)

    TX 140 to 174 Mhz
    TX 420 to 470 Mhz


    Also, the VX-6, which is waterproof and can run AA's.