Tag: hand-crank

Emergency Radio Update

Panasonic Emergency Radio

How old do you think this radio is?

Radios — The Most Popular Piece of Emergency Gear

More of our readers “invest” in emergency radios than in any other one piece of emergency equipment. (Makes sense, of course. Without a reliable emergency radio, when disaster hits you could be completely cut off. Without a good emergency radio, you may not even know that a disaster is COMING!)

Because of this interest, we continually comment on what to look for when you’re shopping for a radio. And we regularly update our Best Emergency Radios review page to be sure the radios listed there are still available.

So it’s time for yet another radio update.

Status of our long-time favorite emergency radio

The Ambient Weather Adventurer, original cost around $30, has been our favorite for a while. We own more than one, and many of our readers have them, too. It’s a great radio to tuck into your pack or simply have on the kitchen counter.

Bad news! This model seems to have been discontinued. Here and there online you can find one for sale, but their prices make no sense! I saw one yesterday at $281!

So we aren’t recommending this model anymore. (Maybe you want to try to sell yours for a profit???)

New favorite, the Eton FRX5

Eton makes several different radios, and the brand carries a number of labels including one from the American Red Cross.

The FRX3 costs about $10 more than the original Ambient Weather, and has most of the very same features.

The one we’re recommending today, though, is the Model FRX5.  It costs nearly twice as much, but for that you get double the power, more lighting options, the ability to charge a smart phone, capture localized emergency alerts, etc.

Here’s a link to the radio: Eton FRX5 Hand Crank Emergency Weather Radio with SAME Alerts

And here’s what it looks like:

This is a very compact radio, just over 7 inches tall and a couple of inches wide. It operates on battery, AC, solar and crank. In fact, this radio earned the best score in a recent test measuring how much listen time was created by 2 minutes of cranking. (In this case, something like 10-12 minutes.)

What I like is the SAME Alert feature — stands for Specific Area Message Encoding. You enter in your county and the radio will automatically send alerts for that area.  (Seems to me this would be essential in Tornado Alley of the U.S.!)

When you click the link above, you’ll go directly to Amazon. Scroll down to the bottom of the Amazon page for a full description of this radio, with several more photos.

First time radio purchaser? Get answers to 7 important questions.

If you haven’t yet added a radio to your survival supplies, check out the Eton model above. Just click on the blue link to get started.

If you have NEVER shopped for an emergency radio before, go first to our Best Emergency Radio Reviews page because you’ll find there the 7 questions you need to consider before adding a radio to your pack, or to the survival kit of any of your family members. And you’ll see a number of other radios that we have reviewed and recommend.

The radio we would upgrade to if we were flush

I’ve mentioned before that we have an old Panasonic shortwave radio. (Joe’s had it ever since we’ve been together, and that’s over 33 years now, so its age is something older than that!) That’s the radio in the picture at the top of this page. Joe was changing the batteries, which explains the red ribbons at the bottom.

We have hauled this radio from coast to coast and back again, and Joe loves it.

Yesterday Joe handed me a spec sheet for the radio he would LIKE to have. It’s also available at Amazon, and also made by Eton. As far as I am concerned, it certainly looks a lot like the old Panasonic (!), but . . .Joe assures me that it’s “the ultimate” in radio receivers. It gets AM, FM, Aircraft, Longwave and Shortwave bands, has a rotating antenna plus you can tune-in stations by keying them in or searching for them. You can actually store 1000 stations!

If you’re really serious about emergency radios, check this one out.

Alert – Prices for the SAME RADIO vary considerably. Shop carefully to get the best deal!

Eton Grundig Satellit 750 Ultimate AM/FM Stereo also Receives Shortwave, Longwave and Aircraft Bands – Black (NGSAT750B)

And doesn’t it look a LOT like the Panasonic collector item above?

You need at least one emergency radio, and probably several. The good thing about radios is you can select the features you need (for each use or each person) and not have to buy features you don’t want, and you’ll save by choosing carefully.

Do you already have an emergency radio? Would you recommend it?  Let us know in the comments!

Your Emergency Plan Guide Team

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Emergency Radios – Updated Reviews

Emergency Radio review

Where’s the radio?

The recent earthquake in Napa, California happened at 3:20 a.m. The electricity immediately went out, so no TV, no radio, no news! And for most people, no light. If you have seen any pictures of the insides of their homes, with furniture tipped over and everything strewn around, you can imagine how terrifying and how dangerous the situation was.

So it’s back to the basics. Having a good battery-operated or crank emergency radio HANDY will provide news and light to help you navigate the disaster. You can get a very serviceable radio for under $50, and more elaborate ones for less than $100. You probably want more than one radio.

I went back to our radio reviews to be sure that our recommendations still hold.

The best emergency radio of the bunch: Ambient Weather

The least expensive of the radios we tested is still the best, overall.  It’s the Ambient Weather Adventurer.  Sturdy, compact, lightweight. Charge it by cranking or with solar, and when fully charged it can power your phone. Use it to get NOAA weather alerts and local news.

As you know we use Amazon to deliver our recommendations, so I went further into the Ambient Weather site as well as the Amazon site to see what else I could find.

There are a couple of newer, more powerful models.

Add a siren: The original model 111 that we own has been upgraded to the model 112 with the addition of an emergency siren, a flashing red light (there’s already a really good   regular LED flashlight), and some internal improvements for charging. You have the option of getting a whole “connections” package to hook up to your various electronic devices.

Add AAA batteries:  The 333 models add AAA batteries to the mix, giving you a sixth way to charge the radio. (It already comes with a Lithium-ion battery, has solar, connects to AC — the wall — and DC — car battery — can charge from your computer, and, of course, cranks.) In direct sunlight the 333 will charge itself and play continuously, which means it’s pretty strong. (No solar charging at 3:20 a.m., of course.)

Add Shortwave:  All these radios have Digital AM/FM and NOAA Weather Alert channels; the 335 models add shortwave. According to the description, the 335 can charge your cell phone, MP3, MP4, Kindle, iPod, iPad, and iPhone. And your computer. The package comes with various adapter cords including, of course, an AC adapter.

From our experience with shortwave radios, if this is important to you, you may want to spend time looking at some of the other radios on our list that specialize in shortwave.  Professional shortwave (with fine tuning ability, for example) adds cost and you really want to be sure you have top-rated equipment if this is what you need.

We’ve added more to the reviews of the other radios in our list, too.

We have added new remarks to all our Radio Reviews, and upgraded to newer models.  Before you buy, take a look at all the comments here.

But do buy. Having an emergency radio that works is essential. And knowing you can get to it in the dark at 3:20 a.m. makes sense, too.

Your Emergency Plan Guide team


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