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Thread: Small Portable Radio's?

  1. #121
    Flashaholic duboost's Avatar
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    Default Re: Small Portable Radio's?

    I thought i'd try asking in here instead of making a new thread, but being that it is the beginning of hurricane season, im in search of a portable radio that will mainly be used for emergencies. I don't know much at all about radios but I'd like a quality radio to add to my hurricane kit. I've mostly come across crank type emergency radios, but i'd rather stay away from those due to the nimh batteries failing over time. Although i don't mind if it is a crank radio with the ability to run off standard alkalines or nimh batteries as well. As long as i have options to keep it running if the built in rechargable batteries fail.

    Basically what im looking for is:
    AM/FM/NOAA
    Able to run off standard alkalines/nimh batteries (crank/solar/etc is ok as long as it is able to run off standard batteries as well)
    Durable and weather resistant would be a plus
    Built in speaker
    Price around $50

    I looked at the DT-400W and it seems like a nice radio that would fit my criteria, but the one thing that turns me off about it is the antenna being built into the earphone wire. I'm still definitely considering this one though

    Here are some others that I came across in my search:

    Oregon Scientific WR601 Public Alert Emergency Portable Weather Radio with SAME. This seemed like a nice little radio until I realized that it doesn't even have AM/FM. But I like the form factor of it and it seems somewhat durable. Does anyone know of something similar that also has AM/FM?

    Lingo NOAA-740 Lingo NOAA Weather Radio with SAME. Then i found this one. AM/FM/NOAA along with a bunch of not really necessary, but nice to have features (built in light, siren, compass, alarm clock, temp display). The only thing im not really fond of is that it runs on 4 C's which seems a little hefty compared to others using AA's.

    Eton Grundig ARC FR360-RED American Red Cross Solarlink Self-Powered AM/FM NOAA Weather Radio. And lastly i stumbled across this. This one is cool since it can either recharge the built in nimh by cranking or from solar power and can also use 3 AA's.

    If anyone has any input on these or any others i should consider I'd aprreciate it.

  2. #122
    *Flashaholic* StarHalo's Avatar
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    Default Re: Small Portable Radio's?

    Quote Originally Posted by duboost View Post
    If anyone has any input on these or any others i should consider I'd aprreciate it.
    My favorite design is still the one I noted way back in the second page of this thread, the Sony ICF-B05W: http://www.candlepowerforums.com/vb/...3&postcount=40 , it meets your criteria nicely, but you'll need to get a hold of some NiMH C cells if you want the rechargeable option.

    Universal Radio Inc is the place for serious radio shopping, here's their selection of standard radios (including all the current Eton emergency models): http://universal-radio.com/catalog/spcialty.html

  3. #123
    Flashaholic duboost's Avatar
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    Default Re: Small Portable Radio's?

    Thank you very much for the quick reply and the links. I seemed to have missed that IFC-B05W when I looked through the thread earlier

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    Default Re: Small Portable Radio's?

    Quote Originally Posted by StarHalo View Post
    My favorite design is still the one I noted way back in the second page of this thread, the Sony ICF-B05W: http://www.candlepowerforums.com/vb/...3&postcount=40 , it meets your criteria nicely, but you'll need to get a hold of some NiMH C cells if you want the rechargeable option.

    Universal Radio Inc is the place for serious radio shopping, here's their selection of standard radios (including all the current Eton emergency models): http://universal-radio.com/catalog/spcialty.html
    I am looking closely at the Sony ICF-B05W. How is the sound from the speaker? What circuit do you think they are using, which IC? Does it have a line out, or the standard phone jack? Reception good in the outskirts? Thanks,

    Bill

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    Flashaholic* kwkarth's Avatar
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    Default Re: Small Portable Radio's?

    There's always HRO. Ham Radio Outlet.

    They have an interesting offering from Sangean. Crank powered, innexpensive, probably works acceptably.

    Sangean MMR77 @ under 50 bux.
    "The MMR77 is a top quality AM/FM Radio with multi-purpose emergency capabilities.
    It features a dynamo powered one-minute wind for 30 minutes play time. It can be powered by 2 standard AA batteries or an optional AC adapter."
    Last edited by kwkarth; 08-11-2009 at 12:01 PM.
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    Default Re: Small Portable Radio's?

    Quote Originally Posted by Bullzeyebill View Post
    I am looking closely at the Sony ICF-B05W. How is the sound from the speaker? What circuit do you think they are using, which IC? Does it have a line out, or the standard phone jack? Reception good in the outskirts? Thanks,

    Bill
    I already owned a pair of very high-end $150 (each) Sony radios prior to the B05W coming out, so I never found a reason to buy one; Reviews note the audio quality is quite good for the speaker size, and reception is well above average, particularly for this price point. It just has the one 3.5mm headphone jack.

  7. #127
    Flashaholic* Sub_Umbra's Avatar
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    Default Re: Small Portable Radio's?

    I really feel that for an emergency radio the user will generally be better served by putting his money into into something that is actually designed to function as a RADIO. Solar options, crank options and whatever other options abound may sound useful but bear in mind that every cent that goes into that plastic crank will be money diverted from the radio part of it. The same goes for solar. What one really needs in an emergency is a good radio and why complicate the criteria further by adding that your good radio must also do this and that -- particularly when this and that may only be available in substandard radios.

    Just get a good radio and stock some alkies to run it for awhile. Alkies are cheap and they keep well. There have been quite a few radios mentioned on this thread that perform very well as high performance radios without claiming to be the be-all and the end-all of the end of civilization. Buying a quality radio and ten AAA or AA cells will give you a package that will be simpler and more likely to deliver better performance than any radio that also promises to provide its own power.

    YMMV

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    Default Re: Small Portable Radio's?

    Quote Originally Posted by Sub_Umbra View Post
    Buying a quality radio and ten AAA or AA cells will give you a package that will be simpler and more likely to deliver better performance than any radio that also promises to provide its own power.
    By that criteria, I'd recommend the Sony ICF-SW7600GR, but not even flashaholics are always keen on the idea of spending $150 on a radio..

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    Default Re: Small Portable Radio's?

    I'm confident that there are small radios already mentiond on this thread for under $100 that would outperform the crank/solar radios.

    There have also been posts at CPF by people who bought crank/solar radios for emergency use only to find that after six months of inactivity they were dead forever.

    IMO even a cheap AM 'shower' radio from Walgreens and ten AA or AAA cells would be more reliable. For emergency use crank/solar radios are a fragile, complex solution to a problem that was solved long ago with cheaper, simpler, more robust radios and spare batteries.

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    Flashaholic duboost's Avatar
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    Default Re: Small Portable Radio's?

    I found this LifeGear Radio on REI that I'm thinking about picking up. Seems decent with AM/FM/NOAA/SAME and runs on 3 AA's. Pretty much what I'm looking for. Does anyone have any experience with that one or lifegear radios in general?

  11. #131
    Flashaholic* kwkarth's Avatar
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    Default Re: Small Portable Radio's?

    Quote Originally Posted by Sub_Umbra View Post
    I'm confident that there are small radios already mentiond on this thread for under $100 that would outperform the crank/solar radios.

    There have also been posts at CPF by people who bought crank/solar radios for emergency use only to find that after six months of inactivity they were dead forever.

    IMO even a cheap AM 'shower' radio from Walgreens and ten AA or AAA cells would be more reliable. For emergency use crank/solar radios are a fragile, complex solution to a problem that was solved long ago with cheaper, simpler, more robust radios and spare batteries.
    You're comparing cheap junk which was deceptively designed with reputable brands. Sangean is a reputable brand. But to be fair, I have as many radios as flashlights, including the Sony 7600GR, Sangean 909, 505, 2xCCRadios, Grundig/Eton E1 XM, and many others.

    The OP wanted a good emergency radio, and depending upon the length of the emergency, you may eventually be glad you have a good hand dynamo radio.

    Regarding conventional radios, the Grundig G6 is a good value right now which is readily available even at your local RadioShack for under a 100 bux. The CC GP-4L is also a good choice for under 25 bux.

    Best of luck!
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    Default Re: Small Portable Radio's?

    This unit might have been mentioned previously but I bought one of the Eton solarlink FR600 weather radios primarily due to my county being too cheap to install severe weather sirens. It has several gimmicks I'll never use but the concept is good in having a solar panel to charge the NIMH or a hand crank if you can't get any AAs immediately. having the weather bands and an alert siren assures me if bad weather is headed my way I'll have advance warning.
    will work for peanuts

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    Flashaholic* Sub_Umbra's Avatar
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    Default Re: Small Portable Radio's?

    Quote Originally Posted by kwkarth View Post
    You're comparing cheap junk which was deceptively designed with reputable brands...
    I am aware of no crank radios that do not fall into the cheap junk category when the requirement is for emergency service. They are appropriate in the Third World for those who are forced to use them everyday because they can not afford batteries -- they even seem to work well if used on a daily basis. None of those radios store well under even the best of conditions. Aside from batteries that need to be exercised periodically these radios all have to have holes for the crank which make them much more easily damaged by dust, sand, humidity, water and even insects. The innards of the cheapest 'shower' radio will have many, many times more protection from the environment than the best crank radio ever built.

    I actually have a hideously cheap shower radio that was a gift years and years ago from my mother in law. It's only use is as a loner to hapless neighbors who have no radio in the aftermath of storms. When I get the radio back I take the cells out of it, seal it back up and I know that it'll be good to go when I need to loan it to some other poor shlub...perhaps years in the future. Crank radios don't like waiting for emergencies...

    I have no idea what you mean by, "...which was deceptively designed with reputable brands..."

    Quote Originally Posted by kwkarth View Post
    ...Sangean is a reputable brand. But to be fair, I have as many radios as flashlights, including the Sony 7600GR, Sangean 909, 505, 2xCCRadios, Grundig/Eton E1 XM, and many others....
    I also have 2xCCRadios, and a few thousand USD in other radios as well.

    Quote Originally Posted by kwkarth View Post
    ...The OP wanted a good emergency radio, and depending upon the length of the emergency, you may eventually be glad you have a good hand dynamo radio. ...
    Think about that point for a moment. I doubt that most who own crank/solar radios have more than a few days or perhaps a few weeks worth of water, food, RX meds, etc. AA and AAA cells are dirt cheap and store very small and well. Most could get all of the emergency info that they might need for longer than the rest of their supplies would last for an expenditure of $10-30 in very reliable cells.

    In the six week blackout following Katrina in our undamaged home above sea level Mrs Umbra and I listened to two GE SR-IIIs every waking minute for 2 1/2 weeks until the NiMH cells inside them needed to be replaced with fresh cells from our alky stash. (A set of fresh alkys will power a GE SR-III at good volume through its speaker for ~400 hours) How many with crank radios even have 2 1/2 weeks of water put up for their families? The stored crank radios that may still be made to function when crisis strikes will only have utility as long as one's other supplies hold out and for the most part, I'd bet that most who have a well rounded preparedness plan and are well stocked with supplies will not be relying on crank or solar radios.

    Needlessly adding complexity to emergency equipment is nearly always a bad idea.
    Last edited by Sub_Umbra; 08-12-2009 at 01:49 PM.

  14. #134
    Flashaholic* LowBat's Avatar
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    Default Re: Small Portable Radio's?

    Cranking? Solar? They are better than dead batteries, but if you've ever had a device that uses them, you'll quickly find that having a supply of batteries is the way to go. I had a crank flashlight and found it was a lot of hassle for a short runtime of low light. Solar usually requires a long charging time and of course a good view of the sun during all that time. Not a great choice if you're on the move.

    My emergency radio is the previously mentioned County Comm GP-4L. Very compact, uses two AA cells, digital display, has a single LED flashlight built-in, and even acts as an alarm clock if for some reason you need that too. Not a bad choice if you end up on foot and can only carry so much.
    Last edited by LowBat; 08-12-2009 at 02:32 PM.

  15. #135
    Flashaholic* kwkarth's Avatar
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    Default Re: Small Portable Radio's?

    Quote Originally Posted by Sub_Umbra View Post
    I am aware of no crank radios that do not fall into the cheap junk category when the requirement is for emergency service. They are appropriate in the Third World for those who are forced to use them everyday because they can not afford batteries -- they even seem to work well if used on a daily basis. None of those radios store well under even the best of conditions. Aside from batteries that need to be exercised periodically these radios all have to have holes for the crank which make them much more easily damaged by dust, sand, humidity, water and even insects. The innards of the cheapest 'shower' radio will have many, many times more protection from the environment than the best crank radio ever built.
    You win!

    I have no idea what you mean by, "...which was deceptively designed with reputable brands..."
    Deceptively designed as in many cheap dynamo products on the market today have no functional generator in them, even though they seem to have a dynamo. They actually have a non replaceable battery, which once depleted, effectively kills the emergency device.
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    Default Re: Small Portable Radio's?

    Quote Originally Posted by kwkarth View Post


    Deceptively designed as in many cheap dynamo products on the market today have no functional generator in them, even though they seem to have a dynamo. They actually have a non replaceable battery, which once depleted, effectively kills the emergency device.
    Like all those cheap shake lights that only appear to recharge.

    Geoff

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    Flashaholic* kwkarth's Avatar
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    Default Re: Small Portable Radio's?

    Quote Originally Posted by Flying Turtle View Post
    Like all those cheap shake lights that only appear to recharge.

    Geoff
    Yup!
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  18. #138

    Default Re: Small Portable Radio's?

    I read the entire thread and I'm still entirely confused.

    We've recently moved and we get a lot of bad weather at this "new" place. Losing power a lot. So far the longest outage has been 6 days. I'd like to monitor the weather alerts (NOAA I believe) and listen to the radio. I'd also like to be able to throw it in our pop-up camper as well.

    IT MUST:

    -AM/FM/Weather & anything else you think is necessary...sorry I don't know about this stuff.
    -Sit on a desk.
    -Digital would be nice but it's not necessary.
    -Run on AA batteries and accept NiMH. Preferably 2. I have enough AA battteries to start my own store.
    -Cost less than $50.

    Thats it, I don't care about SW, transmitting, etc.

    The Sangean 400W looks sexy but it doesn't sit on a desk and from what I gather the attena is just a wire. I'd prefer one of those real fancy extending/rotating attentas like old radios used to have . That yellow Sony looks nice but it doesn't take AA batteries and it seems more like a portable/weather resistant solution.

    Thanks.
    Last edited by crockett; 09-14-2009 at 01:05 AM.

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    *Flashaholic* StarHalo's Avatar
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    Default Re: Small Portable Radio's?

    Quote Originally Posted by crockett View Post
    The Sangean 400W looks sexy but it doesn't sit on a desk and from what I gather the attena is just a wire. I'd prefer one of those real fancy extending/rotating attentas like old radios used to have .
    If you've got to have AA power for ~$50, the 400W would be my recommendation even though you're correct that it doesn't stand on its own - the pure tuner power of this particular unit outweighs the standing ability (plus it sounds better if you lay it on its back). Once you already know the weather is coming, or it's already gone, the WX band isn't nearly as important as the AM band, and the Sangean DT series is as good as pocket-sized AM reception gets in your price range, performing as well as some car radios. And it does only have the wire antenna, which can make the WX band tricky if it's not strong in your area, but this means you can use anything with a 3.5" plug as an antenna (such as the $10 pocket reel antennas that can extend up to 25' in length), also AM reception doesn't use the external antenna/wire, as the unit alone is powerful enough to not need it.

    If you miss the big-gun radios of yore, the modern equivalent would be the Eton S350DL, but it's $80+ with no WX band. It does indeed run on AA batteries, but it's a lot of electronics and speaker for smaller cells, so runtime wouldn't be comparable to the Sangean. It features a massive internal ferrite rod for second-to-none AM reception though, it does pull in signals as well as it looks. If you have the extra cash and don't really need the WX band, it's a perennial radioholic favorite.

  20. #140

    Default Re: Small Portable Radio's?

    Quote Originally Posted by StarHalo View Post

    If you miss the big-gun radios of yore, the modern equivalent would be the Eton S350DL, but it's $80+ with no WX band. It does indeed run on AA batteries, but it's a lot of electronics and speaker for smaller cells, so runtime wouldn't be comparable to the Sangean. It features a massive internal ferrite rod for second-to-none AM reception though, it does pull in signals as well as it looks. If you have the extra cash and don't really need the WX band, it's a perennial radioholic favorite.
    Spent 100 of the stimulus check last year on one at Radio Shack and love it. Has alarm clock and snooze also that work very well when the volume is at 7 and above. lol The timer off feature to save on batteries if you fall asleep is great as well. Should mention it will run on D batteries and AAs. I've had the current set of D batteries in it since I bought it. Using it periodically and you can see the battery meter still shows 2 out of 3 bars. Also comes with an AC adaptor.

    apologies for the crappy pic.



    If you could stretch the budget, maybe pick up one of these and a pair of two-way radios with the NOAA feature.

    I will say steer clear of those white Midland alert radios you see for sale in department stores. They work great for awhile and then seem to just quit out of the blue. I just tossed one out a couple months ago. The WR-100B model to be exact.

    Another possible mention is the Sony ICF-36 which does have weather band (AM/FM/WX/TV - which will be no good since the digital switch, I'd imagine)), but reception is iffy, at least in my area.
    Last edited by Lit Up; 10-16-2009 at 06:37 PM.

  21. #141
    Flashaholic* kwkarth's Avatar
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    Default Re: Small Portable Radio's?

    Here are a couple of worthy contenders that have been mentioned by some.


    Grundig G6 Aviator (uses AA batteries)



    Grundig Satellit 750 (Uses D batteries)

    Good performance from both radios.

    G6 is very compact, seems to have good sensitivity and tone for its size.
    Satellit is fairly large, but much more sensitive on SW, MW, LW, and Air bands
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  22. #142
    *Flashaholic* Flying Turtle's Avatar
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    Default Re: Small Portable Radio's?

    Somehow that little Grundig had slipped by me. Looks pretty nice. I'll have torun by RS and check this out. The reviews I've been reading sound generally positive.

    Geoff

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    Default Re: Small Portable Radio's?

    I have 10 year old MP3 player that runs on one 1 AAA battery, has an off-timer (great battery-saving feature) and FM. I think FM is all I need to get the news. Looking for a replacement now. Anything that uses one AA or AAA, has alarm, off-timer and MP3? Just FM with no AM, SW, TV, NOLA, Aircraft Band, etc., etc., etc. is OK. Thanks.
    Last edited by davidt1; 10-17-2009 at 09:24 AM.

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    *Flashaholic* StarHalo's Avatar
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    Default Re: Small Portable Radio's?

    Quote Originally Posted by davidt1 View Post
    Anything that uses one AA or AAA, has alarm, off-timer and MP3?
    Once you include the MP3 function, you're in a completely different genre; everyone who buys an MP3 player buys it almost exclusively for that function and not the radio, while radio people generally want a good radio and then something separate to play MP3s.

    I'd personally go with an iPhone with the "new"/activated FM tuner, but that's more expensive than a radio plus MP3 player..

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    Flashaholic* kwkarth's Avatar
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    Default Re: Small Portable Radio's?

    Quote Originally Posted by StarHalo View Post
    Once you include the MP3 function, you're in a completely different genre; everyone who buys an MP3 player buys it almost exclusively for that function and not the radio, while radio people generally want a good radio and then something separate to play MP3s.

    I'd personally go with an iPhone with the "new"/activated FM tuner, but that's more expensive than a radio plus MP3 player..
    And the iPhone requires frequent recharging, as does the new Nano.
    Last edited by kwkarth; 10-17-2009 at 06:19 PM.
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    Flashaholic* Black Rose's Avatar
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    Default Re: Small Portable Radio's?

    The new iPod Nano has FM radio built-in.

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    Default Re: Small Portable Radio's?

    I live very rural and sensitivity is very important to me. I have one of those Sony ICF-S10MK2 pocket radios and they're pretty decent. I also have one of the now discontinued, (you can still find them on E-bay and around), GE Super Radio III and it's also a very good radio.

    I did the "Holy Grail" small, simple AM/FM portable hunt a few years ago and I found the best radios for sensitivity, selectivity, etc. are simply the old name brand radios from the late '60's and'70's.

    Anything from Sony, Panasonic, JVC, etc., from the late '60's and the '70's are superior to almost all made today. Now, I'm talking portable AM/FM radios here, not expensive multi-band or short wave.

    I scored a few portables on E-bay that I got for next to nothing and they are far superior in sensitivity than any modern radio I've tried.

    In the '60's and '70's, manufacturers cared about providing a good product with good specs. Nowadays, manufacturers know that folks don't really care that much about radio anymore because the iPods and other electronic devices are what's happening now.

  28. #148
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    Default Re: Small Portable Radio's?

    A couple of my best for AM dxing are both Panasonics from the 70's. One is a boom box and the other a smaller portable. Sure wish I still had the old Zenith table radio my folks once had.

    Geoff

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    Default Re: Small Portable Radio's?

    The sensitivity and selectivity of the Grundig G6 is pretty good for the size.
    Also, the CCRadio offerings aren't bad for the dinero.

    Like the CCRadio SWP (Short Wave Pocket) at only $49.95

    http://www.ccrane.com/radios/shortwa...radio-swp.aspx
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  30. #150
    *Flashaholic* StarHalo's Avatar
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    Default Re: Small Portable Radio's?

    Quote Originally Posted by Gene View Post
    I did the "Holy Grail" small, simple AM/FM portable hunt a few years ago and I found the best radios for sensitivity, selectivity, etc. are simply the old name brand radios from the late '60's and'70's.

    In the '60's and '70's, manufacturers cared about providing a good product with good specs.
    You just have to look to those places that still value a simple and powerful pocket radio, and the best example would be Japan. Commuters need radios that work under varying conditions, and since Sony is a local company, there's plenty of pressure for an excellent high-quality product. The result is an entire lineup of portable radios that they only sell there; they're quite a lot smaller than what we consider a pocket radio, some feature metal bodies, a few feature an electronic voice that tells you where you are on the dial when switching stations so you don't even have to look down, etc.

    Only a few of these show up in specialty stores that resell Japan-only electronics from time to time, and of those, the most reknown is the SRF-T615, a remarkably small all-digital pocket radio. Despite being 2.1 x 3.5 x 0.5 inches in size, it features a speaker, full stereo out headphone jack, clock with timers/alarms, noise reduction function, and seven memory positions, each with it's own button just like on a car radio. Plus all the controls are on the very top of the radio, so when you put it in your pocket, everything is right there in view/reach.

    The catch of course is the price; it's a full-quality radio crammed into a very tiny form factor, so at $150, you'd better really appreciate radio. I snapped up one of these not long after they were made available and can say much like we flashaholics have the One True EDC, this has been my one true pocket radio, performing right on par with my much larger 7600GR shortwave radio and various car radios. There just isn't anything available in America that really compares. Retail page with pic and stats here: http://www.audiocubes2.com/category/...ket_Radio.html , and here are the aforementioned awesome radios together:


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