Emergency AM/FM radio

PhotonWrangler

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That's an interesting question. I haven't seen any DTV-band radios yet. Honestly they're still hammering out issues with portable DTV reception, having gone through many iterations of tuner design as they try to correct for multipath reception issues.
 

Lynx_Arc

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I've been considering purchasing a good emergency radio. I had one back in the day that had TV bands on it but I've since misplaced it.

Something I've been thinking about that I can't find any solid information on is emergency radios that can receive the new digital TV stations. The old analog bands no longer work and I can't find an emergency radio that will pick up the new digital signals. Maybe I'm looking for the wrong thing though. Can any of you radio gurus shed some light?

I don't think there is any radios with digital tv tuners yet as that would require an additional circuit to decode the audio track and downmix it to 1-2 channels as DTV is 5.1 I believe. My advice is to skip the DTV type radio and invest in a small digital tv set if you have the funds. I have a 12v powered dtv tuner and can hook it up to my portable dvd player in an outage if needed.
I watch dtv myself, no cable and had to make an antenna to receive stations as rabbit ears and UHF antennas could only get half the channels I was getting before.
 
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StarHalo

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Something I've been thinking about that I can't find any solid information on is emergency radios that can receive the new digital TV stations.

There aren't any; a digital TV tuner would make the radio much larger/heavier, and would require a notebook PC-style battery pack just to turn it on.

The portable TV option mentioned above is workable as long as digital TV reception is good in your area; bear in mind that if you're not too close to a city, you're going to have to hook up a large or maybe even outdoor antenna to get it to work at all. Battery life will also be unimpressive, most portable TVs give you 3-4 hours tops.

Another option we've discussed elsewhere would be to get one of the converter boxes, build a battery pack for it, and connect portable speakers to it - this would effectively be a digital TV radio for ~$50, though you'd have to know how to navigate through the interface non-visually..

My pick for best emergency radio has remained the same for the last several years:

The Sony ICF-B05W

Sony.jpg


Standing at just over 7 inches tall, it features an AM/FM/Weather band analog tuner, a hand-crank generator that will power the AM band for one hour for one minute of cranking, an LED light with a high and low setting, a water resistant case, and best of all: it's powered by *two C cells* for a total AM runtime of 355 HOURS.

In my five-day power outage ordeal, I found that I left the radio on pretty much nonstop in the waking hours, not just for news but to provide entertainment and generally keep up morale. This radio, if used for 16 hours a day will last *over 22 days* on a single pair of batteries, and even then you still have the option to crank.
 

Lynx_Arc

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There aren't any; a digital TV tuner would make the radio much larger/heavier, and would require a notebook PC-style battery pack just to turn it on.

The portable TV option mentioned above is workable as long as digital TV reception is good in your area; bear in mind that if you're not too close to a city, you're going to have to hook up a large or maybe even outdoor antenna to get it to work at all. Battery life will also be unimpressive, most portable TVs give you 3-4 hours tops.

Another option we've discussed elsewhere would be to get one of the converter boxes, build a battery pack for it, and connect portable speakers to it - this would effectively be a digital TV radio for ~$50, though you'd have to know how to navigate through the interface non-visually..

My pick for best emergency radio has remained the same for the last several years:
The problem with trying to use a DTV tuner without a tv is it may lose all memory after being without power for months in storage and trying to program in or search for the channels would require you to know the menu structure to get to the screen subsection etc to start it. I have a dtv tuner made by Artec that has a standard dc input jack and uses 12v input so it would run off a car battery easily. I believe it takes 500ma. I was reading another forum about people that have modded other DTV boxes to use 6v or so as some have 5vdc inner power supplies. If you were to have a big power outage there would be station(s) that would cover it on AM most likely (talk radio) and possibly even FM a less amount. The 4 day outage we had I listened to a talk radio station and to be honest I am glad I did not listen to a tv station because most of the shows on listening to them is irritating wondering what is going on.
 

lunchboxtheman

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My advice is to skip the DTV type radio and invest in a small digital tv set if you have the funds. I have a 12v powered dtv tuner and can hook it up to my portable dvd player in an outage if needed.

That's a really good idea. I've been looking for a small TV for the kitchen, so I could kill two birds with one stone. I've noticed that a lot of them have built-in batteries and take a 12v connection, which my car so conveniently has a jack for if I ever needed it. Building a 12v pack wouldn't be difficult either... god knows I've got enough batteries lying around.
 

PhotonWrangler

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There are a number of 7" battery powered DTV sets going for around $80. If they added an AM/FM radio to them you'd have the best of both worlds, sort of. In fact you'd have an AM/FM radio that went through batteries really fast.
 

Groundhog

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There aren't any; a digital TV tuner would make the radio much larger/heavier, and would require a notebook PC-style battery pack just to turn it on.

The portable TV option mentioned above is workable as long as digital TV reception is good in your area; bear in mind that if you're not too close to a city, you're going to have to hook up a large or maybe even outdoor antenna to get it to work at all. Battery life will also be unimpressive, most portable TVs give you 3-4 hours tops.

Another option we've discussed elsewhere would be to get one of the converter boxes, build a battery pack for it, and connect portable speakers to it - this would effectively be a digital TV radio for ~$50, though you'd have to know how to navigate through the interface non-visually..

My pick for best emergency radio has remained the same for the last several years:

Cool little radio. Was tempted to buy one but they are tough to find - and when you do find it? Why - it can be yours for the low price of $179.98. Chump change you say? No worries - as you can buy the exact same radio from another seller for a mere $269.99.

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B000N2BFG8/?tag=cpf0b6-20
 

mvyrmnd

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I'm sorely tempted by the Eton Raptor, but mostly because I'm a gadget nerd. Someone talk me out of it!
 

PhotonWrangler

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I've recently purchased a Grundig Traveler II Digital at RS for around $50 and so far I like it. The radio has AM/FM/SW bands on it. I haven't done a battery runtime test but I do like it's sensitivity. It's able to pull in some distant stations far better than some other handheld radios I've tried.
 

StarHalo

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Cool little radio. Was tempted to buy one but they are tough to find - and when you do find it? Why - it can be yours for the low price of $179.98.

It was discontinued, so the Amazon prices are all over the place. If you can find a copy, it shouldn't be more than $40.

I'm sorely tempted by the Eton Raptor, but mostly because I'm a gadget nerd. Someone talk me out of it!

It's fine if you just want it for a toy, but be aware that it has no provision for batteries, so it's definitely not for emergencies.


I've recently purchased a Grundig Traveler II Digital at RS for around $50 and so far I like it. The radio has AM/FM/SW bands on it. I haven't done a battery runtime test but I do like it's sensitivity. It's able to pull in some distant stations far better than some other handheld radios I've tried.

Don't forget the pocket reel antenna, more than double your stations for ten bucks..
 
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lasermax

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I use an ic-730 tranciever for emergency ham radio all you need is a license and a battery 30 amp battery
And a dipole with with a tuner
 

Sub_Umbra

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We always have at least two AM/FM radio set up with AAs -- one is an ancient Sony IFC-SW20. We use it somewhere every day. For serious listening I still prefer our bigger radios with D cells -- the CCRadios and the GE SRIIIs
 
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Napalm

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If you're in North America Sangean CL-100 is and excellent AM/FM radio with weather alert. Works on mains power with 4xAA batteries backup.

As a portable solution I would look into an AA powered scanner that covers FM broadcast band.

If you're willing to go through the trouble of getting a ham radio license, you could have a portable transceiver with GPS and Weather alert. Check Kenwood TH-D72A for an example. With U.S. carpeted with 2 meter band repeaters, it's impossible not to be heard by someone.

Nap.
 

Bobby_C

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I'm sorely tempted by the Eton Raptor, but mostly because I'm a gadget nerd. Someone talk me out of it!

It's fine if you just want it for a toy, but be aware that it has no provision for batteries, so it's definitely not for emergencies.

I have an older Eton Microlink FR150. It has a small NiMH battery pack that can be charged by a hand crank, usb, power cord or a solar panel on top. The reason I got one is because it came with weatherbands and is compact for camping and long distance moto trips. It lasts a pretty long time on a full charge. It's not a communications station but it's also not a toy. Reception is pretty good for a small device.
 

gearhead1972

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I have a Dewalt work radio, that I have a dozen or so 18v batteries for. At least 3-6 of them are at or close to full charge at any given moment. The radio will last at a moderate volume about 24 hours on one battery. I can also hook my ipod up to it.
 

Lynx_Arc

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I have a Dewalt work radio, that I have a dozen or so 18v batteries for. At least 3-6 of them are at or close to full charge at any given moment. The radio will last at a moderate volume about 24 hours on one battery. I can also hook my ipod up to it.
Having a nice boom box for a radio that has a DC input jack using a common voltage like 6v or 12v is nice. I ran my ancient boom box that uses 6D cells off a 6v sla at moderate levels when I wanted to listen to music.
 

ncbill

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For non-local stations I have a boombox (8 D-cells or 12V input jack) for the portable satellite radio installed in my car.

In a power failure I just set it on the fireplace mantel and listen to Jack Benny.
 

StarHalo

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Although I enjoy a good boombox, be aware that most of the 6-8 D units are lucky to make it ~20 hours on a set of batteries, which is about half as long as most 2xAA pocket radios can manage; big speakers are great for casual listening, but you might want to look elsewhere for an emergency unit.
 

Bogie

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Just picked up a CCrane SW Pocket Radio great results so far with about a weeks usage.
 

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