Emergency Radio - What to buy

daloosh

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Jan 28, 2004
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New York
The miniCCradio sounds cool.
Last nite, I stopped into the Discovery Store by me, and they had the FR200, which appears discontinued at the Eton site, for $24 and the FR400 for $36, which seem like good prices for what they are. The price is much less than the CCradio, but the build quality and sound are kinda crappy. Still better'n nothing!
daloosh
 

WDG

Enlightened
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Jul 3, 2007
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226
Location
Fort Worth, TX
I wonder how many folks out there now only have wireless handsets at home and no POTS phone (Plain Old Telephone Set--is a real telecommunications abbreviation).

I keep an Automatic Electric AE-40 online and tested to work for just this reason. Also the backup answering machine has battery backup, and in a pinch, there's always one of the UPS available.
 

Campdavid

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Oct 19, 2006
Messages
162
There is no better portable radio than the Tvoli Audio Pal. The reception on this radio is absolutely awesome. I can pull in stations on that little bugger that my in house receiver with external antenna can't pick up.
 

chmsam

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Radios that are too expensive tend to be left at home when you travel/camp out because you don't want anything to happen to them. Radios that are too cheap (or are hard on the ears, harder to use, etc.) tend to get left in the basement or "back bedroom." Because of this neither one is useable when you really need them. The ideal emergency radio is the one you tend to already have with you all the time because it's the one that you are most comfortable using (i.e.: all the controls are useable intuitively) and it's the one to which you actually like to listen (the sound quality is good for music as well as news broadcasts). However, in actual practice the "emergency radio" is the one you have with you that works on the batteries you have available.

I'd rather have one or two radios that are better in quality than 5 cheapos that I find are a pain in the butt to use or are hard on the ears. While I'd love a Tivoli or a Boston Acoustics, I doubt I'd leave one in the car or pack, which is where it should be if I need it.

BTW, newer car radios have nowhere near the quality of reception as the older ones used to have. I knew a few people who had AM radios pulled from old cars and set up to use at home or semi-portable (they were heavy!) because they would easily pull in signals from the most outrageous distances and were really easy on the wallet -- well, as long as you set them up to run off of another power source than a car battery.
 

Threepio

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Another option for an emergency radio, one that I use, is a handheld scanner. I've found it much handier to hear what is going on locally with the emergency services than to listen to the "public" broadcasts of what they choose to tell us. The modern scanners come pretty close to "DC to Light" capability, with the right antenna.

You might consider getting a Ham license, and then one of the handhelds with wideband receive and transmit. I use a Yaesu VX-7 and have been very happy being able to listen to police and fire, as well as all the TV and broadcast radio frequencies. And if needed, you can call out for help as well.

All the advice above is great, I just want to suggest yet another avenue to spend money on!

--Bob
 

Sub_Umbra

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...BTW, newer car radios have nowhere near the quality of reception as the older ones used to have. I knew a few people who had AM radios pulled from old cars and set up to use at home or semi-portable (they were heavy!) because they would easily pull in signals from the most outrageous distances and were really easy on the wallet -- well, as long as you set them up to run off of another power source than a car battery.
I've done that with good results with cheap car radios from thr 80s and early 90s. My question is -- is it the car radios themselves that have gotten worse or is it because of the windshield's built in antenna?
 

KingGlamis

Banned
Joined
Jun 10, 2007
Messages
745
Location
Mesa, AZ
Well on a whim I bought the $15 emergency crank radio from Wal-Mart. Pretty much a junker. Can't even get the local weather channel for more than one second of reception at a time. I may play with trying to improve the reception. We'll see.
 

paulr

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Mar 29, 2003
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A big speaker is good in an emergency since that makes it easier for several people to sit around listening to the radio simultaneously. This in turn is helpful for dealing with the stress of the emergency, even when no particularly useful info is coming out of the radio. A small or medium sized boom box is way preferable to a teeny handheld radio for that reason. I guess an SR3 would be even better because of its DX capability but since I'm in an urban area (though Sub Umbra makes a good point) I haven't worried about getting anything but local stations.

For edc/PSK use I got one of those tiny earphone radios (runs on button cells) to stick in my backpack, but it's a pretty silly device so I wouldn't bother with it. I have a small mp3 player (runs on one AAA cell) that has an FM receiver and that's probably more sensible. In a bugout kit I'd want a radio with a speaker, even a small one. I have a random 2aa-powered unit and a Countycomm am/fm/sw unit (the old cheap analog one, not the newer digital one) and both seem fine for that purpose.

As a flashaholic I'd totally ignore the crank powered toys. I have so many batteries around here it's practically tragic. The crank things are for if you're in the jungle or if you're not the type of person into flashlights and gadgets and don't have batteries around. But even my mom had enough crap around the house (Walkman, tv remote, cordless computer mouse, quartz clock, etc.) that there were probably a dozen or so scroungeable AA cells around her place during the NY blackout. A pair of them would power a Countycomm radio for what, 20+ hours at least.
 

chmsam

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I've done that with good results with cheap car radios from thr 80s and early 90s. My question is -- is it the car radios themselves that have gotten worse or is it because of the windshield's built in antenna?

Short answer is both.
 

jtice

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May 21, 2003
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West Virginia
That R3 looks SWEET !!!
But, will it pickup the weather channels?
There are so many nice radios out there, that Dont pickup the national weather channels, which I think is DUMB !!!!!!!!

~John
 

Sub_Umbra

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That R3 looks SWEET !!!
But, will it pickup the weather channels?...
Yes, it does. IC-R3 frequency coverage - 0.495-2459 MHz (excluding cell frequencies)

Weather band - 162.4-162.55 MHz (FM)

Huge runtime hit if you use the vid display much -- think about getting the IC-R3 Accessory Kit: Extra Lithium-Ion Battery, Carry Case & Cigarette Lighter Cable.

There's also often a wide disparity in price on this rig. If you look around they occasionally go on sale here and there for over $100 less than the usual street price.

I like the fact that it comes with a spacer that may be removed so it may run on AA alkys in a pinch.
 
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jtice

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May 21, 2003
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West Virginia
I have a Uniden 246 scanner, which I like,
but it wont do FM radio, which drives me nuts,
then I have a CountyComm little radio, and love it also, but it wont do Weather...
Just would like to have an all in one unit.
Could sell the uniden, etc.
and this one being able to do TV and those wireless vid cams is coooool :D

Yea, I saw prices from $380 to $580 lol
Some even on Ebay, that are unlocked, but they come from Japan,
wonder if I would get hit with a customs fee :(

~John
 

jtice

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May 21, 2003
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West Virginia
There are a few things I wish my Uniden 246T did,
can any of you tell me if that Icom R3 does these? (sorry dont mean to highjack the thread)

- If it has a "Close Call" feature, does it make the audio from the freq you are listening to cut out when it checks for the closer/stronger signals?
- Can I pick certain freq to have priority over others? So they will cut in on others I am listening to?
- Is the scanning any faster? I dont know if any scanner is as fast as I want,
I hate that I really need to program my scanner for what freq to listen for, and tell it to scan those.
I can make it scan its entire range, but it takes way too long to make one cycle, so thats not real useful.

Thanks
~John
 

wmirag

Enlightened
Joined
Nov 22, 2004
Messages
411
The .22 in your pocket is better than the .45 in your safe.

I like my Sangean DT-210V AM/FM/TV Pocket-Size Digital Radio a lot. The reason is that it sounds fantastic on FM (with replacement phones), has good reception on AM and FM, runs a long time on 2AAAs, and has an internal speaker good enough for talk radio - all in a pretty small package.

So, because it satisfies every-day needs so well, it gets carried quite often and has the best chance of being with me if I ***really need*** it.

Of course it's not in the same performance class as a table radio. But it packs a lot of punch for its size.

There are very comprehensive user reviews on Amazon, well worth reading.

W.
 

pedalinbob

Flashlight Enthusiast
Joined
Dec 7, 2002
Messages
2,281
Location
Michigan
That Sangean looks pretty nice, thanks for the info.

The stereo/mono selector is a nice touch (my Sony is mono only), as is the digital tuning.
It seems to have everything I like in a tiny radio, but I tend to prefer AA bats because the runtime is amazing.

Still, that is a very minor quibble for such a nice radio.
 

Flying Turtle

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Jan 28, 2003
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Location
Apex, NC
I've had a predesessor of the Sangean with a Radio Shack Optimus badge for a number of years. It also has the weather bands. For some reason I get a weird howl in the lower FM frequencies which sometimes stops by squeezing it hard or giving it a few good whacks. Otherwise it's a good performer, but a bit of a battery hog. I wish it had a telescoping antenna for FM so the little wire or headphones weren't necessary for speaker use. Unless they've changed mine has the loudest alarm known to man. Mostly because of its minor problems I find myself instead using the relatively recent Sony Walkman with TV and Weather bands, one AAA, but no speaker. Don't know its model off hand, but you see them everywhere.

Geoff
 

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