Looking for an emergency power outage radio...

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EDCinDET

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We have gotten a ton of snow and it is said we're going to possibly lose power tonight. This has me wanting to purchase an emergency power outage radio. (better late than never) I have been researching some different ones and thought I'd ask you guys what would suit my needs.

Features I'd be interested but not a must are:

Solar Panel
Crank
Able to take batteries (AA or AAA or 18650)
AM/FM/NOAA
Weather Alert with S.A.M.E. Technology (Specific Area Message Encoding)
Weather Alert Override
Shortwave
USB charging port to charge the radio from a computer
MP3 input
DC jack power option
Car lighter charger
Durable
Water Resistant
Somewhat Portable (for camping, lake, etc.)

Above all I just want something durable, can take batteries, and shortwave would be a plus but not a must. Just something I could gather info during an emergency as well as provide entertainment for the family during long power outages.

Price range is $30-$70

I've been considering the Sangean DT-400W, C. Crane Pocket AM/FM/WX, and the Sony SRF-M37W, Kaito KA-500, Sangean CL-100, CC Solar Observer, Midland WR-300 not sure if these would work for what I need or not?



Thanks
 
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Steve K

Steve K

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I do like my Sangean CL100 (although it has lost the ability to track the time, much less actually pick up the radio signal with time info and properly set the time itself). For emergencies, the little DT-400W is probably more optimized.

A small solar panel would let you charge AA's for both the DT-400W or a flashlight. I'm still looking for a good manual charger (i.e. crank charger) for AA's, though. I hope someone has a suggestion for a quality hand crank charger.

I do have a bunch of AA eneloops and a dozen AA alkalines to handle a power loss. Plus I have a 12v AGM battery in a car jump start device that could deliver quite a bit of power if needed.
 
StarHalo

StarHalo

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The CC Solar Observer is my current fave of the emergency radio bunch; it doesn't have SAME since it's an analog radio (much better battery life over digital, an important feature in an emergency radio,) and no shortwave (world band isn't much help in an emergency; if there's a blizzard in your area, you won't find much info about it on Philippines Radio..) but it does feature battery + crank + DC in + solar, and as we've discovered, it can play live in sunlight from the solar panel alone with no battery whatsoever, something you definitely can't do with a digital radio.
 
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EDCinDET

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The CC Solar Observer is my current fave of the emergency radio bunch; it doesn't have SAME since it's an analog radio (much better battery life over digital, an important feature in an emergency radio,) and no shortwave (world band isn't much help in an emergency; if there's a blizzard in your area, you won't find much info about it on Philippines Radio..) but it does feature battery + crank + DC in + solar, and as we've discovered, it can play live in sunlight from the solar panel alone with no battery whatsoever, something you definitely can't do with a digital radio.

Sounds like a winner. Thanks. Do you know if it can take eneloop AAA's?

I was also trying to find out if it has weather alert and or weather alert override? Say if I'm listening to FM radio will a weather alert interrupt the radio to inform me of an emergency such as a tornado warning? Or should I get a dedicated device for weather alert? If so any suggestions for a tabletop weather alert to go along with the CC Solar Observer?

Thanks for your help I was hoping you'd chime in being I read a few old threads on similar topics from 2010 that you had commented on with good advice.
 
StarHalo

StarHalo

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It can take Eneloops, plus its internal NiMH battery pack charges via AC, so it technically already comes with Eneloops.. There's no weather alert since it's an all-analog radio - no battery use/drain when it's turned off. If you must have a dedicated full-function weather unit, the aforementioned Sangean CL-100 definitely checks all the boxes, but be aware that as a true tabletop it's designed to primarily run on AC power.
 
E

EDCinDET

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I do like my Sangean CL100 (although it has lost the ability to track the time, much less actually pick up the radio signal with time info and properly set the time itself). For emergencies, the little DT-400W is probably more optimized.

A small solar panel would let you charge AA's for both the DT-400W or a flashlight. I'm still looking for a good manual charger (i.e. crank charger) for AA's, though. I hope someone has a suggestion for a quality hand crank charger.

I do have a bunch of AA eneloops and a dozen AA alkalines to handle a power loss. Plus I have a 12v AGM battery in a car jump start device that could deliver quite a bit of power if needed.



It can take Eneloops, plus its internal NiMH battery pack charges via AC, so it technically already comes with Eneloops.. There's no weather alert since it's an all-analog radio - no battery use/drain when it's turned off. If you must have a dedicated full-function weather unit, the aforementioned Sangean CL-100 definitely checks all the boxes, but be aware that as a true tabletop it's designed to primarily run on AC power.

Thanks again both of you. I will be ordering the CC Solar Observer tonight does it come with the AC adapter? If do you find it to be necessary?

So as far as the dedicated weather alert radio would you say the Sangean CL-100 is the better option between that and the Midland WR-300? Because the Sangean is $17 more. Is it worth the extra cash?
 
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StarHalo

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The AC adapter isn't included, it's only for charging the internal battery so it's purely optional. And I haven't seen a comparison between the Midland and Sangean, though the Sangean is pretty much universally lauded, and rated higher on Amazon.
 
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Lebkuecher

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So as far as the dedicated weather alert radio would you say the Sangean CL-100 is the better option between that and the Midland WR-300? Because the Sangean is $17 more. Is it worth the extra cash?
I never owned the Midland WR-300 but considered it when I was shopping for my last weather radio. I settled for the Sangean CL-100 mainly because I read several customer reviews on Amazon.

As StarHalo mentioned taking a quick look at the Star numbers on Amazon, Sangean has a higher percentage of 5 star reviews (62% VS 53%) and a lower 1 and 2 star combined score (10% VS 16%). I’m a little uncomfortable with a product when 16 percent of the reviews give products 1 and 2 stars.

I really like the quality and the features of the Sangean. The last weather radio I had woke me up several times with useless advisories and watches so being able to defeat unwanted alerts is a big plus. The Sangean offers EOM (End of Message) detection so when alerts are given and you are in another room the radio will silence after the alert keeping you from having to turn off the radio, I could be wrong but I don’t think the Midland WR-300 has EOM. I am also impressed with the sound quality on both AM and FM, the radio has DSP and to my ears anyway sounds great. I use the radio as an alarm clock as well and really like the sound ramp up feature of the alarm. I hate being blasted out of bed in the morning; the radio alarm starts at a low sound volume and gradually gets louder. I will say when a tornado warning is broadcasted you will know, there are some warnings you cannot adjust the volume on and a tornado warning is delivered at full blast. We had a tornado warning at 4 AM a few months ago and there is NO way you could sleep through the alarm. You could hear the alarm through the whole house.
 
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mcnair55

mcnair55

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Personally i like to go to Anoraks on radio forums as you getter a bigger suggested choice as that is there hobby.I have a Roberts all singing dancing upper and lower side-band short wave aka Sangean running 4 x AA cells.I utilise my tablet with some good radio apps including a scanner that picks up various emergency and weather alert channels.

In true cpf geek fashion i also have a backup tablet and back up mobile so i look the complete part.
 
StarHalo

StarHalo

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Personally i like to go to Anoraks on radio forums as you getter a bigger suggested choice as that is there hobby.

Well the choices among the emergency and weather tabletop genres are pretty clear cut; the most recent Sony emergency radio rivals the feature list of the CCrane but at twice the price, and the Kaito Voyager adds digital tuning and a thermometer to further add to the battery drain. Weather-wise, the Sangean and Midland flagship models pretty much define the segment, with other manufacturers preferring less-optioned, cheaper alternatives (though Ambient Weather's smaller models were very popular this holiday season.)
 
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lumen aeternum

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Good time of year to bring this up again.

I have a very old FreePlay analog crank/solar radio that is pretty bulletproof. But the dial is sloppy and I would like more discrimination between close channels. Don't need any emergency alert stuff, just good FM reception.

Why do digital radios need a battery? Don't they have a PRAM to keep the channels selected?
 
StarHalo

StarHalo

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Why do digital radios need a battery? Don't they have a PRAM to keep the channels selected?

A digital radio is a solid state circuit; transistors to power, phase lock loop to resonate, display to animate, etc. An analog radio is analog; some basic electrical components, some wires, that's it, nothing to power aside from the bare necessities needed to audibly amplify a present signal.

Are you wanting another analog radio, or could you go digital?
 
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lumen aeternum

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Digital is much more convenient for tuning when stations are close together. There is a transmitter nearby that tends to drown out adjacent stations. And it will have a memory so I don't have to remember all the station freqs.

My radio has a metal band on a reel which is wound up as a spring. Lasts for at least half an hour with 50 cranks. Solar panel works in less than full sun if you aim it directly at the sun.
 
StarHalo

StarHalo

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Digital tuners can appear to have better selectivity since they're generally a newer design and more costly than their analog counterparts, but there are analog radios out there that will outpace nearly all digital radios. The CCrane EP and the Grundig S350 come to mind. In fact the portable radio that has better selectivity than any other is an analog radio.

A radio with SSB/synchronous detection has a huge advantage in this respect, since it "cuts off" the signal above or below the frequency you're tuned to. If you have a problem with a powerful station drowning out a weaker one you'd like to hear, an SSB/Sync-equipped radio is exactly what you're looking for.
 
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