Radio Options for Preparedness: MP3 Player or Batt. Powered Radio?

Stress_Test

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In reading disaster/emergency prep threads, people frequently mention having a radio of some sort. I've got one of those tiny MP3 players that I use as a radio during power outages; it also got me through a week-long outage a while back.

Given its age I think it'd be prudent to find a replacement before that old Li-ion battery decides to crater. I was on the fence about whether to just get a new MP3 player, or get a battery-powered radio (AA specifically).

There's a Panasonic 4xAA radio that's reasonable price. It can share my AA stash with my lights. But the MP3 player is smaller and can be more easily recharged with a USB connection rather than tying up 4 AAs at a time. So, pros and cons either way.

I was just wondering what route other people have gone down.
 

fulee9999

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people use/stash radios because the national alerts and all clears come on the radio and TV stations, it's not for recreational purposes

Edit: I just saw you wanted pro-con so

Radio
+ you can listen to stations all around the globe, be notified if and when something nationwide happens and you can power it for extended periods of time
- sans nuclear holocaust you have to listen to ads

MP3 player
+ for the brief time you have power to run it you can listen to whatever you like without ads
- you won't be informed about the global situation around you
 

Poppy

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Whichever you choose, you will get much longer runtimes if you use hardwired earbuds, than if you use speakers. Typically the smaller the speakers, the less current they will demand of your batteries. So for example, a boom box is a terrible choice, when compared to a little transistor radio.

The boom box, on the other hand might be great if you plan to party for a few hours, for a short duration outage.
 

Olumin

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A battery powered shortwave radio is always good idea to have around. Throw some AA-lithiums in those & you'll be good to go for decades. There are even some hand-cranked emergency shortwave radios available, but I have no experience with those. I personally use a tecsun pl-660. Some sort of wire or reel antenna is a strongly recommended accessory to improve reception.
 

Charlie Hustle

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I usually have plenty of 18650s and AA Eneloops charged up. So, when the power goes out it's a pair of Koss KSC75 with a Sangean DT-160 for listening to FM on the front porch or a Tecsun PL-880 for the house. I also have plenty of AA-lithiums.
 

bykfixer

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I bought a Sony ICF-P26 portable am/fm radio that runs on 2 aa batteries to keep the sounds of people in the background for the mental health of our talking birds. Place it in another room so they get the impression they are not alone and they feel more secure. The batteries last 100 hours easily. It's about the size of a pack of 100 length cigarettes.

For mp3 player I just buy a cheap unlocked android phone and turn off everything but the mp3 player. Motorola makes one with a headphone jack and replaceable battery that is sold at WalMart. Get the verizon one for half the cost of a truely unlocked one. When you turn it on it will prompt to join a verizon plan. You can choose 'ok' or 'not now'. Push not now about a dozen times and it unlocks. I bought one, got stuck at not now, took it to a fruit fix store and said "can you unlock this" and the pimple face kid said "I dunno", starts tapping the screen and a minute later hands it back saying "it's unlocked". I had to pay him $5 to tell me how he did it though.

For the long term I have a hand crank, solar, 1xAA weather radio with flashlight and am/fm.
 
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Stress_Test

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I figured a 4xAA radio would probably have a lot longer battery life than a small MP3 player, assuming the volume wasn't cranked. I have zero experience with those though, so I dunno. I've got an old boom-box but that thing takes SIX d-cells and I figured that was a poor use of battery resources!!

Headphones are good except if I'm trying to move around and do stuff, then the cord kind of gets in the way. Or if it's hot, wearing headphones isn't too comfortable unless you do the ear-bud thing.

The radio would be nice for the option to do either the speaker or headphones. A fresh set of AA batteries would probably last me through any reasonable outage without having to worry about swapping or charging. I can't remember if I had to charge the little MP3 player during that 1-week outage or not. Maybe once using a car adapter. I was only listening to the FM maybe an hour or so each day just to hear what the news was

Most of the discussion on the radio was chaos at the gas stations, and telling people what locations had gas available. Which struck me as funny, because then of course a huge crowd will descend on that spot and most people probably won't get any! That went on the whole week....
 

Charlie Hustle

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The Tecsun ICR-110 has incredible sound quality for its size and price. It can be used with stereo headphones and also comes with a lithium-ion battery that can be charged internally. This will free up all your AAs.
 
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