Today during a bible study with some friends of mine (Hi Jim) I was asked about my radio hobby and what sort of emergency hand crank radio would be right for them. As I explained some of the considerations that help to decide on the best choice, it got me thinking about some of the features that a person should factor in.
|Ambient Weather WR-089|
Length of use.
When deciding on which radio to purchase, you have to figure out how long of time you want to be prepared for. Are you preparing for a power outage of just a few hours, a few days or the total collapse of our government and infrastructure. If you only need an emergency radio for power outages that last a few hours to a day, then just about any battery operated radio will probably do you just fine. Just be sure to check the batteries every 6 months or so when not used. If you want to be prepared ffor a few days to a week, then you will want to lookk into one of the hand crank emergency radios that are available. Some of these include USB ports now so that you can keep other devices like Cell phones charged up as well. If you need somethingg that lasts a bitt longer you can always find one that has a built in solar panel as well.
The next question you should ask is what do you want to hear. Are you wanting to listen to the AM/FM broadcast bands for local information about what is happening. DO you need weather updates through the NOAAA channels as well. What about the shortwave frequencies to hear international broadcasts of current events.
Some radios will also allow you to communicate on the GMRS/FRS frequencies. Some equipment like the Midland XT511 offer the 22 GMRS/FRS channels to communicate as well as NOAA weather channels and AM/FM. It has a hand crank to charge batteries and cell phones and a 3 LED flashlight.
Another consideration to take into place is what power sources you may need to keep the radio going in a power outage. If you are only preparing for small outages then a battery operated radio would probably be fine. If you expect longer outages then you want to look at the Hand crank radios. If you are prepping for the Zombie Apocalypse then you may want to check into the Mental Hospital with a hand crank radio that includes a Solar panel to keep your rechargeable batteries charged up. I ordered a Kaito KA600 Voyager pro just a few days ago, which includes multiple ways to power the radio up. These include 12VDC like a car battery or Wall-Wart/AC adapter, a hand crank, a USB port AND a solar panel (Zombie Apocalypse mode) so that we can always entertain ourselves during an extended power outage. The Kaito KA600 Voyager Pro receives the AM and FM broadcast bands as well as NOAA and thee shortwave bands so that I can get world news if needed.
One nice thing about the Kaito KA600 is the digital display. Analog receivers work OK but they can be hard to tune, and finding the exact frequency you want is a bit harder.
Some of the other features you might need will depends again on your needs. Some have built-in LED flashlights. Some are easier to tune than others.
As an example, I just recently purchased the Kaito KA321 AM/FM shortwave receive from Amazon. It has an analog dial so tuning it can be a bit of a workout when trying to find a specific frequency. With no fine tuning you will scroll past a station and not even know it is their. One nice feature about the Kaito KA-321 is the DSP (Digital Signal Processing) that can pull in weak stations. The only drawback is that if you have two weak stations close together sometimes it will cycle between them as they fade in and out. The plus side is that it was cheap ($20.00) and it will fit in a shirt pocket. Nice when you need something small for your SHTF bag or a weekend hike. The Kaito321 will also pull in some of the FM radio stations that I cant get on my regular radio. It really came in handy when we had a blackout, and it allowed my daughter to listen to her favorite radio station while she went to sleep.
When looking for an emergency hand crank radio be sure to make a list of what features you may or may not need, and be sure to read the customer reviews before you make your final decision. Some of the less expensive ones may be OK and fit the bill, but it wont do you any good if it starts falling apart the first time you use it. Some radios also receive better than others. Look at the quality of construction with the radio. Is it made out of light cheap plastic that will break apart the first time it is dropped. Some of the less expensive radios are great, others arent so great.
Where to find the best selection.
Ok, here comes the part where i try to sell you something. If you have read this far into it then you are probably already interested in finding the best radio that is right for your needs. If you want to find the best selection of current radios that are available might is recommend that you take a look at the great selection that is available at Amazon. not only are they a highly respected seller, but they offer no questions asked returns on most sales. If it breaks or you are not happy with your selection, you are encouraged to return it. They also offer free shipping on a lot of items that can be purchased. So be sure to take a look at Amazon and see the customer reviews to help guide you on making your final decision.
For a complete list of Emergency hand crank radios at Amazon click HERE