Hand crank emergency radios.
Here in the Pacific Northwest hand crank emergency radios are almost a priority if you want to stay safe, have a way to get information of what is happening, while powering devices without going through expensive batteries. The hand crank emergency radios are a great addition to a SHTF or Grab N Go bag as well. Kaito makes a great line of decent hand crank emergency radio, including the Voyager PRO KA-600.
Kaito Voyager pro KA-600The kaito KA-600 is an entry level hand crank emergency radio that includes AM/FM and the shortwave bands. It is an all purpose emergency radio for when no other power sources are available. You can use it to listen to local news and Worldwide news on the shortwave bands. It also receives RDS information on the FM band.
I have had my Kaito for several months now, and have been fortunate enough to only have to use it during brief power outages here in Northwest WA state. Overall it performed nicely, keeping all of us adequately entertained with our favorite radio stations, and a flashlight that came in handy when fumbling around in the dark checking the fuse box. I was also able to use the reading light to read the instructions for proper operation of the generator.
Whats that BIG yellow button for ?The reading light is activated by a big yellow switch on the top of the radio. When I first started playing with the Ka600 I wasn't sure what that switch was for, since the reading light is on the backside of the solar panel on the back of the radio. So when I flipped the switch on, it didn't look like anything was happening. After several hours my blonde haired girlfriend pointed out to me that the reading light was on the back of the little solar panel. Once I flipped the solar panel upright I was able to find the light (D'oh). It is very bright and you can move it around as needed. I would not use it to light up a large area, but for reading or lighting up a small space it is fine.
Kaito KA-600 pet peeves.One if my biggest pet peeves of the Kaito KA600 radio is the digital tuning. If you are swinging the dial across any band, you have to stop on every frequency to hear if their is something there. I have not come across any modifications yet that will allow you too hear as you tune. This makes it difficult to search for new stations.
The digital frequency readout makes it easy to punch in the desired frequency, but tuning around the bands can be a bit cumbersome.
One other issue is the flimsy little telescoping antenna that comes with the radio. It is very thin and breaks easily. I knocked the Kaito off the shelf while fumbling around in the dark one morning and broke that antenna. Breaking in the Kaito KA600
I have tossed the idea around of adding an external antenna jack on the side that I could use to connect to my big wire antenna outside. I have tested this using alligator clips to connect to the telescoping antenna and ground for the batteries, and this worked fine.
Overall a great emergency radio.
The Kaito KA-600 voyager pro includes LW/MW/SW plus AM/FM and 7 NOAA channels. FM includes RDS (Station and song ID) Mono and Stereo.
Power sources for the radio include AC with power adapter, DC with either 3 AA batteries or the built in rechargeable battery, a hand crank to keep the built in battery charged up, and a solar panel. You can also recharge the battery through a USB port from your computer to the radio. The USB port can be used to recharge other small electrical devices also.
The case of the Kaito KA600 is made of hard plastic. It has a solid durable feel to it overall for an inexpensive emergency radio. The size is a bit larger than some of the other hand crank emergency radios that are on the market, but is still very lightweight.
You can place the Kaito in the window and forget it until you need it, and the built in solar panel will keep the internal battery charged up for you.
The Kaito KA-600 is an excellent entry level shortwave radio, and a great emergency hand crank radio that includes solar power. Although it is a bit more expensive than some of the other emergency hand crank radios on the market, the features and complete package make it a great bargain.
For more information on the Kaito voyager pro KA-600, you can read my original article with links on where to purchase this fine radio. My new Kaito KA-600