Weather Wednesday – Emergency Crank Radios

Welcome to another Weather Wednesday. This week I’m going to be doing something a little different. In the past few weeks I have discussed weather alert radios which have Specific Area Message Encoding or SAME on them. This week I’m going to discuss collectively, radios which have an emergency function.
In the past 15 years or so, we have seen somewhat of a rise in popularity in radios which have a feature, which allows you to crank the power. On the radios there is a crank which allows you to crank and crank and crank, in order to bring the flow of electricity to the radio. However, it doesn’t replace the need for AC power to the radio. This only gives you another option to power the unit and some radios have more than 5 ways to do this.
We have also seen the rise in products with solar panels, which allow for strong sunlight to power the radio, or any electrical device which has them. There are some emergency radios which have both features mentioned above and an AC jack with a USB to plug into your computer or an AC outlet.
Another thing that has also happened is the cell phone charging feature, which has become a staple on most crank radios these days. However, not all units charge all phones and most with a USB jack are meant to charge iPhones and other smartphones. Just be aware that some phones won’t charge in the unit, even though it may be fully charge and ready to be used. The iPhone5c can’t be charged with the FRX2 crank radio from Eton without AC power because of how powerfull the phone is and the radio needs to be either plugged in or in the son, in order to charge the phone. Okay, I’m not sure about the latter but I have had to plug it in to charge my iPhone5c.
Another thing is of course, the multitude of other bands you can listen to on these radios, besides the obligatory am and FM bands, there is, shortwave and Weather Radio. Unfortunately the reception on these radios for the weather channels is okay to very pour but it depends on how close to the tower where your local Weatheradio Canada or NOAA Weather Radio transmitter is broadcasting from. This also does not replace the need for a stand alone Weather Radio and should only be used if there is no other option for a weather alert receiver where you are.
I find the bigger and bulky models have a better chance of receiving the WX channels but much less on the am and fm band. I can’t speak for shortwave but I’m sure there are people who have been listeners of this band who can comment on it more than I can.
Anyway, if you are going to buy such a receiver, keep everything I said here in mind. Just look on the internet or go to your local electronics store, which cells radios and you will probably find something.


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