Hand Crank Radio Buying Tips
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Hand Crank Radio Buying Tips
There are many brands of hand crank radios out on the market and in order to make an informed decision you must take a look at the options and manufacturer. All crank radios are not made equal.
First thing you need to do is decide on what you want to due with the crank radio. If you want to simply listen to the radio on the beach without having to worry about batteries, then the Eton FR150 is a good choice for you as it's compact and has minimal options, thus minimal price. If you're looking for a hand crank radio for your Emergency Preparedness Kit then you will want other options such as flashlight, NOAA All Weather, AM/FM/SW/LW, basically all the bells and whistles you can afford.
Once you have an idea on Options and Budget, you are good to go. It's important to look at name brands as in the Hand Crank Radio market you do get what you pay for. You can probably save a few bucks on a cheap imitation brand that uses cheap rechargeable battery packs, cheap and pretty much useless solar panel, cheap antenna, etc... you get the point. Again if this is just for beach use, then maybe cheap is the way to go, but if you want something for an emergency I don't think saving a buck is the way to go ;o)
Here is a list of features most modern radios can have and how important they are in case of emergency. Please review these options and do a real apple to apple comparison when making for final selection. Take advantage of our customer reviews with our listed products as these are real world experiences, not corporate propaganda.
NOAA Channels: NOAA Weather Radio All Hazards (NWR) is a nationwide network of radio stations broadcasting continuous weather information. Broadcasts include official Weather Service warnings, watches, forecasts and other hazard information 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
Digital Tuner: Digital Tuners allow you to locate various AM/FM and short wave radio stations with greater precision and much faster than older analog tuners. Often you can also save a certain number of preset stations.
Multiple Power Sources: While the hand crank is the most reliable power source, many hand crank radios can also use battery power and some can be powered via solar power. Power source redundancy is good but the crank provides the greatest reliability.
Cell Phone Charger: Being able to charge your cell phone from your hand crank radio can be a huge advantage. You may be able to contact family and friends when electic power is out or when your are not near a vehicle.
USB Charger: Some hand crank radios can charge USB devices. You can charge media players, cameras, etc. These items may be useful during emergencies. They may also provide a degree of recreation.
Flashlight: You should have one or more flashlights stored for an emergency. But if you don't or if your batteries die, etc., having a flashlight built into your hand crank radio can be a very useful thing.
S.A.M.E Encoding: Radios that support Specific Area Message Encoding allow you to receive weather alerts for your specific geographic location.
Emergency Siren: In an emergency, you can alert others and signal for help by triggering a loud siren alert that is built into some hand crank radios.
Short wave capable: Short wave capability gives you the option of listening to information from different countries. In a major multi-country disaster this could be quite useful.
Backlighting: In emergency situations where there is no electricity, having a hand crank radio with a backlight can be a huge help. It may be too dark to discern what stations are being tuned in without direct light on the radio. A backlight built into the radio removes the need for this external viewing light.
GMRS/FRS Capability: Some hand crank radios can use GMRS (General Mobile Radio System) and/or FRS (Family Radio System) channels to broadcast to other GMRS/FRS radios. This can be useful for keeping in contact with family members or friends in or near your home in the event of an emergency.
We hope this comprehensive list helps you make the best selection for your hand crank radio.