Emergency weather radio comparison

Started by majorhavoc, September 12, 2022, 06:33:33 PM

Previous topic - Next topic

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

majorhavoc

Since I recently posted about a radio deal (sadly, now expired), I came across this comparative review.

A couple of caveats:
1) I seriously doubt Bob Villa personally had anything to do with this comparo, and
2) Even if he did, I bet he knows jack sh*t about radios (he used to host an early home renovation show called "This Old House").

But, it's a useful read if you're in the market because it does highlight the different feature sets of these models.  

A post-apocalyptic tale of love, loss and redemption. And zombies!<br />https://ufozs.com/smf/index.php?topic=105.0

flybynight

Just a FYI. The midland works perfectly.The one thing is the weather alert alarm sound level is set at loud and can't be changed.  The plus side of this is  at 0 dark  thirty and an alert comes through. You aren't sleeping through it. Tends to be un nerving  when the alerts are 20 seconds apart for five hours
"Hey idiot, you should feel your pulse, not see it."  Echo 83

NT2C

Quote from: majorhavoc on September 12, 2022, 06:33:33 PMSince I recently posted about a radio deal (sadly, now expired), I came across this comparative review.

A couple of caveats:
1) I seriously doubt Bob Villa personally had anything to do with this comparo, and
2) Even if he did, I bet he knows jack sh*t about radios (he used to host an early home renovation show called "This Old House").

But, it's a useful read if you're in the market because it does highlight the different feature sets of these models. 


My ex-wife's niece used to work at a Home Depot on Long Island.  One week Bob Vila and Norm Abrams were there filming either a Home Depot commercial, or a This Old House segment, I can't remember which, and she used to call us every night with tales of what stupid shit Bob had done that day.  The best was walking through a freshly poured and trowled concrete sidewalk then falling on his butt in it when a foot got caught on the wire mesh embedded in it.

Turns out that Tim Allen based his character on reality I'd say.  I'd also say that the Midland is a good "bang for your bucks" radio.  We gave one away as a prize in our anniversary contest this year, and may give away more next year.
Nonsolis Radios Sediouis Fulmina Mitto. - USN Gunner's Mate motto
Sic quemadmodum gladius neminem occidit; occidentis telum est - Seneca the Younger, Epistles
Current Weather in My AO

Crosscut

The Midland one from the contest got a good review from its new owner, tested on a 16' fishing boat in 2-3' waves on Lake St. Clair.  No complaints, and it survived the very bumpy trip.  As a pure weather alert radio that'd be my choice too, I have an older Midland model with S.A.M.E. on the nightstand that has been doing its job well for 20 years or so.

I did a mini-review of the Voyager Kaito KA500 here.  Haven't tested the weather alert function (nor the AM or SW bands much), I use it just as a portable outdoor FM radio for the campfire or to listen to the ball game in the yard and it works well enough for that.  Without S.A.M.E. capability for the weather alert I wouldn't recommend it as a full time weather radio unless you like getting woke up for a thunderstorm or tornado watch on the other side of the state.  But being able to receive the NOAA weather band is a plus.  It is versatile in the methods to power it too, and can be used as a power bank/charger, but imo where it comes up short is the telescoping antenna (it's short, and doesn't turn at the base), lack of an external antenna jack, no fine tuning knob for the frequency selection, and it really needs a larger capacity battery pack.  If considering this one as a camping or emergency radio I'd add a clip-on external antenna and a separate USB power bank and think you'll be much happier with it.

Optimist

I've got three different emergency crank radios. Theoretically one for my car, one for my house and one that's supposed to be an EMP-shielded backup. Been in the process of a long and confusing move so other they're never where they're supposed to be.

I've used all three but haven't done any sort of hard-use testing other than they've all been stored in my car at sub-zero temps at different points.

I've never had anything come in on the NOAA bands on any radio that I can remember.

majorhavoc

Another comparative review.

It's National Emergency Preparedness month so that's probably why these are popping up on my news feed.

You know I used to think the Eton brand was supposed to be the gold standard in emergency radios. But based on these 2 articles they're middling at best and Midland is the one to get.
A post-apocalyptic tale of love, loss and redemption. And zombies!<br />https://ufozs.com/smf/index.php?topic=105.0

majorhavoc

Quote from: Optimist on September 13, 2022, 04:08:28 PMI've got three different emergency crank radios. Theoretically one for my car, one for my house and one that's supposed to be an EMP-shielded backup. Been in the process of a long and confusing move so other they're never where they're supposed to be.

I've used all three but haven't done any sort of hard-use testing other than they've all been stored in my car at sub-zero temps at different points.

I've never had anything come in on the NOAA bands on any radio that I can remember.
Reading your reply, I realize two things. 

One: My portable weather band radios are all older tech that merely receive broadcast signals on 6 weather bands and then only if I actively listen.  None have any kind of standby weather alert capability, let alone SAME technology to narrow the alerts to my geographic area.

Two: I own at least 6 of these radios and not a single one is in any kind of Farraday/EMP-shielded container. My SHTF prepper membership card is in real danger of confiscation. Now that would be a true disaster! :panic:
A post-apocalyptic tale of love, loss and redemption. And zombies!<br />https://ufozs.com/smf/index.php?topic=105.0

WY_Not

We have a Midland WR120B/WR120EZ. Anyone have one and hooked it up to an external antenna? Found these instructions
https://youtu.be/N4WojpFX6go and have all the parts except the metal hangers. Haven't had a metal hanger in our house in years. Might have to relent and dig through my scrap in the garage.
"Wits are needful to he who travels far. The dull should stay home. He will be mocked who cannot sit with sages." - stanza 5, Hávamál

majorhavoc

You know when you're reached peak male hardware syndrome when you know you have a certain piece of hardware or obscure tool somewhere but it's easier to just buy a new one than find it in the garage/basement/shop.  :smiley_knipoog:
A post-apocalyptic tale of love, loss and redemption. And zombies!<br />https://ufozs.com/smf/index.php?topic=105.0

majorhavoc

#9
And yet another comparison review.  These keep popping up on my news feed since I clicked on that first one. The powers that be or whoever the f*ck controls the internet is clearly on to me (Google, Microsoft, Apple, the gubmint or maybe China. But my money's on Hydra and Zola's algorithm)

No one of these reviews seems particularly scientific or authoritative. But a strong concensus seems to forming that if you want the best overall, it's Midland or go home.

But I'm a sucker for over-engineered, multifunction pieces of kit. And if it looks tacticool as well, all the better.

So I'm jonesing for that Kaito Voyager Pro. :icon_crazy:


A post-apocalyptic tale of love, loss and redemption. And zombies!<br />https://ufozs.com/smf/index.php?topic=105.0

WY_Not

Yep. Foiled by a stupid lack of a clothes hanger. We purged them about 10 years ago in our last move.

As for the external antenna, sometimes it is more fun to tinker than to just order something.  :smiley_blink:

Quote from: majorhavoc on September 14, 2022, 02:37:36 PMYou know when you're reached peak male hardware syndrome when you know you have a certain piece of hardware or obscure tool somewhere but it's easier to just buy a new one than find it in the garage/basement/shop.  :smiley_knipoog:
"Wits are needful to he who travels far. The dull should stay home. He will be mocked who cannot sit with sages." - stanza 5, Hávamál

NapalmMan67

Very cool.  Not only do I have multiple metal wire hangers, they actually hold most of my long sleeve shirts in my closet.   :awesome:
.
Sic Gorgiamus Allos Subjectatos Nunc-  Not just pretty words.

WY_Not

Yeah. Wife decided we needed to have fancy ones, the wire ones weren't good enough.  :headbang:

Quote from: NapalmMan67 on September 14, 2022, 04:44:45 PMVery cool.  Not only do I have multiple metal wire hangers, they actually hold most of my long sleeve shirts in my closet.  :awesome:.
"Wits are needful to he who travels far. The dull should stay home. He will be mocked who cannot sit with sages." - stanza 5, Hávamál

Optimist

I sometimes watch todderbert's radio videos on youtube. He used to do comparison videos between different emergency radios, but it looks like he hasn't done one in a while.

My mother has an Eton Grundig FR-200 that she got at a garage sale three years ago. She has a real hard time with technology, but she figured out how to use it and it's big enough that she doesn't lose it so she's been using in day-to-day life for the past three years (she replaces batteries rather than using the crank). So I'd say it's a pretty durable radio. Looks like it's been discontinued, but if you see one used for a good price it might be a good thing to pick up.

I'm testing out my Kaito KA900. I've been using the hand crank and a stop watch. I've cranked it for three hours so far and I have not been able to get battery indicator to go up by one bar (it has four bars IIRC).

majorhavoc

Quote from: Optimist on September 18, 2022, 11:50:47 PMI sometimes watch todderbert's radio videos on youtube. He used to do comparison videos between different emergency radios, but it looks like he hasn't done one in a while.

My mother has an Eton Grundig FR-200 that she got at a garage sale three years ago. She has a real hard time with technology, but she figured out how to use it and it's big enough that she doesn't lose it so she's been using in day-to-day life for the past three years (she replaces batteries rather than using the crank). So I'd say it's a pretty durable radio. Looks like it's been discontinued, but if you see one used for a good price it might be a good thing to pick up.

I'm testing out my Kaito KA900. I've been using the hand crank and a stop watch. I've cranked it for three hours so far and I have not been able to get battery indicator to go up by one bar (it has four bars IIRC).
You or someone else in this thread somehow steered me to Todderbert's YT reviews bc I've now watched several.  He seems to know his stuff.

I must take after your mother bc I own several Eton hand crank radios: an Fr200, an Fr250 (one has shortwave, the other has weather bands I can't remember which is which) at least 2 Fr160 Microlinks and a couple of Microlink knock-offs. Plus a couple compact, battery-only shortwave models by Eton, but sold under the L.L. Bean brand.

Why so many Etons? In a word: Goodwill.  Here in Maine, L.L. Bean donates a lot of their returned merchandise to area Goodwills. It's pretty much impossible for me to pass up on one when they're going for $4-$6 a pop.

They all seem to be serviceable radios and for the authentic Etons at least, seem to hold up well.  I should pull them out and test that their internal battery packs still take a charge from the hand crank or solar panel. Even if they still do, I never had any illusions that those alternate power options would actually replenish the battery packs in any significant way. And certainly not recharge a cellphone even if a particular model advertised that capability. 

At best I always saw the hand cranks as a way to get 5 or 10 minutes listening time. Good God, man - three hours of hand cranking? You have far more patience than I do!
A post-apocalyptic tale of love, loss and redemption. And zombies!<br />https://ufozs.com/smf/index.php?topic=105.0

Optimist

Quote from: majorhavoc on September 19, 2022, 07:45:22 AMGood God, man - three hours of hand cranking? You have far more patience than I do!
I was sick yesterday, so I just sat in my chair and watched youtube while cranking the radio. I'm vulnerable to the sunk cost fallacy, so the longer I cranked the more I was determined to make it go up by one bar.  :clownshoes:

Today my shoulders and elbows hurt. If it's someone's job to crank this radio during the zombie apocalypse they are definitely going to end up with a repetitive motion injury.

As far as charging cell phones, I've been wondering how hard it would be to charge a dead phone just enough to get out a single text message? That seems like it could be useful in an emergency.

NT2C

Quote from: Optimist on September 19, 2022, 02:54:00 PM
Quote from: majorhavoc on September 19, 2022, 07:45:22 AMGood God, man - three hours of hand cranking? You have far more patience than I do!
I was sick yesterday, so I just sat in my chair and watched youtube while cranking the radio. I'm vulnerable to the sunk cost fallacy, so the longer I cranked the more I was determined to make it go up by one bar.  :clownshoes:

Today my shoulders and elbows hurt. If it's someone's job to crank this radio during the zombie apocalypse they are definitely going to end up with a repetitive motion injury.

As far as charging cell phones, I've been wondering how hard it would be to charge a dead phone just enough to get out a single text message? That seems like it could be useful in an emergency.
Ummm... It was my understanding that the crank is just to charge a small internal battery for short-term use (about an hour) or to charge a phone or similar device that was plugged in, and that the indicator was only to show the state of the disposable batteries.

Or maybe they changed that or I understood it wrong?
Nonsolis Radios Sediouis Fulmina Mitto. - USN Gunner's Mate motto
Sic quemadmodum gladius neminem occidit; occidentis telum est - Seneca the Younger, Epistles
Current Weather in My AO

Optimist

Quote from: NT2C on September 19, 2022, 04:04:33 PMUmmm... It was my understanding that the crank is just to charge a small internal battery for short-term use (about an hour) or to charge a phone or similar device that was plugged in, and that the indicator was only to show the state of the disposable batteries.

Or maybe they changed that or I understood it wrong?
I think many radios are like that, but on this model it only has a single 18650 which the crank and solar panel charge or you can swap out for batteries that are already charged.

majorhavoc

#18
At least in some radios, it's the same internal battery that takes a charge from either the hand crank dynamo or the USB input.  Here's a link to one of my off-brand Eton Microlink clones https://www.amazon.com/Upgraded-Esky-Portable-Emergency-Flashlight/dp/B018I4BPNU/ref=mp_s_a_1_3?crid=3N5NPMQES169H&keywords=esky+emergency+hand+crank+radio&qid=1663624896&sprefix=esky+emergency+%2Caps%2C180&sr=8-3
(I bought it with the intention of doing a comparative review with the real McCoy but never got around to it. FWIW the Esky is perfectly functional). As the product description indicates, its 1000 mAh internal battery can be charged 3 ways: USB, hand crank or solar.

But as the aptly-named Optimist :smiley_knipoog: has so ably demonstrated, it takes an absurd amount of cranking to add a meaningful amount of charge to that one internal battery.

Although unlike his bigger Kaito unit, 3 hours cranking on the little Esky probably would add a significant fraction of that particular battery's modest capacity, assuming that cheap dynamo didn't break first.

Feel better.soon, Optimist.
A post-apocalyptic tale of love, loss and redemption. And zombies!<br />https://ufozs.com/smf/index.php?topic=105.0

SMF spam blocked by CleanTalk