EMERGENCY RADIOS ~
Multi-Purpose Communication Devices When Disaster Strikes
© 2018 BOB SKIDMORE ALL RIGHTS RESERVED
Disasters know no particular time or place ~ they just happen! At one time we considered June 1st to November 31st as the time to be prepared since it’s considered the official hurricane season. However, recent years seem to indicate the need to be prepared for the unexpected at a moments notice. Events such as storms, floods, terrorist acts, power failures, and camping trips offer no known timetable. Our need and dependence on communications and the power to keep them working is a vital concern. Here are some items worth your consideration and possible addition to your emergency preparedness toolbox.
The Red Cross, in cooperation with ETON Corporation, is co-marketing a multi-function AM/FM and NOAA (government sponsored weather channel) radio, the FRX3(+), that can be powered by AC house current, or a built-in Lithium battery. Charging is possible from three power sources, AC wall outlets, a built-in solar panel or a provided hand crank. The radio includes such features as a clock, an AM/FM receiver, all 7 NOAA/Environment Weather bands including Canada, and can be set to automatically broadcast emergency weather alerts. It can also charge your smartphone via USB and works as an emergency LED flashlight with flashing signal beacon. Spinning the hand crank for 60 seconds will provide ten to fifteen minutes of radio and flashlight use. Placing the unit in the sun gives you a passive charging option. Plugging your smartphone into the built-in USB smartphone charging port will provide a 30 second emergency phone call with only one minute of cranking. Dimensions and weight: 5 3/4" H x 7" W x 2 2/3" D. (1 1/4 lbs.)
The ETON FRX5-BT(+) offers many of the same features, but adds Bluetooth capability and a 2000mah Lithium rechargeable battery. The Bluetooth feature permits you to link with Bluetooth headsets or to use the FRX5-BT(+) as an auxiliary speaker.
(TIP: Both ETON models have been updated periodically, but the model numbers have not necessarily changed. The updates have resulted in battery changes. Some models do not allow for replacement batteries to be installed or substituted by the end user. So, be aware that some spec sheets may show differences in this regard.)
A third EMERGENCY RADIO alternative is the RunningSnail, a/k/a iRonsnow IS-099 (88)+. This device offers many of the same features as the ETON products, but in a more compact design and at a significantly lower cost. The lower cost tradeoff results in a reduced battery capacity, 1000mah. What’s the old saying? “You get what you pay for.” Dimensions: 5" x 2.4" x 1.6" .Weight: less than 0.5 lbs.
These multi-powered/multi-function radios will effectively provide you access to news, weather and information in any emergency using alternative power sources. It also charges your smartphone. My only dislike is that the ETON FRX5-BT (+) series has a very difficult to read and access top button display.
MSRP: $20.00 - $129.99 Depending on model desired. Available at retail, and on line.
GADGETEER’s RATING: ★★★★★
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Bob Skidmore is a freelance writer, who may be contacted at email@example.com, or followed at twitter.com/bskidmore for the latest gadget industry news. He does not represent, or endorse any of the products he reviews and his opinions are solely his points of view and not those of the manufacturer. The manufacturer generally supplies products and press releases at no cost for the articles and no other compensation is received. THE GADGETEER is highly selective as to products he feels worthy of review so as not to waste the reader’s time, thus the reason for many superior ratings.