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Crank Radio - Recommendations?

Discussion in 'Functional Gear & Equipment' started by Bubba, Mar 24, 2009.

  1. Bubba

    Bubba Monkey++

    I am finding a multitude of crank radios out there for the "bad times". Price points from $39.95 to $149.99. I want one that will function well in a low signal area and has the adaptor to charge a cell phone.
    One thing I have learned over the years is that price point is not an indication of quality and reliability. Anybody have experience with these units and care to write a consumer report on it?
  2. mtbkski

    mtbkski Monkey++

    I have an Eton Microlink 150.

    Amazon.com: Eton NFR160WXB Microlink Self-Powered AM/FM/NOAA Weather Radio with Flashlight, Solar Power and Cell Phone Charger (Black): Electronics

    It is small and yet, it works very well. It has a flashlight on one end, AM/FM Radio with Weather Stations. It has a hand crank on the back. It has an adapter to charge cell phones. But it takes an awful lot of cranking to charge up a cell phone.

    Flashlight isn't the brightest. But it does well when the lights go out. It is turned on by a waterproof type of button. It runs a long time with just a little cranking of the handle.

    It has a long antenna that seems to work rather well allowing me to pick up local signals with no trouble.

    It is small enough that it will be one of the first things I grab if I have to hit the road.

    I have used mine when big snows knocked out power in my area. I used it for light early in the morning, and, to listen to the radio to see if school was called off for the day or not for the kids.

    Wife says it is the best investment I have made so far for my SHTF day. Cost around $30. But part of the proceeds go to the Red Cross.

    For a small packable radio. I don't think you can go wrong with this one.

    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 26, 2015
  3. Seawolf1090

    Seawolf1090 Adventure Riding Monkey Founding Member

    I have the same radio. I got another larger weather crank radio, that had the adapter tips the Eton lacked. Eton had the cable, but no way to actually hook to the cell-phone! Instructions say it needs 15 minutes cranking to get one minute of call time.
    I find the LED light pretty good compared to some small flashlights. Not great but not bad.
    The little tip popped off my antenna - watch for that! Safety hazard, you could poke yourself.
    The crank handle seems flimsy, and the connector/pivot pin is very thin - possible breaking point!
    I did the initial charging by plugging the cable to my PC. The Eton doesn't have AA batteries, like some larger crank radios. I have not tried the solar charging yet. Of the seven or eight weather channels, only one works well - they are for different AOs. FM works well, and Rush comes over clear. :rolleyes: The speaker is less 'tinny' than many small non-stereo radios.

    Not a bad deal for the price.
  4. BAT1

    BAT1 Cowboys know no fear

  5. Byte

    Byte Monkey+++

    I have a Midland XT511 Amazon.com : Midland XT511 GMRS Two-Way Emergency Crank Radio : Frs Gmrs Two Way Radios : Electronics

    It takes Midland BATT-5R rechargable packs or alkaline batteries and comes with a wall charger. Think I paid like $50 bucks for it. It also has a a 3 LED flashlight and a USB chargeing port for cell phones.

    It's a bit more expensive than the cheapie flashlight/FM/AM/Weather crank radios out there since it also supports GMRS 2 way comms. Haven't really had the opportunity to test range and sound quality with anybody yet.

    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 26, 2015
  6. SLugomist

    SLugomist Monkey++

    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 26, 2015
  7. Sherman

    Sherman Dog Eat Dog

    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 26, 2015
  8. Seawolf1090

    Seawolf1090 Adventure Riding Monkey Founding Member

    I went ahead and 'bit'on this ad. The radio just arrived. It is the "GH-858 AM/FM/SW1-6 8 Bands World Radio", manufactured by "Hai Tong Plastics Electrical Factory" according to the box.
    Well, Here's the scoop.
    It has a two-rechargeable battery pack inside for the hand-crank generator. Works alright, but same flimsy crank as the Eton radios.
    FM works, but inside the house, reception wasn't as good as expected - the Eton picksup local stations better. I could NOT pickup a few of my regular stations. The "AM" is shown on the dial as "MW". Seems to work better than the FM.
    The SW works fairly well, but those stations sure have a WIDE overlap of frequency! The same station comes in over a rather wide bit of dial as you run it from one end to the other.
    Internal LED flashlight is weak. Okay for keeping oneself from stumbling about in the dark, but no range, and not bright at all.
    It accepts two "D" cell batteries for normal operation - tight fit too!
    It isn't too very stable, the bottombeing round with two small flat places to sit on a flat surface. Needs some wider 'feet' added for better stability.
    Radio measures about 8 inches long, 4.5 inches high and just under two inches thick. Silver with black trim.
    It has jacks for '3V' power input (but no adapter supplied) and head phones (also not supplied). NO provision to recharge cell phones.
    NO weather stations.
    Let the kids play with this one - I doubt it would stand up to true camping/SHTF useage. I wouldn't pay good money for it. :rolleyes:
  9. Seawolf1090

    Seawolf1090 Adventure Riding Monkey Founding Member

    Here's the scoop onthe Midland "All Hazards Weather Radio" (no model number on the radio)- a much better buy.
    7.5 inches long, including folded crank handle. 6 inches tall and 2.25 inches thick. Silver and black.
    Three "AA" batteries for normal operation, and includes 6V adapter. Has three-pack of rechargeable batteries for crank generator (flimsy plastic handle and thin pivot pin). Includes output jack to charge cell phones and various adapter plugs and cable, and head phone jack.
    Has AM/FM/WX radio modes, with loud alert alarm for weather.
    Digital display includes time and temp. hree-LED flashlight is bright and usable. Top carry handle strap for ease of carrying.
    On FM mode, it does synch onto my stations, and the speaker is decent, not too 'tinny'.
    The weather mode works well.
    The radio has a more solid 'feel' than the previous radio. The one weak point is the dynamo crank handle - it does not stay secured in it's recess well, and can pop out. Could be easily damaged - this seems endemic for all these little portable crank radios.
    Still, I rate this one as worth the $30 I paid at the Publix Grocery for it.
  10. Brokor

    Brokor Live Free or Cry Moderator Site Supporter+++ Founding Member

    Good find. I have the Kaito Voyager (KA500)
    Amazon.com: Kaito KA500BLK 5-Way Powered Emergency AM/FM/SW Weather Alert Radio, Black: Electronics

    , and it is the best option out there today for the money. Any of their products are quality. Less than $50. Bug Out Remedies Vol1
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 26, 2015
  11. dragonfly

    dragonfly Monkey+++

    I'm still "burned" over the 4 units I bought...after a referral by a "friend"
    a) They don't work!
    b) The cranks were so thin and flimsy, two snapped off on the first try to crank them!
    c) They were made (of course) in CHINA!
    d) The local channels couldn't be picked up at all, only static!
    e) Even with batteries, they sucked...

    1) NEVER buy anything before you can actually have a "hands-on" experience!
    2) And, NEVER buy it off the internet, UNLESS you know what you are getting, and you are sure they have a return policy!
    I'm learning...s-l-o-w-l-y!
  12. Sherman

    Sherman Dog Eat Dog

    please tell tell us, what brand radio is this? so we can all avoid them.
  13. smitty32303

    smitty32303 Monkey++

    Midland ER102 "For Free", This past weekend huntress and I went to publix to pick up some items, and saw a rack with two different Midland Model emergency radio's. I picked up a ER 102, which the price on the rack showed 29.95. When we got to the check out it rang up 39.95, which cought my eye. Well to make a long story short, publix policy is if it rings up the wrong amount, you get it free. This unit is hand crank power, has rechargable battery pack with charger included, back up std aa battery support,Cell Phone charger with adaptors, LED flashlight, siren, am/fm with Tele antenna,Temp readout and Freeze alarm, WX alarm (which sounds off and has flashing light) and has been tested. National weather has their test here each Wednesday at noon, and this unit sure does let you know when it goes off. I have used Midland radio's for many years in the trucking industry, so besides getting it for free, the 40.00 bucks is still a great deal for a dependable unit with a good reputation to boot.
  14. Brokor

    Brokor Live Free or Cry Moderator Site Supporter+++ Founding Member

    Yes, Midland makes high quality SW radios, and I own one myself. They even make some Radio Shack models, too. I didn't know that they made a solar-crank model. Good stuff.
  15. dragonfly

    dragonfly Monkey+++

    Not sure of the brand...I'll have to dig them up in the salvage stuff my son hoards!
  16. Seawolf1090

    Seawolf1090 Adventure Riding Monkey Founding Member

    It's not 'solar' - battery, AC adapter and hand-crank only - I found the number on mine I reported on above - the ER102. It has a red panel illumination with top button too - convenient at night!

    Good radios!
  17. E.L.

    E.L. Moderator of Lead Moderator Emeritus Founding Member

    I have the Eton FR-400. I like it, but of course the plastic tip of the crank broke off. I really like the ability to get the TV channels, and AM and FM comes in clear. I just wish that it was sturdier.

    Amazon.com: Eton FR400 Hand Crank Radio and Power Generator (Orange): Electronics

    Weather any storm with the water-resistant Eton FR400 Radio. The Eton FR400 is a self powered, water resistant AM/FM radio with NOAA and TV VHF. The flashlight will help you find your way, and the siren can help others find you. You'll never be caught with a dead cell phone, either. Just plug it into the radio and turn the crank to supply power. The hand crank also provides you with power to listen to AM and FM radio, as well as weather station broadcasts. Get prepared. Get the FR400.

      • AM/FM-VHF channels 2-13.
      • Water-resistant body.
      • NOAA Weather - all 7 channels plus "Alert" function.
      • 3 LED light system with emergency flash.
      • Can be powered from four different sources:
        • Built-in rechargeable Ni-MH battery.
        • Dynamo crank alone.
        • AC Adapter (included).
        • 3 "AA" batteries (not included).
      • Emergency siren.
      • Built-in cell phone charger.
      • Size: W 8.75in. x D 2.25 in. x H 4.5 in.
      • Weight: 1 lb. 4 oz.
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 26, 2015
  18. Sherman

    Sherman Dog Eat Dog

    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 26, 2015
  19. E.L.

    E.L. Moderator of Lead Moderator Emeritus Founding Member

    I wonder what the range of that radio is.
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 26, 2015
  20. Byte

    Byte Monkey+++

    Sherman, that's the radio I have. The crank seems pretty solid. And as I mentioned, I haven't been able to test the range yet. Maybe I need to just buy a second one to test them together!

    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 26, 2015
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