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Emergency Radios

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posted on Jul, 2 2007 @ 02:05 PM
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My newest addition to our Situation-X Survival Kit is the Eton FR-300.



It features:

  • AM/FM Radio
  • TV Audio Band up to Channel 13 (no Video)
  • 7-Band NOAA Channel
  • Rechargeable Battery
  • Hand-crank dynamo for charging
  • White LED Flashlight
  • Red flashy LED beacon
  • Audio beacon
  • Cell phone charger (you have to mail off for the right one)
  • "Alert" setting to automatically broadcast in the event of alert.
  • Apparently 65 cents of the price went to Red Cross.
  • Red Cross insignia (maybe hostiles and they won't shoot you?)


    Anyway, this bad boy set me back $50 and some change, but I reckon it's a good package in a compact little box that fits into an area no larger than my outstretched hand.

    Figured I'd open the thread to other people and their choice of Emergency Radios, features, and cost.




  • posted on Jul, 2 2007 @ 09:36 PM
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    I don't suppose that the radio has a method of transmission, because that's something I'd want. Even a handheld motorola is a good thing to take along as part of your comms kit, just because almost everyone uses them, from warehouse workers to SAR workers.

    DE



    posted on Jul, 2 2007 @ 10:09 PM
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    Originally posted by DeusEx
    I don't suppose that the radio has a method of transmission, because that's something I'd want.


    Sadly, no. It's only 1-way. However, for the 2-way transmissions, plus the ability to scan the frequencies, we have these, the Motorola Talkabout T5000's



    The features include:

  • 22 Chanels (FRS & GMRS)
  • 38 private codes
  • 1.0 watt power provides up to 5-mile range (the package said 8?)
  • Audible low-battery alert and battery meter
  • Backlit display and transmit LED signal
  • Call confirm tone
  • Keypad lock

    But that's more for point to point communications, like if we had a group that needed to split up, or if a person went out on recon. And it lacks a hand-crank.

    For serious 2-way capability, I'd recommend a good handheld CB. The Mini Cobra comes highly recommended, but lacks a hand-crank. Anyone know of a good handheld CB with a hand-crank dynamo?


  • Cug

    posted on Jul, 2 2007 @ 10:24 PM
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    Originally posted by thelibra

    For serious 2-way capability, I'd recommend a good handheld CB. The Mini Cobra comes highly recommended, but lacks a hand-crank. Anyone know of a good handheld CB with a hand-crank dynamo?



    A hand held CB is a toy not a radio.

    A real radio



    or it's smaller relative



    Both have internal battery packs that can be charged via flexable solar panel. (or something like a bike with a car alternator attached)



    posted on Jul, 3 2007 @ 10:10 AM
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    Looks like the option is either 8 AA batteries or a Ni-Cad rechargeable battery pack. I was kinda hoping for one with a hand-crank dynamo, since regular batteries will eventually deplete and run out in the event of Situation-X, and even rechargable battery packs will eventually wear out or build up a memory charge fault.

    Still, it looks like a pretty sweet CB.



    posted on Jul, 5 2007 @ 01:24 AM
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    It has been some time since I have posted on the survival forum

    Very nice radio The Libra has bought. It is similar to the Grundig FR 200 I have myself purchased for around the home usage. Hand crank dynamo and also AA battery power. Useful features to have in an emergency.

    Also nice photos of the Yaesu Radios. I own two of similar types. My base station is an older FT 890 General Coverage receiver/transmitter fed to a long wire delta loop up about 70 to 80 feet in the tops of the trees on my property. It takes me pretty much anywhere I need to go depending of course on band contitions. I can run up to about 500 watts from a AL 811H amplifier but seldom need to run over 200 watts. Most of my work on this radio is CW or what some call morse code.

    I also run a FT 100D in my truck. This is nice in that it also has the two meter and 440MHZ bands in it in FM and SSB modes of transmission as well as General Coverage frequencys. Plans are eventually to get a 500 watt mobile amplifier for this truck but it is not immediately high on the priority list.

    What I have purchased recently is a set of walkie talkies in 2 meter set ups. I am constantly amazed in how compact these types or radios and even cell phones are becoming compared to say..10 years ago. Amazing to me. Same or better performance from less battery capacity than in the olde days. This is also a big improvement.
    Here is a photograph of my new walkie talkies.




    THe long antenna you see on one of them is not the antenna which comes from the factory. This is a more effecient antenna that comes with the unit. Most radios have nominal antennas from the factory and for those skilled in the art there are things you can do to make or purchase a better antenna if you radio comes with this type of feature which allows such adaptation. You can even make your own antenna portable ...and string such in a temporary set up from a tree..hoisting it up for altitude. My emergency hoist up antenna which will also work in this walkie talkie with a B/C connector is the one in this photo. It is called a J-pole and is about as simple as one can get. Made from olde coaxial cable fed into a flat wire antenna constructed from that olde flat TV/FM type wire. 300Ohm stuff before cable services eclipsed much of its usage.





    I have used this antenna on a mobile radio after a hurricane. Powered by an extra car battery I have in my garage. The antenna is hoisted up by this home made fishing pole over a tree limb. The coaxial cable allows it to be hoisted up about 25 to 30 feet for altitude. I was able to run my radio satisfactorily for about 8 days before power was restored in this neighborhood. This allowed me ...through other hams to find out where and what gas stations were open without having to burn up resources finding gas for my generators, cars,etc. Also what was going on around town that I needed to know.

    Incidently ..for those of you who dont know it ..this type of radio also has in it a DTMF set up which allows you to make phone calls of limited duration. Enough to get into the telephone system and pass limited traffic. That is ..if the telephone system is even working after a weather emergency or such. This is not always the case ..as was clearly illustrated by Hurrican Katrina in Louisiana and Mississippi. Be prepared to go without for extended time if necessary. That is my point. In bad weather emergencys dont count on your cell phones or hard wired land lines to be working. They often go down in winds up around 75 to 100 miles per hour though they are supposed to be made for 150 miles per hour or so. This also means your computer systems may be down in addition to phone systems. High techonology is wonderful stuff when it is working. Think this through carefully here.

    In case you dont get it ..this also means the stores..most of them will be down too until they can get thier computerized cash registers working again. Understand yet??? I mean about these bar code systems??

    It means be prepared for more than just communictions..though communications self sufficiencey is important. NO doubt.

    It is also my habit to keep several coils of copper wire purchased from Radio Shack ready and in my garage. This allows me to hoist up long wire antennas quickly and easily for my HF type radios. I have several tuners which can quickly match any such wire antenna for the frequencys used.
    This simplifys alot though I can also cut an antenna the olde fashioned way if necessary.

    For most of you I think the FRS or family type radios will do for two way communications. Just train yourself to use them and find the correct channels to stay in touch. Get the ones with the best range possible for the moneys spent. Set back some batteries and rotate them out as needed.
    I always try to keep one to two forty packs of AA type batteries around. Just keep the kids out of them. Kids go through alot of batteries for thier toys and gadgets. This stash of batteries is for emergencys not for fun stuff goodies. Otherwise you will find your family with Zero Balance when the tough times come about. This requires dicipline even if you have to hide them from the kiddies.

    TEach yourself ...basic necessitys here. Dicipline is the order of the day.

    Good to see that come of you are thinking along these lines.

    Thanks,
    Orangetom

    [edit on 5-7-2007 by orangetom1999]

    [edit on 5-7-2007 by orangetom1999]



    posted on Jul, 5 2007 @ 08:16 AM
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    Tom, good to see you again!


    Originally posted by orangetom1999
    Very nice radio The Libra has bought. It is similar to the Grundig FR 200 I have myself purchased for around the home usage. Hand crank dynamo and also AA battery power. Useful features to have in an emergency.


    Thanks man. Yeah, we were actually looking for a Grundig at the time, but due to all the crazy ass weather Texas has been getting for over a month straight now, everyone is running really low on emergency radios. Our choice was between the Eton FR300 and a smaller cheaper radio that didn't feature the NOAA bands. That was all we found after checking 3 stores. All in all, though, it's pretty nice, and the dynamo apparently works really well, because I ran the normal radio for several hours off of just 10 seconds worth of cranking.

    Something I didn't think about till just now, I wonder if Eton sells spare rechargeable packs, since eventually the battery pack it comes with will fail to be recharged by the dynamo.



    Originally posted by orangetom1999
    Most radios have nominal antennas from the factory and for those skilled in the art there are things you can do to make or purchase a better antenna if you radio comes with this type of feature which allows such adaptation.


    This sounds like a great skill to learn, and one to which you are already familiar. Can you recommend some good sites on it or write a skill guide for it?



    Originally posted by orangetom1999
    It is also my habit to keep several coils of copper wire purchased from Radio Shack ready and in my garage. This allows me to hoist up long wire antennas quickly and easily for my HF type radios.


    I've got a decent-sized coil of speaker wire leftover, it's a pair of copper and (presumably) aluminum (or nickle?) wires. I've been using it to tie the trunk shut on large loads, but maybe I should save it for making an antenna in Situation X.

    Hell, coils of copper wire in general will be useful given a long enough breakdown in commerce, just to repair broken electronics.


    Originally posted by orangetom1999
    I always try to keep one to two forty packs of AA type batteries around.


    Great point, man. We keep extra stores of batteries around, but I don't have any bulk that are set aside strictly for emergency purposes. Do you know where I can purchase some decent batteries at discount 40-pack bulk? I mean, it's easy to find cheap batteries, but those dollar-store red ones with the black cat leaping through the nine last about 5 minutes in any device short of a TV remote.



    posted on Jul, 5 2007 @ 09:24 AM
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    I'm with Cug on this one. I also have an FT-897. It can be powered in a vareity of ways (including its intenal NiCad's). I also have 3 VX-5R multi-band handhelds (in addition to a quantity of other 2-way gear). In the event of a true Sit-X, it may be necessary to communicate at great distances (into the unaffected/less affected areas) to get information. That will only be possible with equipment that transmits/receives on the HF bands.



    posted on Aug, 12 2007 @ 02:18 PM
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    I have a emergency radio from RadioShack. It does a siren, it has am and fm and it has a huge light.. It can be solar or battery powered or dynamo*i think its called that*



    posted on Aug, 12 2007 @ 02:43 PM
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    i've had my 'Freeplay Plus' for daily use
    (as in all night talk radio/ C2C, etc) for +3 years now

    same:
    solar rechargeable batteries
    aux. crank dynamo
    AM-FM-SW1-SW2
    Diode-Light on 6ft wire
    aux. 20' antenna


    i'm aware the batteries have a ~5 yr life, so i'm ready to change them when necessary.

    my device is kinda bulky & clumsy, not sleek & sexy like youse guys' receivers are ... but thats technology from 2003...the C Crane Co.
    (this is not an Ad or Spam) has photos of the Free-Play models intheir catalogue,


    i'm not recommending nor am i comparing,
    in the future i may get into obtaining another transceiver or upgrading to a Ham status individual. it all depends

    have a good day,



    posted on Aug, 13 2007 @ 05:59 AM
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    It's hard to beat a the old CB radios as two way. I've mounted one in .50 caliber can ala the old portable field phone style with jacks and a bungee style cord to hook to any car cigarette lighter. The internal power is 11 NiMH D cells in a home made pack fed through a 12v regulator. The extra battery is for added to extend the life of the the charge. The regulator is probably not necessary but I've always believed that electronics function better with the correct voltage. I'm think about design a jack to use power tool batteries. The .50 cal can has plenty of room but if you eliminated the internal power source you could use a .30 cal can. The lid is removable, so it can sit on a truck dash. We used to us a similar setup for a mobile control when I was in the military. Need to see if I can find a small solar cell to fit inside the lid or maybe a crank generator.



    posted on Aug, 14 2007 @ 04:00 AM
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    Crgintx and others,

    I have as of yesterday begun my battery charging routine. It is into the Hurricane season and I realized it was time to get on top of things again in this arena of preparedness.

    I operate a electric distiller so I am able to get a ample supply of fresh distilled water to pull maintenance on these batterys.

    I am also discharging one by one the batterys in the walkie talkies in the photos of my post above by just leaving them running in receive mode for a day or two. Then I put them on the charger for a couple of days to get them topped off afresh. One of them is carried daily in my BOB to and fro work. The longer diamond model rubber ducky antenna goes wherever I am located. So far these have been to of the better walkie talkies I have owned.

    Agree with crgintx..in that for most peoples it is hard to beat a CB radio especially if you have no other training in two way communications. These Motorola FRS type radios like the ones pictured above are good for mobility if you can maintain your frequencys or channels without getting lost on the dials. I use a set of them at work for some jobs and just the other day brought them home. I will be changing out the batterys on these too. These two are precisely like the ones featured in Libra's post above.

    Also ..for the Libra. My apologies for not responding to your post above. My work schedule has been hectic and I have also not been back to the survival thread of late.
    I get my 40 pack of batteries at the Costco stores. I have recently joined this buyers club outlet called BJ's. It is much closer to where I live and I notice they too have batteries in large quantities. I will be purchasing theirs soon to replenish my stocks. I need to get another 30 or 40 pack. Preferably two packs. They run about 12 to 14 dollers a pack. These need to be in place and properly staged before any calamity. When hurricanes come to this area..the stocks are sold out immediately. SAme with tuna and crackers. You need to have this equipment pre staged and in place well before hand. If you wait till everyone else is in a panic..it will be empty shelves.

    By the way..crgintx..in the thread on weapons I posted under "how much protection does a sandbag give." I was curious about this and carried out a little experiment with different rifles. Results are on that thread.
    Still need to reload for myself some 7.62x39mm in the 150 grain bullets. Havent had much time for this of late with my work schedule.

    Thanks to all and keep them in the X-ring,
    Orangetom



    posted on Aug, 15 2007 @ 07:54 AM
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    I was pleasantly surprised to see a couple of post mentioning the ham license with the pics of a couple of radios shown. Legally, you need a license to operate these radios but in reality, given the situation of having to use the radio, no one would care at that point.

    I am a Ham and have the HF and VHF equipment fairly well taken care of. I was reading an article about a new satellite system that provides internet service to emergency workers. I was wondering about how important something like that would be to the average Joe to monitor. A simple antenna can be built and a transceiver is already available. Tracking software and software for digital radio usage can be put on a laptop. This is more complex than just a radio being turned on, but it's not that difficult, when you have the stuff already in place.

    Also, what about the Emergency Managers Weather Information Network (EMWIN) system? Do you think monitoring this would be a benefit? I'd definitely not transmit on this frequency, but just monitor. There would be a wealth of info from the network of radios in service. This system is being set up by the NWS (National Weather Service) for weather events, but all events will be used for this service once it is fully functional and integrated nation wide.

    In a SHTF situation, not some local or even regional disaster, like a weather event such as a hurricane, but a real bad day for planet Earth; communications will be fourth on my list of priorities after shelter, water, and food.

    I'm just looking for some ideas and input.



    posted on Aug, 15 2007 @ 08:46 AM
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    I think I've mentioned this on another survival communications thread here... very recently the FCC dropped the morse code requirement to get a ham license. Learning code has always been the stumbling block to getting a ham license for most. I'd encourage all survival aware people to get their license. It's not that difficult. Study guides (with the actual question pool used in the tests) are available.

    Why bother? Well, although VHF and UHF communications are useful (for local/tactical communication), if there is a relatively widespread disaster (or God forbid, national emergency) the only information you are going to get is going to come from a considerable distance --- possibly a very long distance. The only way to communicate at a distance is via HF. Unlike VHF/UHF (which are more-or-less press and talk radios), HF actually requires knowing what you are doing. It's alot trickier to find a workable frequency and make contact with a distant station. Certainly not a skill you want to try and learn while the S is actively HTF. A little noodling ahead of time will pay big dividends later on.

    Take the time to get your license and learn HF. It's actually alot of fun.


    apc

    posted on Aug, 15 2007 @ 12:34 PM
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    This is a radio commonly sold in army surplus stores. Do not buy this radio.



    100% junk.

    [edit on 15-8-2007 by apc]




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