Author Topic: Disaster kit emergency radio  (Read 2177 times)

livetogive

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Disaster kit emergency radio
« on: October 31, 2013, 12:21:03 PM »
We live in an earthquake prone area and I'm putting together an emergency kit.  I'm a vet and handy with cheaper alternatives to expensive special purpose survival gear crap marketed to the SHTF contingent, but i'm stuck on the emergency radio.

Cheap kind - small, light, provides a radio, charges with solar cell or crank, can charge a cell phone allegedly - $25
More expensive kind - a little larger, provides all from cheap plus can run on AAA batteries (same as our lantern) and has a replaceable rechargeable battery.  $55

Cheap Pros: smallest, lightest, cheapest  Cheap cons: no AAA batteries
Expensive Pros: allows AAA batteries   Cons: slightly larger and heavier

Is it worth the extra 30 bucks for the convenience of AAA batteries and potentially better build quality?  Anyone had to use one before?

jpo

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Re: Disaster kit emergency radio
« Reply #1 on: October 31, 2013, 12:40:21 PM »
We picked up an Envirofit lantern, seems good enough for me. Would rather not deal with batteries.

sneeds

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Re: Disaster kit emergency radio
« Reply #2 on: October 31, 2013, 01:49:50 PM »
We picked up one similar to this at a sporting goods/camping store several years ago: http://www.amazon.com/Freeplay-Energy-Companion-Self-Sufficient-Flashlight/dp/B0016OVN1O.  I'm not sure if that's the exact brand we have, but it looks like pretty much the same radio. We used it during the last big black out in San Diego and we take it camping a lot. I like that it's small/easily portable, that it has the solar panel so you don't typically have to mess with the hand crank, and that it has a flashlight built in. I don't want to have to mess with batteries.

We also picked up this little solar charger to charge cell phones and other devices: http://store.solio.com/Solio-Store/CLASSIC2-Solar-Battery-Charger-S13-AF1RW

Daley

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Re: Disaster kit emergency radio
« Reply #3 on: October 31, 2013, 02:50:25 PM »
Ignore the battery contingent as anything but a nicety, buy for build quality. Extra bonus points for hand crank and the ability to charge other devices, and shop for two-way support. Something like the Midland XT511 would be top of my list these days.

livetogive

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Re: Disaster kit emergency radio
« Reply #4 on: October 31, 2013, 04:16:28 PM »
Thanks!

IP - I noticed the Midland XT511 has UHF transmit capability.  Does anyone know if this is worth paying for?  I have no idea what EMS uses but I hadn't considered a radio with the ability to transmit as well.

livetogive

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Re: Disaster kit emergency radio
« Reply #5 on: October 31, 2013, 04:24:27 PM »
answered my own question with this site:

http://www.radioreference.com/apps/db/?coid=1

which also shows that the bands wouldn't cross over anyway.  Now i'm wondering if it's worth having a radio at all.

Daley

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Re: Disaster kit emergency radio
« Reply #6 on: October 31, 2013, 06:48:53 PM »
Have a primer on GMRS radio: http://www.popularwireless.com/gmrsfaqa.html

Get licensed, learn how to use it, and learn the important frequencies like FRS Channel 1 (462.5625MHz) and the 462.675/467.675 MHz emergency bands, habits like Wilderness Protocol, etc. Encourage neighbors to learn and get licensed as well. The ability to transmit and communicate even with lower wattage on GMRS during emergencies is a good thing, especially since centralized infrastructure like cellular can't be counted on.

(Have a recount of some events I went through a few months back that have changed some of my approach to communications, especially with emergency situations.)

Trust me, it'll be worth it. The Midland XT511 covers some important bands for both listening and transmitting on.