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Dale Wambaugh
(dwambaugh) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Ultralight AM/FM radios on 08/18/2012 12:40:07 MDT Print View

I like listening to the radio and I'm a real NPR freak. I have fiddled with a number of small AM/FM radios gleaned from garage sales and thrift stores and sifted information from the Web and thought I would share two of my favorites.

AM/FM radios

The radio on the left is the Sony SRF-S84. It is an all-analog AM/FM receiver and weighs 1.6oz with a single AAA battery. Sound and reception are excellent, in fact downright amazing for such a small radio. Signal selection is great, almost like having channels. The small tuning wheel can make it a challenge to get a really faint signal but running back and forth slowly usually does the trick. Keep in mind that I'm talking about signals that won't even register on other radios. It has a "Megabass" feature, a typical volume control wheel with on/off switch and a AM/FM mono/FM stereo slider. It has a stainless clip on the back that will fit straps to 1-3/8". Unfortunately, it isn't formally imported to the US, but can be found on eBay, Amazon, and other sources with prices from the high $30's on up.

The radio on the right is the Sangean DT-120. It is more digitally-oriented than the Sony and has a lot of convenient features that come along with the extra electronics: 15 presets, scanning, a 90 minute shut-off timer, extended bass switch, and push-button controls. Weight is 2.1oz with a single AAA battery-- just 0.5oz more than the little Sony above. I just got this one last week so I haven't had a chance to try it out in remote areas, but for all my experimenting at home, it should do just fine. With the digital tuning, you can't split hairs on really weak stations like you can with an analog tuner, but it will pull in most signals worth listening to. I was able to get an AM CBC station in Vancouver BC, 140 miles away! Battery life should be better than the Sony, not because of more efficiency in the circuits, but because it turns off after 90 minutes, so I can't fall asleep and leave it on. If you leave the headphones out, it will turn itself off in a few seconds, so it can't inadvertently be turned on while packed and run the battery down. it does have a lock switch that will accomplish the same and lock the settings when in use. Web prices run $36-$38. They make a clear version for use in prisons to make it harder for inmates to hide contraband.

Both radios came with acceptable earbud headphones. Many people have strong personal preferences to earbuds and they both use standard 3.5mm jacks, so you can use what you like. I do recommend experimenting with headphones as the ground wire on the headphones is what is used for the FM antenna. I have no problem with the vast majority of headphones I have tried, but one or two were noticeably worse, so if you have reception problems, try another set. When in remote areas, you can sometimes pull in weak stations by just turning your head. I have found that just re-arranging the slack cord on top of my sleeping bag at night can make a difference. AM reception in almost all small radios is accomplished with a ferrite bar inside the radio and reception can be changed by rotating the radio. I have hung the radio from the top of my shelter and improved reception too.

If you want a small radio on a budget, the Sony SRF-59 performs nearly as well as the SRF-S84 and can be found for around $15. I would swap out the headphones for earbuds.It will run up to 100 hours on a single AA battery. I don't have the exact weight, but it is just a couple ounces more than the SRF-84, IIRC.

Sony SRF-59

jerry adams
(retiredjerry) - MLife

Locale: Oregon and Washington
Re: Ultralight AM/FM radios on 08/18/2012 12:55:28 MDT Print View

I've been using Sony Walkman http://www.amazon.com/Sony-SRF-M37W-Walkman-Digital-Weather/dp/B00140DBRY/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1345315739&sr=8-1&keywords=sony+walkman

4 ounces including ear buds and 1 AAA battery. Maybe 40 hours on one battery. Pretty good reception in the wilderness.

NPR is good. Canadian public broadcasting when I'm in the Olympics. 620AM in Portland or 1090AM in Seattle. I hate it when I'm, for example, on the East side of the Three Sisters and all I can get is Rush Limbaugh or the like.

I tried a Sangean portable, not the one you got, and it didn't pick up distant stations very good so not so good when in the wilderness.

Dale Wambaugh
(dwambaugh) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Re: Ultralight AM/FM radios on 08/18/2012 13:51:44 MDT Print View

The SRF-M37W is convenient, but it isn't well thought of for sound quality or reception in the radio communities. Fine for local stuff. The SRF-59 is far superior and less expensive, but all analog.

The old Sony SRF-M80V "armband" radios are good and have weather band, along with the defunct TV audio channels. The SRF-M85W is good, but beware the similar looking SRF-M85V: it uses just one AAA battery which looks great, but reception on the one I had was terrible. You can find the SRF-M80V in thrift stores and garage sales for a few dollars.

Also beware of the Grundig Mini 400 sold at REI. It is one of the few items I have returned. I was totally disgusted with the performance. I was surprised, as Grundig usually does a good job.

If you are really get out in the boonies, the County Comm GP4L radio has several shortwave bands as well as AM/FM and you get a speaker and an LED flashlight. 85g/3oz without batteries and about $38 with US shipping. http://www.countycomm.com/gp4light.html. If you rig up a long wire with an alligator clip and attach that to the telescoping antenna, you can get incredible distant reception on SW. I had one and would run a wire to the strap of my trekking pole in shelter mode and then to a tree or bush--- not for lightning storms!

Bob Gross
(--B.G.--) - F

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: Ultralight AM/FM radios on 08/18/2012 13:55:09 MDT Print View

You know, guys, that AM broadcast band will carry AM station signals over a long distance, maybe 500 miles or more. FM broadcast band is intended to go no more than maybe 100 miles. That is just the nature of the beast.

Also, if you have analog tuning on an FM receiver, and if you are trying to closely tune back and forth to pick out just that one station, you are using _FM_selectivity_. Once in a while, you will see some numbers for this listed in the product specifications. Normally you get good selectivity only in a big radio. FM reception can be improved on most of these little ones by stringing up five feet of wire as an antenna. You could wrap that around a tent pole.

I admit to having carried a tiny radio like this before, but only on solo trips, and only on a cold and rainy night in the damp shelter.

--B.G.--

jerry adams
(retiredjerry) - MLife

Locale: Oregon and Washington
Re: Ultralight AM/FM radios on 08/18/2012 14:13:03 MDT Print View

I had a Sony with the now defunct TV channels but it wore out. I used to sometimes listen to TV when I was out in the wilderness.

That was it - the Grundig Mini 400 sold at REI - very poor reception - I returned it also.

Country Comm GP4L is good? 3 ounces + 1.75 ounces for 2 AA batteries - 150 hours is enough for any trip I'de do.

So, you think reception is better than SRF-M37W?

I like the digital tuner. It seems like they reject near-by stations better.

Dale Wambaugh
(dwambaugh) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Re: Re: Ultralight AM/FM radios on 08/18/2012 15:00:59 MDT Print View

Yes, I think the County Comm's reception will beat the SRF-M37W. The ferrite bar is larger for AM, as well as longwire options and the long telescoping antenna is used for FM as well as SW. Keep in mind that the Gp4L is analog *tuning* with digital *readout.* The digital presets on the Sony are handy, but analog tuning is better for weak reception.

I had to go back and look at the reviews I saw for the SRF-M37W. Reception was not so much an issue as background noise and sound quality. Background noise becomes more important with weak stations--- read remote area reception.

Yeah, 150 hours would be 37 4-hour nightly sessions. The County Comm has clock and alarm functions too. Very handy when beach hiking and skirting tides.


If you want to get some more insight into these little radios, Dr. Xin is well known for making mods to them. Google "Xin's radio mods" and you will get some interesting reading. He likes to improve the circuits by replacing the capacitors with higher quality components. Look at http://www.fixup.net/tips/srf49/srf49.htm for an eyeful.

I've heard that the FM broadcasts are designed for 25 mile reception. I've found in driving all over Western Washington that stations do indeed drop out at about 25 miles, then pick up a little better father out. I don't know the physics of that. It may just be the hills and antenna locations.

You can boost most headphone-style FM radios by winding a small loop of light wire around the headphone plug-- thin enough that it won't keep it from making full contact. You are just extending the ground wire. I wonder if a pass-through connector couldn't be wired up from 3.5mm plugs and jacks to tap the ground wire and allow an antenna wire to be neatly plugged in. The photos below are from http://www.fixup.net/tips/srfs83/srfs83.htm

Extending an FM antennaExtending an FM antenna

Edited by dwambaugh on 08/18/2012 15:16:22 MDT.

Vince Contreras
(pillowthread) - F

Locale: like, in my head???
GP4L FTW! on 08/18/2012 15:36:37 MDT Print View

And acronyms for the win too, apparently...but really, the County Comm radio is stellar.

Dale Wambaugh
(dwambaugh) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Re: Ultralight AM/FM radios on 08/18/2012 15:40:07 MDT Print View

Another one that is usable is the Panasonic rf-sw200. It isn't as strong on the reception side, but loaded with features-- worth it if you run across one at a yard sale. 3oz with a AAA battery and stripped of the armband. The top faceplate is metal!

Panasonic rf-sw200

It is roughly 4" tall and 3" wide. You can find many "pocket radios" with aspeaker for the weight and size. Don't play one next to my campsite!

Edited by dwambaugh on 08/18/2012 15:42:24 MDT.

David Adair
(DavidAdair) - M

Locale: West Dakota
Re: Re: Ultralight AM/FM radios on 08/18/2012 16:08:48 MDT Print View

Thanks for the reviews Dale. I like my GP4L well enough but something lighter like the S84 would be easier to justify during the summer months. I like having a speaker since it helps my dog "turn off" his ears and relax. I suppose a set of those individual ear phones would be loud enough?

Jerry - Did you use the weather band much on the SRF-37W? How reliable was the WB reception in the back country?

Also, maybe we should consider trading radios, as my GP4L seems to pick up way too much NPR and not enough Rush Limbaugh.

jerry adams
(retiredjerry) - MLife

Locale: Oregon and Washington
Re: Re: Re: Ultralight AM/FM radios on 08/18/2012 17:11:32 MDT Print View

The only place I ever got the weather band to work was like on the Straight of Juan Da Fuca. But, there were AM stations that had an occasional weather report. So, to me, the weather band is pretty useless.

On the East side of the Three Sisters you get two "Rush Limbaugh" stations. On the West side you get an NPR station 550AM. I guess I'll have to stay on the West side and you can stay on the East side : )

Dale Wambaugh
(dwambaugh) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Re: weather band reception on 08/18/2012 18:15:43 MDT Print View

Here is a link to state-by-state information on NOAA broadcast locations. Note the column with power info; for example, there are 16 stations in Washington ranging from 50 watts to 330 watts.

I would assume the emphasis is on coastal regions and those areas with wilder weather like tornadoes and hurricanes.

I too would look for weather info from local AM stations if I couldn't get NOAA reception.

Years ago we were camped at Cape Alava, on the Olympic Park beaches. One morning, I was listening to an overseas SW broadcast to hear that there had been a tsunami warning around the Pacific Rim the night before. It wasn't a concern in our area, but it did strike me how blissfully we slept with our campsite maybe 6 feet above tide line. The screeches of fighting raccoons in the trees over our heads were far more a concern.

Perhaps someday we will have satellite communication with iPhone-sized devices, with weather maps and the like.

I still love the magic of broadcast radio with all this music and information just floating around the air to be caught and enjoyed for the cost of a little radio and a couple batteries.

I have used a number of XM satellite radios and like the concept a lot. Unfortunately it is tied to a couple organizations that are struggling to stay in business--- read "flaky." For wilderness use they have the same reception issues as GPS and the limitations of rechargeable batteries.

Edited by dwambaugh on 08/18/2012 18:17:01 MDT.

Walter Carrington
(Snowleopard) - M

Locale: Mass.
am/fm radio on 08/18/2012 19:19:02 MDT Print View

Keep in mind the characteristics of AM and FM propagation:
AM daytime: you will get local stations out to 50 to 100 miles, occasionally more.
AM night time: 1000 miles is easy. Stations at 1000 miles will often be stronger than local stations. I.e., it's not hard to pick up Chicago stations from Mass.
AM will usually perform better in winter than summer (less noise). There are not many good AM radios these days, even for home use; even some expensive tuners will often be lousy for AM.

FM is generally limited to local stations. In deep valleys you might get no stations even with a really good radio and good antenna. On mountaintops you might get stations to 150 to 200 miles. Reception is similar to TV. Adding on some sort of wire antenna will sometimes dramatically improve reception.

A couple of radios with much above average am performance and pretty good fm are:
Kaito KA-1103 or Degen DE1103 (same radio) about 10 ounces. Has Short wave also. If you really want to try and get your home sports teams on AM while hiking this might be worth carrying.

GE superradio I,II or sometimes III. Cult AM radio. Too heavy and bulky for backpacking, but for home use perhaps the best AM reception of any modern inexpensive radio; expensive amateur radio units will be better but much more $$$. Unfortunately, more recent versions of the SR III are the same external appearance but truly lousy performance.

Dale Wambaugh
(dwambaugh) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Re: Superadios on 08/18/2012 20:54:45 MDT Print View

I smiled at the mention of the GE Superadios. Great radios with a big speaker for little cash. They use SIX "D" batteries! But the idea of hiking with one reminded me of coming down from a mountain lake to see a bunch of college kids headed up the hill in sweats, baseball caps and flip flops, not one "essential" between them and one kid with a boom box on his shoulder, thumping away. [insert pithy Shakespeare quote with 'fools' in it] Maybe you could short a battery and get a fire started.

GE Superadio III

Edited by dwambaugh on 08/18/2012 21:09:23 MDT.

Andy F
(AndyF) - M
Re: Ultralight AM/FM radios on 08/18/2012 21:28:00 MDT Print View

The Sansa Clip MP3 player has an FM receiver built in. Not counting earbuds, it weighs 0.85 oz (24 g).

jerry adams
(retiredjerry) - MLife

Locale: Oregon and Washington
Re: Re: Ultralight AM/FM radios on 08/18/2012 21:39:28 MDT Print View

How many hours will the Sansa last before battery is dead?

There's one MP3 player that says it's 50 hours - that could be usable - too bad you can't have spare batteries

Dale Wambaugh
(dwambaugh) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Re: Sansa and others on 08/18/2012 22:28:48 MDT Print View

I have a Sansa and I like it. The FM reception is fine for urban stuff, but it can't compete with the dedicated readio receivers. The advertised battery life is 15 hours. One nice feature is the built in mic and voice recording, so you can keep a spoken journal as you go. It would be fine for areas with good reception and overnighters. Can't beat it for tiny and light.

I would love to see one of the alkaline battery AM/FM radios with MP3 capabilities on an SD card. There are some good radio/mp3 players with more guts than the Sansa, but they all use rechargeable batteries.

Lexar made the MDA256-100, a small MP3 player that used one AAA battery and had 256mb internal memory and used up to 2GB SD cards. It would also do voice recording. Meld those features with something like the Sony SRF-S84 and you would have a good hiker's music box. It is about the size of a Zippo lighter.

Lexar MDA256-100 Digital Media MP3 Player

Dale Wambaugh
(dwambaugh) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Re: am/fm radio distance on 08/25/2012 09:58:30 MDT Print View

I was wrong about the CBC station I pickred up at 660 AM. I thought it was in Vancouver, but it turned out to be Calgary --- 675 miles away. Weak, but audible.

John Abela
(JohnAbela) - MLife

Locale: www.hikelighter.com
Re: Ultralight AM/FM radios on 08/25/2012 10:16:20 MDT Print View

The Sangean DT-400W has been used on the PCT by a few different hikers over the last few years.

jerry adams
(retiredjerry) - MLife

Locale: Oregon and Washington
Re: am/fm radio distance on 08/25/2012 11:02:28 MDT Print View

I was just getting Portland 1190AM on ridges in the Wallowas during the day - about 300 miles away.

But then I have to listen to Rush : (

Dale Wambaugh
(dwambaugh) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Re: Sangean DT-400W on 08/25/2012 11:37:36 MDT Print View

The Sangean DT-400W gives you a speaker and weather bands--- at the cost of weight and size. You get a clock too. Nice rig!

Dale Wambaugh
(dwambaugh) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Ultralight AM/FM Radio Boom Box on 03/27/2013 00:22:11 MDT Print View

I found this radio today. Some hikers have wanted a radio with a speaker and this fits the bill, although the tiny 1.4" speaker is rather tinny. Analog AM/FM, runs on two AAA batteries, headphone jack, telescoping antenna and wrist strap. Measures 3.5" x 2.15" x 0.85" and weighs 3.2oz with alkaline batteries.

UL Boom Box












UL Boom Box

Edited by dwambaugh on 03/27/2013 00:23:14 MDT.

Bob Gross
(--B.G.--) - F

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: Ultralight AM/FM Radio Boom Box on 03/30/2013 01:24:30 MDT Print View

I've had one of those little gems for several years. Of course it is not as good as a big/heavy/expensive radio, but it works.

--B.G.--

Steven McAllister
(brooklynkayak) - MLife

Locale: Atlantic North East
Good thread on 03/30/2013 15:11:09 MDT Print View

Thanks for these posts.

I remember seeing a very small light radio that was waterproof.

I know I've ruined radios from dampness on wet hikes.
Ever hiked in rain so bad that eventually almost everything gets wet?

Dale Wambaugh
(dwambaugh) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Re: Good thread on 03/30/2013 16:06:27 MDT Print View

"Ever hiked in rain so bad that eventually almost everything gets wet?"

Only a few that DIDN'T :) I generally hike in a cold wet sponge with steep sides!

jeffrey armbruster
(book) - M

Locale: Northern California
"Ultralight AM/FM radios" on 03/30/2013 19:56:05 MDT Print View

I often hike solo and really like picking up a baseball game on a radio. I stopped carrying one for weight reasons and also because I tend to sleep earlier now and the best signal seems to come in later at night. As a Northern Californian, my whole experience of Vin Scully comes from backpacking trips, where the signal from L.A. came in clearer than the Giants or A's. Yes, he's a great announcer; he's got nothing on Bill King however.

Jerry: Limbaugh in the wilderness...NOOOO! As you know, there's an art to finding the perfect, old, lightweight paperback in a used book store; a Faulkner or a Dostoevsky or a Le Carre, that saves you from having to tune in to the likes of...

Edited by book on 03/30/2013 20:11:19 MDT.

jerry adams
(retiredjerry) - MLife

Locale: Oregon and Washington
Re: "Ultralight AM/FM radios" on 03/30/2013 20:43:25 MDT Print View

"Crime and Punishment" is good

Dale Wambaugh
(dwambaugh) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Re: UL broadcasts on 03/30/2013 21:08:13 MDT Print View

In the Olympics you can pick up global roots music on Village 900 radio CKMO AM 900 from Camosun College in Victoria, BC, as well as CBC broadcasts sprinkled with BBC news and with the right exposures, the local NPR FM stations. Fiddling around with the dial at night you might get anything. With a shortwave, you can get anything on the planet it seems.

Even in our current Internet and smartphone culture, broadcast radio is still magic to me. You buy a little box for a few dollars, pop a battery in it and get connected to the rest of the world.

For reading, there is nothing like mini pocket classics like this copy of Walden in my library:
Walden
267 pages of wisdom from a fellow walker and 3.4oz.

What we ***should*** do is write. My head is always clearer from the natural surroundings and exercise. A small Moleskin notebook and a Space Pen are perfect. My base weigh can always afford them.

jeffrey armbruster
(book) - M

Locale: Northern California
"Ultralight AM/FM radios" on 03/31/2013 13:32:06 MDT Print View

Those Shambhalla pocket classics are perfect for backpacking. They don't publish any novels in that format however.

It's weird and I can't explain why the classic Russian novelists work for me in the wilderness. Maybe it's just because they usually write long novels so I don't have to worry about running out of something to read on my trips.

Dale, what's the brand of that last radio with the long antennae? It's all about getting reception--esp. fm as I'm an NPR freak too.

Edited by book on 03/31/2013 13:35:40 MDT.

Lapsley Hope
(Laps) - M
Music/radio on 03/31/2013 13:50:39 MDT Print View

16 gb iPod nano with FM radio.

Bob Gross
(--B.G.--) - F

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: Music/radio on 03/31/2013 14:00:04 MDT Print View

Mine is almost identical to Dale's, except that mine is JWIN JX-M6.

The problem is FM radio. In most places, the effective range for FM transmission is only 30 miles, or 100 miles tops. In many wilderness areas, you are outside that range. That is why it is nice to have AM as well, because it can come booming in from 1000 miles. The problem there is selectivity, which is the ability to listen to one station on one frequency and completely ignore another station just slightly off in frequency. Tiny radios tend to be weak on selectivity.

--B.G.--

jerry adams
(retiredjerry) - MLife

Locale: Oregon and Washington
Re: "Ultralight AM/FM radios" on 03/31/2013 14:04:22 MDT Print View

I now listen to NPR after I lost me beloved KPOJ

Actually, I like NPR better because it's more varied

I think a digital tuner is better than analog when it comes to receiving weak signals in the wilderness. Like the Countrycomm and Grundig are not nearly as good as the Sony SRF-M37W or that new CC Crane Pocket Radio, in my experience.

Bob Gross
(--B.G.--) - F

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: Re: "Ultralight AM/FM radios" on 03/31/2013 14:10:23 MDT Print View

"I think a digital tuner is better than analog when it comes to receiving weak signals in the wilderness."

Agreed. Unfortunately, a digital tuner adds expense and sometimes weight.

You can also improve reception with the use of a long wire antenna to supplement the built-in antenna.

--B.G.--

jerry adams
(retiredjerry) - MLife

Locale: Oregon and Washington
Re: Re: Re: "Ultralight AM/FM radios" on 03/31/2013 14:32:36 MDT Print View

Is there anyway to extend AM antenae?

FM is easy like someone (you?) showed

Dale Wambaugh
(dwambaugh) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Re: Antennas on 03/31/2013 15:14:16 MDT Print View

Some light wire works fine. Many shortwave antennas are just a long piece of wire and that way since Marconi. BUT, most AM antennas are a ferrite bar with windings inside the radio. Google "am loop antenna" for a good alternative. The telescoping antennas on these small radios are for FM. AM reception is improved by turning the whole radio. FM ntennas that work through the ground wire on your headphones are effected by position. Simply moving the wire can change reception dramatically.

I don't agree with the digital tuning for weak stations. Analog will split hairs. The coarseness of the gearing of the tuning mechanism is the issue. Be aware that some radios have analog tuning with digital readout, as with the County Comm.

I thought the mini boombox was interesting, but it has nowhere near the integrity of the Sangean and Sony mini radios at the beginning of this thread. The Sangean DT400W or County Comm radios would be my choice if a speaker is preferred. I'd rather use earbuds and have a smaller lighter radio. Battery life is better with earbuds.

Bob Gross
(--B.G.--) - F

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: Re: Antennas on 03/31/2013 15:41:54 MDT Print View

Yes, a "long wire" AM antenna can be helpful sometimes. Tie a piece of fine copper wire to some critical point on the radio, such as the end of the telescoping FM antenna, although there might be a better spot for AM. String the wire up perpendicular to where you think the AM transmitter is.

--B.G.--

jerry adams
(retiredjerry) - MLife

Locale: Oregon and Washington
Re: Re: Antennas on 03/31/2013 15:43:21 MDT Print View

Yeah, that's weird about FM, you can move slightly and change reception. Or hang the radio in the air a little rather than setting on the ground.

Have you tried analog and digital tuners, like the Sony and Countycomm, side by side out in the wilderness where they just barely worked?

When I have tried this, the Countycomm was no where near as good. Maybe I need to try it again - maybe I didn't give it a fair test. And I tested AM more than FM.

jerry adams
(retiredjerry) - MLife

Locale: Oregon and Washington
Re: Re: Re: Antennas on 03/31/2013 15:46:46 MDT Print View

Okay, I'll have to try antenae extension wire for AM. I just assumed that it wouldn't work because the AM antenae is a ferrite bar inside the radio. But, with radio waves, the antenae extension might not have to actually touch the real antenae.

I used to have this box that was about a foot diameter with a dial that you could crudely set to a particular AM frequency. Set it next to your AM radio and the radio gets much better reception.

Bob Gross
(--B.G.--) - F

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: Re: Re: Re: Antennas on 03/31/2013 15:57:18 MDT Print View

Yes, there is a whole bunch of tricks for improving either AM or FM performance. However, most are impractical or heavy. Often you can improve reception simply by providing a better ground to the radio, and that might mean another piece of wire to Earth, or it might mean cupping your hand around the right part of the radio case.

In the UL sense, if you can't do it with five feet of fine wire, you won't ever do it.

What you won't do is to improve your GPS antenna reception much except by replacing the antenna. That, as they say, is a totally different ball of wax.

--B.G.--

Dale Wambaugh
(dwambaugh) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Antennas on 03/31/2013 18:03:00 MDT Print View

If the local stations are weak, it's time to play with the shortwave bands.

Loop antennas are the way to supplement the AM ferrite bar. Maybe metal hiking poles would have some use.

jerry adams
(retiredjerry) - MLife

Locale: Oregon and Washington
Re: Antennas on 04/01/2013 10:07:14 MDT Print View

But, where I go, for example the beach on the Olympic Peninsula I can get 690 AM CBC, with the Sony or C. Crane, but not with the Countycomm. And the Grundig analog that I don't think they make any more is maybe even worse.

Extrapolating from this limited test, I suspect other analog radios are the same, but at least those two digital radios do work.

This is during the day - at night analog radios will pick up stations.

Dale Wambaugh
(dwambaugh) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Re: Re: Antennas on 04/01/2013 12:35:17 MDT Print View

Try the County Comm with some wire clipped to the antenna and see what happens. Using the ferrite bar, simply turning the radio will make a difference. That is counter-intuitive as we want the speaker pointed toward us.

The passive am loop antennas are a coil of wire that sits next to the radio and feeds signal to the ferrite bar in your AM radio via inductance. I've played with commercial versions, but they are much too large and heavy for hiking. I have one on the AM antennas that come with a home stereo. I'll try putting more windings on that light plastic frame and see how it does. The commercial versions have a variable capacitor to tune to various frequencies. I'm not going there, but even a simple loop should help.

robert van putten
(Bawana) - F

Locale: Planet Bob
RCA MP3 on 04/01/2013 13:13:18 MDT Print View

RCA MP3

I’ve almost never bothered with a radio or music but I remember one five day backpacking trip back around 1981 when one of my friends brought along a tape deck and a few Beatles cassettes. It was the old kind of flat tape deck with one speaker that took six D batteries!

We didn’t use it much but one night I camped in a cave while my friends hiked a few miles away to sleep beside a lake. They had found a pine grove beside the lake with a very deep carpet of pine needles and wanted to try sleeping on a soft surface for once ( of course, back in those days we knew nothing of sleeping pads. I didn’t even have a sleeping bag on that trip! ).

It poured rain that night – My friends didn’t have so much as a ground cloth to pull over them and spent a miserable night lying under dripping trees in sodden sleeping bags. I was snug in the cave and sat for long hours listening to the rain hammer down while making a pot of tea over a candle and listening to my favorite Beatles tape over and over.

I think the next time I had music on a trip was in 2010.
Just before I went on a cycle tour of Iceland my wife gave me an inexpensive RCA MP3 player from Walmart, the type with a flip out USB connector on the side, loaded with my favorite music.
It ran on a single AAA battery which was also what my bike lights ran on.

It had a radio built in that worked surprisingly well and the tiny light of the display was bright enough to find things in the tent at night ( what little night there is up in Iceland!).
It could also delete songs with the press of a button instead of having to hook it up to a computer, which I quite liked.
I used up two AAA batteries in two weeks, and used it every night to fall asleep as I was having allot of trouble sleeping because the sun just wouldn’t go down, and I also used it a good bit during the day when riding.

Probably not the safest thing to do when riding along a road but I find the tiny thing has become a standard bit of kit for bike riding! Very lightweight and not a bad idea for music on the go, if you don’t mind ear plugs anyway.

Steven McAllister
(brooklynkayak) - MLife

Locale: Atlantic North East
Ultralight AM/FM radios on 05/08/2013 12:28:39 MDT Print View

The Kaito KA200 is about the lightest decent sounding radio with a speaker that I have seen reviewed. I'm sure the reception and quality can't compare to the 4oz or heavier radios, or the headphone only models, but if your radio must have a speaker and be UL, it weighs 2.2oz.

It would not be that often that I would use a radio, but I do remember not seeing a human for several days on one trip and really wished I had one for news, weather and some talk.

Steven McAllister
(brooklynkayak) - MLife

Locale: Atlantic North East
Ultralight AM/FM radios on 05/09/2013 10:03:10 MDT Print View

For those that need mp3 player, digital recording, rechargeable, AM, FM, SW, speaker, ...
Only 3 oz:
Kaito Electronics Inc. KA801

scree ride
(scree) - M
kmet on 05/09/2013 10:08:16 MDT Print View

Find me a radio that will pick up the mighty met and I'll buy it.

Dale Wambaugh
(dwambaugh) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Re: Kaito KA801 on 05/09/2013 10:12:55 MDT Print View

Nice! Not cheap, but lots of bells and whistles. It takes swappable rechargeable batteries too. I like that.

Martin RJ Carpenter
(MartinCarpenter) - F
LW on 05/10/2013 03:09:35 MDT Print View

Rather an English thing this of course. I nearly always carry a long wave radio around with me, because that's what I can get the cricket on. The tempo suits long days walking in fog!

They don't come very small though.

Dale Wambaugh
(dwambaugh) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Re: LW on 05/10/2013 07:49:39 MDT Print View

You want a Tecsun PL-360 and now I do too! Looks like a cool little radio and it has a speaker. 128g/4.5oz.

http://www.universal-radio.com/catalog/portable/3681.html

Tecsun PL-360 radio


PL-360 Specifications

GENERAL
Speaker 40 mm
Audio Output 350 mW
Earphone Jack 3.5 mm stereo
Antenna System AM Ferrite bar and FM/SW telescopic whip
RECEIVER
LW Band 150 - 512 kHz
AM Band 520 - 1710 kHz
SW Band 1 2.3 - 21.95 MHz
FM Band 87 - 108 MHz
Memories 450 (FM 100, MW 100, SW 250)
PERFORMANCE
Sensitivity MW 1mV/m (S/N=26dB)
Sensitivity SW <30uV (S/N=26dB)
Sensitivity FM <3uV (S/N=30dB)
Selectivity MW >60 dB (BW=3 kHz, ± 9 kHz)
Selectivity SW >60 dB (BW=3 kHz, ± 5 kHz)
Selectivity FM >60 dB (± 150 kHz)
POWER SOURCE
External USB 5V DC
Battery AA x 3 (not included)
PHYSICAL
Size 2.1 x 6.3 x 1.1 inches (53x159x26mm)
Weight 128 g.

Steven McAllister
(brooklynkayak) - MLife

Locale: Atlantic North East
Ultralight AM/FM radios on 05/10/2013 07:56:25 MDT Print View

Re: The Tecsun pl-360,
Wow and the size of a TV remote control.

It's a bit much for me, but I could see this for many situations.
A review:
http://n9ewo.angelfire.com/pl360.html

Troy Hawkins
(ollyisk) - F - MLife

Locale: Germany
re: on 05/10/2013 08:15:08 MDT Print View

I really hate that the phone market is killing/has killed the mp3 player market...

I want an MP3 player that runs on a single AAA battery, has a microSDHC slot, plays AM/FM, has no speaker, and has a simple grey and black LCD display

I wish I knew more about electronics because I'd try to make my own.

I think that it would be a perfect solution for hikers and people who want music outdoors without wanting the reliance of electricity for a recharge.

It would be small, extremely light, have decent battery life (in the realm of 15 hours play time), it would be easy to find replacement batteries wherever you were, and you could put a ton of music on a 32GB microSDHC card.

Edited by ollyisk on 05/10/2013 08:17:37 MDT.

M W
(rcmike) - MLife

Locale: California
Sansa Clip on 05/10/2013 15:43:53 MDT Print View

..

Edited by rcmike on 05/10/2013 15:44:38 MDT.

Loren B
(ljamesb)

Locale: London UK, Greenville USA
Re: re: on 05/10/2013 16:17:15 MDT Print View

+1 on that Troy. If anyone has found an aaa powered mp3 player with sd slot and am/fm, then please share it with us all :). AM is obviously crucial if you are anywhere away from cities etc. I would see radio function as more of a bonus though in an mp3 player. If I was really planning to listen to any radio while hiking I would bring a dedicated unit which would work better.

I've also been interested in am/fm radios to bring hiking, but am also interested in shortwave radios too. Anyway here are the models I've found which look good

The Kaito a200 is great and is so small it makes you fee a bit like 007 when you use it, but with batteries the weight is 3oz.

Granted, this much more expensive, but for 3 ounces you could instead take a Degen DE1127 which has am/fm/sw and a 4gb mp3 player (I think the voice.radio recorder functions are useless though).

Edited by ljamesb on 05/10/2013 16:21:18 MDT.

Loren B
(ljamesb)

Locale: London UK, Greenville USA
Re: Re: re: on 05/10/2013 16:23:30 MDT Print View

Or you could bring the Sony SRF-S84, which Dale suggested at the start, and a YooMee BEAT51 (Lightest and cheapest for the sound quality it gives you that I have found 2.2oz and $16) portable speaker for a total weight of 3.8oz (with batteries). This would provide much better sound than the kaito and would be more versatile since you could also hook it up to an mp3 player.

If you want a VERY good signal for the price and weight, then the TECSUN PL-380, at 7oz is an excellent option. Then for stereo sound and slightly better signal look no further than the Tecsun PL398BT, Tecsun PL390, or Tecsun PL398MP depending on the features you want. Kinda heavy at 11 ounces, but for some (including me) it may be worth it.

Edited by ljamesb on 05/10/2013 16:29:05 MDT.

Fitz Travels
(fitztravels) - F
MP3 with AM/FM on 05/10/2013 16:49:29 MDT Print View

Loren, this radio does not have aaa batteries but an internal rechaegeable..

http://www.ccrane.com/radios/am-fm-radios/cc-witness-plus.aspx

I, like you, have been on a quest to find the same type of radio you seek, but i have yet to come across one, perhaps one but it looked cheapo and crappy. I emailed CCrane once to make sure that radio above has annexternal speaker which i think it does, but they never returned my email.

Considering that Black Diamond now has their headlamp ReVolt which by itself can charge aaa batteries, i saw this as an opportunity to find a radio with mp3, am, fm with aaa and thus have no need for extra charger for AA

Its really hard to find any radio (with external speaker) and am fm that takes aaa IME

By the way, for what its worth to anyone, do not ever buy the Grundig radio REI sells. It takes aaa, but the stations creap on you up or down, making it insanely aggrevating, if not worthless.

Edited by fitztravels on 05/10/2013 16:54:26 MDT.

Dale Wambaugh
(dwambaugh) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Re: MP3 with AM/FM on 05/10/2013 20:42:57 MDT Print View

The Degen DE1123 runs on AAA batteries, receives am/fm/sw and has 2gb flash memory for mp3's, or voice/radio recording. I too would rather have SD card capability, but this is close. It has a speaker as well. 81g/2.9oz without batteries.

Troy Hawkins
(ollyisk) - F - MLife

Locale: Germany
interesting on 05/11/2013 03:27:10 MDT Print View

There's another post on this currently--it seems extremely interesting to me.

It's not really ultralight or anything at 10 oz, but it's about as multifunctional as it gets. I currently carry a Kindle anyway, which only weighs a few ounces less.

http://www.meetearl.com/

Loren B
(ljamesb)

Locale: London UK, Greenville USA
another option on 05/11/2013 13:40:00 MDT Print View

Fitz, that does look good, but is a little pricey. Would be great though if you wanted to be able to record some radio shows.

Sorry for going slightly off topic here, but I don't know how many of you carry a cell/mobile phone with you while hiking. I carry it for the same reason that will sometimes carry my car keys and that is that I have no choice. I need these things for the return journey home. I've decided to forget about finding a radio with an inbuilt mp3 player as it seems most of them compromise on the radio aspect in order to jam an mp3 function in there. I've instead decided instead to just buy a lighter cellphone with good battery life, mp3 player, sd slot etc. Replacing my cellphone makes more sense for me than bringing a separate mp3 player mostly because it will save weight overall and is likely to have a small inbuilt speaker to boot. I may as well save some weight and get a new one which allows interchangeable batteries (which my battery hungry iphone does not). I will then take a dedicated lightweight radio also.

If anyone needs it, GSM Arena has a good database which includes all the weights. I've pretty much decided on the Samsung S5690 which is waterproof and pretty light for its functionality at 3.5 oz.

Back to radios, here is a rundown of the fm/am/shortwave options which I am considering for hiking:

Tecsun PL-360 - 6.93oz incl. 3xAA - seems to be by far the best the best overall for detecting weak signals. From what I have read the ETM mode works very well also.
Degen DE1126 - 6.3oz (maybe 4.3oz) - not sure if the smaller weight includes the removable li-ion battery which weighs 2oz
Degen DE1127 - 5oz (maybe 3oz) - again, not sure if this includes the removable li-ion battery
Degen DE15 - 4.1 oz incl. 3xAAA - has some bad reviews, but is one of the lightest.

From reviews it seems that the Tecsun pl-360 is an absolutely excellent radio, but is the heaviest. So good in fact that I would probably end up using it at home sometimes coupled with a better antenna. For the tecsun or the degen de15, may be possible to save some weight by sharing batteries with another device you already bring with you.

Edited by ljamesb on 05/11/2013 13:49:41 MDT.

Steven McAllister
(brooklynkayak) - MLife

Locale: Atlantic North East
Ultralight AM/FM radios on 05/23/2013 07:19:53 MDT Print View

I recently took the Kaito KA-200 radio on a trip and was very impressed with the reception. It was picking up stations that my Bose car stereo couldn't reach in the same area. Far better than the Grundig pocket radio that the outfitters always sell.

It is small, light and has a speaker, but it is only AM/FM mono.
There is no bass response because of the small speaker, but the mid-range on up has good fidelity.

I don't need bass response in the outdoors and really only need it for news, weather and maybe NPR.

This is good for those people who can't or don't like to wear headphones. Otherwise, you can go smaller and lighter on the no speaker radios, but I wonder if AM reception would be as good with the smaller ferrite antenna required for a smaller radio?

jerry adams
(retiredjerry) - MLife

Locale: Oregon and Washington
Re: Ultralight AM/FM radios on 05/23/2013 08:28:46 MDT Print View

$20 with free shipping is good

I'm skeptical of the analog tuner

How much does it weigh?

2 AA batteries is normal but a little heavy. Is it big enough for NiMH batteries which are a little bigger? How long does it run?

Steven McAllister
(brooklynkayak) - MLife

Locale: Atlantic North East
Re: Re: Ultralight AM/FM radios on 05/23/2013 09:12:02 MDT Print View

Re: Kaito KA-200,

Analog tuning can be better for tuning remote/week stations. I think this is why my other radios do so poorly in the mountains.

I don't have an accurate scale with me. I seem to remember it being about 2.5 oz empty.
It uses AAA batteries. So if you use Lithium batteries, it should be around 3.5 oz total.

NiMH batteries do fit. There is a little extra space.

I have yet to run out of juice on my first set yet so I can't review battery life.

I do wish it were waterproof.

jerry adams
(retiredjerry) - MLife

Locale: Oregon and Washington
Re: Re: Re: Ultralight AM/FM radios on 05/23/2013 11:10:23 MDT Print View

that's weird, both you and Dale say analog tuners get weaker stations better which is opposite my experience - I'll have to do more testing : )

Dale Wambaugh
(dwambaugh) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Re: Re: Re: Re: Ultralight AM/FM radios on 05/23/2013 12:05:05 MDT Print View

Jerry,

It is going to vary with the radio and conditions. The gearing on the tuning dials vary a great deal and I have seen none on the smaller radios that I am impressed with. Larger high quality desktop AM/FM/SW radios have selectable gearing on the tuning knobs so you can really split hairs. This feature is much more useful for AM/SW listening. On a smaller radio, you can roll back and forth while turning the radio to get optimal reception.

So, an apples and apples comparison is difficult. I know that my analog Sony SRF-S84 is more sensitive than a Sony SRF-M85W or SRF-M85V armband style radios with digital tuning, as well as a Sangean DT-120. I've been able to test those radios side by side and I think it is a fair comparison on cost and design. I don't think testing a cheap analog against a high quality digital model is a good comparison. On FM, any small radio without a telescoping antenna is using the headphone ground wire for the antenna and that can vary, as can the position of the headphone wires. Just re-arranging the wires on my lap can make a big difference in reception. Likewise, adding a long wire to any shortwave receiver can make a huge difference.

Dale Wambaugh
(dwambaugh) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Re: Ultralight AM/FM radios on 05/24/2013 21:12:13 MDT Print View

Here's an interesting radio in my collection: the Sony SRF-H4 headset radio. Lighter than you think at 4.4oz with battery. It is analog AM/FM with DX/Local and Megabass switching. Turn your head into a wilderness boombox :)

Sony SRF-H4 headset radio

Sony SRF-H4 headset radio

jerry adams
(retiredjerry) - MLife

Locale: Oregon and Washington
Re: Re: Ultralight AM/FM radios on 05/24/2013 21:26:58 MDT Print View

Here's a pre-cursor to M37W

M35 - 2 AAA batteries:
m35

Dale Wambaugh
(dwambaugh) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Re: Ultralight AM/FM radios on 05/24/2013 22:26:25 MDT Print View

I have this rough example of a SRF-M37V with AM/FM/TV/Weather, runs on one AAA. Kinda noisy, but okay in town. The TV is the old analog. I wonder of someone will make a radio that picks up the sound from digital TV?

Sony SRF-M37V radio


Features:
Compact Walkman receives TV (2-13), AM, FM and weather channels
25 preset stations (5 TV, 5 weather, 5 AM, 5 FM)
Display offers digital clock and battery indicator
Single AAA battery provides lightweight, long-lasting use
Local/distant switch ensures optimal reception

jerry adams
(retiredjerry) - MLife

Locale: Oregon and Washington
Re: Re: Ultralight AM/FM radios on 05/24/2013 22:35:44 MDT Print View

I have one of those. I used to listen to analog TV occasionally. Yeah, too bad you can't get digital TV tuner. Or maybe it's better not to listen to TV when in the wilderness? : )

Dale Wambaugh
(dwambaugh) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Re: Tecsun PL-360 on 05/31/2013 15:45:44 MDT Print View

Gear lust got me a new Tecsun PL-360 AM/FM/SW radio and it landed in my mailbox today. Pretty cool, but not really UL: 6.6oz with 3x AA batteries and without belt clip, 7oz with the clip and 8oz with the AM antenna pod.

I won't be forgetting my Sony SFR-S84 as I still think that is the epitome of small quality radios, put the Tecsun has all the bells and whistles I could ask for in a small radio. I didn't recall that it has a thermometer, which it does. And I did need to read the manual. It has a lot of double function buttons and options. Nothing more complicated than a high end digital point and shoot, but a few little tricks here and there.

Reception is good, and the speaker sound quality is acceptable considering the small size. The earbuds are very good compared to the typical stuff included with a radio.

The ETM tuning system is great: hold the button down and it sweeps the band for local stations and it presets them in a separate memory than your "personal" presets, so there is no reason not to use it as you come into a new area. In ETM mode, it jumps to the next program by turning the tuning dial. From my basement room it programmed 40 local FM stations in about 30 seconds. Cool.

It came with a long wire antenna that clips onto the telescoping antenna which extends FM and shortwave reception. There is a clothespin like clip on the other end. I've strung up antennas like this from one trekking pole under my shelter to another pole outside, or to a handy branch. I know it really makes a difference on the SW side.

Other coolness: a back light on the LCD, clock, sleep and alarm functions, station scanning, USB charging for NiMH batteries, signal strength and signal to noise readouts, switchable FM stereo, and LOTS of presets. It did come with a case and belt clip as well as the two external antennas.

I like the form factor a lot. It is like a TV remote and you can hold it without blocking any of the controls. I think it's too tall for a shirt pocket carry.

I got this one on eBay from a US supplier for $46.99 total. Considering that the County Comm GP4-L is now $44 (plus shipping) and the level of sophistication with the PL-360, I think it is a bargain.

FYI, this one does long wave and the frequency spacing is switchable so you can use it world-wide.

So, no buyer's remorse at all. I cant wait to get up in the hills at night to see how it does.

Basic radio in FM mode with the SOny SRF-S84 for comparison. The telescoping antenna extends to 15"
PL-360 radio

In AM mode with extenal AM antenna in place
PL-360 radio

SW mode with the clip-on long wire antenna
PL-360 radio

And the back side with the battery compartment open and the belt clip in place
PL-360 radio

Edited by dwambaugh on 05/31/2013 15:54:11 MDT.

Brian Johns
(bcutlerj) - M

Locale: NorCal
SAK MP3 Radio Recorder (32 Grams) on 06/05/2013 15:21:59 MDT Print View

I'd never seen this before. So if it's been posted forgive me. But on Amazon I came across a Swiss Army MP3 player. IT's multiple use because it has all of the Swiss Army Classic components (barring tweezers and toothpick) and the Radio/MP3 player functions. All for a stated 32 Grams.

SAK MP3 Player





Link: http://www.amazon.com/Victorinox-SwissBeat-MP3-Player-Silver/dp/B000II55ZY/ref=sr_1_83?ie=UTF8&qid=1370466265&sr=8-83&keywords=alox+swiss+army+knife

Edited by bcutlerj on 06/05/2013 15:24:15 MDT.

Dale Wambaugh
(dwambaugh) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Re: SAK MP3 Radio Recorder (32 Grams) on 06/05/2013 16:00:08 MDT Print View

At $180 (on sale), it's not for me, but interesting in an Inspector Gadget way.

I'll tape my SAK Classic to my PL-360 :)

Loren B
(ljamesb)

Locale: London UK, Greenville USA
Re: SAK MP3 Radio Recorder (32 Grams) on 06/05/2013 16:42:53 MDT Print View

That looks great! Such a shame about the extreme price tag. Also not sure about having electronics attached to a knife which I sometimes have to clean.

Dale, the tecsun 360 looks very nice. How is the reception and sound quality from the speaker. It positively makes my Tecsun pl-380 look like a brick in comparison as it weighs 10oz with batteries. Conviniently though, it shares batteries with my headtorch so I suppose the batteries (3oz) are kinda free. I use a case I made from reflectix which doubles as a mug cozy, plus it makes the radio look rather futuristic at the same time. he he.

I couldn't resist.

multi-use knife handle

Edited by ljamesb on 06/05/2013 16:43:23 MDT.

Dale Wambaugh
(dwambaugh) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Re: Re: SAK MP3 Radio Recorder (32 Grams) on 06/05/2013 17:58:07 MDT Print View

Hmmm, I would use duct tape or Velcro myself :D

I thought the same of cleaning it. IMHO, it's a geeky urbanite item and a toy for the rich. I put it in the same class with the $40 titanium Inka pen-- I like my toys, but the MSRP on that SAK is over $300.

Sound quality on the PL-360 is good --- for the size of the speaker. Reception is very good so far as I have tested it. I really want to get out away from all the city electronic noise and see how the SW is. The FM picks up some stations 25 miles away that my other radios are weak on. That little AM antenna pod really works and it's nice to be able to turn the antenna rather than the radio.


I have been surprised by the leaning to radios with speakers. In an UL world, it would seem that earbud-only units would rule. That immediately drops the weight and there is a good supply of used radios with lots of options. With the chatter about bright colors being unacceptable in terms of Leave No Trace, it's hard to imagine a radio buzzing away from across the lake or the next campsite making any friends on the trail. I guess that's the way the market crumbles!

Steven McAllister
(brooklynkayak) - MLife

Locale: Atlantic North East
Ultralight AM/FM radios on 06/05/2013 18:19:45 MDT Print View

Regarding the want of a radio with speaker,
I can't speak for others, but I myself can't use headphones or earbuds.

I also don't listen to the radio that much. When I do, it is at a volume just loud enough to understand dialogue. I don't usually listen to music.

Sound doesn't carry very far at this volume when all you have is a little 1" or 1.5" speaker.

jerry adams
(retiredjerry) - MLife

Locale: Oregon and Washington
Re: Ultralight AM/FM radios on 06/05/2013 19:21:38 MDT Print View

yeah, same thing, at low volume you can't here it very far away

I was just some place where I heard beating bass notes at 2 AM from 1/4 mile away - that wasn't good, but I just went to sleep

Mike M
(mtwarden) - MLife

Locale: Montana
noaa on 06/05/2013 19:24:38 MDT Print View

reliable & lightweight w/ noaa channels (and am/fm)?

tia

Steven McAllister
(brooklynkayak) - MLife

Locale: Atlantic North East
NOAA on 06/06/2013 06:00:56 MDT Print View

Mike M,

The subject of the NOAA channels came up earlier in this thread.
The Sangean DT-400W and others have this.
The argument is that you can only reach the NOAA channels when somewhat near the ocean or major waterways.
In many cases AM/FM may be your only option for weather info.

Edited by brooklynkayak on 06/06/2013 06:48:37 MDT.

Mike M
(mtwarden) - MLife

Locale: Montana
Re: NOAA on 06/06/2013 06:16:10 MDT Print View

thanks- missed that. I'm looking more for a small radio to keep in the truck, NOAA would be a high priority. Have even been thinking about one of the Eton crank/solar ones (FRX2)- they're a little larger and heavier @ ~ 8 oz, but batteries become on a non-issue- they will also charge a cell phone (except some i phones evidently)

Steven McAllister
(brooklynkayak) - MLife

Locale: Atlantic North East
Ultralight AM/FM radios on 06/06/2013 06:33:38 MDT Print View

I have a few items that I need for emergency use as part of the on water trip leader stuff I do from time to time.

I am a huge fan of lithium batteries because they can last for over 10 years in the device and they work in extreme cold. I have them in emergency strobes, running lights, headlamps and backup packs for rechargeable marine radios.

They are lighter than alkaline and other batteries and you don't have to swap them out every couple years.

Be aware that crank devices and rechargeable and even alkaline batteries work very poorly below freezing, if they work at all.

The radios that use AA or AAA are significantly more portable and lighter than the crank variety.

Mike M
(mtwarden) - MLife

Locale: Montana
crank on 06/06/2013 16:24:47 MDT Print View

the big draw for me to the crank radio was that it would charge a cell phone, thought that might come in handy

I like lithium batteries too- lighter, last long, work in cold (spendy, but worth it)