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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)