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Ultralight AM/FM radios
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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.