Equipped To Survive Equipped To Survive® Presents
The Survival Forum
Where do you want to go on ETS?

Page 3 of 4 < 1 2 3 4 >
Topic Options
#67037 - 07/12/06 03:30 PM Re: Portable Radios
Eugene Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 12/26/02
Posts: 2822
I've found that if your in range of a NOAA weather broadcast then your probably in range of whatever they are alerting on.

Top
#67038 - 07/12/06 03:31 PM Re: Portable Radios
Eugene Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 12/26/02
Posts: 2822
I don't understand the reason for shortwave. If a disaster if big enough to make the BBC news then you have a lot more to worry about, world news services generally don't cover the local fires/floods/tornaods.

Top
#67039 - 07/12/06 04:19 PM Re: Portable Radios
Fitzoid Offline
Enthusiast

Registered: 08/23/05
Posts: 289
Loc: WI, MA, and NYC
Harrkev, no worries -- no ruffled feathers on this end! <img src="/images/graemlins/cool.gif" alt="" />

I think we may have somewhat different attitudes towards emergency gear. I almost never put anything away on a shelf for "emergency use only," except maybe MREs and lithium batteries, simply because they're too expensive to play with all that often. I try to use anything I might rely on in an emergency both to make sure it works and to make sure I know how to work it. I suppose I must be of a suspicious bend (and I like to play with my toys), because I don't trust anything to work until I've tested it. In the process, I've seen random things from knife blades snap to batteries explode to bags fall apart, and I'm glad to have some sense of what I can rely on.

So, once you've started using those crank radios, they are generally on their way downhill, which is why I think paying for their half-assed (am I allowed to say that here? <img src="/images/graemlins/smile.gif" alt="" />) recharging mechanisms is silly. Although for short-term, single use applications, e.g., distributing them to hurricane or other disaster victims, they may well be the best solution available, so your point is well-taken.

However, I personally plan for longer term and repeated use for my equipment. As I mentioned earlier, I do have a couple of crank operated radios, but they're not what I'd grab if I was running out the door. My primary BOB has a cheap, tiny Sony AM/FM/SW that runs forever on AAs and a 20 foot wire antenna.

I have a separate BOB for radio equipment, including a 12AH SLA battery, with solar/AC/DC recharger. My higher-end ham radios all have wideband coverage for TV, NOAA, etc. and I have a disturbingly large assortment of antennas in there too. Maybe sometime I'll add an FR300 and just save it for actual emergencies, but I'm not sure I could resist the temptation to play with it. (My wife has patiently accepted my radio interests with surprisingly good humor.)

Anyway, I've got a feeling we agree on more than we disagree. By the way, the built-in ferrite bar in your TH-F6a is a great addition. I wish they came on Yaesu HTs.

Fitz
_________________________
-----
"When I read about the evils of drinking, I gave up reading." Henny Youngman

Top
#67040 - 07/12/06 05:17 PM Re: Portable Radios
Arney Offline
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 09/15/05
Posts: 2485
Loc: California
Quote:
...once you've started using those crank radios, they are generally on their way downhill...


For the recent models that only have a (usually not user-replaceable) rechargeable battery and get used frequently, I would generally agree with this statement. I have a Coleman Ranger that I listen to daily in the morning. It's a solidly built AM/FM radio, unlike many other hand-cranks out there, but I have noticed that its rechargeable battery lasts for fewer days now than when new. Short of disassembling it, there's no provision for replacing it. Bummer. For radios like the FR series, which can also accept regular batteries, that is a plus. But if you're forced to use regular batteries because the rechargeable has gone bad, then that negates the reason for having a hand-crank in the first place.

In contrast, I also have a spring-driven Freeplay Plus-type radio with solar panel that has served me well for many years. Despite a lot of use, I haven't noticed the spring wearing out. I take comfort in knowing that there is no battery to wear out or to worry about when in long-term storage. So, with this radio, whether I use it often or just leave it in the closet, I feel like I can count on it. Too bad spring-driven radios are all but extinct these days.

Top
#67041 - 07/12/06 06:28 PM Re: Portable Radios
Leigh_Ratcliffe Offline
Veteran

Registered: 03/31/06
Posts: 1355
Loc: United Kingdom.
Tornado's, Earthquake's etc will make the BBC. Besides, the more bands you can cover, the better.
_________________________
I don't do dumb & helpless.

Top
#67042 - 07/12/06 10:24 PM Re: Portable Radios
Fitzoid Offline
Enthusiast

Registered: 08/23/05
Posts: 289
Loc: WI, MA, and NYC
Quote:
In addition, where would I look for a regular AM/FM radios with great long range receive?


It just occurred to me that I don't think anyone has addressed the last part of your question yet.

AM and FM travel by very different paths. By and large, FM signals are line-of-site and don't travel very far. (There are exceptions, but 50 miles is roughly the maximum distance they can travel because of the Earth's curvature. High frequency FM signals (in the VHF spectrum) pass straight through the Earth's atmosphere and into outer space. (You could pick them up on the moon with a really good receiver.)

AM signals (which are generally on much lower frequencies) bounce off the Earth's ionosphere (even taking multiple hops), which is why they can literally travel thousands of miles. This is why at night I reguarly hear Chicago radio stations, e.g., WBBM, in Boston, and why WBZ -- a Boston station on what is called a "clear channel" -- is heard in 38 states. By the way, listening to distant stations is called "DX'ing." The time of year, the time of day, and sun spot activity all affect this, so the actually story is more complicated. Regardless,low frequency AM (and similiarly shortwave) signals tend to travel a long ways.

Also, to be clear, AM and FM aren't frequency distinctions but rather how the signal is encoded. Standards have emerged, however, and you'd have to look hard to find someone transmitting an AM signal at 50 MHz, although some people (particularly old hams) still do.

All that being said, the main concerns with an FM radio are things like adjacent frequency rejection, attentuation, audio and antenna quality. You can get quite exotic and start talking about multipath rejection, filter widths, notch filtering, adjustable intermediary frequency, DSP processing, etc., which are mostly irrelevant for broadcast FM radio. The most important thing for good FM reception may simply be having a good FM antenna.

For the AM side, the main thing you might want is synchronous detection, which is the ability to choose between upper and lower sidebands, one of which may be distorted by an adjacent frequency.

Getting more practical. I think the best performing radio on the current market for AM DX'ing is the CCRadio Plus . It is simply an excellent AM/FM/TV/NOAA peformer, but offers no fancy options other than tuning. It also has an excellent audio quality. (It's so good that my wife has taken mine and won't give it back.) As I mentioned somewhere else in this thread, it gets 250 hours on a set of batteries which is pretty extraordinary. It is a great at home for general and emergency use but it is pricey. (It's also too big and heavy to carry around.)

The best performing radios of yesteryear, which you can still find on ebay, were the Sony 2010 and the GE SuperRadio II. (Note I said the SuperRadio II and not the model III.) These are my favorite AM DXers, and I replaced the filters in my Sony with custom Kiwa filters (anyone remember those?) which improved audio quality remarkably. My Sony 2010 is still my favorite receiver of all time and still sees regular use.

You can also buy any number of external antennas for AM radios which can improve distant reception remarkably. The simple Select A-ntenna is just an inductively coupled massive ferrite loop antenna that you just place next to your radio. There is no physical connection. It looks weird but works great and requires no external power.

Also, remember the ferrite bar antennas hidden inside most AM radios are directional. You should rotate the radio as you scan the band and you will hear different stations in different directions. This is part of the fun of AM DX'ing.

Hope this helps!
Fitz
_________________________
-----
"When I read about the evils of drinking, I gave up reading." Henny Youngman

Top
#67043 - 07/13/06 01:02 AM Re: Portable Radios
Eugene Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 12/26/02
Posts: 2822
I should have been more specific, but yes they will make it on the BBC but it will be mostly " a Hurricane hit New Orleans in the USA killing hundreds" but nothing specific enough to be of use to those in the situation. I agree with the other poster who said Sw is a hobby, it would give you something to pass the time if your stuck in the shelter but thats about it. I wouldn't pass a radio that had it for that reason but I wouldn't want SW over NOAA or something else.
My first SW, I wasn't even in high school yet, built on a cardboard box along with various am radios from crystal to a few transistors.

Top
#67044 - 07/13/06 01:06 AM Re: Portable Radios
Eugene Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 12/26/02
Posts: 2822
I think a hand cranked/operated charger on its own could have use for recharging your known good batteries, just keep is seperate from the radio so failure of one part doesn't render the other useless.
What kind of solar charger are you using for the SLA? I've been looking at setting up something like that.

Top
#67045 - 07/13/06 01:06 AM Re: Portable Radios
Fitzoid Offline
Enthusiast

Registered: 08/23/05
Posts: 289
Loc: WI, MA, and NYC
I totally agree. Disaster survivors want to know mundane details like when fresh water and food are coming, when evacuation buses might be arriving, and where to go for urgent medical treatment. You're not going to hear that on the BBC.

_________________________
-----
"When I read about the evils of drinking, I gave up reading." Henny Youngman

Top
#67046 - 07/13/06 01:56 AM Re: Portable Radios
Eugene Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 12/26/02
Posts: 2822
And don't get me wrong, I'm not saying something like "don't ever buy shortwave" I'm saying it should be low on the priority list.
Now a days even the AM stations may not be online as they are the low budget. The top 40 pop FM radio stations with their million dollar advertising contracts have the $ to have the nice backup generators in order to get and keep those contracts so my bet is those and some of the TV stations will be back running when something happens. Our local, user supported Christian programming station gets knocked off the air for a bit every time there is a rainstorm, its all about the $ now.

Top
Page 3 of 4 < 1 2 3 4 >



Moderator:  Alan_Romania, Blast, cliff, Hikin_Jim 
May
Su M Tu W Th F Sa
1 2 3 4 5
6 7 8 9 10 11 12
13 14 15 16 17 18 19
20 21 22 23 24 25 26
27 28 29 30 31
Who's Online
1 registered (Phaedrus), 237 Guests and 4 Spiders online.
Key: Admin, Global Mod, Mod
Newest Members
Shawn, MikeM, xiaochiroy, Ak47Lover, Nari
5249 Registered Users
Newest Posts
Woot.com has some cast iron cookware at low prices
by KenK
10:49 PM
2018 Tropical Storm Season
by Russ
10:45 PM
The case for Stainless Steel Knives
by hikermor
09:30 PM
Stove
by Russ
06:08 PM
Dam poor conditions
by hikermor
03:56 AM
Defending against cougars, the bears of the woods
by Russ
05/25/18 03:59 PM
FAK + survival kit = comfort kit
by Jeanette_Isabelle
05/25/18 11:13 AM
Peanut Lighter is unreliable, sorry
by chaosmagnet
05/24/18 09:22 PM
Newest Images
Tiny knife / wrench
Handmade knives
2"x2" Glass Signal Mirror, Retroreflective Mesh
Trade School Tool Kit
My Pocket Kit
Glossary
Test

WARNING & DISCLAIMER: SELECT AND USE OUTDOORS AND SURVIVAL EQUIPMENT, SUPPLIES AND TECHNIQUES AT YOUR OWN RISK. Information posted on this forum is not reviewed for accuracy and may not be reliable, use at your own risk. Please review the full WARNING & DISCLAIMER about information on this site.