Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Mei Tao, who writes:
I’m happy to tell you that yesterday [January 29, 2021] Tecsun released a new model Emergency Radio. I’ve included some photos:
The GR-99 includes FM, AM and SW bands. As most of today’s radios, it is also based on the DSP chip which offers good performance. It can be powered by the built-in Ni-MH battery and two AA batteries.
This radio also features hand crank power generator which can charge your device such as smartphone through the micro-USB cable. In case of emergency, GR-99 with flashlight and SOS alarm can give you a hand.
Nearly a month ago, I helped to test the prototype of this radio and gave them my advice. Now it’s great to see it on sale.
At last, provide you with a photo of me, almost two years ago. I took this selfie with my radios.
Oh I must admit that several radio in this photo were my friends’.
Ha ha!!! I love the photo, Mei Tao–absolutely brilliant!
I’m happy to see that not only is Tecsun still producing an emergency radio with an analog dial (which requires less of the battery than a digital display), but also is still including the shortwave bands.
Thank you very much for reporting on this early production run Tecsun radios, Mei Tao!
Radio Waves: Stories Making Waves in the World of Radio
Because I keep my ear to the waves, as well as receive many tips from others who do the same, I find myself privy to radio-related stories that might interest SWLing Post readers. To that end: Welcome to the SWLing Post’sRadio Waves, a collection of links to interesting stories making waves in the world of radio. Enjoy!
Many thanks to SWLing Post contributors Tracy Wood, Richard Langley, and the Southgate ARC for the following tips:
Solar-powered radios have been distributed to the poorest homes that lack electricity access, with lessons broadcast daily during the COVID-19 crisis – and perhaps beyond
TANA RIVER, Kenya, Dec 23 (Thomson Reuters Foundation) – Deep in Tana River County, in southeastern Kenya, a group of pupils formed a circle around their teacher, jotting down notes as they listened to a Swahili diction lesson coming from the solar-powered radio sitting in their teacher’s lap.
The radio the children from Dida Ade primary school gathered around was one of hundreds distributed for free to the most vulnerable households in the semi-arid region east of Kenya’s capital, Nairobi.
The radios allow children without internet access or electricity at home to continue studying while schools are closed to slow the spread of COVID-19, in a project that could also help children stay in education after the pandemic.
Funded by the Zizi Afrique Foundation, a Kenyan non-governmental organisation that produces research to drive education policy, the solar-powered radios also come with bulbs for household lighting and slots for phone-charging.
When schools across Kenya shut in March to slow the spread of COVID-19, Zizi Afrique did a survey in Tana Delta sub-county and found that just over one-fifth of households owned a radio and only 18% had access to electricity.[…]
AM boosters repeatedly have been proven effective, but the FCC consistently has declined to allow their wide use
With AM improvement on the radars of broadcasters and the FCC, there has been renewed talk in recent years about the subject of AM “boosters,” the carrier frequency synchronization of multiple transmitters. The commission opened a comment period on AM boosters in 2017.
It wasn’t the first time the FCC has explored this topic and failed to act on it. In fact, AM boosters have been proposed and tested dozens of times since the early days of radio. But even though the technology has repeatedly been proven effective, the commission consistently has declined to allow the operation of AM boosters on anything more than an experimental basis, for a variety of reasons.
Let’s take a moment to look back at the history of this beleaguered technology.
In 1930, crystal control of transmitter frequencies was still an emerging technology, and the allowable frequency tolerance of a broadcast transmitter was +/- 500 Hz. Two stations operating on the same channel, even if widely geographically separated, could generate a heterodyne beat note of up to 1 kHz, a disconcerting annoyance to listeners.
Consequently, only a few stations were allowed to operate nationwide evenings on any one channel at the same time. Further, there were 40 clear-channel stations, each one having exclusive nationwide use of its frequency. As most of these clear-channel stations were network affiliates, many channels were wastefully duplicating the same programs.
In 1929, the respected radio engineer Frederick Terman proposed that, if all stations of the two networks (NBC and CBS) could synchronize their carrier frequencies within +/- 0.1 Hz to eliminate the heterodyne beat notes, they could all coexist on a single channel per network, freeing up dozens of channels for new stations.
Synchronization was first proved successful by the Westinghouse station WBZ in Springfield, Mass. Broadcasting from the roof of the Westinghouse factory, WBZ failed to cover Boston, so WBZA was opened as a Boston repeater. The two stations were synchronized on the same frequency beginning in 1926, using a tuning fork as a frequency reference.[…]
Another first from NASA’s Juno spacecraft: the detection of radio emissions from the Moon Ganymede, over a range of about 250 kilometers in the polar region of Jupiter.
Louis et al.  present exciting new observations of radio emissions on Jupiter from the NASA Juno spacecraft – the first direct detection of decametric radio emissions originating from its Moon Ganymede. These observations were made as Juno crossed a polar region of the Giant Planet where the magnetic field lines are connected to Ganymede.
The radio emissions were produced by electrons at relativistic energy (a few thousand electron volts) in a region where the electron’s oscillation frequency (“plasma frequency”) is much lower than its gyration frequency (“cyclotron frequency”). Such electrons can amplify radio waves very close to the electron cyclotron frequency very rapidly, via a physical process called electron cyclotron maser instability (CMI). They can as well produce aurora in the far-ultraviolet – which was also observed by the camera on Juno.
Juno was traveling at a speed of approximately 50 kilometers per second, and it spent at least about 5 seconds crossing the source region of the emission, which was therefore at least about 250 kilometers in size.
The observed decametric radiation on Jupiter is clearly the “shorter cousin” (in wavelength) of the auroral kilometric radiation on both Earth and Saturn: the CMI being responsible for their production on the three planets.
Citation: Louis, C. K., Louarn, P., Allegrini, F., Kurth, W. S., & Szalay, J. R. . Ganymede?induced decametric radio emission: In situ observations and measurements by Juno. Geophysical Research Letters, 47, e2020GL090021. https://doi.org/10.1029/2020GL090021
Andrew Yau, Editor, Geophysical Research Letters[…]
WSJT-X 2.4.0 will introduce Q65, a digital protocol designed for minimal two-way QSOs over especially difficult propagation paths
On paths with Doppler spread more than a few Hz, the weak-signal performance of Q65 is the best among all WSJT-X modes. Q65 is particularly effective for tropospheric scatter, ionospheric scatter, and EME on VHF and higher bands, as well as other types of fast-fading signals.
Q65 uses 65-tone frequency-shift keying and builds on the demonstrated weak-signal strengths of QRA64, a mode introduced to WSJT-X in 2016. Q65 differs from QRA64 in the following important ways:
•A new low-rate Q-ary Repeat Accumulate code for forward error correction
•User messages and sequencing identical to those in FT4, FT8, FST4, and MSK144
•A unique tone for time and frequency synchronization. As with JT65, this “sync tone” is readilyvisible on the waterfall spectral display. Unlike JT65, synchronization and decoding are effective even when meteor pings or other short signal enhancements are present.
•Optional submodes with T/R sequence lengths 15, 30, 60, 120, and 300 s.
•A new, highly reliable list-decoding technique for messages that contain previously copied message fragments.
I remember when I first laid hands on a self-powered portable radio. It was the Baygen FPR1 designed by the amazing Trevor Bayliss. The FPR1 was a large portable radio with a black plastic body, large front-facing speaker, and large hand crank on the side. It was a clockwork radio, meaning you’d use the hand crank to wind up an internal spring that would slowly release and provide enough dynamo power to bring the radio to life for a few minutes at a time.
The FRP1 had a very utilitarian feel to it and was incredibly basic.
After the introduction of the FRP1, radio manufacturers jumped on self-powered radio technology and we’ve seen many different designs and iterations on the market for nearly two decades.
Introducing the C.Crane CCRadio Solar
Back in October 2020, C.Crane sent me a pre-production sample of the CCRadio Solar to evaluate. This was before C.Crane had published their new print catalog that features the CCRadio Solar on the cover, so I really had no idea what to expect. I assumed it might be a refreshed version of the CC Solar Observer.
Man…was I wrong!
Most self-powered radios these days either look like a flashlight, a portable analog radio, or they sport “high tech” styling (like the FRX3).
I can honestly say that the CCRadio Solar is the first self-powered radio that my wife actually welcomed into our kitchen!
This is a huge.
Out of all of the radios I’ve owned or tested over the years, my wife only tolerated their temporary presence in our living spaces.
The CCRadio Solar’s design is very simple and clean.
The radio body measures 6″ x 3″ x 2.25″ and weighs about one pound. It’s easy to hold in your hand, but is also incredibly stable on a surface due to its low center of gravity, flat base, and UV-resistant rubber perimeter/jacket. (Note that the rubber jacket is in no way associated with rubberized coatings found on legacy portables that could break down over time and become sticky.)
I can place the CCRadio Solar in a window sill and not worry about it getting accidently knocked off.
On the top of the radio, there’s a large built-in solar panel, power button, flashlight button, and band button (to toggle between FM, AM, and WX radio).
The solar panel is large for a radio of this size.
On the back, you’ll find a fold-out hand crank and battery compartment for the internal Lithium-ion rechargeable battery and optional three AA cells. Yes, this radio can be powered from standard AA batteries!
On the right side of the radio, you’ll find the volume control and a cover that protects the headphones, micro USB charging port, USB power-out port, Aux In port, and a mechanical switch that allows you to toggle between Li-Ion and AA batteries.
On the left side of the radio you’ll find the attachment point for the supplied hand carry strap (I haven’t attached mine), and the built-in LED flashlight.
CCRadio Solar features at a glance
Multiple power options:
Weather radio with an alert alarm
Auxiliary input allows you to use it as an amplified speaker
Five one touch memory buttons with a total of 50 presets
Rubber jacket is UV resistant
This CCRadio Solar is a pre-production model and it’s my personal policy to not comment in detail about performance as this model comes from a very limited pilot production run.
Here’s what I can say…
This is one of the first solar radios I’ve ever used that actually works as a daily driver.
Since I took delivery of the CCRadio Solar, it’s primarily lived on our kitchen window sill. This window faces due south, so the CCRadio Solar gets ample opportunity to take advantage of solar charging.
I like to listen to the news when I cook, so the CCRadio Solar gets daily use. I’ve used it to listen to both my local NPR station and my “benchmark” distant NPR station on FM. I’ve also programmed a preset for my favorite daytime AM station which is a good 25 miles from my home.
This prototype, at least, shows promise in terms of its ability to receive distant stations with a great deal of stability.
Last week, I realized that I’ve never had to charge the CCRadio Solar via the micro USB port. I’ve been using it since October for up to a couple hours a day–the solar gain from our kitchen window has easily kept the battery topped off!
I wanted to test this further, so a few days ago I moved the CCRadio Solar to another south-facing window in our living room area. I hooked it up to our SiriusXM receiver via the CCRadio Solar’s AUX IN port. (FYI: when you insert an AUX IN source, the radio automatically switches to auxiliary input.) This SiriusXM receiver is typically paired with my CCRadio3 and plays a variety of stations throughout the day for hours at a time–sometimes from early in the morning until the early evening.
The CCRadio Solar has been doing a brilliant job of playing all day long just on solar power and at a volume level that is room-filling, though not too loud to be distracting. Most impressive!
I should mention here that the built-in speaker provides (surprisingly) pleasant room-filling audio. The audio isn’t as robust as, say, my CCRadio3 or KLH–obviously–but it’s good enough that my wife has suggested we start using the CCRadio Solar as the speaker for our SiriusXM receiver because it’s powered by the sun instead of the power grid. I’m in agreement with her: it works.
There are a couple of caveats here:
First of all, we’ve been having mostly sunny or partly cloudy days since I started running the radio all day long and
secondly, our home is passive solar so our south-facing windows, by design, do not have “Low-E” coatings that block UV rays.
I’m not sure if Low-E coatings affect solar panel performance, but I think it’s worth mentioning.
If this prototype CCRadio Solar is any indication of how the production units will operate–and, in theory, it should be–I think the CCRadio Solar will become a very popular radio in the C.Crane product line.
At time of posting, there is no product page for the CCRadio Solar on the C.Crane website. When they do add it, it should appear on their Emergency Radios page.
I believe the price is projected to be $99.99 US–which is on the high side of the self-powered radio market–but if the production units function as well as this prototype I think it’ll be worth it.
I believe C.Crane hopes to start shipping the CCRadio Solar sometime in the first quater of 2021. Since we’re still coping with all of the logistics issues of the Covid-19 pandemic, assume that date could change. I’ll continue to provide updates here in the SWLing Post. Just follow the tag: CCRadio Solar
A few months ago, the radio manufacturer Tivdio contacted me to see if I would be interested in evaluating their new Tivdio HR-11S self-powered emergency radio. I receive requests like this frequently, and often pass on the opportunity since I generally don’t have the time to evaluate the overwhelming number of inexpensive DSP radios that have hit the market in the past few years.
But this time, I seriously considered it. There were two reasons I was interested in the HR-11S:
I purchased a Tivdio V-117 last year, and have been pretty pleased with it; indeed, I’m overdue a review on this unit. We’ve also posted several positive reviews of the Tivdio V-115.
At our non-profit ETOW, we’re always looking for reliable self-powered radios with shortwave for use in areas of the world where radio remains the primary news source.
Thus this radio is a rather rare breed. Tivdio dispatched the radio very quickly, but my work with the Radio Spectrum Archive and several other reviews already in the pipeline took priority.
I’ve had the HR-11S in service for several months, and have now explored every feature to some degree. What follows is my summary and review notes.
Green and Red radios are different models
First things first: note that I’m reviewing the GreenHR-11S. Tivdio also makes a Red version which is actually a different model number: the HR-11W.
The main difference between these models, as I understand it, is the green HR-11S is a shortwave version, and the red HR-11W is a NOAA weather radio version.
Both are useful; why not combine the two roles in one unit? I’m not surprised this radio can’t include both shortwave and NOAA weather radio. Through Ears To Our World, I’ve worked with self-powered DSP radios for many years, and know that a limitation of the DSP chip is that it can be set to feature either shortwave or weather radio, but not both, simultaneously, if both AM and FM are included.
The HR-11S has a built-in solar panel.
The HR-11S adopts the standard “flashlight” form factor found in so many other self-powered radios. I think the flashlight functionality is a useful feature and results in a handy form factor. It’s compact, lightweight, and seems relatively sturdy, so is suitable for camping, travel, and off-grid utility.
A small switch on top toggles between four positions. The first two positions are off/on for the main white LED. Though the flashlight aperture is relatively small, the white LED provides enough luminosity to light your immediate path at night, and certainly more than enough to read by.
The third switch position engages a flashing red LED. The red LED is not terribly bright and I’m not sure how helpful this would be in an emergency situation.
The red LED is rather dim and can only flash.
I would much rather have the red LED maintain a steady beam which would be great for amateur astronomers, campers, or anyone else wishing to preserve their night vision.
The fourth position engages a LOUD siren. More than once when attempting to turn on the flashlight in the dark, I’ve accidentally engaged this pain-inducing feature. The switch is small, thus it’s very easy to engage the siren. In a quiet campground, this might annoy your neighbors––not to mention you, yourself. Of course, in an emergency situation, a loud siren could come in handy. I just wish its switch wasn’t combined with the flashlight switch.
The display HR-11S display is backlit and easy to read.
The HR-11S sports a keypad that allows direct frequency input––a very good thing, considering there is no tuning knob.
To band scan, you must use the #7 and #8 key on the keypad to increase and decrease frequency in predetermined steps. And, yes, the radio mutes between frequency changes.
You can also press and hold the #7 or #8 buttons to engage an auto-tune feature that finds the next strong signal.
The HR-11S’ rechargeable battery pack.
To input a frequency directly, simply press the enter button, key in the frequency, then press the enter button once more to engage that frequency. Very simple.
The volume up/down buttons are #1 and #2 on the keypad.
The keypad is not backlit and the layout for volume control, tuning, mode switching, etc., is a bit confusing; it doesn’t match any other radio I’ve ever used. Of course, with time you’ll master the keypad functions, but the design could be made more user-friendly.
Performance: setting expectations
SWLing Post community members know that I tend to review what I call “enthusiast grade” radios: receivers that perform well enough to attract the attention of DXers and dedicated listeners.
Self-powered radios, with few exceptions, rarely impress me in terms of performance. Indeed, some of the best that have been on the market have been analog units (I’m particularly fond of the Grundig FR200).
The Tivdio HR-11S is no exception––don’t expect to snag elusive DX with this unit. It’s not going to happen.
The HR-11S is a capable FM receiver. Performance is on par with most average FM radios: you’ll easily receive all of your local broadcasters, but distant stations may require holding the unit in your hand, careful positioning, or adding an extra bit of wire to the antenna.
The FM audio is quite good via the HR-11S’s built-in speaker.
The mediumwave, or AM broadcast band, is the HR-11S’ weakest suit. AM is plagued with internally-generated noises–especially in the lower part of the band–thus you’ll only be able to clearly receive local AM broadcasters that rise well above the noise floor. Thus I cannot recommend this radio for AM reception.
Shortwave reception is on par with other DSP self-powered radios I’ve tested. As I write this section of the review, I’m listening to China Radio International on 9,570 kHz in my office without even having the telescopic whip antenna extended. (CRI is a blowtorch station, however).
I find that the HR-11S can receive most strong broadcasters and even weaker stations, though the AGC is not ideal when fading is present.
If you’re seeking a self-powered radio with shortwave, the HR-11S is somewhat useful in this regard and is worth consideration.
Keep in mind, though, that an inexpensive dedicated ultralight shortwave radio like the Tecsun PL-310ET will perform circles around this unit.
One feature I’ve found incredibly useful is the Bluetooth functionality. With Bluetooth mode engaged, you can connect the HR-11S to pretty much any mobile device and use it as a wireless portable external speaker. Since the speaker has decent audio fidelity for the size, and can be powered by battery, it’s a brilliant feature and will make watching videos on your smartphone, for example, that much better.
One negative? At least in my unit, I can hear some internally-generated noises in Bluetooth mode. This is especially noticeable at lower volume levels.
In full disclosure, I haven’t tested the recording functionality extensively. Built-in radio recording is an interesting feature, but one I would rarely use in a self-powered radio. I did make a handful of test recordings, however, and like many other DSP radios with a recording function, the HR-11S injects noise in the recordings.
Every radio has its pros and cons. When I begin a review of a radio, I take notes from the very beginning so that I don’t forget my initial impressions and observations. Here’s the Tivdio HR-11S pro/con list, from the first moments I turned it on to the present:
Great audio for size
Replaceable battery (Note: after unboxing unit, you must place battery in battery compartment; it’s packed in the side box)
Siren (see con)
Micro SD card for digital storage
USB can port audio from PC
Bluetooth––use as a portable wireless speaker for mobile devices (see con)
ATS (auto tune) function
Multiple power sources:
850mAh rechargeable lithium battery
hand-crank dynamo generator
Mini solar panel
DC 5V input (standard micro USB)
Backlit informative display
Customer service: Tivdio representatives seem to respond quickly to customer emails and comments on Amazon.com.
Tuning is cumbersome (no tuning knob)
Mutes between frequencies
Siren too easy to activate, resulting in accidental activation
AM broadcast band (MW) is plagued with internally-generated noises
Keypad configuration is not intuitive and difficult to memorize for use at night or low light settings
Hand strap is very difficult to insert (hint: use a thin loop of wire to help thread it)
At low volume, noises can be heard in Bluetooth mode
Noises heard in recording function
Running an ATS scan on shortwave.
As I mentioned early in this review, I must set realistic expectations when reviewing self-powered radios. When most consumers consider a self-powered radio, they’re seeking a simple, basic radio that will provide information during times of need: power outages, natural disasters, or while hiking, camping, boating, or simply in an off-grid setting.
Internally-generated noises––especially on the AM band––will disappoint radio enthusiasts. If Tivdio could address this in future iterations of the HR-11S, it would substantially improve this unit.
My overall impression is that the HR-11S is chock-full of features, but none of them are terribly refined. There are even some internally-generated noises in Bluetooth mode, which really surprised me as it seems like an oversight by engineering.
I see the Tivdio HR-11S is a bit of a “Swiss Army Knife” of a self-powered radio. It has more functionality and connectivity than any other self-powered radio I’ve tested to date. Its features will, no doubt, appeal to the average consumer––and a quick look at Amazon reviews seem to support this theory. As a radio enthusiast, however, I would pass on the HR-11S until the internally-generated noises have been addressed.
Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Hans Johnson, who shares the following guest post:
Irma-induced Radio Reviews
by Hans Johnson
The primary disaster we face here in Naples, Florida, is hurricanes. Naples had been spared for over a decade until Irma. So while I had prepared, I had not needed my supplies or equipment for quite some time. This included the radios.
I went into Irma with two Freeplay solar and windup radios, a Unity and a Lifeline. I got these radios probably over a decade ago. As part of some work I was doing with VT Communications (now Babcock), I was involved with a radio project called Sudan Radio Service.
Both of these radios were being given to listeners as part of this project. I wanted to have a better understanding of what they faced. I had some conversations with Freeplay in London, explaining who I was and why I wanted these radios. During a visit, I was able to purchase both sets with the proviso that I not sell them.
I checked them both out at that time with my focus being on shortwave as that is how Sudan Radio Service was then transmitted. They were ok at picking out the strongest stations but that’s about it. I never really needed or wanted to use the radios day to day. And then Irma struck.
We left Naples on Saturday when we received a mandatory evacuation notice. The storm struck on Sunday and we returned on Monday.
We were spared. Many lost everything. Some lost their lives. We had a lot of trees down and some roof damage, but nothing substantial. But we had no power. Water had to be boiled. Sewage was backing up in places because the lift stations had no power. The stop lights were out (this was a real danger, many did not treat them as four-way stops and just blew through them. But you never knew who it would be.) A curfew was in place. The cell phone system was in really bad shape. I could not call or text my brother across town, let alone get access to the Internet via cell.
This link will give you an idea of what we came back to. I am the guy sawing wood at 1:47. (Lesson learned, have two chainsaws in case yours blows a gas line):
I had blown up some air mattresses before the storm so we slept on them on the screened porch. I saw the Milky Way from Naples for the first time.
We wanted information and also a bit of entertainment. Television was out of the question. The HDTV stations are hard to receive with a great antenna and set in the best of times where we live. So a battery-operated TV would have been a waste. Radio was the only game in town, so it was time to put the emergency radios in service.
Both of these analogue dial sets cover AM, FM, and shortwave. The Unity covers 3-22 MHz, the Lifeline just goes up to 18. The former covers the old American AM band and the latter the new one. The Unity uses a whip antenna and has a fine tuning knob. The Lifeline has a bendable wire that fits into the carrying handle and came with an alligator clip and a length of wire.
Ideally, one would be listening a set that has been charged via the solar cell or listening with the set in the sun. The last place I wanted to be was in or near the sun. Trying to charge the set and then listen to it is difficult in practice. It seems that the ratio was about one to one. 15 minutes in the sun would get you about 15 minutes of immediate listening. It doesn’t seem that the batteries will hold a charge for long periods of time. I could not charge them during the day and expect to turn them on the next morning, which was the peak time of day for radio to be transmitting local information. The ratio for using the hand-crank was better, but I grew tired of cranking quite quickly.
I was interested in local stations, so shortwave was not a factor. We only have a few local AM stations in Naples and I could not receive them (Irma knocked off or damaged a number of stations.) I tried FM. Even with the antennas retracted, both sets were overwhelmed by the local stations with certain stations bleeding through over much of the dial. I could receive some strong, local stations. With the outlet at Marco Island off and the other apparently on reduced power, receiving NPR was out of the question.
Given how many sources of information I was cut off from, my flow was greatly reduced. My ignorance increased and learning vital information was hit or miss. A neighbor told me about the boil order. Passing on information was difficult. When we got power I wanted to tell my brother, but the only way to inform him was to drive to his house.
One result was that I put these sets away and broke out my old Sony
ICF-7600GR and used it instead. I guess I could have used it until I ran out of AA batteries. I had plenty on hand and can easily afford them. But that is hardly the case in Southern Sudan and many other places.
The Lifeline came with a few stickers on it that I could not read when I got the set. Now that Goggle translate is so good I can read them. They say in part: “Everyone has the right to receive information,” “Everyone one has the right to search for, receive, and deliver information.”
The real result of the test was a greater appreciation for how good I have it in many ways. With regards to information, I have many sources and can readily receive it and pass it on. It increased my respect for services like Sudan Radio Service and how important they are. But most especially, I have a much greater admiration for listeners using these sets and what is surely their perseverance, patience, and determination to get information.
Many thanks for your field report of the Freeplay Lifeline and Unity, Hans!
I’m happy to hear you had no serious damage post-Irma. So many in the SWLing Post community have been affected by hurricanes this season.
I have never, personally, reviewed either of these Freeplay units–both are now discontinued and have been replaced with other models at Lifeline, I believe. As you state in your post, these radios are only available to humanitarian organizations. Through Ears To Our World, I have considered acquiring Lineline Energy (Freeplay) radios in the past. However, their radios tend to be rather large in size–we tend to go with smaller receivers that can easily fit in suitcases. In the past we’ve been very happy with the Grundig FR200 (Tecsun GR-88).
The Lifeplayer MP3
Last year, we did purchase a Freeplay Lifeplayer to test. The hand crank charging mechanism is very robust, though quite noisy. The radio is digital, but performance is mediocre and tuning couldn’t be more cumbersome (5 kHz steps, no memories, only a couple of band steps. Tuning to your favorite station could literally take a couple of minutes, depending on where it is on the band. When you turn off the radio (or it runs out of power) you’ll have to re-tune to the station again. That’s a lot of extra mechanical wear on the encoder. The real utility of the Lifeplayer is the built-in MP3 player and recorder–a brilliant tool for rural schools. Also, it’s robust and can take abuse from kids much better than other consumer radios.
Your main point, though, is spot-on: these radios serve their purpose, but we radio enthusiasts are incredibly fortunate to have much better grade equipment to take us through information backouts.
“Typhoon Haiyan is one of the biggest storms to occur on planet Earth and has left manymillions in the Philippines without access to electricity, food, and clean water.
According to CNN: “In the aftermath of Typhoon Haiyan, nights are often the hardest. It’s dark. It’s wet. It can be scary. There’s little to do, and, for many, even less to eat.”
For our part, Etón Corp is donating 25% of all sales through EtonCorp.com to Typhoon Haiyan relief.
We are also working with San Jose-based non-profit Project PEARLS to donate $140,000 worth of our preparedness products to help survivors in the Philippines gain access to invaluable information, light, and power.
“The San Francisco Bay Area is home to one of the largest Filipino populations in the United States and as a company based here, we feel personally touched as we have neighbors, co-workers and friends that are personally affected by this tragedy – our thoughts go out to everyone affected by the storm,” said Esmail Hozour of Etón Corporation. “We hope that through these donations, we can do our part to help in the relief efforts for those in the hardest hit areas.”
For the past 30 years, Etón has worked to create and distribute products that help people recover from tragedy caused by severe weather near and far. From the Moore, Oklahoma tornado earlier this year to Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines, we hope to equip victims of natural disaster with the tools and peace of mind to move forward and persevere.”
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