Date: Friday, September 23rd, 2005, 12:50
With impending disasters raging alone the coastal regions and the always possibility of power outages. One sometimes re-thinks what one has in case of a situation like such. I quickly did a search and found some nice items. Please Note: This list is no way exhaustive (I’m sure with more time, one could find even better stuff).
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With impending disasters raging alone the coastal regions and the always possibility of power outages. One sometimes re-thinks what one has in case of a situation like such.
I quickly did a search and found some nice items. Please Note: This list is no way exhaustive (I’m sure with more time, one could find even better stuff).
To start off… in case of a power outage one needs the ability to hear what the outside agencies and local authorities are doing and what directions need to be headed, the FREEPLAY PLUS RADIO($109.95) is a great start and yes it is a hand cranked AM/FM/short-wave Radio… you virtually don’t even need electricity! With a hand crank AND solar panel this gadget can really get you through some tough times! Not to be over looked is the fact it has a optional AC adapter and NiHM rechargeable battery. Oh, it also has a built in flashlight as well!
Within this category of “hand-cranked” radios is two more less expensive items… the ETON FR300 Emergency Radio($59.95) and the DYNAMO Wind-up Radio & Flashlight($29.95). The ETON has a built in flashlight, NiMH battery, NOAA weather-band (2-13 channels), and will accept AA batteries and a AC Adapter. Even recharges your cell-phone! The DYNAMO on the other hand is very simple but if your strapped to a budget then get this one… hand-crank and solar powered! Radio and flashlight combined makes this guy the bare minimum to have! Optional AC Adapter.
Next, if you need to communicate and all phone lines and cell towers are down… get some 2-way radios. A great set is the Motorola TALKABOUT SX700R, at $74.95 a pair they have a 12 mile range and the ability to pick up NOAA radio. Included is two battery charging stations. Not all 2-way radios are created equal, the price ranges from $29.95-$99.95 pending brand and features.
If you need better and bigger solutions check out the alternative power section at CCRANE.com. Most notably is the XANTREC XPower Powerpack 1500, you can run a refrigerator or a laptop with this puppy! Or check out this humble little solar battery charger. For more versatility try the Bruton Solar Roll, expensive but offers more options. Additionally, here’s a nice alternative for when your cell phone goes dead, the SOS Charger (19.95). It’s a hand-crank charger… splendid idea and a pratical variation of this technology! The company site states that 3 minutes of cranking will get you enough power to make a emergency call.
The next item I thought is handy is the POGO RYW-LX. This little device is great because foremost it touts itself as a RADIO FIRST and a MP3 player second. And during power outages a radio is all you need sometimes. With a built in speaker, internal MIC, SD/MMC slot that supports 1gig (internal memory as well of 128mb), line-in, li-polymer battery and so much more this lil’ fella is a perfect piece of hardware. Just slighly bigger than a crdeit card the LX allows you to record radio directly or from any audio source. And my thought on this was, if you are listening to evacuation instructiions why not record it so you do not get lost! The industrial design is heavily influenced by the iPod so one may think this is another quick imitator… but as I previously mentioned, the LX is designed as a RADIO and then all the other goodies tacked on. An additional nice facet is the fact it has a USB slot, so it will play nicely with your Mac! One draw back however is if there is a power shortage then your in a pinch. The LX takes one of those odd ball battery packs like a cordless phone. You can no doubt find a back up at Staples but when in a pinch with no electricity you’ll have to use this sparingly since other more common batteries off the shelf will not do. To designers of such electronics: I may be wrong but I feel that making the battery bay to accept AA & AAA batteries and then have the Li-Polymery battery pack rest inside that would be the ultimate versatile electronic device for emergency situations! Jump to the vendors site.
And, as just reported by Jason O’Grady, Griffin is shipping the iFM, for iPod owners this little add-on will give you FM/AM radio and the ability to record it.
SIDENOTE: As a avid backpacker I always keep dry goods (Backpackers Pantry, Cliff Bars) around, a trusty back-packing stove (MSR Dragonfly, OPTIMUS Nova, Primus MultiFuel… these are multi-fuel and not tied to any propriatory fuel or butane canisters) to cook with, a head lamp, pair of 2-way radios, battery charger (w/car adapter), a Leatherman SuperTool, mini-first aid kit and a hand-pump water purifier(MSR). Granted it all sounds a bit extremist… but if I am traveling by car this stuff packs quickly in a backpack and is no burden at all!