NOAA Good Radio?
June 7, 2008 6:17 PM   Subscribe

I'm looking for the best choice in a NOAA emergency alert radio.

The options are many; I think what I need is a) SAME local area technology; b) ability to run on batteries, ideally also to recharge batteries when on AC; and c) settable so that it only goes off (audibly) for tornado or civil emergencies, not every passing thunderstorm. A crank for power would be cool too.

If it matters, this will be used in Monroe County, Indiana and the only real need is for a tornado warning system. I'm a bit stymied by all the choices, willing to spend up to $100 (though a lot cost less than that).

Anyone have one of these things that they either hate or love enough to say so?
posted by fourcheesemac to Home & Garden (9 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
I actually just bought the 'Radio Shack' emergency radio last week as a gift for someone. It has rechargeable batteries, a hand crank, AM/FM/Weather Radio (x7 channels), an LED flashlight, and even a usb port to charge a cell-phone with a bajillion adapters. It cost about $50.

Radio Shack also had a 'Red Cross' emergency radio on display, but the USB cellphone recharger is what sold me.

The only downside is the one you already mentioned... this time of year there's severe thunderstorm warnings every day (or so it seems). If you leave it on the auto-tone setting, it goes off all the time. With our current weather pattern here in Washington DC, we leave it off. Doesn't mean it's not a damn handy gadget though.
posted by matty at 6:46 PM on June 7, 2008

Also note... the A/C adapter for it is sold separately. That was the REAL surprise when the gift was opened. "Where's the power cord??" LOL.
posted by matty at 6:51 PM on June 7, 2008

I just got this one, which lets you turn the alert on/off for each event, so I've got everything turned off except tornadoes, fires, civil emergencies, and earthquakes (hey, you never know).

It doesn't charge the batteries, but it takes 4AA so it'd hold for a while without power. I have a non-SAME hand-crank radio/flashlight, but it gets crap reception inside the house even near a window, which isn't where I want to be. This one's got a big antenna on it, which was a selling point for me.

I live at the corner of three counties, so another selling point was that you can enter multiple SAME locations. There's some setup tips in the comments on Amazon that are better than the manual, if you choose that model.
posted by Lyn Never at 7:23 PM on June 7, 2008

Oh, and the model I linked distinguishes between watches and warnings, so you can pick and choose between those if you like. I'm not as interested in tornado watches as I am warnings, so that's nice.
posted by Lyn Never at 7:25 PM on June 7, 2008

This is the one I rely on. I've got a couple of others, but this is my favorite. It won't recharge the batteries and there's no crank, but it's got the other stuff you want. Mine is set to alert me for tornado warnings and nothing else. It's portable and has a travel mode that will keep it set to the nearest broadcasting station as you drive.

The one caveat: it runs on three AA batteries and you don't want to turn the thing on unless you think you'll need it (or run it on AC power) because it eats batteries.
posted by bryon at 7:31 PM on June 7, 2008

Any one will do. My general recommendation is one that has a couple of different warning options. In an average New Orleans summer, they can generate quite a cacaphony, let me tell you.
posted by tcv at 8:22 PM on June 7, 2008

I'm pretty fond of the one than NPR gives out for their pledge drives, Eton makes it.
posted by iamabot at 8:47 PM on June 7, 2008

I like mine but make sure you get a signal before you buy it. I bought mine and had a terrible signal for a couple of years, until my county put up a new transmitter.
posted by IndigoRain at 10:47 PM on June 7, 2008

Response by poster: Thanks everyone
posted by fourcheesemac at 6:46 PM on June 8, 2008

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