It is starting to be that time of year. What do I mean? Thunderstorm and Tornado Season that’s what I mean. That is followed by the Hurricane season. The best thing to do to stay safe during this season is to take time to prepare now before the worst happens. One device that will help you keep informed during a storm is a radio. If you have a portable radio, one problem you always have is batteries not being charged when you need it or you only have the radio on your stereo. If that’s you, then you should pickup the Etón Solarlink FR360 Emergency Preparedness Radio.
The FR360 has the most power options of any radio I currently have in the house. You can power it from AAA Batteries or the built in NiMH battery. That NiMH battery can be charged by the built in dynamo, the solar panel in the handle or the AC input on the back with a optional AC adapter also sold by Etón. No matter what your power situation is, you can keep informed about the weather.
To charge with the dynamo, press the “Dyn/Sol” button and start cranking. Ninety seconds of cranking will get you 15 minutes of radio.
To charge with the solar cell, press the “Dyn/Sol” button and sit int he sun. You can get a a full charge in about 10 hours. That is if you get 10 hours of sun!
Finally, if you have the optional AC adapter, the radio will be charged in about 6 hours.
This radio has AM/FM and every NOAA Weather Radio frequency in America (of which there are 7 frequencies in use). The antenna on the back only needs to be extended during FM and weatherband use.
The weatherband has a unique feature. First, tune to the appropriate frequency for your area and then press the alert button and the radio will turn off and go into alert mode. Whenever a alert comes across your NOAA station, it will turn on so you can hear the latest warning. The only downside to this feature is that it does not support SAME which stands for Specific Area Message Encoding. SAME prevents your radio from going off for a county that your station serves that isn’t the one you live in. Because the FR360 doesn’t support this, you can be woken up when an alert comes in for another area.
There’s also a AUX input on the back. This can be used to turn the FR360 into a speaker for your iPod, MP3 Player or any device that takes a 1/8 inch headphone cable. Cable not included.
The FR360 would be handy enough if it was just a radio, but it also has a integrated LED flashlight that has 2 modes. One mode uses 4 white LED’s and is just a regular LED flashlight. The other mode uses one red LED and flashes when it’s on.
The FR360 also can be used to charge your cell phone if it can be charged via a USB port. Just plug your USB cable in, press the “Cell” button and turn the crank to get some juice in your phone to make that emergency phone call. Be prepared to crank a while though. Etón says that 3 minutes worth of cranking will get you one emergency phone call.
The Etón FR360 Solarlink also has an American Red Cross logo on it. One dollar of every FR360 purchase goes to the American Red Cross disaster relief fund.
The Etón FR360 Solarlink Emergency Preparedness Radio is something everyone should buy. You will always have a radio to stay informed during severe weather. Plus you can always have a radio with you on your camping trips, while fishing, at a picnic or in your car’s emergency kit. I plan on taking this on every scout camping trip this summer.
The Etón FR360 Solarlink Emergency Preparedness Radio is only $50.00 on Amazon.com. It’s 50 dollars well worth it if you ask me.
UPDATE: Etón has let me know that the FR600 Solarlink radio supports SAME for NOAA weather radio. It is only $80 dollars and has all of the same features of the FR360 as well as a siren.
What I like: Multiple power options. Decent receiver. I also like the flashlight.
What needs improvement: They should throw in the AC Adapter for free.