L.L.Bean/Eton Hand crank FR-400 Water Resistant
AM/FM/TV1/TV2 Weather Receiver W/LED light & Cell Phone Charger
I was over at a friend’s house the other day and low and behold what did I spy sitting on the countertop, that’s right an emergency hand cranked radio. Upon closer examination, I could see it was one of the more “feature packed” units that are the most desirable.
Water Resistant: (meaning light rain or possibly a drooling toddler) but I’m sure it would fry just like any other electronic item if totally submerged in water.
AM Radio: Who listens to AM radio anymore??? Well.. I do, and so should you. From where I live in Birmingham, AL., I can regularly hear AM radio stations such as WSM in Chicago, and WGOO in Nashville, so AM has got the range. This unit has an analog tuner, and although I would prefer a digital, it seemed to work fine and was fairly sensitive to the further away and weaker stations. I also prefer to use the earphone jack when searching the dial for stations as I can hear the weaker signals better AND, the tiny earphone speakers do not draw as much power as the single larger built-in speaker.
FM Radio: Well, we all know what’s there and it’s no different with this unit except no favorite “pre-set” button capabilities. Tuner in FM mode was smooth and sensitive. One of my local rock favorite stations is Rock 99.5 in Birmingham, AL. That .5 is sometimes a bummer to try and get an exact hit on with an analog tuner, but this unit had no problem.
TV1/TV2 Band: Well, was useful, but if the Gvmnt ever decides on which date to take the analog TV signal digital, then we loose the ability to listen to them on an analog radio as well. And that would also be the case with this radio.
Weather Band Receiver: My locale is not mountainous, but we are “very” hilly and it affects the weather band in varying degrees depending on which side of the hill you are. This unit was able to tune in more NOAA stations than my auto-tune sets much to my surprise. I think it was the fact that I got a “hit” on every station, rather than on just the stronger ones with my auto-tune. And sometimes a weak signal is better than no signal at all.
LED Light: Twin white LED’s were bright and strong even after only a minute of cranking on the dynamo, and there was a single flashing red LED for emergency signaling.
Cell Phone Charger: Although I was not able to actually try this feature out due to the lack of the owner not being able to find the small bag of adapters that come with the unit (owner error, not manufacturer, although a tether bag or internal storage would have prevented that problem) I’m sure it would have worked as intended. Now whether you would have to crank for 10 minutes or ten hours to fully charge a cell phone is unknown, but I think the idea is to be able to give you enough cell phone juice to be able to make a short emergency call.
Although of an ALL PLASTIC construction, what isn’t these days? The unit felt solid and secure including the plastic hand crank and knob assy. And unless dropped on a hard surface, I’m sure it will give many years of good service. The hand crank assy was easy to turn and relatively quite in it’s operation. In all, I probably cranked on the little sucker for ten minutes or so and was quite pleased with its operation.
All of the switches were positive and easy to use with bare hands. Although due to the small size of some of the switches, use with gloved hands might be more difficult. Back panel layout is simple, common and clean with connections for A/C adapter, Cell Phone Charger, battery access, earphone jack (all with a single flip over protective cover btw) and the metal telescopic antenna.
All in all, I’d give it an 8 out of 10!