Author Topic: Which Bands for BOB Radio?  (Read 1634 times)

Offline snickers

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Which Bands for BOB Radio?
« on: November 20, 2012, 11:14:44 PM »
I'm looking for a hand crank radio to throw in my BOB. There are a number of options! All have AM and FM bands. My question is what is the most important for the other bands? Some radios I've seen have a few Short Wave bands. Some say NOAA Weather Band and some say ALL SEVEN NOAA weather bands. Do I really need all seven NOAA bands? Would having a short wave radio actually be helpful when facing a local emergency? Thanks for your input!

Offline fratermus

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Re: Which Bands for BOB Radio?
« Reply #1 on: November 21, 2012, 12:17:18 AM »
AFAIK, the "all seven" radio probably refers to the 7 channels in the weather band.  Only four are used by NOAA broadcasts, which is why it is common to see four.

As much as I love shortwave, IMO it is difficult to get decent tuning in a small, inexpensive radio.    If you do opt for a SW radio you may want to find one with an external ant jack.   Radio Shack makes a little palm-sized wire ant case that reels the wire back in like a pocket fisherman.  About $10, I think, and helps with the reception on the DX-392 I use for SW reception.  I will also say that since the demise of BBC (and others) broadcasting in the Americas my love for SW has been greatly diminished.  :-(

Having broken a few cranks in the past, I now am more interested in radios with small solar panels that run the radio directly or charge an internal battery, or small panel to run the radio.  I have a small panel I got off eBay 15yrs ago for $10;  has multiple voltages out (at admittedly small mAh), different jacks, even alligator clips.  Have used it whenever I am outside to avoid cranking or using batteries. 

Edit.  Appears to be like this one, which the comments say is available for $7 at Harbor Freight. 
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Offline snickers

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Re: Which Bands for BOB Radio?
« Reply #2 on: November 25, 2012, 11:19:57 AM »
Thanks for your advice and links fratermus! I ended up getting one with the NOAA bands for the BOB based on your advice about the decline of shortwave. I think my dad has some old shortwave gear that he would let me borrow.

Offline fratermus

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Re: Which Bands for BOB Radio?
« Reply #3 on: November 25, 2012, 11:27:12 AM »
Let us know how it turns out after you've played with it a bit.  I'm sure your experience will be helpful to other folks making this kind of decision. 
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Offline soupbone

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Re: Which Bands for BOB Radio?
« Reply #4 on: November 25, 2012, 03:52:18 PM »
IMO, having good medium wave [AM] performance is a MUST. FM is line-of-sight, which limits its usefulness in an area wide disaster. AM, on the other hand, has a much longer range because it can bounce off of the ionosphere. This is why you can pick up New York or Atlanta from Northern Ohio on a pretty regular basis. Weather bands? I have had no luck with cheap weather band radios - but if I listen to Chicago, or Detroit, I'll know what my weather will be in a day or two. And if my area is hit with a disaster, I'm sure Chicago, Detroit, Pittsburgh, Cincinnati et al will be talking about it.

Shortwave  might come in handy if you live along the Canadian border. IIRC, the Canadian Broadcasting Corp. still uses SW for normal internal broadcasts, given the size and population density of our neighbor to the north. Disasters have absolutely no respect for international borders, and if something affects the border region, I'm sure they will talk about it.

Also, never underestimate the entertainment value of radio - SW or otherwise. In a disaster situation, keeping up morale will be an important consideration. An evening listening to, well, CBC for example, will brighten up the mood.

soupbone
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Offline snickers

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Re: Which Bands for BOB Radio?
« Reply #5 on: November 25, 2012, 08:09:37 PM »
Thanks soupbone! My parents live a few hours from the Canadian border. In fact I grew up listening to a classic rock FM station out of Victoria and watching tv shows on the CBC with rabbit ears. Could be useful to access shortwave when I'm visiting my parents. I was previously of the opinion that there were hardly any radio stations left on AM, but I checked it out the other day and I was surprised.

Offline n2cycles

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Re: Which Bands for BOB Radio?
« Reply #6 on: November 25, 2012, 08:47:35 PM »
Why not consider a small handheld dual band ht. Most cover the majority of the spectrum in the receive mode and can be run off lithium battery and charged with a small solar cell and run off AA's. The bonus is you can talk on them without a ham license in an emergency. Mine even covers lower ham bands.

Offline Ronin4hire

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Re: Which Bands for BOB Radio?
« Reply #7 on: November 25, 2012, 11:44:34 PM »
In the same search with you Snickers and looking at the Eton line of small crank radios.
Saw where Jack panned the Kaiyo? crank radio that I continue to see marketed extensively- shot that down fast!
Seems like Eton are labeled for RedCross disaster goodies at many online vendors.
DO like the multiple power options (battery/crank/solar)  but definitely will have Eneloops stocked for them.
Light is handy but not a necessity, the USB outlet has potential as long as is sun/ crank powered.
AM/FM for sure- NOAA is nice, but SW isnt terribly useful to me.... yet!  (looking into license and basic HAM set-up too)
In this area, several 50kW broadcasting stations can be found on car AM radio ranging from Boston to Chicago to Atlanta.
Nice to be able to "tune in" to wide geography that way, but SW may extend that "across the pond" potentially?
I guess there may be dedicated new broadcasts on SW.... hopefully in English?  (perhaps even brit or canadian, eh?)
Let me know what you decide, think I may spring for one of the Etons myself as early Xmas gift- will let ya know how it goes.


Offline El Rhino

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Re: Which Bands for BOB Radio?
« Reply #8 on: January 08, 2013, 01:04:28 AM »
Nice to be able to "tune in" to wide geography that way, but SW may extend that "across the pond" potentially?
I guess there may be dedicated new broadcasts on SW.... hopefully in English?  (perhaps even brit or canadian, eh?)

I'm in Iowa and right now I can pick up Cuban (in English and Spanish), Chinese (English via a transmitter in Canada), Taiwan (English), Australia (English), Russia (Spanish), Japan (English/Japanese) and Spain (Spanish) clear enough to listen in.   There's a handful more that come in under ideal circumstances and some that are faint and take a lot of active listening.   

As far as uses in a BOB, I think if you're going to get a small battery powered AM radio and you've got the extra coin, it wouldn't hurt to pick up a Kaito or something with SW.   I think a hand-held scanner would probably be a better investment in that price range than a SW radio for emergency purposes, for what that's worth.

As far as SW and prepping goes, I think it just expands the possibilities of how you can gather info.   It's an interesting hobby and all, but something I'd consider secondary to other forms of communication.  If something were to happen like a major blackout or the internetz goes down it might be a good way to get some news from the outside world.   To kind of get out there in tin foil hat area, in the case of excessive rule of law radio is something that can't be traced if you listen to it.   "They" can get your web browsing history, they can't find out what you've been listening to on the radio.   

Offline snickers

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Re: Which Bands for BOB Radio?
« Reply #9 on: January 09, 2013, 10:34:01 PM »
I think I'm going to get a hand held batter powered radio with SW next. They really aren't very expensive and having an extra set of batteries instead of crank powered is probably more practical.

Offline Alan Georges

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Re: Which Bands for BOB Radio?
« Reply #10 on: January 09, 2013, 11:48:30 PM »
I think I'm going to get a hand held batter powered radio with SW next. They really aren't very expensive and having an extra set of batteries instead of crank powered is probably more practical.
Take a look at the $20 Kaito 321.  Here's my review:
http://thesurvivalpodcast.com/forum/index.php?topic=38314.msg430716#msg430716
No solar, no crank, but it is reasonably tough and it works.

But, heh, I can't help but grin at my first mis-reading of your post as "barter powered radio".  Yeah, without solar or a crank, if you run out of batteries in a crunch, bartering for more is the next likely option.
Build it or buy it, start it up and try it, maybe even fry it.  Otherwise you'll never know if it works.

Offline snickers

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Re: Which Bands for BOB Radio?
« Reply #11 on: February 10, 2013, 11:59:38 AM »
Thanks, Alan, I'll check that out, I think the Bi Mart near my house has a similar shortwave radio.

Offline Jaenus

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Re: Which Bands for BOB Radio?
« Reply #12 on: February 10, 2013, 10:46:01 PM »
Whatever bands you choose, ensure your group knows them WELL in advance.  Perhaps print off copies and give to each member.

We use CBs and HAMs and have group designated channels for each.

Offline Tejun

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Re: Which Bands for BOB Radio?
« Reply #13 on: February 20, 2013, 08:33:58 AM »

As much as I love shortwave, IMO it is difficult to get decent tuning in a small, inexpensive radio.    If you do opt for a SW radio you may want to find one with an external ant jack.   Radio Shack makes a little palm-sized wire ant case that reels the wire back in like a pocket fisherman.  About $10, I think, and helps with the reception on the DX-392 I use for SW reception.  I will also say that since the demise of BBC (and others) broadcasting in the Americas my love for SW has been greatly diminished.  :-(


The BBC still transmit on SW.  http://www.bbc.co.uk/worldservice/schedules/frequencies/

Offline armymars

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Re: Which Bands for BOB Radio?
« Reply #14 on: February 20, 2013, 09:14:20 AM »
  I have one of thous small hand crank, solar panel radios. You wouldn't believe how often we used it when power went out. I now have a whole house generator, but still keep the radio around. Most ham radios today cover SW broadcast. At least to listen to. Of course they can also hear ham radio nets in SSB, which most SW receivers don't. This might be handy.