This Article is About
hand crank radios
conspiracy theorist
emergency radios
snow storms
wreaking havoc
natural disaster
tsunami warning
mayan calendar
power grid
sigh of relief
Being Prepared: Portable Hand Crank Radios
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Being Prepared: Portable Hand Crank Radios


As the hype of the Mayan calendar and 2012 predictions comes to a close, we all breathe a sigh of relief. the earth is still here spinning away on its axis just like it always has for a million or so years and the sun didn't explode with the alignment of all the galaxies. Our US currency hasn't collapsed yet either into a meaningless piece of paper.

That doesn't mean we are safe now from any other natural disaster that may happen. The weather still gets bad as storms frolic around the planet wreaking havoc on all of us, and it is always a good idea to be prepared for a natural disaster. As I write this a light snow is falling.


One of the ways that I like to keep up with the current events happening around the world is with my Shortwave receiver. I can pick up broadcast from different countries on the other side of the planet and hear what may be unfolding. I don't consider myself a radical conspiracy theorist although I do enjoy the television show "Preppers". I do however live in an area about 20 miles from the nearest town up on the Northwest peninsula of Washington state. We have snow storms and high winds every winter and when this happens the roads can be closed for extended periods of time, whether it be from trees falling down or several feet of snow. When this happens we can be without power for several days or weeks. We are cut off from the power grid as well as emergency services. This is where my hand crank portable shortwave receiver comes in handy.


I am an avid shortwave listener and enjoy listening to broadcasts from all over the world. When the power is out I can listen in on my E'ton crank up radio and still know what is happening. We have a 1 Kilowatt radio station in town that will broadcast information in an emergency. We also have Tsunami warning sirens that go off once a month for practice, even if I cant hear them way out here. Portable crank up radios are my only lifeline to the outside world at times.


One of the biggest features that I like about my hand crank portable radio is the ability to charge up other devices. This means that I can keep my cell phone charged up or with the right adapter any other device I have. I can also use it as a flashlight when I need to see and it has a built in siren. It receives AM and FM radio as well as 6 of the NOAA weather channels that are local to the Puget sound area. Very important to me. One thing that it doesn't have is shortwave (SW) and long-wave (LW) reception.

I have been shopping around for a decent one under 100 dollars that has shortwave reception. One of the important things about shortwave reception for me is listening to world news, and in a government collapse situation I may not be able to get news that I can trust from the media sources here in the United States.

One other thing that I would like in a Portable radio is the ability to connect an external antenna. I have a very elaborate antenna system that I have built here on my property that I would like to be able to use in an emergency situation. I also am a Ham radio operator so my antenna system can receive worldwide broadcasts. The current hand crank radio that I have doesn't have the ability to connect to this antenna system.


If you have a family and are the head of the household then it is important to be prepared to take care of your family in a emergency situation. The local emergency services may not be able to get to you at times or may be delayed. In this scenario it is your responsibility to know what is happening and be able to quickly react. In the case of my family we have Grab and GO bags just in case we have to leave the property. We live in an area with lots of trees and it is realistic to prepare for the high winds we get to knock a tree down on our home. If that happens we are out in the elements and on our own. No one is going to come save us, and their are not any shelters within walking distance that we could get to. In this type of scenario it is also realistic to think that more than likely emergency services are not going to be able to come rescue us.


OK I hope that the last few paragraphs didn't scare you off or make you believe that I am some sort of radical conspiracy theorist or some sort of prepper setting up my own militia. I just want to cover one last point before I stop talking for the day. Radio is FUN. Yes i find it enjoyable. That doesn't mean everyone will, but if you give it a few weeks of tuning around the SW and LW bands in the evening you can hear stations broadcast from all over the world. Radical religious groups, Folk music coming from South America and Europe, or even Radio Havana Cuba rant on about how evil the American Empire is. I like listening to different types of music and even enjoy the music that comes out of Asia.


The importance of having a hand crank emergency radio that you can use in an emergency should be a consideration when preparing for an emergency of any sort. Whether it be a local storm, natural disaster or the collapse of a Government a portable radio can make the difference in whether or not you survive.

Street Talk

Well written article! As an old Boy Scout I have always believed in the maxim "Be prepared" and it has often saved my hide! Thank you for an interesting write!

  about 9 years ago

I have a LL Bean portable radio. AM, FM, Weather. The things I really like about this radio is it has a cell phone charger on it, and it runs an incredibly long time on 3 AA batteries, and of course it has a crank. It also has a light on it and a siren. Now, many people think these last two are silly. You know these people have not been in need of seeing or being found. Really, unless you have been in an emergency situation, you do not know just how handy one of these radios are. Great article!

  about 1 decade ago

Thanks Shawn, i am seeing the real need for these types of radios as the weather and storms seem to be getting worse every year. When harsh winter conditions arrive we are cut off from emergency services and supplies and totally have to be ready. I have the Red Cross version crank up radio and am looking for something that receives shortwave broadcasts as well.

  about 1 decade ago

When you find one share it with us. :)

  about 1 decade ago

Will do Shawn. I find that most of the hand-crank radio's seem more like toys than actual emergency radios. I have the Eton Red Cross radio that works fine, but is very toy-like in it's appearnce. It also has TV1 & TV2 which are worthless now that Television has all gone digital. I will be sure to share one if I find one with all the features I like and feel comfortable promoting.

  about 1 decade ago

I have or rather had a hand cranked radio that could also plugin. Am. Fm, Shortwave too. I loved it then it completely broke in about 3-4 years. I'd like to have another one if I could be sure it would last longer. It would have been very helpful with our last Hurricane.

  about 1 decade ago

I am a BIG time radio enthusiast so I usually have one that I use around the shack and another in my Grab and Go bag. I'm seriously looking at some of the deals and reviews on Amazon to find one that suits my needs.

  about 1 decade ago
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