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Does anyone know if I can get a radio at an army surplus store that I can use in event of emergencies or are the radios there usually outdated
 

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Outdoorsman, Bladesmith
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"in event of an emergency", most, if not all, FM and AM stations will be broadcasting emergency information. This will fail if the power to these stations fail, which then means shortwave, or HAM will be the most likely network still active. Surplus is not a place I'd look to for quality gear in this category.
 

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Most 'Surplus' stores are selling the 'Emergency' radios with things like 'Solar' panels and crank handles to power them.

Quality varies, but if you pay $5 for something, don't be surprised if it's pretty much junk...
The simple rules still apply, you get what you pay for.

Commercial reception AM/FM/Weather/Short Wave receivers only are a good idea to have.
(Solar panels, hand cranks... Optional)

With hurricane or blizzard conditions, you might not see the sun for days, so that rules out Solar being a viable way to recharge the radio.
Besides, The tiny solar panels that are built in are of such poor quality they aren't really effective at all.

Hand crank radios are like hand crank flashlights, they are out there, some of them are fairly well made, but they don't come real cheap.

Some of the really cheap ones, made in China mostly, literally won't pick up a radio station across the street...
I've had two or three here from different 'Gimmie' things,
Door prizes, Freebies from the bank, ect., and I can't pick up the 50,000 watt local radio station that had a tower 3 blocks away!

Your best bet is a 'Dual Power' radio, something with a power cord you can plug into the wall, and runs on batteries too and is of a reasonable quality.
Good antenna is a REAL plus in this situation!
Just keep some good, fresh alkaline batteries dedicated to go in it in the event of an emergency, and you will be fine.

If you believe you are going to need the radio long term without the benefit of 'Grid' power...
Consider rechargeable batteries and a vehicle charger for them, or a larger solar panel for recharging vehicle batteries.
A larger solar panel that produces in 12 volts would be a great thing to have for keeping vehicle batteries charged, cell phones, or communications radios.
Not to mention that it will produce enough current to charge cordless tool batteries if you choose your tools correctly,
And a single panel is portable.
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Communications radios are another story.
For 2 way communications, you will need think about things like transmission antennas, constant power sources (most can be run off vehicle batteries)
and if you know the proper procedures for using the radios.

FM radios, both the smaller hand held "Civilian Usage" and 'Citizens Band' radios will require rechargeable batteries and some way to recharge them...
CB's will take much more current, like a vehicle battery,
Smaller digital radios will need fresh charges on it's AA or AAA batteries every day or two at the very minimum.
 

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I saw some real nice but inexpensive ones at Radio Shack that were a combo battery, hand crank and solar to cover everything.
 

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I need to flip through the Radio Shack catalog instead of throwing it in the trash next time!

I saw one the other day, was pretty well made, but it was made in Russia or somewhere...

You could turn the gear multiplication hand crank,
(Which was aluminum by the way!)
And it would charge not only the batteries in the radio, but an extra set of AA size batteries in the back!
Charged about 8 batteries at once if the radio was off when you turned the hand crank...

I think the guy said he only paid about $30 for it too, very reasonable.
 

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So you can charge these up without the radio on and then turn it on later? How long would you have to crank it before it starts getting good reception?
 

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The "50 year old" stuff you see a lot of times is usually high quality aircraft or military radios. Very expensive stuff at one time. If you can get your hands on one and it works in the band you want, you'll have a great radio. Here is one guys website that sells that old stuff. Btw, look around his website. You might find some HAM stuff in there. ROCKWELL COLLINS ITEMS:

Brad (hello)
 

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Lost at LAX
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Most of the surplus radios I've seen are the older military 50mHz stuff - could possibly be retuned to work on the 6 meter Ham bands (if you have privliges on 6M) - but 6M ham is pretty dead in most places.


Jeff (hi Brad)
 
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