> TEOTWAWKI Blog: Shoppin' for a shortwave



Shoppin' for a shortwave

I suck. I do not own a portable radio. Sad. At one point had a pretty good little portable AM/FM, but that was about 6 years ago. Not sure where it went to. Then for several years I was anti-radio; let's face it, most of the music stations suck something fierce. Then I got my little Ford Ranger, which came only with an AM/FM radio. Not even a cassette player--just AM/FM. I was commuting 25 miles each way, so I became very familiar with the area's radio stations and found that--shocking--there was some decent stuff on the radio. I spent many long hours, stuck in traffic, listening to NPR and other news stations.

In this day of iPods and Internet radio, lame-o AM/FM radio is often forgotten. Most people have no clue what a shortwave radio is. But a good radio is a surefire way of getting up-to-the-minute information while on the move or without an internet connection--backpacking, camping, hiking, traveling, etc. The .gov has emergency broadcast systems set up to respond in cases of emergency and natural disaster. It's a survival kit no-brainer.

These days, some phones and MP3 players have AM/FM radios built right into them. Even my current POS Nokia phone has one--a surprisingly decent one--though it requires a headset to function. I bought a headset at the dollar store and keep it in my EDC bag. A built-in radio is a pretty good feature to look for; keep it in mind if you're in the market for a new phone or media player.

That being said, I want a more robust and stand-alone device for my EDC/travel bag and for using around the house. Something with shortwave capability--I have memories of playing around with my dad's Sony shortwave as a kid, getting in transmissions from what I guessed to be Europe. Needs to be pocket sized, run on AAs, reasonably sturdy, and ideally around $30.

The Kaito KA202L looks to be the best fit, and has the added benefit of having an alarm clock and an LED light, potentially handy when traveling. This looks to be basically identical to the GP4 radio sold by County Comm. I'm still shopping around though, so if anyone has suggestions, let me know!