If you’ve spent any time researching what you’ll need in a disaster scenario, chances are that you’ve come across information about communications. Understanding what’s going on not just immediately around your neighborhood but in your greater area is crucial.
Regardless of whether you have a ham radio setup, elaborate networks of handhelds and frequencies, or nothing at all, the Eton FRX2 Emergency AM/FM Radio is the perfect little radio to have in a variety of situations. It sports several tools and features packed into a very small unit.
Specs and Features
The FRX2 is designed to be super portable and unobtrusive; at only 5.4″ x 2.5″ x 2.5″ (H x W x D), it’s easily slipped into an EDC or bugout bag side pocket. It’s also light, weighing only a little over 8 oz.
A bright, long-life three-LED flashlight is located on the top in a great position, making it easy to use. It comes with a mini-USB cord for charging but can also be charged via DC wall outlet, a small solar panel on the side, or by a foldable hand turbine crank on the back. You can also charge your cell phone if needed, but don’t expect to stream Netflix.
The crank, which is easy to turn, only needs 60 seconds of turning to provide about 15-20 minutes of power for news and weather — or music, if a morale boost is what you need in the moment. The 1000mAh internal rechargeable battery holds a charge well; even out of the box after several days of shipping, it powered right up and stayed going for an hour.
A headphone jack allows you to get your needed information in a disaster while staying quiet, but it also has a small speaker for when silence isn’t necessary. The FRX2 has a glow in the dark locator for those moments when you need to find it fast in a blackout scenario.
Analog AM and FM stations can be received, as well as all seven of the NOAA/Environment Canada weather band stations. Depending on your location, the reception is decent to excellent; in a problem area, however, you can pull out the collapsible antenna found on the side to boost your reception. I found that I needed the antenna while in my house, but not outside.
It retails for $34.99-$39.99 and is one of the items recommended by the American Red Cross for a disaster preparedness kit. At such an affordable price, it’s a no-brainer as an extra piece of gear that provides a solid amount of backup functionality.
The FRX2 isn’t meant to be a be-all, end-all communications solution for a disaster. It’s a solid Plan B if all you need to do is listen, and its portability makes it a huge benefit if you were to find yourself in a situation with no power or limited access to your more advanced communication gear.
It is not waterproof and so it should be stored away from oily substances or where it can get wet. Like any other piece of gear, it will wear down over time and possibly need replacement. You should check its function and charging ability every few months; if you live in a disaster-prone area, check it once a month when you check the rest of your gear.
It doesn’t come with a whole lot of instructions for use, but the unit itself is easy to figure out. One thing you’ll need to do is find the NOAA stations before you need them — the instructions don’t provide the station list, but you can find it here. (For more information on NOAA weather radio, you can check out the official site.)
Why You Should Buy It
In today’s society, we rely on our phones, tablets and other devices for everything. In fact, for the average person, actually calling people may be one of the lesser-used functions. Instead, we text, send messages via social media, check our calendars and browse the internet. Weather apps exist as well, offering detailed local forecasts, radar and more. Dependency on these devices is standard for many.
What if the internet was down? What if the cell towers stopped working? What if power was out for an extended period? These might sound like rare occurrences, but that’s exactly what preparedness is about: having a plan for the rare occurrence that makes everyday life no longer feasible. A disaster scenario is exactly when you need access to information that could help you stay alive or take care of your family.
The FRX2, at only $40, is an easy way to ensure that you have information when you need it — not just when you can charge your phone.
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