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  • Severe Weather Alert - Tropical Depression Debby

    It is 2012 and hurricane season is here. Tropical Depression Debby is heading out to the Atlantic after hovering over the Florida coast for four days, flooding the peninsula with a seemingly endless barrage of rain. According to the National Weather Service, the flooding remains a threat. If you are located in or around these flood-prone areas, Are you ready?

    Have you put together your Hurricane Preparedness Kit? For those who haven't, now is the time to prepare. Get the official FEMA checklist of Recommended Items to Include in a Basic Emergency Supply Kit or purchase one of the ready-made Survival /Emergency Kits from Buy Two Way Radios.

    Of course, basic necessities such as food and water are critical to have available and are top items on any emergency list. However, there are a other items on FEMA's list that are also extremely important. The third and fourth items listed in order of importance are a Battery-powered or hand crank radio and a NOAA Weather Radio with tone alert. The next item? Extra batteries for both radios.

    Below is a list of radios that meet the federal requirements suggested in FEMA's list:

    Two Way Radios
    Midland GXT1000VP4 Radios With Headsets and Charger - A powerful 5 watt all-weather radio. Durable and water resistant, the GXT1000 VP4 features NOAA weather channels, NOAA weather alerts and a 3 year manufacturer warranty. This is our most popular GMRS radio.

    Motorola TALKABOUT MS350R Two Way Radios - Built for performance and designed specifically for extreme weather conditions, this radio is ready. The MS350R has 11 weather channels, operates on either rechargeable or disposable batteries, is submersible and floats. It even includes a built-in flashlight! This pack also includes an Emergency Preparedness Checklist Sheet.

    Motorola TALKABOUT T9680R-SAME Two Way Radios - One of the most powerful FRS/GMRS two way radios from Motorola, the T9680R is designed as a Hazard Alert radio with Specific Area Message Encoding (SAME) technology, a system adopted by the National Weather Service to warn citizens of emergency situations within their immediate area. SAME monitors the NOAA weather stations in your region for emergency situations and hazardous conditions. The T9680R can operate on either alkaline or rechargeable batteries.

    Midland XT511 Base Camp Two Way/Emergency Crank Radio - This powerful device is the "swiss army knife" of two way and emergency radios.It's an FRS/GMRS radio, AM/FM clock radio with an alarm, and NOAA weather radio with weather alerts. It's also a flashlight. The Midland XT511 has five power options: AC wall power, DC vehicle adapter, rechargeable battery pack, alkaline batteries and a Dynamo hand crank. The XT511 even has a built-in USB connector to charge a USB device such as a cell phone in the event of a power outage!

    NOAA Weather Radios (receive only)
    Midland ER102 Emergency Crank Radio - The ER102 has the key features of the XT511 without the built-in GMRS two-way radio, but with a temperature indicator and freeze warning alert.

    Midland WR-120 Weather Radio - An All Hazards Alert weather radio that monitors the Public Alert system and features SAME technology to alert you to weather or civil emergencies in your area. It also includes an alarm clock with snooze and a blue backlit display. A battery backup, color coded alert light and external antenna jack round out the features.

    Midland WR-300 Weather Radio - The WR-300 has all the features of the WR-120 - with an AM/FM radio and alarm clock with snooze to boot.

    Midland HH54VP2 SAME Handheld Weather Radio - This compact, portable handheld radio is a great travel companion. It has NWS all hazard alerts with S.A.M.E. technology and other emergency alerts such as Amber Alerts, biological hazard warnings, civil emergency messages, nuclear power plant warnings, fire warnings and landslide warnings. But that's not all. The HH54VP2 also features a bulit-in alarm clock with snooze, user selectable alerts, color coded alert indicators, a large, backlit display with continuous backlighting option and battery backup.

    Midland HH-50 Pocket Weather Alert Radio - The Midland HH-50 is a weather radio that is so compact it fits in your pocket. It instantly auto scans for emergency and weather alerts as soon as you turn it on. The HH-50 supports all hazard alerts, emergency alerts, messages and warnings. This is a great choice for the travel size emergency kit in the car.

    There is no doubt communication is critical in any emergency, but when severe weather strikes, you need to be kept up to date on current, constantly changing weather conditions in your area. During such emergencies, power can go out, landlines can be lost and cell service can lose signals. In such situations, a radio may be your only means of communication and important weather alerts.

    Don't wait for the next storm to hit before you prepare. Whether you buy it or make it yourself, get your Hurricane Preparedness Kit ready now.

    For more information on emergency weather radios, listen to The Two Way Radio Show Episode 13 - Emergency and Weather Radios.

  • It's National Hurricane Preparedness Week - Get Ready!

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    This week - May 27th through June 2nd - is National Hurricane Preparedness Week. With the coincidental arrival of Tropical Storm Beryl, we've already had a taste of what this 2012 hurricane season could be like. Beryl was not even a category one hurricane, yet this storm packed a considerable punch with wind and rain, causing power outages and cancelling Memorial Day events along the Florida and Georgia coasts.

    Tropical Storm Beryl is said to be the most powerful tropical storm in recorded history to hit the Atlantic coast of the US outside of hurricane season, which officially begins today, June 1. But it wasn't the first cyclone to jump the starting date. Tropical Storm Alberto, which formed off the coast of South Carolina, claimed that spot in mid May.

    The National Weather Service advises everyone to be prepared for hurricane season this week. Develop an emergency plan of action and/or evacuation in case of an emergency. Prepare an emergency disaster kit with basic provisions, including:

    Collecting everything you need to build an emergency kit can be time consuming and even a bit daunting, especially if you are someone who is always busy or on the go. For those who want to be prepared but don't have the time or patience to go on a scavenger hunt for emergency supplies, you can get one already prepared for you. Buy Two Way Radios now carries a complete line of emergency and survival kits, from the Basic Necessities Emergency Kit to the Four Person Survivor Kit.

    Of course, our specialty is radios. For the NWS Emergency Preparedness List posted above, we recommend the Midland ER102 Emergency Crank Radio or the Midland XT511 Base Camp Two Way / Emergency Crank Radio. The XT511 is also an FRS/GMRS two way radio, which could come in handy if land line or cell phone communications are out.

    For a complete overview of these and other emergency/weather radios, read the Weather Radio Buyer's Guide. To help you choose the best weather radio for your situation, check out our Emergency Weather Radio Comparison Guide.

    So far we've had two storms in one month, before the hurricane season has even begun. Is this just an anomaly, or a shadow of things to come? Does it really matter? The National Weather Service advises us all to get ready, always be ready, because you just never know until the next storm comes.

    For more information on emergency weather radios, listen to The Two Way Radio Show Episode 13 - Emergency and Weather Radios.

  • Are You Prepared for a Hurricane?

    We are now in the middle of the 2011 hurricane season. Hurricane Irene recently stormed across the Atlantic, hitting the Bahamas and the Eastern seaboard of the US. Another storm is currently forming off the coast of Africa and has a 70% chance of becoming a tropical depression within the next 48 hours. If you live or work in areas prone to hurricane activity, there is only one question to ask. Are you ready?

    Do you have a Hurricane Preparedness Kit? If not, FEMA has a checklist of Recommended Items to Include in a Basic Emergency Supply Kit so you can build your own.

    The first two items on FEMA's list are obviously the most critical: water and food, in that order. The third item on the list? A Battery-powered or hand crank radio and a NOAA Weather Radio with tone alert and extra batteries for both.

    Radios that meet the requirements suggested in FEMA's list include the following:

    Two Way Radios

    Midland GXT1000VP4 Radios With Headsets and Charger - The GXT1000VP4 is a powerful 5 watt radio designed for use in all types of weather. It is durable, water resistant, supports NOAA weather channels, NOAA weather alerts and includes a 3 year manufacturer warranty.

    Motorola TALKABOUT MS350R Two Way Radios - The MS350R is a brand new high performance radio from Motorola. The MS350R is designed specifically for use in extreme weather conditions. It also features 11 weather channels and a built-in flashlight. The MS350R operates on rechargeable and disposable batteries, is submersible and also floats. The package even includes an Emergency Preparedness Checklist Sheet.

    Motorola TALKABOUT T9680R-SAME Two Way Radios - The Motorola T9680R is one of Motorola's most powerful consumer two way radios. It is built as a Hazard Alert radio and features Specific Area Message Encoding (SAME) technology, adopted by the National Weather Service to alert the public to emergency events in their specific area. SAME monitors the NOAA weather stations for you pro-actively and alerts you to emergency weather and hazard conditions. Like the MS350R, The T9680R operates on both rechargeable and alkaline batteries.

    Midland XT511 Base Camp Two Way/Emergency Crank Radio - The Midland XT511 is a powerful, all-in-one two way radio that is the perfect choice for any emergency kit. It is, for all intents and purposes, the "Swiss army knife" of radios. It features an FRS/GMRS radio, flashlight, an AM/FM clock radio with an alarm, and NOAA weather alerts. The Midland XT511 offers five power options, including an AC wall power adapter, DC vehicle adapter, rechargeable battery pack, alkaline batteries and can be powered and charged using the Dynamo hand crank. The XT511 also includes a USB connector so you to charge your USB enabled devices (including many cell phones) in case of a power outage.

    NOAA Weather Radios (receive only)

    Midland WR-120 Weather Radio - The WR-120 is a basic All Hazards Alert weather radio and supports the Public Alert system and SAME technology. When a weather or civil emergency alert is issued in your specific area , an alarm goes off and a text alert is displayed. The WR-120 also features an alarm clock with snooze, a blue backlit display, battery backup, color coded alert light, and external antenna jack. The WR-120 is also tri-lingual and supports English, Spanish or French languages.

    Midland WR-300 Weather Radio - The WR-300 offers many of the same features as the WR-120. In addition the WR-300 allows you to choose between an alarm alert, an LED alert, or both.

    Midland HH54VP2 SAME Handheld Weather Radio - The Midland HH54VP2 is a small, portable handheld radio ideal for use when travelling. The HH54VP2 supports all NWS hazard alerts utilizing S.A.M.E. technology. The HH-54VP2 also provides other emergency alerts such as Amber Alerts, biological hazard warnings, civil emergency messages, nuclear power plant warnings, fire warnings and landslide warnings. The HH-54VP2 also features an alarm clock with snooze, a large, backlit display with continuous backlighting option, user selectable alerts, color coded alert indicators, and battery backup.

    Midland HH-50 Pocket Weather Alert Radio - The Midland HH-50 is an extremely compact weather radio that easily fits in your pocket and auto scans for emergency and weather alerts from the moment you turn it on. The HH-50 supports all hazard alerts issued by the National Weather Service as well as other types of emergency alerts, messages and warnings. Its extremely low cost, light weight and small footprint make it a good choice for a small emergency kit in the car or on the go.

    Whether at home or away, on land or water, a radio is an indispensable item for any emergency preparedness kit. When a weather emergency hits your area, alerts and updates on ever changing weather conditions can be vital to your safety or survival. Two way radio communications can also be critical in such emergencies, especially if you lose your landline, cell phone service or power. For more information on emergency weather radios, listen to The Two Way Radio Show Episode 13 - Emergency and Weather Radios.

    Don't be caught off guard during the next weather alert. Assemble your Hurricane Preparedness Kit now.

    UPDATE: We now carry a complete line of emergency preparedness and survival kits, including the Emergency Zone Severe Weather Emergency Kit. Add your choice of two way radio and be ready for an emergency or weather disaster now!

  • What is an Intrinsically Safe Radio?

    If you spend a lot of time shopping around for two way radios, at some point you may have come across the term "intrinsically safe". If you're somewhat new to the world of walkie-talkies, you probably have a few questions. What is an intrinsically safe radio? What does it do? What makes an "intrinsically safe" radio different from any other radio? Why would I want one? Why would I need one? Why would I even care?

    The word intrinsic refers to the essential or real nature or value of something. In electronics it refers to the very nature of an electronic device as being electrical; an item that operates using electricity. Any electronic device, by its very nature, carries and electrical current or charge, therefore the chance of an electrical spark or heat eminating from the device is inherently present or a possibility at all times.

    Intrinsically Safe means the device is safe to use in hazardous environments where the presence of a potential spark, heat or flame could potentially create a safety hazard. In the case of two way radios, this is especially important. Since radios are electrical, they do have the potential to generate sparks and heat, and there are many situations in which a radio may need to be used in potentially hazardous or explosive environments.

    Such environments include oil rigs and refineries, gas mains, coal mines, engine rooms of seafaring vessels, chemical plants, factories, emergency scenes involving First Responders, and other environments where there are potentially explosive or hazardous materials.

    Hazardous environments fall into different divisions and classifications. The details are outside the scope of this discussion, but essentially they fall into three basic classifications:

    • Class 1: flammable vapors and gases
    • Class 2: flammable dust
    • Class 3: flammable fibers

    In such environments, two way radio communication can be very important and even critical to operations, yet standard two way radios should not be used because they can make a potentially hazardous situation even more dangerous.

    These situations require the use of Intrinsically Safe radios.

    In order to be designated Intrinsically Safe, radios must be designed and housed in such a way as to prevent or eliminate the possibility of generating even the tiniest little spark. They must also limit the amount of heat produced by the radio. The batteries used in the radios must also be specially designed to prevent sparks and eliminate short circuiting. Even the radio housing itself must be designed and constructed of materials to prevent or eliminate friction, which can create static electricity and generate sparks.

    In addition to the radios, any accessories used, such as microphones and headsets, need to be intrinsically safe.

    Intrinsically safe two way radios are manufactured according to strict codes and regulations set by the National Fire Protection Association. The manufacturing facilities and processes are supervised by Factory Mutual, an insurance and loss prevention company approved by the US government to oversee enforcement of the NFPA codes.

    Due to these more stringent manufacturing requirements, Intrinsically Safe radios are considerably more expensive than their standard counterparts. However, the safety considerations built into these radios are worth far more than that. After all, you can't put a price on safety.

    Radios manufactured as Intrinsically Safe carry the FM (Factory Mutual) Approved certification mark. Icom, Motorola, and Vertex are major brands with one or more models of intrinsically safe two way radios.

    This chart lists popular makes and models of intrinsically safe radios currently available from Buy Two Way Radios.

    Intrinsically Safe Radios
    Manufacturer Model Band Mode
    Icom F4161/F3161 UHF or VHF Analog or Digital
    Kenwood TK-2360IS/3360IS UHF or VHF Analog
    Motorola VX-451 UHF or VHF Analog
    Motorola VX-454 UHF or VHF Analog
    Motorola VX-459 UHF or VHF Analog

    Questions? Leave us a comment below. You can also give us a call, e-mail us or enter our live chat from 8 AM to 6 PM Monday through Friday!

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