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  • The final countdown to narrowband compliance has begun - are you ready?

    Still using your two way radios on wideband? If so, you need to prepare your migration to narrowband as soon as possible, before the end of this year.

    The FCC issued a public notice January 5 to remind everyone that the deadline to transition to narrowband is January 1, 2013. This includes private business class land mobile radios and licensees in the 150-174 MHz VHF and 421-512 MHz UHF bands. After January 1, all business radios that operate within these bands must do so using narrowband technology at 12.5 KHz or narrower.

    According to the FCC, all VHF/UHF industrial, business and Public Safety Radio Pool licensees must operate on 12.5 kHz (11.25 kHz occupied bandwidth) or narrower channels and all two way radio manufacturers must cease the manufacture and import of radios that include a 25 kHz mode. This applies to all radios purchased after December 31, 2012.

    As long as you are licensed for narrowband and your radios support narrowbanding (most radios sold within the last decade do) they should be in compliance. All you may need to do is simply re-program your radios for narrowband if you are still using wideband frequencies. However, if you are licensed for wideband only you will need to update your license for narrowband. In addition, if you are still using older radios that operate in wideband mode only, you will need to upgrade them to support narrowband as well - and you will need to do this by December 31, 2012.

    Although a bill has been introduced to delay the transition, our sources have told us that the chances of it actually passing are very low. As such, waiting until the eleventh hour for a possible extension of the deadline may be a risky proposition.

    For more information, read the FCC Public Notice DA 12-12 or visit the FCC for full details.

    If you need to upgrade your licenses and/or business two way radios, we can help. Give us a call at 1-800-584-1445 today. Don't wait until the last minute to become narrowband compliant. The time to prepare is now.

  • Cobra Announces Two New GMRS Radios at CES 2012

    Cobra announced two new additions to its current line of two-way radios during the 2012 International Consumer Electronics show, which was held January 10-13, 2012 in Las Vegas, Nevada.

    Both models are modestly priced, yet include two specific features previously found only on higher-end models: advanced NOAA Weather Radio (NWR) and All Hazards Alert. NWR allows access to the national network of NOAA Weather Radio All Hazards radio stations. These stations broadcast around-the-clock information on weather conditions from the National Weather Service, as well as official National Weather Service warnings, watches, forecasts and other alerts.

    These two new models, due out in March of this year, are the CXT135 and the CXT235.

    CXT135 - Now available! This new Cobra GMRS two way radio includes advanced NOAA Weather Radio capabilities and Cobra touts it as "the most economical weather radio on the market today". It has an advertised range of up to 16 miles, Call Alert, a Power Saver feature to extend battery life, and rechargeable Nickel Metal Hydride (NiMH) batteries. For all its powerful features, the new CXT135 also quite affordable, with a manufacturer's suggested retail price of only $49.95.

    CXT235 - Now available! This powerful new member of the Cobra GMRS family has all the aforementioned features of the Cobra CXT135 with greater range of up to 20 miles, according to Cobra. Along with the NOAA All Hazards Alerts, this radio emits a loud audible alert if there is a weather related or other emergency. Should NOAA send a tone alert with the warning, the alert will trigger an automatic alarm on the CXT235, which will activate even if the audio is turned off. This feature can be very important if such a warning is issued overnight while you are asleep. The suggested retail price of the CXT235 is $59.95.

    Cobra added the CXT 135 and CXT 235 to their existing product line, which includes the CXT425, CXR725, CXR825 and CXR925. According to Cobra, the CXT135 and CXT235 will replace the CXT125 and CXT225, respectively.

  • 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!

  • Getting Started with Marine Radios

    One of the most important things to have with you when you are out on the water (besides something to keep you afloat) is a means of two way communication, such as a radio. If you are a boater, you probably already know how important it is to have a radio on board.

    Marine VHF radios are commonly used on seafaring vessels both large and small to communicate ship-to-ship or ship-to-shore for everything from routine contact with ports and marinas to emergency distress calls. These radios operate using VHF frequencies from 156 to 174 MHz.

    Marine radios operate very much like your typical land-based two way radio, but with some differences in channels, wattage, range and features. VHF marine channels are different than those used for land based radios and are specifically for use in marine environments. They are allowed to operate between 1 and 25 watts. Because transmissions primarily occur over open water, their range will generally be much greater than land-based radios.

    Marine radios also offer many additional features not found on most land-based radios, such as emergency weather alerts and weather-proofing. It is not uncommon for marine radios, particularly handheld units, to be submersible in water and even float.

    One important feature often found in a VHF marine radio is Digital Selective Calling, or DSC. DSC is part of the Global Maritime Distress Safety System (GMDSS). A Class-D (DSC) Digital Selective Calling-capable VHF radio has a second receiver to monitor Channel 70 (DSC channel) activity at all times while receiving another channel. DSC allows the user to send a distress signal at the push of a button without using a microphone to exchange position information with other boats or stations. As of March 25, 2011 marine radios are now required by the FCC to be Class-D DSC complaint.

    The FCC has set specific requirements for users of marine radios operating within US jurisdiction. The FCC states: Depending on the size, purpose, or destination of a ship, its radio station must meet certain requirements established by law or treaty.

    On October 25, 1996, the FCC released a Report and Order in WT Docket No. 96-82, 11 FCC Rcd 14849, FCC 96-421 (pdf), eliminating the individual licensing requirement for voluntary ships operating domestically which are not required by law to carry a radio. Voluntary ships are those that are not required to have a radio. WIth a few exceptions, most recreational vessels are considered voluntary.

    According to the FCC, domestic vessels are those that do not travel to foreign ports. If your vessel travels to ports in other countries, you will need to have a license. The FCC rules require certain vessels to be equipped with radio equipment for safety purposes. These rules are set in accordance with international agreements.

    Marine radios typically have 88 channels, however not all of those channels are allowed to be used by everyone. Certain channels are reserved for specific types of communications or for specific groups, such as commercial ships and the Coast Guard. For instance, Simplex channels, 3, 21, 23, 61, 64, 81, 82 and 83 CANNOT be legally used in U.S. waters by the general public. Channel 16 and Channel 9 are emergency channels and are reserved specifically for emergency communications. Channel 16 (for voice) and channel 70 (for digital DSC) being monitored 24 hours a day by the US Coast Guard.

    In addition to the other requirements, there is one other very important rule to note: Marine radios are specifically intended for marine use. It is illegal to operate a marine radio on land.

    There are two basic types of VHS Marine Radios, fixed mount and handheld. Fixed mount radios are installed or mounted in your vessel. Handheld radios are carried with you like any other handheld two way radio or walkie-talkie.

    Examples of fixed mount VHF marine radios are the Icom IC-M412 (available in black or white) and the Cobra Marine MR-F80B-D Class-D Fixed Mount Submersible VHF Radio. Examples of handheld marine radios are the Midland Nautico 3VP, and the Icom IC-M36 VHF Marine Radio. Cobra, Icom, Midland and Uniden are all popular brands of marine radios.

    When shopping for a marine radio, it is important to note that while antennas are typically included with handheld radios, an antenna is not included with fixed mount marine radios and are purchased separately. This is because the antenna will be mounted somewhere externally on the vessel itself. Marine radio antennas vary in size, length and type and your choice of an antenna may vary depending on where and how it will be mounted on your vessel.

    For more information about the basics of choosing and using a marine radio, listen to The Two Way Radio Show Episode 16 - An Introduction to Marine Radios.

  • Charging Two Way Radios in a Vehicle

    Charging a handheld two way radio is, for the most part, a universal concept. It requires a radio equipped for charging, a charger, and rechargeable batteries. Charging is generally accomplished using one of three methods: plug the charger into the radio, drop the radio into the charger, or drop the batteries into the charger to charge the batteries directly.

    While charging methods may vary according the make and model of radio you are using and the type of battery or charger used, they all have one thing in common - the charger cable or station typically plugs into a wall outlet and recharges the battery from a stationary source of AC power.

    But what if there is no AC outlet available? What if you are away from your home or office, in a remote location, or on the road? What then? How do you keep your radios powered up and your batteries charged when you are on the go? These are questions frequently asked by customers in our blog, forum and on The Two Way Radio Show.

    The answers to such questions depend a lot on your choice of radio. Some radios and/or their supplied chargers do not inherently support charging on DC power. Some do. However, even for some that don't, there may be a solution.

    There are many brands and models of consumer two way radios with DC charging options included or built right in. Midland, Motorola and Uniden offer consumer FRS/GMRS radios with DC charging options. Motorola offers several radios with a 12v cable for their drop-in dual chargers. Several TalkAbout radios, such as the MH230R, MJ270R, MR350R and MR355R have a built-in mini-USB port to charge the radios via USB. The MR350R VP also has the mini-USB port and a min-USB car charger is included in the package. Uniden offers an optional 12v charging cable for the GMR2838-2CK, GMR2240-2CK and other Uniden radios (sold separately) so you can charge them by plugging the radios directly into the cigarette lighter in your vehicle.

    Most manufacturers of consumer radios require you to turn the radios off while charging them in your vehicle. This means that you generally will not be able to use the radios to receive and transmit while they are charging. However, Garmin offers an optional Auto Power Adapter and PC Interface Cable with Auto Power Adapter to directly power the Rhino Series radios while in a vehicle. Garmin radios are more expensive than many other FRS/GMRS radios, but if you specifically need to be able to operate a radio while it is plugged into your vehicle for power, this may be the way to go.

    Business radios are a little different. Although Icom does offer a DC adapter for its drop-in chargers, as a general rule most chargers for business radios are AC only.

    However, Impact manufactures a line of universal chargers for business (and some consumer) radios that work using DC power. The Impact DC-1 Universal Single Rapid Vehicle Charger is compatible with a wide range of radios by utilizing an interchangeable cup system. Simply choose the cup that fits your make and model radio, drop it in the charger and it is ready for your radio. The charger also includes a mounting bracket to mount it in your car, truck or van.

    If you have more than one radio to charge, Impact offers the AC/DC Universal Rapid 3 bank and 6 bank chargers. These chargers utilize the same cup system as the DC-1, allowing you to charge multiple radios of different makes and models all at the same time. Not every radio out there is supported, but there are cups available for a lot of them, and they are listed on a Charger Cup Chart. Impact offers 3-bank and 6-bank quick release vehicle mounting brackets for these chargers as well, but they are optional and are purchased separately.

    Charging two way radios while on the go can have its challenges, but with a little planning and research you can find the right solution to charge your radios for full power whenever you need it, where ever you may go.

  • TWRS-17 - Batteries For Radios

    In this episode we discuss the types of batteries used in handheld two way radios. We also review the Impact AC/DC Universal Rapid Multi-Chargers.

    Intro :00
    Billboard 1:15

    Topic Discussion 1:29
    We talk about batteries for two way radios. We learn about the types of batteries available, the differences between them and how the important it is to consider the right battery when choosing the right radio. For more information about the types of batteries available and the differences between them, read Battery Type Differences: NiCd vs. NiMH vs. Li-Ion. For more information on the care and maintenance of batteries for two way radios, listen to Episode TWRS-14 - Care and Maintenance of Two Way Radios. Download our FREE Two Way Radio Care and Maintenance Guide. A durable, laminated version of our Care and Maintenance Guide is also available for purchase.

    Commercial Break 15:31
    buytwowayradios.com 1:00

    Product Review 16:29
    Today we will review the the Impact AC/DC Universal Rapid Multi-Chargers.

    Questions and Answers 22:34
    Questions from readers of our Two Way Radio Blog and members of the Two Way Radio Forum.

    Wrap up and Close 28:06
    Send in your comments and questions for Danny, Anthony and Rick to show(at)buytwowayradios.com. Feedback on this and other topics will be read by the hosts and included in future episodes of the show. Visit us at www.twowayradioshow.com!

    © 2011 Cricket Ventures, LLC. All rights reserved.

  • TWRS-16 - An Introduction to Marine Radios

    In this episode we discuss the basics of using Marine Radios. We also review the Icom IC-M36 VHF Marine Radio.

    Intro :00
    Billboard 1:13

    Topic Discussion 1:28
    We talk about marine radios. We learn how these radios are used in maritime activities, The FCC rules for using them and the types of marine radios available. For more information about the FCC licensing requirements for voluntary maritime vessels operating domestically read FCC WT Docket No. 96-82. For more information on marine radios read our blog posts A Radio For My Boat, Part 1, A Radio For My Boat, Part 2 and A Radio For My Boat, Part 3 on the Two Way Radio blog.

    Commercial Break 13:37
    buytwowayradios.com 1:00

    Product Review 14:35
    Today we will review the Icom IC-M36 VHF Marine Radio.

    Questions and Answers 21:33
    Questions from readers of our Two Way Radio Blog and members of the Two Way Radio Forum.

    Wrap up and Close 26:55
    Send in your comments and questions for Danny, Anthony and Rick to show(at)buytwowayradios.com. Feedback on this and other topics will be read by the hosts and included in future episodes of the show. Visit us at www.twowayradioshow.com!

    © 2011 Cricket Ventures, LLC. All rights reserved.

  • TWRS-15 - An Introduction to CB Radios

    In this episode we discuss the basics of using CB Radios. We also compare the Cobra 148 GTL SSB with the Uniden PRO510XL CB radio.

    Intro :00
    Billboard 1:14

    Topic Discussion 1:29
    We talk about CB radios. We learn the basics of the CB Radio Service, The FCC rules for using CB and the types of CB radios available. Download our FREE list of CB 10 Codes and Q Signals. For more information on CB radios read A Beginner's Guide to CB Radio on the Two Way Radio blog.

    Commercial Break 18:22
    buytwowayradios.com 1:00

    Product Review 19:20
    Today we will compare the Cobra 148 GTL SSB CB Radio with the Uniden PRO510XL CB Radio.

    Questions and Answers 25:48
    Questions from readers of our Two Way Radio Blog and members of the Two Way Radio Forum.

    Wrap up and Close 29:36
    Send in your comments and questions for Danny, Anthony and Rick to show(at)buytwowayradios.com. Feedback on this and other topics will be read by the hosts and included in future episodes of the show. Visit us at www.twowayradioshow.com!

    © 2011 Cricket Ventures, LLC. All rights reserved.

  • It's Hurricane Season - Are You Ready?

    wea00418_caption.jpgToday is June 1, 2011. While today may seem to be of little significance to the average person, the first day of June is an important marker for folks along the Gulf coast and across the eastern seaboard of the United States. Today marks the official start of the 2011 hurricane season.

    According to The National Weather Service, NOAA predicts an above-average season for hurricanes in 2011, forecasting 12 to 18 named storms with winds 39mph or higher, six to ten of which could become hurricanes with winds 74mph or higher. Of those, NOAA predicts between three and six could become major category 3,4, or 5 storms.

    NOAA also predicts each of these ranges has a 70% likelihood, but does not predict when or where any of the storms will hit. "The tornadoes that devastated the South and the large amount of flooding we've seen this spring should serve as a reminder that disasters can happen anytime and anywhere", FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate was quoted as saying on NOAA's web site. "As we move into this hurricane season it's important to remember that FEMA is just part of an emergency management team that includes the entire federal family, state, local and tribal governments, the private sector and most importantly the public," Fugate said.

    The uncertainty is all the more reason to be prepared. To help everyone get ready, NOAA prepared a series of audio and video public service announcements to educate the public. They are available in English and Spanish at http://www.hurricanes.gov/prepare.

    Communication is a key component in the preparation for any weather event. Staying on top of ever changing weather conditions before and during a hurricane can mean the difference between life and death. NOAA does a great job of providing up to date, localized weather alerts to keep everyone informed and ready for weather emergencies. However, they can only send out the warnings. It is still up to the public to receive them, hear the warnings and heed instructions. Fortunately, there is an easy and inexpensive way to stay tuned in. Emergency weather radios.

    Emergency radios come in a number of types and packages. They are easy to set up and easy to use. They are also inexpensive, some as economical as the cost of bottled water and some batteries. For instance, the Midland HH-50 Pocket Weather Alert Radio is a small, pocket-sized device that fits in the palm of your hand and is capable of receiving all hazard alerts from the National Weather Service as well as other emergency alerts, such as amber alerts, nuclear power plant warnings, biological hazard warnings and civil emergency messages and warnings - and it costs less than $20.

    The Midland HH54VP Portable Emergency Weather Alert Radio is a handheld radio with S.A.M.E. technology, a system that allows you to program the radio for emergency alerts in specific or localized areas. The HH54VP features an alarm clock with snooze, a large, backlit display with continuous backlighting option, battery backup, user selectable alerts and color coded alert indicators.

    Desktop models include the Midland WR-120 and WR-300 weather radios. Also featuring S.A.M.E. technology, these radios sound an alarm when NOAA activates the emergency alert system and are designed to wake you up in case of a weather emergency such as a tornado, where every second counts. These units can be programmed to receive alerts for multiple areas and feature battery backup systems so you can stay informed of emergency weather conditions even if you lose power.

    Perhaps the most versatile of all these emergency radios is the Midland XT511 Base Camp Two Way/Emergency Crank Radio. It is a combination FRS/GMRS two way radio with NOAA weather alerts, AM/FM receiver, alarm clock and three LED flashlight all built in. The feature set is quite useful, but the real versatility is in the power options. It runs on AC, AA batteries, is rechargeable, and can be powered and recharged with a built-in hand crank. It even includes a USB port so you can charge your cell phone with it. The Midland XT511 is definitely a handy radio to have, especially when the power goes out.

    No doubt a good radio is indispensable in any weather emergency such as a hurricane. Of course, it's not the only thing you need, but it is an important item to have in your kit as part of your emergency preparedness plan.

    May 22-28, 2011 was National Hurricane Preparedness Week. While that week has ended, the true deadline for preparedness is the moment a hurricane hits your area. Don't wait until the warnings are issued to get ready. Prepare now.

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

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