Survivalism & Self Sufficiency Topics > Communications

Broadcast FM Portable Radio Mega-Shootout

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Alan Georges:
Broadcast FM is almost always line-of-sight, limiting the usual range to something around 60 miles.  That's boring compared to AM and SW.  Still... in emergencies you've got to have it.  When things are going bad, having some boring reliability is good!  Just as he earlier did for AM receivers, Radio Jay Allen's put together a comparison compilation of FM receivers here:

If you're looking for the similar thread on the AM radio shootout, it's still here:

  Great post,with some surprises. Price does not always equal capability.

Pleasantly surprised to see the C. Crane CC-2E do well on FM, in addition to its excellent AM performance.

It's my go to radio, gets used everyday, mostly on FM, and it's worth every penny.  Whether plugged into the wall, or running outside on 4 D cells, it's a joy to use and listen to.

Alan Georges:
Thanks Carl.  The good thing about broadcast FM is that even a cheap radio works pretty darned well.  Can't say the same about AM or SW.

I just got the Tecsun PL-380, which is not part of the linked review.  I am not a radio nerd, just an average consumer.  But this seems like a great value for the $41-$47 price.  Good Am/Fm reception so far in suburban Portland, still have to take it out a ways to try remote reception.  I like the 100s of memory presets available, and the ability to easily add/remove/scan presets, as well as browse either frequencies or presets.  It is near-pocket size and weight, very portable and uses 3 AA batteries, and has a micro-USB port for recharging. I get all the local Portland FM stations without extending the antenna.  While the speaker is acceptable for a radio this size, the earbuds greatly improve the bass.  Some reviewers on Amazon complain the controls are too complex.  But they work in a consistent manner (short press/long press) and is easy to learn if you READ THE MANUAL. :)  For me the SW capability is a bonus; I have not tried it yet and I am happy with this as a travel and around the shop AM/FM radio.


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