Help me choose a portable radio.

I want a portable radio. Like many of you, I use streaming media a lot, but I don’t like it for radio (and hate the sound of radio through a phone).

Looking for suggestions or recommendations. One thing I’m curious about, anybody have one of the solar-powered/handcranked radios? I had a Bose Wave radio for years but they cost too much for me these days, and I like the idea of not requiring electricity (or batteries!). I’ve read some pretty good reviews for various models. I’d even be fine with buying an older portable radio via eBay if I knew the likelihood that it wouldn’t conk out soon.

One thing I used to enjoy a lot was slowly ‘surfing’ the AM dial late at night. By slowly I mean literally turning the tuner knob very slowly to try and pick up signals that are such a quick blip that you’ll miss them if you were tuning too fast. It seems like with something like the Bose, where you hit the ‘seek’ button and it zips directly to the next viable strong signal something is just lost in the experience. Maybe that part is just nostalgia and my perception but for me it’s a thing I’d like to have again. I’m aware that probably far more people are interested in accessing signals/channels that are super clear and I may be odd-man-out in wanting to be able to find manually search for those harder to notice signals. I don’t have much budget for this, would prefer to be under $50.

Anybody have a thought about something likethis one. There are many similar and I loved the one like it that we had when I was a kid. Do these kind work indefinitely assuming no damage to the wiring?

I had a solar/crank radio. It took something like 15 minutes of cranking to get enough power to even turn on, and the solar feature never worked for me. YMMV.

Why buy a used one? Amazon has new ones like this Panasonic that would fit your criteria. It’s AM/FM, runs on AC/DC, and has an analog tuner with a large slide rule dial and manual tuning knob and costs about $39.00.

Here is a most excellent review of portable radios, concentrating on the AM band. Personally, I use a GE SuperRadio II, coupled with a Select-A-Tenna for night DXing.

The Grundig/Eton hand-crank radios are pretty damn good. I speak from experience (though, granted, I haven’t owned one for a while–I’m much more of a fan of a digital-readout tuner than an analog one). Check out the FR200 and FR250. AM/FM/shortwave. Lots of good, used ones available. Do be aware that you might wanna keep a couple spare battery packs around–they’re ones similar to the cordless phone batteries; can’t remember off the top of my head exactly what kind. These are what get charged when you crank the radio, and sit in a special compartment. They also take “regular” batteries or mains power.

I’d also recommend checking out my currently-adored radio, the County Comm GP-5. Hooooly shit does this thing pack a lot of features. AM/FM full world coverage/shortwave full coverage/longwave full coverage. No solar/crank power, but it takes three AA batteries and runs a marathon on them, and it can also run on USB power. One could make this radio a “solar” one by getting one of those solar USB charger thingies and using it to run the radio, I guess (so long as you’re in the sun or your USB solar gadget has a built in battery). I can’t even do this radio justice in this post without sounding like a salesman, so I’ll just leave this link here:

I bought a RADIO SHACK DX-375 decades ago and still use it everyday. Try eBay.

Just jumpin’ in to say what a COOOOOOOOOOOOOL thread! :cool:

In fact, the behavior described (slow searching the AM dial late at night) inspired me to become a DJ. I have been doing exclusively all-blues shows in Chicago, Memphis, Mississippi, Alaska, and now Maine for 30+ (?) (lost count) years now. Unpaid, of course :smack: :smiley:

Mods, delete this plug if inappropriate: weru . org

Thanks for the great replies!

Kunilou: That sounds similar to the anecdotal info I have about the hand-crank ones. Think it’s time to rule that kind out, since I have some chronic wrist issues from years of virtually nonstop keyboarding.

Cochrane: That Panasonic one looks pretty sweet and the price wouldn’t bust my budget. The reason I was looking at used ones was as much for nostalgia as anything else, I admit. I really loved the portable we had in the 70s. It got constant use. I’m sure I associate it with many of my best memories.

Czarcasm: Thanks for the link, I’m going to read through this just for my own information. I love radios (way more than tv) and I LOVE that someone actually wrote something called “AM Portables Mega Shootout”! Knew I couldn’t be the only one who thinks the AM, not FM, dial is where all the best stuff goes down. :stuck_out_tongue:

DoggyDunnit: Wow, that thing is freaking amazing. I kept expecting to see that it also juliennes fries…! 450 station memories?! Spectacular. Digital, though. It’s very cool but I’m leaning analog. I need that dial!

LittlePig: That one looks similar to the one we had, but digital. Yeah, I’ve checked out eBay because I like analog.

Atomic Mama: That’s awesome, and I am envious! I’ve always wanted my own radio show. It’s great to hear that the late-night AM-dial thing is so familiar to someone else. I bookmarked the station you referenced, as I’m a big fan of community radio. Just put it on - a jazz show currently that sounds pretty great. (I’m a huge music fan, including jazz fan.) I see your show, 2 pm Friday. Gonna check it out!

Thanks again for all the great comments and suggestions, Dopers. Now I just have to make up my mind. I think that Panasonic might be the one.