30 Days of Preparing for Spring Storms and the Stinging Heat of Summer Day 3: NOAA-Approved Emergency Weather Alert Radios

By CTD Suzanne published on in Camping and Survival

NOAA is the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration that is part of the U.S. Department of Commerce. It operates the National Weather Service providing around the clock weather forecasts and warnings “for the protection of life and property and enhancement of the national economy.” NOAA, working with the FCC, uses the Emergency Alert System to issue warnings and watches, not only for severe weather, but also for issues relating to public safety and national security. To receive continuous coverage, you must purchase a special receiver. NOAA recommends purchasing a receiver with the NOAA NWR All Hazards logo on it.

NOAA broadcasts continuous updates on a network of radio stations around the country called NOAA Weather Radio (NWR). Not only does NOAA report weather, but also information on natural disasters such as avalanches and earthquakes, as well as environmental problems such as oil spills and chemical explosions along with Amber alerts. NWR uses VHF frequencies from 162.400 to 162.550 MHz. However, you cannot hear these broadcasts on regular AM/FM radio receivers.

Better receivers have:

  • A tone alarm that alerts you of a broadcast even if the radio receiver is turned off
  • SAME (Specific Alert Message Encoding) technology that allows you to localize your alerts
  • Battery backup
  • An external antenna jack
  • An external device jack

As with all weather-related events, NOAA calls these events either a “watch” or “warning.” A watch means the event is possible and to be prepared; while a warning means the event is currently happening or inevitable it will happen soon.

Cheaper Than Dirt! sells four different emergency weather-alert specific radios. In order from lowest to highest price, I have highlighted the main features of each. All have seven NOAA weather channels.

Picture shows a white emergency radio.

The WX Civil Trilingual has seven weather channels, SAME technology and three language settings.

Midland Radio Corporation WX Civil Trilingual Monitor

  • 7 weather channels
  • 12-volt DC or battery back up power sources
  • NOAA All Hazards alerts
  • No AM/FM tuner
  • Alert override
  • SAME technology
  • Spanish, English or French

Buy it here.

Midland Radio Corporation Emergency Crank Radio

Picture shows a black and white emergency radio with crank power on the side.

The Midland Radio Corporation’s Emergency Crank Radio has four sources of power.

  • 7 weather channels
  • Alkaline battery back up, AC adapter, crank and 12-volt DC rechargeable battery power sources
  • NOAA All Hazards alerts
  • Includes thermometer and flashlight
  • USB jack
  • AM/FM tuner
  • Alert override

Buy it here.

Picture shows a black emergency radio with a crank power button and pop up spot light.

The Kaito Dynamo Emergency Radio has three lights and alternative sources of power.

Kaito Dynamo Emergency Radio

  • 7 weather channels
  • Solar panel, crank, alkaline battery back up, USB charger power sources
  • NOAA All Hazards alerts
  • Includes LED reading lamp, white LED flashlight and red LED emergency lighting
  • USB jack
  • AM/FM tuner

Buy it here.

Midland Radio Corporation ER300

Picture shows a black and red emergency radio with a flashlight on the side of the unit.

The ER 300 has alternative sources of power, plus an SOS beacon.

  • 7 weather channels
  • Solar, crank, internal rechargeable battery 12-volt DC, alkaline battery back up, USB charger sources
  • NOAA All Hazards alerts
  • Includes Flashlight, SOS beacon and dog whistle
  • USB jack
  • AM/FM tuner

Buy it here.

Midland Radio Corporation Base Camp

Picture shows a black and gray emergency radio with handle and a two-way communication walkie talkie attached.

The Base Camp has a two-way communication feature.

  • 7 weather channels
  • Internal rechargeable battery, crank or alkaline battery back ups
  • Built-in flashlight
  • USB jack
  • AM/FM tuner
  • 2-way communication feature

Buy it here.

Do you have an emergency alert radio? Tell us which one in the comment section.

SLRule

Introduced to shooting at young age by her older brother, Suzanne Wiley took to the shooting sports and developed a deep love for it over the years. Today, she enjoys plinking with her S&W M&P 15-22, loves revolvers, the 1911, short-barreled AR-15s, and shooting full auto when she gets the chance. Suzanne specializes in writing for the female shooter, beginner shooter, and the modern-day prepper. Suzanne is a staff writer for Cheaper Than Dirt!

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Comments (1)

  • Bill from Boomhower, Texas

    |

    Suzanne, I have a few battery powered radios, but seldm ever listen to them. I even have C.B. radios with weather channels, but when adverse weather approaches, I use my old Kenwood 2m to listen to the storm chasers in my area. Around here, they’re on 144.940mhz. Dallas, denton, Cooke, Wise, and other counties use different freqs. With these radios, you hear the reports made to the Weather Service, about 5 minutes before they’re broadcast on the radios you’re talking about. In other words, you here actual people, describing actual conditions, and exactly when and precisely where they are occuring, which is compiled by people at the National Weather Service, and then re-broadcasted, usually by a computer voice, on a loop, which becomes obsolete seconds after the first time you hear it.
    I actually feel completely naked, if I get caught out away from my 2m radio, when adverse weather strikes. I then, am at the mercy of the information on the automated loop broadcast of weatherband radios like you’re talking about.
    You can also access these frequencies on many digital phone apps, and the good part is, you don’t need a big antenna to recieve broadcasts from the next county, or 5 states away. Just know the frequency of the area you want to monitor. There are lists online. Police, fire, ambulance, and other services for different cities are listed, as well as air, marine band, and ham radio freqs. Install the app on your phone, and explore. It’s interesting, fun, and you’ll wonder why you only listened to that annoying computer voice loop. At least, you’ll come to understand the reported symtoms, which make up the broadcast from the National Weather Service.

    Reply

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