Weather Radio for Miami
By Verdina Roka
Internet updates are great, as long as the Internet is up. See our Hurricane Watch page for hurricane tracking sites. TV is great when you have power for it and the cable, satellite, and broadcast providers are up. When those systems go bump, you need a radio. Something more than your typical car radio.
Regular radios are important for local news and announcements, but waiting for a weather report is frustrating when you need an update NOW. You start scanning other stations. Did you miss the report while scanning?
Improve AND Simplify: Get a weather radio, OR a regular radio that has a weather band. Then you can listen to the continuously cycling weather updates on demand, at your convenience. It will broadcast both normal and emergency weather information. It may also broadcast information for emergencies other than weather-related, such as natural disasters, etc. A consideration in favor of a combination radio (regular plus weather) is that, occasionally, weather transmission towers get knocked out by storms, too.
A quick-grab solution for a weather radio when there is no time to shop is the popular palm-sized “Walkman” headphone radio, approximately $25 at variety and drug stores (plus two “AA” batteries). It has a weather channel. The button for the weather channel has four possible settings. Experiment up-down to find the correct setting for your location. It is usually the setting with the best reception, but not always. Each broadcast report will list the areas of coverage, so you may have some trial-and-error listening to find the correct channel.
A more elegant solution might be something like the C.Crane Solar Observer Radio, which is a wind-up emergency radio with AM/FM and Weather Band, and a LED flashlight built into one end. Three AA alkaline batteries proved power, OR crank the handle for about 90 seconds to get about 45 minutes of play. Or get the AC adapter to charge the battery pack. Or put it in the sun, the radio will play for about the same number of hours the radio is in full sun. It comes with a standard USB port adapter to charge almost any cellphone. Some cell phones such as a Blackberry® can be charged but requires vigorous cranking for a second or two to initialize the charge circuit on the phone. After that initial effort, crank at a normal pace.
Read up on the fantastic US national weather radio system and how it works: NOAA Weather Radio .
You can listen to NOAA Weather Radio with live streaming audio MP3 broadcasts over the Internet (i.e, at work), and/or download the MP3 files for delayed listening (see NOAA Internet Audio for Miami). However, the Internet is NOT reliable for urgent watch and warning broadcasts, and may not even be available for regular broadcasts during a storm.
Some weather radios have an alarm that will sound to alert you to severe storms, high winds, tornadoes, floods, and other emergencies. The weather radio must have power when “off” in order to receive and sound the alarm. If you wish to keep the alarm mode on during a power outage, make sure you have extra batteries. Read more here: Emergency Alert System.
Even if you expect to use plug-in electrical power most of the time, try to get a weather radio with an Absolute “Off” switch to conserve battery power! Otherwise you may have to conserve battery power by removing them (a hassle).
Additional features to consider when shopping for a weather radio are: a hand-crank charger, a cell phone charger, rechargeable batteries, a flashlight, single side band (SSB) reception, and visible signals for the hearing impaired.
Idea: a weather radio is a great gift for nearly any occasion!
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