An emergency radio well worth having
Eton's portable Scorpion II
I’m a radio addict. I listen to CBC Radio probably more than I should and often tune into NPR in the States when the reception is good. My cell phone has apps for podcasts and a load of music stations, but my favourite listening device remains the radio. I’ve had an old crank radio intended for emergencies, but which I carried around the house and used almost every day. After over 10 years of devoted service, it gave up the ghost. Probably just as well. It had a few drawbacks that the highly rated Eton Scorpion II does not. For one thing, the crank-to-use ratio on the old set was frustrating. By the end, play time and crank time were about equal — crank the beast for two minutes and get only two minutes of listening. The Scorpion II gives you nine minutes of battery life for the same 120 seconds of work. That’s a tribute to the lithium battery, which also has a wall charger. When empty, it takes four hours for a full charge which then powers the radio for 12.5 hours at full volume. If all else fails, there’s a solar panel which takes up to six hours for a full charge. A USB connection lets you charge a cell phone or other device though you have to keep cranking during the whole charge. A plug-in allows you to connect headphones or a speaker. Reception is good — there’s a scanner to search out AM and FM stations and seven presets to Weatherradio Canada for alerts and warnings across the country. Add a three-LED flashlight that takes even less power than the radio, a thick rubber water-resistant casing, a bottle opener (guess you never know when one might come in handy) and a carabiner to attach it to a belt or backpack and you’re good to go. All of this comes in a remarkably small package: the device measures 63.5 x 158.75 x 69.85 millimetres (W x H x D) and weighs 306 grams. $59.99. Available at Radioworld. radioworld.ca; etoncorp.com.
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