View Full Version : Small fm/am radio?

01-10-2015, 16:56
Hi all. I'm thinking about getting a small & simple fm/am radio mostly for weather and occasional music. It would be cool to find a rechargeable one, rather than batteries. Anybody have suggestions?


01-10-2015, 18:03
IMHO, batteries is better. You can go Lithium to make it lighter and last longer.

01-10-2015, 18:44
Hardly worth it unless you get one with weather band. Sony made a nice little one which ran on a single AAA battery. Walmart had them but I think it's discontinued now. Check amazon or ebay. I have one in a draw here and also has TV band, which is now useless due to the switch to digital TV.

FM stations rarely give weather forecasts and if they do their for a major city and not where you are. AM is only good for night time and you'll hear the weather for Chicago, but not where you are. NOWA reception is spotty, listen during the day while your up on a ridge or mountain top. Reception at shelters is hit or miss, usually miss. Plus you have to listen for about 20 minutes until they get around to an actual forecast unless you happen to turn it on just at the right time.

If your interested in weather forecasts, get a smart phone.

01-10-2015, 19:57
Agree with Slo-go'en. Use a Smartphone, it is a multi-use item, comes with a rechargable battery, provides music, news, weather and a call for help should the need arise. AM/FM radio would be redundant...plus you cant really find a quality portable radio anymore.

01-10-2015, 20:30
I carried a little Sandisc Clip for nearly 6000 miles around the country this year, all kinds of weather and abuse, still goes strong. No AM, meh, no biggie. Always heard weather on local radio, but of course got better reports from the phone. Plus you can add up to 32 gb card. It's about the size of a book of matches, and recharges via USB.

The Cleaner
01-11-2015, 01:46
Sangean DT-400W, AM-FM w/6 NOAA Weather bands.About $50 from Amazon.com.Uses 2 AA batteries,I use alkaline .Only weighs about 5ozs.

01-11-2015, 08:20
Sony AM/FM radio w/ Weather Band:


01-11-2015, 08:42
While I don't carry a radio today while backpacking, when I did a truly long distance hike I carried an Am/FM radio. Along the AT from Damascus to Harpers Ferry I could get PBS stations most nights. Listened to the Star Wars back story radio broadcasts, when Luke Skywalker lived on his Uncles farm. Got dependable enough reception that I could follow the serial story line. Also found out that Reagan had been shot - hows that for placing me as an "old fart" hiker?

Possibly less coverage out there today, but who knows, give it a try, see how it works out for you. I enjoyed the diversions.

mister krabs
01-11-2015, 09:36
Sangean DT-400W, AM-FM w/6 NOAA Weather bands.About $50 from Amazon.com.Uses 2 AA batteries,I use alkaline .Only weighs about 5ozs.

The undisputed king of the backpacking radios.

Smaller, lighter, no speaker, no weather is the DT-200
A good thread on this is on BPL (http://www.backpackinglight.com/cgi-bin/backpackinglight/forums/thread_display.html?forum_thread_id=67283)
I'm enjoy shortwave, so I carry a tecsun PL-505.
This new eton radio (http://www.amazon.com/Eton-Compact-Shortwave-Radio-NGWMINIB/dp/B00LEFYF4M/ref=sr_1_11?s=electronics&ie=UTF8&qid=1420982513&sr=1-11&keywords=eton+radio#customerReviews) looks really interesting, digital PLL tuning eliminates the drift problem on earlier models, I'll probably get one.
The sony bestbuy radio linked in another post is the walmart one of the past and highly rated, but no speaker.

Just spend some time on amazon and you'll find one you like. Key features I go for are size and weight, digital PLL tuning with DSP, scan feature, a speaker and a sleep timer.

As far as the question of whether or not a radio is worth it, I guess that depends on if you enjoy radio as a thing or not. I do, and my pack is already light enough, so it's a luxury item for me. It also helps me get to sleep and kill time on long winter nights. Pulling out a little radio around the campfire and tuning in Cuba, China, Romania or some new world order/ crazy end-times preacher always blows away the folks I'm packing with.

01-11-2015, 09:37
I used a 2 oz 1 aaa battery Sangean on my 2013 AT hike. Kept me company most days and listened to Delilah at night in the shelters. Well worth the two ounces

mister krabs
01-11-2015, 09:41
One last thing, DO NOT buy the eton/grundig mini m-400. It won't hold on to a station and you will want to throw it off a cliff, but you won't because that would leave a trace.

Rain Man
01-11-2015, 13:25
I recently discovered my new "waterproof" smartphone (Samsung S5 Sport) will receive FM radio. Easy to carry a spare battery for it.

Rain Man


Buttcrack Johnson
01-11-2015, 14:19
http://store.sony.com/icf-s10mk2-zid27-ICFS10MK2/cat-27-catid-EOL-Small-Home_ElectronicsSony has made these for years. $12.99 Sears, Amazon, EBay, Kmart, ect... At nighttime mine gets AM stations from hundreds of miles away...

01-11-2015, 14:23
I don't, as a rule, listen to tunes when hiking, but last year I had long roadwalks, so in a pinch -- and with fear and trepidation -- I picked up a Memorex AM/FM Pocket Radio at Wally World for $10. Runs on one AAA, less than 3 ounces. *****A great buy*****

And it works great ! ! !

01-11-2015, 14:26
Rain Man, specs say: Radio No

it is likely you are using cellphone minutes to listen.

01-12-2015, 11:34
I like the Sony SRF-S84. Not sold in the States but easily ordered from Amazon or Ebay.
My phone for weather.

01-13-2015, 19:00
I picked up a small one designed with an arm band with headphones at Target for about $15. I only listen in my tent in the am or pm. In the am, most FM stations do frequent weather updates. At night, the music is nice to fall asleep to. But it uses 2 AAA batteries. They last about 1 month for as much as I use it. Same size as my headlamp, so I only have to carry one spare set. Then restock when something goes dead.

01-13-2015, 21:00
I like the Sony SRF-S84. Not sold in the States but easily ordered from Amazon or Ebay.
My phone for weather.

I also use the sony srf-s84. great little analog radio with good am and fm reception.
Below is the review i did before my 2013 hike. worked great for over 1600 miles

Rain Man
01-14-2015, 16:01
Rain Man, specs say: Radio No

it is likely you are using cellphone minutes to listen.

That may be. It's a concept I've wondered about for a while (why smartphones don't do more things, such as pick up regular radio) and suddenly it's something I read my new phone is supposed to do. I'll look further into the details.

01-14-2015, 19:32
Iriver makes a tiny MP3 Player/FM radio combo that runs on 1 AAA battery. Found it useful on boring trail sections to keep me moving and radio is reasonably good. The earphone wires are the radio antenna. I prefer one operated by a regular non-rechargeable battery to one that requires connection to another device to charge.

mister krabs
01-15-2015, 06:53
It is likely that your phone is capable of OTA FM radio, but your carrier wouldn't make any money off it, so it is disabled. (http://www.bostonglobe.com/business/2014/11/06/your-smartphone-ready-for-radio/T7Yz67q9qXyctxxiviQK9J/story.html)

02-26-2015, 13:38
Please remember to be courteous to your fellow hikers while listening to your radios/ipods/mp3s, etc. Ear buds/headphones are a wonderful thing. I don't mind some music around the campfire at night. I am attempting a thru hike this March and I will be bringing along a small weather, am/fm radio. Live music from somebody who can play is even more appreciated. What I don't understand is people walking along in a beautiful natural area with the radio blasting for all to hear. Talk about a buzz kill. HYOH but please use earphones.

Thanks ahead of time!

02-26-2015, 14:43
Having a AM transistor Rad will give you warning of electrical storms by the static.

02-26-2015, 17:38
The real advantage of a small radio is that it will go on forever with one AAA bat. vs. a smart phone that won't last two hours.

Tipi Walter
02-26-2015, 17:56
The undisputed king of the backpacking radios.

I do not consider the Sangean DT 400 or the DT 200 to be the undisputed kings of backpacking radios. I've been thru a couple 400's and about five 200's and they go haywire after about a year or two of heavy backpacking. And by haywire I mean---

** The lock feature comes on w/o my participation and I can't shut it off.
** The light stays on and the radio won't shut off unless I take out the batts.
** The tuning feature goes nuts and starts scanning thru all the channels.
** The thing simply won't turn on, period.

These things have happened to every single Sangean I have used but I keep getting new ones every couple years because what's out there that's any better?

For my jaded reviews, see---





My DT 400 during better times.

The same radio near the end of the trip and crushed with a rock in exasperation, then the guts photographed on my red tent stuff sack.

The DT 200 in action somewhere in the mountains of NC. It died too.