Oops - I forgot to mention, regarding my radio post above,
a couple of important things regarding buying radios for
world crisis conditions:
1. Naturally, batteries are important. Radio Shack here
in Canada right now is really trying to encourage the
purchase of large quantities of AA or AAA cells for
very low prices. For example, packs of 48 of either
size for $15 CDN which is about $12 US.
2. A solar cell power source is important. Lots around,
and Ramsey has a nifty one: http://www.ramseyelectronics.com/cgi-bin/commerce.exe?
(Copy and paste both link sections carefully.)
A variety of power adapters and a cheap voltmeter
to varify DC POLARITY should be part of a solar supply
kit. A separate BATTERY CHECKER is advisable
because a battery checker is different from a volt
meter. A battery checker has resistor loads on each
range to test batteries under load. There are cheap
3. HEADPHONES, a couple sets at least, which fit and
work with all of your radio gear are extremely
important. In a crisis, you may want to hear what's
on the radio without alerting others near you that
you are there!
4. It is worth the effort to be sure you have adapter
cables which have alligator clips (colour coded so
you know which is positive, which is negative) so
you can power your radios from external batteries,
and your solar panel.
If you aren't technically inclined, seek the help of
a local amateur radio operator in getting such
adapter cables made up. LABEL EACH ADAPTER
CABLE WITH THE NAME OF THE RADIO IT IS TO
BE USED WITH. It's very easy to forget.
WARNING: Many radios will work at voltage levels
below their rated voltage, but connecting to a
higher voltage can damage or ruin your radio. A
voltmeter should be used if you're not sure.
5. I recommend having at least two six volt gel cell
(sealed lead acid) batteries on hand to power
your radio for extended periods in an emergency.
These are common for alarm systems and emer-
gency lights, and are usually available locally from
a battery distributor. 6 volt, 5 amp hour is a good
size - not too large to lug around.
You'll need a charger too. You'll need some
alligator clip leads to interconnect the batteries
for 12 volt applications.
Run a 9 volt radio on 6 volts.
I don't recommend using a 6 volt battery to power
a 4.5 volt radio like the cheap, popular crank
radios, FR200 by Grundig. You can always purchase
battery holders from Radio Shack and make up an
external pack for 3 volt or 4.5 volt radios, D-cells,
with the help of a local ham radio operator.
Again - be sure your positive leads are colour
coded (red is normally positive.) Reversing the
polarity can damage/ruin radios.
The pair of 6 volt gel cells can also be charged
with the solar panel.