The Voyager KA500 by Kaito is a shortwave, AM/FM, and weather band radio receiver that’s built for emergencies. It’s certainly not just for emergencies though; I have brought it on several camping trips, and it really comes in handy to be able to hear the weather reports when you are out of cellphone signal range.
If the power and Internet goes down due to extreme weather, earthquake, or other types of natural disasters, good luck staying informed of what’s going on around you if you don’t have one of these radios. The KA500, on the other hand, doesn’t care if your house loses power. A 600mAh Nickel Metal Hydride rechargeable battery pack powers the radio. That battery is then charged from several different sources, including a solar panel, a hand crank generator, a 5-volt USB port, and even a 6-volt wall plug. The radio can even be powered from 3 AA batteries.
The Voyager can receive the following bands/frequencies:
WX: Channels 1-7
This radio also has a few other handy features that would definitely come in handy during an emergency: a LED reading lamp, a LED flashlight, and a red LED emergency blinker (labeled as “SOS” but it does not actually send the SOS message, just a steady blinking strobe). None of these LED light are very bright but having a little light is certainly better than none at all when things are pitch black. Also included is a built-in retractable antenna, 3.5mm stereo headphone jack and a convenient rubberized carry strap. A couple areas that could use improvement would be adding some rubber shock absorption to the corners as well as adding O-rings to making the radio water-resistant.
Another feature that’s missing from this radio is an external antenna port. This would have been really useful since shortwave frequencies need a considerably long antenna if you want to receive very distant stations. Luckily, there is a workaround. Kaito sells a shortwave antenna that connects itself to your radios preexisting telescopic antenna.
Another cool feature has to do with the USB port. Not only is it used to charge up the radios internal battery, but it can also be used to output power to charge any device that charges from a USB port by simply flipping a tiny switch located next to it. Unfortunately, this only works when you are rotating the hand crank. It would have been handy if the solar panel and internal battery were able to output power to the USB port as well.
During my testing, I found this radio performed quite well. I was able to tune in many local stations on the AM/FM bands, and the audio was loud and clear. Here in the greater San Francisco Bay Area, I was able to receive weather forecast transmissions on 2 out of the 7 weather channels.
If you want to catch up on world events, just switch over to either of the shortwave bands and see what you can find. I found that when tuning this radio on the shortwave bands, its best to turn the dial extremely slowly since it’s fairly easy to accidentally miss weak signals.
I really enjoyed testing this radio. It does everything it’s designed to do, and it does it quite well. If you want to add a multiband radio to your emergency kit or camping gear, this is definitely a great option.
Made in China
· Voyager KA500: $47-$70
· Shortwave Antenna: $10-$15
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