Compact and lightweight; ideal for emergencies or travel
Clearly laid out functions and controls
Excellent internal power generator; handy cell-phone charger
The Et�n Grundig American Red Cross FR250 is one of Et�n's American Red Cross branded emergency radios. With a dependable hand-crank power generator that powers the unit's AM/FM/Shortwave radio, built-in LED flashlight, cell phone charger and emergency siren, the lightweight and portable Grundig FR250 is an excellent and economical choice for anyone in the market for a radio that can be relied on in emergencies or in environments where there
are limited power sources.
Power When You Need It
At the heart of all of Et�n's emergency radios, including the Grundig FR250, is an internal generator that recharges the internal Ni-MH battery pack and powers the radio, siren, and light. Also, by plugging your cell phone into the jack on the back of the radio (the FR250 comes with several cell phone adapters), you can use the crank to power your phone. In our test, after draining our cell phone of power, we recharged it using the FR250 enough to make a few calls. The rate of cell phone recharging will vary greatly depending on the cell phone and the state of its battery, but the FR250 can provide your compatible phone with power in a pinch.
According to the product manual, to achieve 40 to 60 minutes of uninterrupted power to the radio, you must turn the crank at a rate of two revolutions per second for 90 seconds. In our test, after our initial 90 seconds of rigorous cranking, the FR250 powered right up and was still going strong with radio reception after an hour. At the hour mark, we briefly turned the flashlight on, and that too was at full force, with no perceivable drain on radio reception. In fact, the FR250 was still going strong 75 minutes after we recharged the battery pack. The FR250 can also be powered via an AC adapter which, to our dismay, is not included, or from three AA batteries, also not included. The dynamo crank tucks itself nicely into the side of the radio and offers little resistance as you turn the handle. (Don't let the cranking requirements frighten you! While it's true that a full 90 seconds of turning the crank can be tiring and may not be for everyone, we were able to recharge the radio with less than a minute of cranking and achieved over 40 minutes of continuous power.)
Design and Controls
At slightly more than a pound in weight, and with dimensions of 6.5 x 6.00 x 2.5 inches (WxHxD), the FR250 is designed to be tucked neatly into its handy nylon carrying case and stored in an emergency box, or packed neatly for a camping trip. A white LED light is set on the front of the radio, just to the side of the analog tuner. The light is designed to help you down an unlit stairwell or enclosed hallway in a pinch, but it is not directed or strong enough to help you much in a pitch-black forest or other open area. The FR250 also includes a red flashing LED light that can be used as a distress signal. The radio and light can be operated simultaneously, though of course at the expense of power.
The FR250 includes a handy strap on the top of the radio for easy carrying, and the tuning and volume knobs are set to the side. The mechanical controls are extremely visible and easy to use. The volume control is a bit difficult to finesse, while the tuning knob, which features a smaller concentric fine-tuning control knob, is much easier. An earphone jack is set into the back, and the telescoping antenna tucks neatly behind the handle strap. The radio's 2.5-inch speaker is set directly in front and offers reasonable audio quality and excellent volume for the radio's purpose. The tuner itself is self-illuminated, though in a darkened environment it is still difficult to pick out the bands.
Tuning and Bands
The FR250 offers nine-band tuning -- AM, FM and 7 shortwave bands. As was the case with all of the Et�n emergency radios we tested, our AM reception was outstanding; we were quickly able to tune into every station we searched for. Reception for FM was also very good, though there was some extra fine-tuning on some of the stations. Our shortwave reception, however, was a mixed bag. We tested in the early and late evening, searching for signals in the more heavily populated SW3 and SW4. While we found several signals during our test, honing in on them took a bit of finesse with the fine-tuning knob. And when we did find them, there was static and background noise with most of the signals.
It became clear during our testing that the FR250 is an emergency radio, with several outstanding and potentially life-saving features, including shortwave reception. Its shortwave functionality, however, is not its primary selling point. However, its emergency siren and lighting, and particularly its self charging functionality, are. So if you're in the market for an economical emergency radio, the Grundig FR250 more than fits the bill.
Tuning dial could be better illuminated for darkened environments
Shortwave reception inconsistent
Should include an AC adapter
The FR250ARC Multi-Purpose Self-Powered Radio helps you stay informed and prepared for emergencies. This self-powered radio also works as a flashlight and cell phone charger -- 3 devices in 1! The hand-crank power generator gives you unlimited power for AM/FM radio. It also picks up 7 international Shortwave bands. The FR250 is not only perfect for emergencies, but also for camping, hiking or anywhere you need to stay in touch. Additionally, Et�n Corporation will donate .65 of the sales price to support the American Red Cross.
Warranty : 90days