Product DescriptionAmerican Red Cross-endorsed, water-resistant emergency radio with 4 distinct power sources
Picks up AM, FM, and 7 shortwave bands; built-in LED flashlight and cell phone charger
Receives power from hand crank generator, NiMH battery, AC adapter, or 3 AA batteries
90 seconds of hand cranking produces 40 to 60 minutes of uninterrupted radio power
Sealed 3.5 mm headphone jack; measures 8.75 x 4.5 x 2.25 inches (W x H x D); 1-year warranty
The Et� �rundig American Red Cross FR350 is one of Et American Red Cross branded, weather-resistant 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 -- all surrounded by a sturdy, weather-resistant casing -- the lightweight and portable Grundig FR350 is an excellent 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.
At the heart of all of Et emergency radios, including the Grundig FR350, 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 FR350 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 FR350 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 FR350 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 FR350 powered right up and was still going strong with radio reception at the one hour mark, though there was not enough power to turn the light on. At the 75-minute mark, the radio finally lost complete power and had to be regenerated. The FR350 can also be powered via the included AC adapter, or from three AA batteries, which are 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 1.5 pounds, and with dimensions of 4.5 x 8.75 x 2.25 inches (HxWxD), the FR350 is made to be tucked neatly into its handy nylon carrying case, ready to be stored in emergency box, or packed neatly for a camping trip. A white LED light is set on the side of the radio, just above the tuning knob, allowing you to use the FR350 like a flashlight. A red flashing emergency light is also included. This placement is an improvement over the designs of the FR200, FR250 and FR350, all of which place the emergency light on the radio's face. But similar to those radios, the light on the FR350 is only designed to help you down an unlit stairwell or enclosed hallway in a pinch, and is not directed or strong enough to help you much in a pitch-black forest or other open area. The radio and light can be operated simultaneously, though of course at the expense of power.
The mechanical controls of the FR350 are extremely visible and easy to use. The volume control is fairly easy to finesse, and the tuning knob, which features a smaller concentric fine-tuning control knob, offers much greater control. A sealed 3.5 mm 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 somewhat difficult to pick out the bands.
Tuning and Bands
The FR350 offers nine-band tuning -- AM, FM and 7 shortwave bands. As was the case with all of the Et� �mergency 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.
While the FR350 shares the same features and performance of the FR250, its sturdy, weather-resistant casing and design modifications give it a distinct edge in emergency situations that's well worth the extra cost.
Compact and lightweight; sturdy, weather-resistant casing
Clearly laid out functions and controls
Excellent internal power generator; handy cell-phone charger
Tuning dial could be better illuminated for darkened environments
Shortwave reception inconsistent
Et FR350ARC Multi-Purpose Preparedness Tool combines technology, functionality and versatility. It's the ideal emergency tool, providing you with a water-resistant radio, LED lights, and cell phone charger -- all designed to be there when you need it most. Using the hand-crank power generator, charge the internal rechargeable Ni-MH battery pack in times of need. In addition to helping keep you and your family safe, your purchase will help the American Red Cross; Et� �ill give .70 of the sales price to support the American Red Cross' lifesaving work in communities across America.
Warranty : 90days.