Power outages from hurricanes, twisters, snow storms and other disasters are an unfortunate part of daily life. Many people were without electricity for hours, days or even weeks following Hurricane Sandy which devastated much of the eastern part of the country. We were fortunate that our power was only off for about a day. No power means no cable, Internet or Internet radio. Having a smartphone didn’t guarantee connectivity because of damage to cell towers, overloaded circuits, depleted batteries and other issues. The Raptor Solar Charge Radio is made by the Eton Corporation and is available from the Discovery Channel Store. It can help keep your phone charged, provide access to news, weather alerts, and more during an emergency situation or when your away from a normal power source.
- AM/FM/Weather Band digital radio tuner with telescoping antenna
- NOAA weather alerts
- Digital display
- 10 AM / 10 FM station presets
- Digital clock with alarm
- Chronograph – keeps time and can act as a stopwatch
- Audio line input – connect your MP3 player and use the Raptor’s speakers
- Headphone jack
- Solar Powered USB cell phone charger – great backup charger for your cell phone or other device
- DC input (5V, 500mA) with mini-USB plug ( cable included)
- 1800mAh, rechargeable lithium ion battery – charge from a computer or USB charging port
- Battery charge indicator
- Monocrystal solar panel – efficient in both bright sunlight and cloudy conditions.
- Solar charge indicator
- IPX-4 Splash Proof covering
- Altimeter – altitude information
- Barometer – temperature and pressure
- Carabiner clip- Clip it to your belt or hang it somewhere to keep your hands free
- LED Flashlight – Clear bright light at the touch of a button.
- Bottle opener
- Owners Manual and warranty card
- Dimensions: 4.8″ x 1.5″ x 9.25″
As you can see from the long list above, the Raptor has a lot of features packed in a fairly small package about the size of a cable TV remote control. The altimeter, chronograph and compass will probably be of greater use on a camping trip than during a power outage but that’s what makes the Raptor such a versatile resource when the need arises.
Even though I had planned ahead and charged up my laptop and other electronic ‘toys,’ to be ready when the power failed, I was surprised how much I missed being connected to the outside World. Having access to local news and weather reports is something we take for granted until they’re snatched away. Knowing that the Raptor also provides extra power for charging your cell phone during extended power outages is a real plus for keeping connected with family and friends. Not a surprise that the FM signal came through the best but the weatherband was also quite good. The AM signal was better than usual without interference from other devices that are normally powered on but were without power because of the storm.
Setting up the Raptor for use was not exactly intuitive but the excellent Owner’s Manual provides detailed instructions for accessing and customizing the time, date, the alarm and various other features for use. The manual that comes in the box is quite small but there is also a PDF version online which you can download and print. I found the setup instructions easier to follow when they were in larger print.
With the exception of the flashlight, any button you press causes the backlight for the display to turn on for 10 seconds. The battery level is displayed on the screen along with the month, day, year and time. You may select either the 12 hour or 24 hour time format. When the battery is charging, a red light shows on the back side of the radio where the solar panel sits.
Neatly concealed on the side of the Raptor beneath a rubber flap are the input and output ports for charging the radio, your cell phone, or attaching an MP3 player or headphones. The rubber flap keeps all the ports and a reset button safe and dry. The whole radio has a rubber covering which gives it a splash proof quality. I’m not sure you would want to drop it in a bucket of water but being out in a drenching rain shouldn’t be a problem.
The Raptor Radio with its solar charger and other features is a must have device for emergencies, camping trips and to keep in the car when you travel. Buy one for yourself or as a gift for someone you care about. The Raptor Radio is recommended for users 10 years of age and up. It’s available in black with orange trim from the Discovery Channel Store online.