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Kaito KA500The first thing most of us think about when the idea of preparing comes to mind is that of food and water.  But another vital item is having access to news and current events.  Once a disaster strikes, getting information about happenings around you becomes very important.  Think about how hooked we are on knowing what’s going on in the world.  Well, more than just a convenience, news about what’s happening across the state or across the country could mean the difference between whether you stay where you are or “bugging out”.

Several years ago I purchased a Kaito Voyager 450 emergency radio.  Its a fine little piece of equipment, but I have always felt its construction wasn’t robust enough.  More recently I helped a family member purchase the Kaito KA500 and found it to be more sturdy.  I recommend it.  For a budget price, it is loaded with features.

First of all, it can be operated on AA batteries, by a hand crank dynamo, by a small solar panel, by USB or by being plugged into a standard wall outlet or a solar generator such as the Goal Zero Yeti 150.  Having several power methods is important.  In my experience and that of others, a weak link in any of these electronics is the hand crank.  They simply tend to be made of cheaper plastic and can break if not handled with care.

However, beyond that one weakness, the Kaito KA500 is a great radio.  It recieves signals on AM, FM, SW1, SW2 seven Weather bands and a Weather Alert receiver.  The SW1 and SW2 are short wave bands, of which the SW1 tends to work better at night and the SW2 better in the daytime.  Short wave is where international broadcasters tend to be found, which in a grid down situation in the U.S., your best news source may be from outside our borders.

There is also a strip of LED lights that can be used for reading and emergency lighting.  It also has a single LED flashlight that can be switched to flash red.  The flashlight is actually quite adequate for navigating around a darkened house.

For around $49, this is one piece of equipment every household should own.