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Kaito Voyager Pro KA600 Digital Solar Dynamo Crank Wind Up AM/FM/LW/SW & NOAA Weather Emergency Radio with Alert & RDS, Flashlight and Reading Lamp + Smart Phone Charger, Black
Kaito Voyager Pro KA600 Digital Solar Dynamo Crank Wind Up AM/FM/LW/SW & NOAA Weather Emergency Radio with Alert & RDS, Flashlight and Reading Lamp + Smart Phone Charger, Black
Offered by Electronnix
Price: $69.99
15 used & new from $69.00

938 of 959 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Emergency Radio for the Price, November 26, 2011
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
Overview:

(Short Version)
This radio earned a 5-stars rating for the reason that I have used and tested this radio for several months now and find the performance and features of this radio to meet and often exceed my expectations for an emergency / camping radio.

(Long Version)
For those who want a lot more information about this radio, below is a very long detailed review. If you are interested in this radio, this should be an informative review. Amazon displays only the first half of the review and to see it all you need to click on the blue "read more >" link at the bottom of the text. I tried to include information not previously mentioned in other reviews or available in the Amazon description. Included, is general information for improving the use of this or any radio's performance. This review is not too technical (this review is aimed mostly at the beginning user), but radios are technical instruments and will need a very slight technical understanding to achieve maximum performance.

Blue highlighted texts are links that you may click on to see the additional products on Amazon referred to in the review. None of these other Amazon accessory products are necessary to use the radio, but may be useful to get more performance from this radio or any radio for that matter and are included only as helpful guides.

Purpose:

This radio was purchased primarily to be an emergency grid-down (power failure) or off-grid (camping) radio. Some folks may not fully realize how important a source of reliable communications and lighting are in an emergency, until they do not have them. The radio is loaded with features that will be very useful when faced with a grid-down or off-grid situation. The radio is not the ultimate in shortwave portables on the market, but is does a great job pulling in the lots of shortwave broadcasts with a good antenna. It meets its intended purpose by giving the user plenty of emergency lighting and ability to hear important local, regional and international information when needed.

Emergencies have a nasty habit of not announcing their occurrence in advance. This radio fills the niche of a "go to radio/light" when the lights go out or really bad weather is on the way. If things are getting really primitive, whether grid-down or off-grid, then you will be grateful for the intelligently integrated features of this radio. This radio has become my first choice for a dependable portable emergency radio.

Construction:

The radio is well made, light and durable enough to take in a backpack. Loaded with 3 alkaline AA cells the radio weighs 23.4 oz. (600 grams), reasonable weight for all the features. The case of the radio is made of a good grade plastic that appears very durable. The radio has nice rounded corners and hinges, buttons and pieces fit very tight. The construction is first class, unlike a lot of other poor quality "emergency" radios also on the market.

Battery Power Sources:

The radio has two sources of power from batteries, a built-in NiMH battery (supplied) and provisions for AA alkaline batteries. The radio comes supplied with an internal 600 maH NiMH (nickel metal hydride) rechargeable battery. The battery compartment uses 3 replaceable AA alkaline batteries, available in just about any store (Duracell, Energizer, etc.). Batteries are one of the first things to disappear from a store in an emergency, it is wise to have plenty in the house now.

Internal NIMH Rechargeable Battery:

The radio never really shuts off, because it displays the date, time, temperature and humidity all the time, which is a nice feature. The power for these features comes from the internal rechargeable 600 milliamp-hour NiMH battery. The NiMH batteries can power all the features of the radio and lights. The NiMH rechargeable battery is a very common type used in cordless home telephone handsets (about $10 at big box stores), so when it wears out in 5-10 years, a low cost replacement is readily available and easy to access through the battery compartment. Kaitousa sells a replacement NiMH battery for $9.95.

The radio has a nice display that shows when the NiMH battery is charging, it scrolls left to right during charging and when charged, all bars show and scrolling stops. The display also gives a rough indication of the charge remaining in the battery. If you deplete the NiMH charge, you still have a backup power source of the alkaline AA batteries (or rechargeable Eneloops Sanyo NEW 1500 eneloop 8 Pack AA Ni-MH Pre-Charged Rechargeable Batteries) to power the radio. The radio protects the NiMH batteries by shutting down early and a Low Batt light blinks until the NiMH batteries are recharged. This saves the stored memory from being erased and prevents the NiMH from complete discharge, which may reduce the life of the batteries. When new in the box the radio has the NiMH batteries disconnected and you will need to plug them in prior to use.

Modern NiMH (Nickel-Metal-Hydride) batteries are great compared to the older Ni-Cad rechargeable batteries. They last much longer (Sanyo Eneloop rates their newest NiMH AA batteries at 1500 charge-discharge cycles). They can replace an alkaline battery in virtually every way, except initial cost, but over the long term are much cheaper than alkaline batteries. My personal experience with Eneloops is that they require between 90 - 100 maH of charge every month topping them off to 1.45 volts with a Powerex charger (Maha Powerex Wizard One MH-C9000 Advanced Battery Charger and Analyzer - Free Deluxe Accessory Storage Case Included). This is a first class charger that can also be powered directly from 12 volts in an emergency with a coaxial plug adapter. As a bonus the Powerex charger's padded case fits the KA-600 perfectly.

Power Consumption of Various Features:

The question is "How long will the NiMH internal batteries or the AA Alkaline batteries last?", since this radio is for emergency and off-grid use. The chart below assumes 600 maH (milliamp-hour) capacity for the NiMH batteries and 2000 maH capacity for the AA Alkaline or rechargeables (numbers in parenthesis are actual measurements made on my radio in milliamps (ma):

Estimated Life with 600 maH NiMH batteries:

Backlight Only---------(6 ma): 100 hours
Radio Low Volume----(28 ma): 21 hours
Radio High Volume---(35 ma): 17 hours
Weather Alert On-----(26 ma): 23 hours
Flashlight-------------(25 ma): 24 hours
Reading Light---------(28 ma): 21 hours

Estimated Life with 2000 maH Alkaline batteries:

Backlight Only---------(6 ma): 333 hours
Radio Low Volume----(28 ma): 71 hours
Radio High Volume---(35 ma): 57 hours
Weather Alert On-----(26 ma): 77 hours
Flashlight-------------(25 ma): 80 hours
Reading Light---------(28 ma): 71 hours

For these measurements on radio power consumption "Low Volume" was the minimum to hear the radio clearly when it is a few feet away. "High Volume" was the volume control turned about 50% of the way up, plenty of volume for a room or outdoors.

If you are using more than one feature at a time, such as the radio and the flashlight, then the times will be significantly shorter (about half, 11 hours using NiMH and 38 hours using Alkaline cells). An unusual item discovered during power consumption testing is the Weather Alert feature draws almost as much power as using the Radio Low Volume function. So be aware that the radio consumes the batteries (as if it were turned on, approximately 77 hours, a little over 3 days continuous time on the AA batteries) in the silent Weather Alert mode.

This will at least give us a close estimate of how long we can depend on the radio to function under various modes. Always having lots of extra AA batteries is a very good idea. It simplifies keeping the lights and radio playing, without the need to use solar or the crank. You can even use the reading light to light the battery compartment while changing the AA batteries.

When a power source is depleted or unavailable the radio will tell you to "Select Power", meaning the power source is not available when the source is selected with the 3 position power switch.

Multiple Charging Methods:

This is where this radio really shines, the ability to use multiple methods to keep the radio operating. The radio's recharging circuits are for the 600 ma NiMH battery only. A USB adapter cable like (Philips SWR1249/17 Retractable USB 2.0 Adapter Kit) or the 6V wall plug charger (not supplied, Kaito Electronics Inc. AD500 AC Adapter for Kaito Voyager KA500 series Radios) work quickly to charge the radio. There is a 12 volt cigarette lighter adapter (CLA) with 2 USB and 2 CLA ports available on Amazon made by Bestek, which will allow mobile charging from a 12 volt source via USB (BESTEK car cigarette lighter socket usb socket car charger Cigarette Lighter adapter dc to dc adapter for car charger adapter usb car charger socket car adapter socket car socket splitter car splitter adapter 3 way plug socket usb socket outlet three wa...).

Mobile Charging:

The above Bestek USB CLA (or similar) adapter gives the mobile user more options for power. It also allows a user to utilize the car's battery as another way to recharge the 600 maH NiMH battery. Since we would only draw a maximum of 600 maH from the car battery (less than 1% of the car battery's capacity), there is no need to start the car to top off the car battery. It should take around 1 hour to top off the NiMH batteries from a car battery. If you hook direct to the car battery (using alligator clip jumpers, etc.) on a CLA plug the tip is positive (+) and the side is negative (-) which is vehicle ground (chassis). There are low cost direct battery to CLA adapters available (such as, Roadpro 12V Battery Clip-On and Cigarette Lighter Adapter). In a pinch, you can tap a vehicle's 12 volt battery without having access to the vehicle keys or hood release. Simply locate the starter motor and find the very heavy cable connected (+) to the starter (solenoid) and clip to it and find a piece of clean metal on the chassis (-) for the other lead.

Hand Crank Charging:

The hand crank is effective for charging the NiMH or charging a USB powered device like a cell phone (not all cell phones will charge from the crank, such as the iPhone, according to other reviews). Charging is fairly fast with hand crank and the radio was topped off from the factory after about 2 minutes (I assume the battery was in a partially charged state from the factory). There is a small switch in the back of the radio for charging "In" or "Out", to charge your phone with the crank make sure the switch is in the "Out" position. The radio uses a single Mini-B USB connector for power in or out. The crank generator is the only method with sufficient power to charge external USB power devices like a phone, GPS, camera, etc.

I agree with other reviewer's assessments that the crank handle could be overstressed if really mishandled. The crank in operation should be carefully and smoothly used and no problems should result. The crank does not look poorly designed, but one user did have it break off. It is recommended the cranking speed be around 2 turns per second. The crank seems robust enough to handle normal use. I would try to keep the crank handle inside the crank slot while turning to avoid overstressing the hinge (gently pushing down while turning). This radio conveniently locates the handle on the side out of the way, tucked in almost flush to the case. I feel the hand crank is the last resort power supply if the NiMH and AA batteries are depleted and there is no sun available.

Solar Charging:

The solar cell charging works very well, although probably the slowest of charging methods (12 individual solar cells). There is some concern about leaving the radio in bright hot sun. On a similar radio (Kaito KA-500 Voyager, a much less capable predecessor to the KA-600). I would wrap the radio in a white plastic grocery bag for all except the solar panel. This shielded the remainder of the radio from the Arizona sun and heat effects on the black plastic. I have seen no degradation of the plastic or the solar panel over the last year (solar is my preferred method of maintaining NiMH charge). Even in light cloudy conditions (bright, but no shadows cast) the Charge light illuminated, and the radio display showed power going to the NiMH battery. I typically leave the similar KA-500 radio in a window (wrapped in plastic bag) which received early morning sun for a few hours a day and that keeps the NiMH fully charged and the radio ready to go. The charging circuits on the KA-600 are virtually identical to the older KA-500.

USB / AC Wall Plug Charging:

This the fastest way to recharge the internal NiMH batteries. An hour or so is all that is required, depending on the discharge level of the batteries. The radio can be operated normally during this time and will save the charge on the batteries for a later time.

A word of caution from the manufacturer about charging. Kaito recommends that you do not leave a USB (approx. 5 volts) or a DC wall charger (as much as 6.6 volts) plugged in more than 3 hours after full charge is reached unless the radio is in use. The charging circuit does not automatically cut off the charge current when the NiMH batteries reach full charge (I use 1.45 volts as max charge voltage per cell). It is therefore possible to overcharge (approx. 4.5 volts max.) the 3 NiMH batteries and cause the service life to be reduced. I would think the lower voltage USB at 5 volts would be less harmful than the wall adapter if accidently left plugged in. If you plan to leave the Weather Alert feature on all the time, I would suggest using a USB charging source.

Radio Performance Shortwave and Miscellaneous:

The shortwave bands are not what they use to be decades ago. I have been an avid shortwave listener since the 1960s. There are less shortwave stations available to listen to anymore, some moving to the Internet, shortening their broadcast times, etc. This radio receives AM shortwave in 5 KHz increments, which is perfectly fine for 99%+ of the international shortwave stations. It would be nice to have a 1 KHz or finer tuning, but 5 KHz works just fine. With 5 KHz tuning you do not spend a lot of time tuning between "channels" and go direct to the stations, much quicker. There are two methods available to change the frequency, the tuning dial on the side or direct frequency entry through the keypad. The radio has plenty of memories to store favorite radio frequencies on AM/FM and Shortwave. The numbers of stored frequency memories available are: LW (10), AM (25), SW (100) and FM (100).

Shortwave reception depends on the time of day, radio propagation and yes, even the sunspots. Just because a shortwave station is broadcasting at a given time, your ability to receive it will vary. Signal fading is common and a lot of the stations broadcast on multiple frequencies, so you can find the one that works best. Broadcasters will often "beam" a radio signal to a particular part of the globe rather than sending out an omnidirectional signal.

Shortwave Antennas:

The antenna is critical in shortwave listening and the collapsible antenna on the radio is nowhere near enough. Do not expect to hear anything on shortwave with the 14 inch collapsible antenna, except the most powerful stations. Without a decent antenna any radio is not going to perform very well and that applies to this radio as it would to a $2000 radio. A long wire antenna of 25 to 75 feet and as high as possible connected to the collapsible antenna makes all the difference. I have heard many shortwave broadcasts with an indoor long antenna on this radio. A retractable reel antenna (such as, Sangean ANT-60 Short Wave Antenna) would be great for indoor or portable use, clips right on the retracted collapsible antenna. The Sangean antenna is a small, lightweight and easily portable package that works very well (about the size of small shoe polish can).

A lot of other things can also serve as a temporary antenna with some success (make sure you have a clean metal connection), such as metal rain gutters, guard rails, barb wire fences, extension cords, metal air conditioning ducts, metal chimney pipes, metal clothes lines, etc. I would recommend the use of alligator clip jumpers wires to take quick temporary connections (SE Clip Test Lead Set (10 Piece) or even chain the jumpers together to make a quick antenna. You can hang an "invisible antenna" of 28 gauge magnet wire out a window or off a balcony with a fishing weight attached at the bottom. There is plenty of information available on the Internet for shortwave antennas.

Shortwave Broadcast Schedules:

Here is a great website (primetimeshortwave) for a list of shortwave broadcasts (like a TV Guide for shortwave broadcasts). I highly recommend the (primetimeshortwave) website to enhance your shortwave listening, it gives you the time and frequency and whether it is beamed to your location, as well as the language of the broadcast.

The times displayed on the website are UTC (Universal Time Coordinated, current time in London, England) and to convert Local Time to UTC: EST (add 5 hours), CST (add 6 hours), MST (add 7 hours) and PST (add 8 hours). Here is an example, 1400 MST (2 P.M.) is 2100 UTC (1400 + 7 hours = 2100 UTC). Daylight Savings time takes one hour away from the equation: EDT (add 4 hours), CDT (add 5 hours), MDT (add 6 hours) and PDT (add 7 hours). To go from UTC to Local Time just subtract instead of add, easy after you have done it a few times. There are also websites that will also give you the current UTC time.

Other Shortwave Comments:

The radio does not receive Single Side Band (SSB) type transmissions from ham radio operators, etc. This would be a nice addition, but at 5 KHz tuning steps and lack of a SSB detector makes it all but impossible. The ability to receive ham radio transmissions could be beneficial in an emergency. You will need a different, more expensive radio to listen to the ham operators (such as, ICF-SW7600GR Digital World Band Radio Tuner, but these radios lack the emergency features of the KA-600). During hurricanes TV stations would relay information gathered from monitoring emergency ham radio operators, rather than their sacrificial cub reporters sent out in 100 mph winds.

Radio Performance AM / FM:

The performance of the AM and FM features are typical of any radio of this size. With the built in internal AM loop and collapsible whip antennas the radio will work fine with local AM and FM stations.

By using enhanced antennas (AM tuned loop, like the less than 1 foot diameter Terk Advantage (Terk Advantage Indoor AM Radio Loop Antenna) this radio is capable of pulling in stations from a long way off on AM at night. The tuned loop will improve daytime signals significantly as well, but the range is reduced due to shorter daytime radio propagation (atmospheric conditions) compared to longer night time propagation. The ability to hear radio stations several hundred miles away (at night) is very beneficial. Local radio stations may be "off the air" due to a power failure or weather conditions. If you really want to maximize AM distance performance, look into a 4 foot box loop antenna (mine pulls in strong stations up to 1000 miles away at night, not too expensive to build out of PVC pipe and about 100 feet of wire). These antennas do not need a direct connection to the radio. Placing the radio very close to the loop is all that is needed (inductive coupling). The tuned loop antennas also have the ability to null out an undesired station on the same frequency by rotating the loop.

Resolving FM Reception Issues:

Some reviewers commented that they felt the radio on FM was weak. I have not observed any issue with the radio's sensitivity and would rate the radio's FM sensitivity as good. The 14 inch collapsible antenna is marginally suitable (not ideal, it is too short and wrong polarization) for weaker FM signals. Those of us who remember the use of "rabbit ears" for TV reception may understand how sensitive a FM receiver is to antenna location and rotation inside the house. Just like old TV signals, FM radio is horizontally polarized and the collapsible antenna on the KA-600 is fixed vertical when sitting on its base (an antenna that swivels horizontally would help).

Try these two tests to see if you can receive the FM station you want:

1) Take the radio outside and find a spot several feet away from any metal, car, overhead wires, rain gutters, metal fences, etc. If you now hear well the desired FM station, then something inside or the house itself is absorbing a lot of the FM signal.

2) Rotate the radio and antenna horizontal and turn around slowly and see if there is a direction the antenna is pointed that improves the signal. Signal should be strongest when the horizontal antenna is "broadside" to the station.

If you get a great signal under test 1) then try to walk around inside the house and see if there are hotspots (near a window in the direction of a station, etc.) where the radio receives a strong signal. This technique is not unlike trying to optimize a poor cell phone signal. There is no indication of signal strength on the radio, so you need to listen carefully for a quieting of the static background on the FM signal.

If you get a great signal under Test 2), but not Test 1) then the collapsible antenna being vertical or too short is likely the problem. Try going inside the house and attaching a 3 or 4 foot horizontal wire to the collapsed antenna. Orient the wire in the direction that worked best outside, this may improve the FM signal captured by the radio.

If you cannot hear the FM station under Tests 1) and 2) outside, then it is very unlikely you will be successful inside the house.

Things in the house that adversely affect the FM signal are: metal window screens, aluminum siding, metal roof, foil backed wall insulation, chicken wire stucco, steel frame construction, large metal objects inside in line with radio station (like a mirror, refrigerator), etc. Nearby computers, televisions, and fluorescent lights can also interfere with the radio's ability to hear a weak signal by generating radio noise. Hope this helps, trial and error seems to be the best method to resolve any FM reception issue. It typically is not the radio, but the location and orientation / length of the antenna that is the culprit.

Radio Performance Weather Band:

The Weather band is a real plus for this radio, you can receive 24 hour a day regional weather forecasts. Most Weather radio stations also have emergency power available to keep them on the air in a power outage, so you can count on them in a dangerous weather situation. The radio has an Alert feature that silences the radio unless severe weather is forecast, like a tornado, flood, hurricane, etc. The radio will turn the speakers on and relay the severe weather message through the speaker (it still is drawing power from the batteries in the Alert mode). The radio speaker will remain on if a Weather Alert was issued (must be manually shut off). The Weather Alert tone is transmitted once a week as a test and will trip the Alert feature and leave the radio broadcasting weather information with no severe weather in the forecast. The Weather Alert signal is not tested if there is severe weather in the forecast. The Weather Alert feature alone is well worth having in an emergency radio.

During a recent test of the nationwide emergency broadcast, I discovered the Weather Alert feature is also activated. So if there is something serious going on that the President or DHS (Dept. of Homeland Security) feels a national alert needs to be issued, you are ensured of hearing it through this radio's Alert feature. The weather radio alert system also works with other Federal, State, Local Emergency Managers and other public officials to broadcast information on non-weather related emergencies and warnings (such as, chemical spills, earthquake, flood, tsunami, evacuation, etc.). It is basically a one-stop emergency or warning alert system when needed, but is primarily used to issue routine weather reports and forecasts 24 hours a day.

Emergency Lighting:

The reading light is 5 LEDs located under the solar panel and pivots 180 degrees to direct light to where it is needed. The reading light relies on friction to maintain the angle of the light (or solar panel). The reading light is limited in range, but does offer an area type light for a room. An issue pointed out by another reviewer stated that the reading light was easy to turn on and not notice. This is absolutely true; the slide switch is under the handle and needs just a slight bump to turn it on. It is impossible to see the retracted reading light (flush with the back case) in any room light and even in the dark you need to get the angle just right to notice the faint glow from the very bottom. This is another way to accidently drain the batteries.

The flashlight located on the side is quite good. I went for a walk with this radio on a moonless night and the flashlight worked well, more than adequate for emergency lighting, camping, etc. It is not going to replace a dedicated flashlight, but in a pinch will work great. Power consumption on these light sources is relatively low and could be utilized instead of a dedicated flashlight to conserve the flashlight's batteries for more demanding uses. A piece of red cellophane or similar could be placed over the flashlight or reading light lens to protect night vision, if needed. Yellow cellophane might also work to stop bugs from being attracted to the light if you are outdoors.

A feature that is greatly appreciated is the built in dial light. The dial light is activated any time a button is pushed on the radio. The light automatically turns off after about 15 seconds (there is no other way to turn it on other than hitting a button). The backlight draws so little power (6 ma.) for a short period of time that it is not a significant battery power consumer. Without the automatic dial light there is no way to read the LCD dial in the dark with the built in flashlight or reading light. The numerical keypad for frequency entry does not light up and can be a challenge in darkness if their location has not been memorized. The dial light feature is disabled when using the Key Lock feature (see below).

Speaker:

The built-in speaker (around 2.6 inches, 66 mm) is more than adequate and better suited for voice than music, it tends to drop the lower bass frequencies. The speaker provides very clear audio when listening to people speaking. Using a good set of headphones the audio is great, full fidelity. The radio also has great audio when played through a nice set of external computer speakers, just plug them into the earphone jack. I was surprised how great the radio sounded through a pair of amplified computer speakers.

Weatherproofing:

The radio is definitely not waterproof and may not even be weather resistant. However, the radio looks like it may have limited resistance to vertical rain for a short period of time if it is accidently caught in a rain storm. There are major openings for the speaker starting about one half inch from the bottom of the radio. There is a very fine mesh screen on openings which look like it could repel rain water splashes (or at least bugs) from getting into the radio. The buttons on the top of the radio fit very tightly and look like they will resist the seepage of water to the inside of the radio from a rain storm. I would suggest the radio be put into a clear freezer bag, grocery store produce bag or similar if there is a chance of the radio being out in the rain. The controls should be able to be manipulated through the plastic bag. The sealed plastic bag will also help in areas prone to salty air; switches and electronics do not perform well in salty environments over time.

Key Lock Feature:

The outside of the front and top of the radio are covered with buttons. It is very easy to turn on Weather Alert or the Alarm features and not realize you accidently hit the button. The radio has a Key Lock feature which disables all the radio keys and displays a key symbol on the top of the LCD screen (operated through the Snooze button). The only keys that work are the flashlight and reading light. It is easy to accidently turn something on or off just by just picking the radio up or placing or handling it in a snug padded case. I completely drained a set of alkaline batteries by accidently activating the Weather Alert feature while putting it in a case. The Key Lock is a nicely engineered feature; you will appreciate the Key Lock after you have had the radio for a while.

The Key Lock feature may also be accidently activated by hitting the Snooze button for a few seconds. Once you have done this the radio will not operate and nothing you do will turn the radio on, until you hit the Snooze button again to turn the Key Lock off. The word "Lock" is written above the Snooze button, but it may not be obvious to a new user what this feature does. This may unnecessarily frustrate a few new users, but it is a great feature once you are familiar with it.

Thermometer:

The built in thermometer is accurate, but has one small drawback. It is very slow to report the correct temperature. Apparently, it measures the temperature inside the radio case and can take up to 1 hour to read the real ambient temperature accurately when the radio is taken from a warm area to a cold area or the other way around. An example, if you leave the radio to solar charge in a window it will show 10 - 15 degrees higher than the room temperature and when removed it takes close to an hour to show the actual room temperature. The thermometer can be changed between Fahrenheit and Celsius scales (the switch is located in the battery compartment next to the NiMH battery pack and is changed with a small pointed object).

User Manual:

It is important to read the entire user manual, the radio is loaded with features that need a little explanation to properly understand and use. The operator controls are rather simple to use and you will not need to keep referring to the manual to figure out how to do something once you become familiar with all the features. The user manual is well done and is useful to explain all the features of the radio. There are lots of pictures and good explanations to go with the pictures. It is best to sit down with the manual and the radio and become familiar with all the features.

The user's manual is available free on the Internet (reading it will help in understanding all the radio's features before you purchase). There are a few websites that offer a .pdf user manual version online (using internet search engine terms like: "kaito 600 user manual" will get you right to one at kaitousa, it is large, 31 MB).

Alarm Clocks, Snooze and Sleep Timer:

Other features that are very useful are 2 alarm clocks with a snooze feature. In addition, there is a sleep timer (up to 90 minutes) so you can listen to the radio at night and then it will automatically shut off after an adjustable period of minutes.

Conclusion:

In conclusion, I am quite impressed with the quality and performance of this radio for the price. There is a whole lot of radio here for the money. Many other radios in this price class are much less suitable. I researched this radio and similar radios very carefully before purchasing and I am delighted with the features, construction and performance of this radio having been able to use it for many months. Should something catastrophic happen to the radio (lost, damaged, etc.), I would replace it immediately. The engineering Kaito used to design this radio is first class; this radio meets all my expectations for an emergency and off-grid radio. I rate this radio an easy 5 stars for the purpose intended, there are way too many great things about this radio to give it anything less.

Hopefully, you found this review helpful. Have a Great Day!
Comment Comments (39) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jul 19, 2016 6:45 PM PDT


Goal Zero 19004 Nomad 7 / Rockout Combo
Goal Zero 19004 Nomad 7 / Rockout Combo

11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Lightweight Way to Recharge Electronics in the Field, August 11, 2011
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
I purchased the Nomad 7 / Rockout Combo from Amazon about one month ago and wanted to test it before commenting. It weighed 370 gms / 13.1 oz. on the kitchen scale without any cables. Just like the other Goal Zero products it is well designed and well made using quality materials. If taken care of should last decades (do not throw on the floor or drive the truck over it, like the You Tube videos). It is nice to see the solar panel can take the abuse if an accident happens.

The solar panels are mounted to a heavy plastic sheet which gives the rigidity needed to protect the thin brittle solar cells (think a thin potato chip strength). The fronts of the solar panels are covered with an unknown clear plastic reminiscent of Tedlar. The outer shell is covered in a material that looks and feels like Cordura, so it should wear very well, most quality backpacks are made of this material. The built-in pouch is a perfect size for the Guide 10 and all but the 12 volt car lighter adapter (which could be carried if you plug it in the regulator / converter and place the large end between the pouch and regulator. I find it is best to carry it externally if you need it. I fold the flap with the regulator / charger behind the solar panel when charging to keep the electronics in the shade. Eight loops (not bungee cord loops) all around the Nomad 7 allow many ways to attach the unit to a pack or sticks for charging. It was easy to attach to my Maxpedition pack with Paracord 550 and charge while I was walking.

How does it work? Surprisingly well! I did a lot tests in the Arizona sun in July and August it held up well to sun intensity and heat. This is our monsoon season which means clouds and rain once in a while (intermittent sunlight). The Nomad 7 charged 50 NiMH batteries in the Guide 10 very well under all kinds of sky conditions. Even an overcast sky where the panel did not cast a shadow it still recharged low NiMH batteries in about 6 hours. Using the USB adaptor charged low tech LG cellphone in an hour in normal sunlight (it also charged cellphone using 12V 4W lighter adaptor). So far I have been able to charge a digital camera, Kaito Voyager radio, VHF / UHF transceiver and the Guide 10 in reasonable times. It allows you to use your equipment more since you can now recharge in the field and not be so concerned with conserving battery power.

As far as the Rockout Speaker goes, for the size they sound very good with my player. They charge up in an hour with the Nomad 7 Solar Panel. If weight and volume are considerations in a backpack, then you might leave them behind and use earbuds. Otherwise, they are great to have along as a luxury item. If you are car camping, then they are a great asset to the camping experience, nice to listen to music without the earbuds.

I am delighted with the Nomad 7 / Rockout Speaker Combo. They are well engineered and perform very well. The Nomad 7 Solar Panel is perfect for light weight backpacking.


Goal Zero 11402 Guide 10 4AA Battery Recharger
Goal Zero 11402 Guide 10 4AA Battery Recharger

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Ideal for the Minimalist Backpacker / Camper, August 11, 2011
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
I purchased the Guide 10 Battery Recharger 11402 from Amazon a month ago and thought I would test it before commenting on its performance. It was the recently re-engineered to minimize the prior heating issues. Using the Goal Zero Nomad Solar Panel with the Guide 10, about 50 NiMH batteries were charged outside in the July and August Arizona noonday sun. Two brands of NiMH batteries were charged (Eneloop and Tenergy) from various states of discharge. The Guide 10 was placed in the shade behind the Nomad Solar Panel and the battery compartment door was left open for additional cooling (some batteries get fairly warm during charging and the door open helps keep them cooler). I paid particular attention to the battery pack to see if there was any unusual heating; no unusual heat was detected during the charge on any of the batteries. In addition, some batteries were used with the supplied USB charging cable connected to the laptop, charging worked fine. A super nice feature is having the ability to charge via solar (Nomad) or USB (car lighter adapter or computer power).

There was a design change to fix the overheating issue and it appears to work very well. I suspect people made the condition worse by leaving the Guide 10 in the sun and the battery door closed. The Guide 10 may have worked like a solar oven and the heat normally generated by charging was also trapped inside the closed battery compartment. Placing the Guide 10 inside the black compartment on the Nomad Solar Panel might also create an issue with overheating from direct sun with the compartment acting like a blanket. Electronics work better and last longer if they run as cool as possible.

I had one small issue with my purchase; the AAA battery adapter was missing in the package, due to the omission by the overseas supplier and not Goal Zero here in the US. Even though I had purchased the item from Amazon, Goal Zero took responsibility and made it right. I had the pleasure of dealing with the "World's Best Customer Service Representative", Morgan at Goal Zero. Not only was the service extremely courteous and professional, the replacement AAA adapter was on my door step 2 days later (thanks again, Morgan). I do not know how you get better customer service than that!

Overall, I am delighted with my purchase and the performance for the device and the customer service. I am going to purchase a second Guide 10 because of the utility of the Luna light in one and the other for electronics or as a spare for the campsite. The design is well thought out and for the minimalist backpacker / camper, it is ideal.


Goal Zero 14101 Luna USB LED Stick Light
Goal Zero 14101 Luna USB LED Stick Light
Price: $9.99
11 used & new from $8.56

138 of 141 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Product - Red / Yellow Light Modifications, July 31, 2011
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
The Luna Light is great low cost lighting system for any camper who wants a low current drain and effective camp light. It works extremely well with the Goal0 Guide 10 battery packs with the USB port. There is more than sufficient light for a tent or small camp space at a 20 hour operation time on the Guide 10.

There may be too much light output for people who want to save battery power. An attenuating adapter (homemade, insert a resistor inline) may just do the trick to reduce light output and save even more battery energy. Here is an idea to save your night vision adaptation, use a clear red soda straw (or similar, cellophane, etc.) over the light tube. Instant night vision retention for virtually no cost. You could also use a clear yellow soda straw to help keep the bugs away at night. Bugs love this white light at night and can actually block a lot of the light from the tube as they fight for position on the light tube. Use it in the tent only AFTER you have zipped the door shut or you may have a lot of unwelcome company :-)

ADDITIONAL COMMENTS AFTER THREE MONTHS USE:

I bought a second Luna Light shortly after testing the first one. I have put at least 50 hours of use on the first and maybe 20 hours on the second and all LEDs are still working just fine, no loss of light output. The Luna Light is very lightweight and weighs around 42 grams / 1.4 ounces and it takes virtually no room in a backpack.

The Luna Light when used in a backpacking / camping scenario lasted a 3 day / 2 night trip on the original Eneloop rechargeable batteries in a Goal0 Guide 10 powerpack (168 grams / 5.9 ounces w/ batt, 2000 mAh), awesome.

For the next trip purchased a lightweight (39 grams) IOGEAR 3+1 ports unpowered USB hub and a bunch of USB extension cables here on Amazon. The goal was to make a small USB power distribution network from the Guide 10 for the 2 Luna Lights and a Kaito 500 AM/FM/SW radio with USB. The two Luna Lights were sufficient to light the outside and inside of the tent for the night. I have taken them camping at least 5 times since purchase.

After 3 months of good use, I am still delighted with the product's versatility and performance. I have not noticed any deterioration in the mechanical parts of the light, although, these lights are treated very gently (flexing kept to a minimum). The Luna Lights worked well during a power outage, nice to have the extra light in an emergency, or maybe a better description: "an unexpected camping experience in the house."
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