You are correct, the weather alert mode is contiuously scanning for a signal and does consume a lot of power.
We recommend purchasing a low cost USB to AC converter and use wall power when using the weather alert function.
They are available as little as $3 here:
You can also connect to your computer's USB port to keep fully charged in the event of an emergency.
You can, of course, hand crank the radio at any time to provide a quick charge.
This is a new product and we realize this should have been somewhere in the manual. It is important to manage customer expectations.
This radio started out as an emergency radio for use when no power is available by using a combination of the solar collector and hand crank power. However, we are finding customers are using this as an every day radio, which it does do very well.
However, the requirement for weather alert is above and beyond the level of listening to the weather band (162.4 MHz - 162.55 MHz), AM or FM, charging a cell phone, or using the flashlight. It must actively scan for the emergency 1050 Hz tone from the National Weather Service.
The battery would have to be very large to accomodate this mode which would not make it practical (the size of a laptop battery).
This radio competes with other low cost radios that do not include weather alert mode and higher cost radios that do.
It is interesting that this unit receives more critical reviews than other emergency radios in this category. I believe this is due to the fact that people use this radio every day, whereas other radios are thrown into a bug out bag and only used in an emergency.
Thus, the improved features may actually work against the reviews it receives.
Thanks for your time and I hope this helps. I will make sure this caviot is added to the manual and product page.