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  • Kaito Electronics Inc. KA500GRN Voyager Solar/Dynamo Emergency Radio - Green
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Kaito Electronics Inc. KA500GRN Voyager Solar/Dynamo Emergency Radio - Green

by Kaito

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  • Box Contents - Voyager KA500 Emergency Radio, 6 Cellphone Tips, Earphone, USB Cord
  • AM - 520-1717 KHz
  • FM - 88.00- 108.00 MHz
  • SW1 - 3.20-9.00KHz
  • SW2 - 9.00- 22.00KHz
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Product details

  • Product Dimensions: 21.1 x 5.8 x 13.5 cm ; 590 g
  • Boxed-product Weight: 590 g
  • Delivery Destinations: Visit the Delivery Destinations Help page to see where this item can be delivered.
    Find out more about our Delivery Rates and Returns Policy
  • Batteries 3 AA batteries required. (included)
  • Item model number: KA500GRN
  • ASIN: B001EUG3II
  • Date first available at Amazon.co.uk: 1 Jan. 2011
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 148,600 in Electronics (See Top 100 in Electronics)

Product Description

The Kaito KA500 Voyager is the next generation emergency radio. It comes with all the features that you need in an emergency situation. The KA500 packs in a multi-band AM/FM and shortwave (SW) radio, 7 NOAA weather channels, five LEDs adjustable reading lamp, a multi-function LED flashlight - the super bright LED flashlight can be Bright Color or Red Color for normal or emergency use. All these features can be operated indefinitely without external power thanks to the high quality hand crank AC brushless generator. The solar panel powers the radio by itself and charges the built-in batteries as well. To maximize the sunlight, the solar panel is tiltable with at any angles to face the sunlight to receive the energy during daytime. Furthermore, it can be used with 3 AA batteries allowing you to play the radio the old fashioned way, plugged it in an electrical outlet with the optional power adapter, or charged it from an external USB power source. The Kaito KA500 is a perfect radio for any emergencies and disasters. So put one in your household emergency kit and it will be ready for you to use in any emergency situations or get one for your families and friends. Weather Band - 7 NOAA Weather Channels - PLL crystal control circuit for stable reception Weather Alert - To be activated by weather alert signals 5 LEDs reading lamp for camping and emergency use White LED flashlight Red LED blinking for emergency alert 6 Ways of Power - Dynamo Cranking Power - 120 turns per minute cranking will power the built in Ni-MH battery pack with strong current and voltage / Solar Panel Power - under the direct sunlight, the solar panel will power the radio with no question / AA Batteries - You can use 3 normal AA batteries to run the radio with maximum reception (optional) / The built-in Rechargeable battery pack - the Ni-MH battery pack will run the radio for over 12 hours when fully charged / AC adaptor charge fro

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

By michael armstrong on 28 Aug. 2014
Verified Purchase
I we'll recommend this to all my friends and family really pleased whit it
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 673 reviews
558 of 566 people found the following review helpful
Packed with features, lacking in quality 15 Dec. 2008
By T. Witherspoon - Published on Amazon.com
I tested the KA500 along with several other self-powered radios for a project I'm working on in rural Sub-Saharan Africa. I found that the KA500 is a very capable shortwave receiver it's just not nearly as rugged as its competitors. Here are my thoughts:

What I like about the KA500:
- Solar Panel--the KA500 is one of the only portable shortwave receivers out there with a built-in solar panel. The panel is effective enough that it will power the radio (if in direct sunlight) without batteries and produce a reasonable amount of volume through its built-in speaker.

- The 5 LED reading lamp -- This reading lamp is impressive. If the batteries are fully charged, the lamp works for VERY long periods of time. I'm also an amateur radio operator and found that the reading lamp is bright enough that it lit up my large radio table.

- Good shortwave sensitivity -- For a self-powered analog radio, I was impressed with the shortwave sensitivity. I also found the AM broadcast and FM bands adequate/average.

- Good selectivity -- When a station is tuned-in well, you don't often hear adjacent signals.

- Good frequency coverage -- I like the fact that KA500 covers the NOAA weather frequencies, FM, AM and a very large portion of the SW spectrum (from 3.2 MHZ to 22MHz, missing only a little used piece between 8 & 9 MHz)

What I didn't like:
- Quality -- Though the radio feels solid in your hand, I found through my testing that the quality of the KA500 is actually quite poor. More than once, the tuning mechanism would slip and the needle would get stuck in the middle of the dial. The worst part, though, is the poor quality of the hand-crank mechanism. The dynamo and crank arm feel cheap. Well, they are cheap. After only a month of occasional testing--and with me being very careful with the hand crank--the dynamo started showing signs of failing. The crank became less fluid to turn and would rub the side of the radio chassis. One day, while slowly cranking, the crank arm just snapped in half. No more crank power.

- No Fine Tune control -- Kaito fits the whole SW1 and SW2 spectrum on a small dial. There were a few times I wish this radio had a fine tune control like the Grundig FR200.

BOTTOM LINE:
I sent my KA500 back and did not get it replaced. It's a shame, really. I loved the radio's features and overall performance, but was very disappointed with quality.

I could only recommend this radio to someone who plans on tucking it away and using it on rare occasions or someone who wants a basic full-featured radio but never plans on using the hand-crank. I'd also keep the receipt handy for the return (and buy from an authorized dealer like Amazon or Universal Radio).

For my purposes, I will be using the Grundig/Etón FR350 and the FR200. The difference in quality between these and the KA500 is night and day. The Grundigs/Etóns are very rugged, water resistant and time tested. The crank arms are made better and even after long-term use, continue to function properly. They're simply designed and tested better (before hitting the retail shelf).

Sure wish Kaito would work on the quality of the KA500, they'd have a very competitive product. For now, I'll stick with Etón!
150 of 150 people found the following review helpful
Solid, durable, and perfect for camping or emergency use 27 Jan. 2010
By Patrick Carey - Published on Amazon.com
Verified Purchase
I bought this item just over a year and a half ago, and it's served my needs very well. Frequent camping trips, occasional blackouts and the possibility of it being the only means of receiving important information in an emergency situation, this radio has proven time and again that it's the right choice for what I want it for.

I've taken this sucker camping 12 times and never been disappointed. I've left my car phone charger home by accident twice and the KA500's dynamo charged it (motorola razor) with ten minutes of cranking. I've dropped it, kicked it, even left it out in the camper in sub-zero temperatures for a week and it still works like new.

My girl likes to have a radio or tv on while she's falling asleep and the same ten minutes of cranking put out 40 minutes of shortwave or FM radio for her to fall asleep by, in the middle of the Wisconsin north woods far from any other person.

Three times since I bought this product the power has gone out in my area, and twice it was because of weather-related emergencies. This radio brings the NOAA weather alerts right to us during blackouts and keeps us up to speed.

More than a few times I've stretched out the shortwave clip-on antenna and have been able to listen to radio france or argentina simply by clipping it on and throwing it over a tree branch.

Most of the bad reviews of this product are due to user error; you need to crank the dynamo for more than two minutes to charge the battery, you need to read the packaging or advertised product description to know what's in the box, you need to crank it in small, tight and steady turns - just like any other dynamo-charged product - and not be overzealous and rip the crank handle off. It's very durable as long as you don't act like your trying to power a full-sized refrigerator. Don't let a few ignoramuses spoil you on this really good deal on a very good emergency radio.
255 of 262 people found the following review helpful
KAITO KA500 VERY VERSATILE 20 Nov. 2008
By Nobleman - Published on Amazon.com
KAITO KA500 VERY VERSATILE
If considering the Kaito KA500, you want a highly portable radio that does it all. I did. I wanted a radio with versatility in (a) sources of power input and (b) radio signals received.
Public radio served me well weathering Hurricane Katrina's aftermath with a plain boom box. But what if things get dicier? My solution was to put together a disaster/camping/survival pack. And I needed a radio.
I settled in on the Kaito KA500, because nothing else came so close to providing abundant sources of power and station signals. Internet searchings I did indicated sales to military, a good sign. I bought one with the optional antenna you reel out for 23 feet. Here's what I found.
FEATURES
1. Multiple sources of power: It's powered by 3 AA batteries you buy, or crank to charge the built-in Ni-MH battery pack, or use solar panel on back with tilting hinge for charging the battery pack, or connect computer USB to charge the battery pack, or use the AC adaptor to charge the battery pack.
2. Multiple sources of signals: AM, FM, all 7 NOAA weather channels on crystal (NOT analog knob) tuning, SW1, and SW2.
3. Bonus features beyond these basics: White LED flashlight, red flashing LED emergency signal light, 5-LED reading light built into the reverse side of the solar charging cells so it tilts up and down to adjust, and ear bud earphones. These LED light features are powered as is the radio, so they can work with multiple sources of power with no filament bulbs to burn out. The KA500 also includes a USB output jack with wire that fits onto five different cellphone and personal electronic devices to charge them, and all these items come with the unit.
4. Optional features: Long 23 foot antenna you can string out and clamp to the stick-up antenna that reels back into a closed spool 3 inches in diameter, AC adaptor, USB cable for charging the KA500.
EVALUATIVE REVIEW OF FEATURES
1. Sources of power
a. Before putting in any bought batteries, I cranked the radio up for about a minute, and the small light on the front said it was fully charged. It ran for 10-15 minutes without any problems receiving an FM station before I put in the store-bought batteries.
b. The store-bought batteries worked fine.
c. I have not yet used the solar charger, nor ordered the optional AC charger, nor ordered the optional USB charger that charges the battery pack. I have no reason to believe any of these would not work, as everything else has worked.
2. Sources of radio signal
a. FM signals came in fine. The output is mono but quite acceptable.
b. AM signals also came in fine, the usual many signals.
c. SW bands pulled in a lot of stations, somewhat more clearly than AM (I did this testing at night). I got perhaps half foreign language stations, mostly Spanish.
d. NOAA weather was great in another city, mediocre but intelligible here on the Gulf Coast. A separate knob is devoted solely receiving just the seven weather stations, which are received digitally using crystals.
3. Tuning and sound
a. The tuning knob worked fine, as did all other controls.
b. Sound quality was OK When MPB public radio played some vintage Earl Skruggs it was pleasant over the small built in speaker. The earphones actually added some bass. I count decent sound as a bonus, as I did not buy the KA500 for excellence of sound quality. I bought it for getting any intelligible signal under duress.
4. Bonus features
a. The LED flashlight does what one LED does, the same as the one on my keychain and 1/3 as bright as the three on my cap clip-on light.
b. The red flashing LED worked well. It is likely visible for an unobstructed mile or more, probably farther over water.
c. The reading lamp is a real jewel. I turned off all my lights and tried to read. Reading was easy, so this radio can also be a good tent light, has a strap up top.
d. The long antenna boosted reception a bit, not greatly. It improved marginal signals.
CONCLUSION
The Kaito KA500 gives me amazingly versatile sources of power and radio signals for its price. The bonus features make it real bargain. If you want an emergency portable radio of modest price, the best chance of powering up under duress, the widest variety of signals of practical use in a disaster/camping/survival situation, plus a bunch of bonus features, I'd say the KA500 is your best bet by far.
HINTS
1. Keep the bubble wrap the radio comes in and tape the flap shut with duct tape for protection in your pack. Put it in a gallon glad bag and you're set.
2. If preparing for emergencies, online resources offer a lot. I liked:
a. Doug Ritter's many recommendations and supplies. He has set up a foundation "Equipped to Survive" and truly has his heart into survival oriented outdoor gear. You can even download his survival sheet free on that foundation website. You can also spend about a half hour reading the details about his Pocket Survival Pak, which I bought on Amazon. You can spend another half hour reading why he included the items he did in the pak and how he selected his survival instructions. You gotta love this guy.
b. Good survival manuals sold by Amazon, Wiseman's usually topping rankings.
351 of 366 people found the following review helpful
KAITO KA500 VERY VERSATILE 16 Nov. 2008
By Nobleman - Published on Amazon.com
KAITO KA500 VERY VERSATILE
If considering the Kaito KA500, you want a highly portable radio that does it all. I did. I wanted a radio with versatility in (a) sources of power input and (b) radio signals received.
Public radio served me well weathering Hurricane Katrina's aftermath with a plain boom box. But what if things get dicier? My solution was to put together a disaster/camping/survival pack. And I needed a radio.
I settled in on the Kaito KA500, because nothing else came so close to providing abundant sources of power and station signals. Internet searchings I did indicated sales to military, a good sign. I bought one with the optional antenna you reel out for 23 feet. Here's what I found.
FEATURES
1. Multiple sources of power: It's powered by 3 AA batteries you buy, or crank to charge the built-in Ni-MH battery pack, or use solar panel on back with tilting hinge for charging the battery pack, or connect computer USB to charge the battery pack, or use the AC adaptor to charge the battery pack.
2. Multiple sources of signals: AM, FM, all 7 NOAA weather channels on crystal (NOT analog knob) tuning, SW1, and SW2.
3. Bonus features beyond these basics: White LED flashlight, red flashing LED emergency signal light, 5-LED reading light built into the reverse side of the solar charging cells so it tilts up and down to adjust, and ear bud earphones. These LED light features are powered as is the radio, so they can work with multiple sources of power with no filament bulbs to burn out. The KA500 also includes a USB output jack with wire that fits onto five different cellphone and personal electronic devices to charge them, and all these items come with the unit.
4. Optional features: Long 23 foot antenna you can string out and clamp to the stick-up antenna that reels back into a closed spool 3 inches in diameter, AC adaptor, USB cable for charging the KA500.
EVALUATIVE REVIEW OF FEATURES
1. Sources of power
a. Before putting in any bought batteries, I cranked the radio up for about a minute, and the small light on the front said it was fully charged. It ran for 10-15 minutes without any problems receiving an FM station before I put in the store-bought batteries.
b. The store-bought batteries worked fine.
c. I have not yet used the solar charger, nor ordered the optional AC charger, nor ordered the optional USB charger that charges the battery pack. I have no reason to believe any of these would not work, as everything else has worked.
2. Sources of radio signal
a. FM signals came in fine. The output is mono but quite acceptable.
b. AM signals also came in fine, the usual many signals.
c. SW bands pulled in a lot of stations, somewhat more clearly than AM (I did this testing at night). I got perhaps half foreign language stations, mostly Spanish.
d. NOAA weather was great in another city, mediocre but intelligible here on the Gulf Coast. A separate knob is devoted solely receiving just the seven weather stations, which are received digitally using crystals.
3. Tuning and sound
a. The tuning knob worked fine, as did all other controls.
b. Sound quality was OK When MPB public radio played some vintage Earl Skruggs it was pleasant over the small built in speaker. The earphones actually added some bass. I count decent sound as a bonus, as I did not buy the KA500 for excellence of sound quality. I bought it for getting any intelligible signal under duress.
4. Bonus features
a. The LED flashlight does what one LED does, the same as the one on my keychain and 1/3 as bright as the three on my cap clip-on light.
b. The red flashing LED worked well. It is likely visible for an unobstructed mile or more, probably farther over water.
c. The reading lamp is a real jewel. I turned off all my lights and tried to read. Reading was easy, so this radio can also be a good tent light, has a strap up top.
d. The long antenna boosted reception a bit, not greatly. It improved marginal signals.
CONCLUSION
The Kaito KA500 gives me amazingly versatile sources of power and radio signals for its price. The bonus features make it real bargain. If you want an emergency portable radio of modest price, the best chance of powering up under duress, the widest variety of signals of practical use in a disaster/camping/survival situation, plus a bunch of bonus features, I'd say the KA500 is your best bet by far.
HINTS
1. Keep the bubble wrap the radio comes in and tape the flap shut with duct tape for protection in your pack. Put it in a gallon glad bag and you're set.
2. If preparing for emergencies, online resources offer a lot. I liked:
a. Doug Ritter's many recommendations and supplies. He has set up a foundation "Equipped to Survive" and truly has his heart into survival oriented outdoor gear. You can even download his survival sheet free on that foundation website. You can also spend about a half hour reading the details about his Pocket Survival Pak, which I bought on Amazon. You can spend another half hour reading why he included the items he did in the pak and how he selected his survival instructions. You gotta love this guy.
b. Good survival manuals sold by Amazon, Wiseman's usually topping rankings.
100 of 103 people found the following review helpful
Great features, disappointing reception 30 July 2009
By Michael - Published on Amazon.com
Verified Purchase
I bought the KA500 to use for emergencies and camping. I have 3 other Kaito radios: the KA007 crank radio, the KA-1103 multiband, and the KA2100. The 1103 and 2100 are really fine radios with truly impressive reception, especially the 1103. On the other hand, I was very disappointed in the KA007, as the radio reception on all its bands is barely acceptable, with terrible selectivity resulting in stations bleeding through all over the dial. The weather reception on the 007 was awful, as was the VHF and the FM.
I hoped this would be a better performing version of the 007, and it is - but not as much as I'd hoped for. The weather reception is definitely improved over the 007, and now is almost as good as my dedicated weather radios. The SW seems more sensitive now, and seems to have better selectivity. Not fabulous but good enough for a radio that is not primarily intended as a world-band radio. However, the FM is still pretty bad. Here in the Boston area, there are two public radio stations that are fairly strong, and come in on pretty much any radio - yet I could not get either one on the KA500, let alone the weaker local stations. This means that for me, it's not usable as an everyday radio - only for emergencies.

There is no question that this radio has about every feature you could ask for in an emergency radio (except maybe a siren of some kind). It's very well thought out, and the ability to power it in so many ways, as well as charge other things from it is great. However, given that Kaito's higher end radios have really impressive sensitivity and selectivity, it's a shame they still haven't created an emergency/crank radio that uses any of their higher end technology. After all, wouldn't you want the best possible receiver in an emergency?

Kaito's digital world band radios start around $55, and their analog high sensitivity models can be had for $35. I'd have happily paid another $15-20 for a much better receiver. Currently, none of the crank and solar panel radios are much better - they all seem to sacrifice receiver quality, which makes no sense to me. I hope in the future Kaito will offer a model with the features of the KA500 but a receiver at least as good as the KA1101.
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