The Kaito ka550 offers the powerful combination of solar and hand crank options that give the radio extra life beyond a set of dead batteries that is crucial in emergency situations. The renewable technology to run these radios has definitely come a long way since Trevor Baylis gave us the first hand crank radio, with the highly publicized release of the Freeway.

No longer just concerned with powering the radio itself manufactures like Kaito are making receivers that are designed to be a central power source for many of the portable devices we carry around with us in our daily lives. With the standard set for charging portable media and mobile phone equipment by low power USB this addition is only a useful and natural progression for this type of radio product.

Kaito KA550 Portable Solar/Hand Crank SW Radio

Kaito KA550

Kaito KA550
Click Picture for Full Details, Customer Reviews and Pricing

Overview

Going for the retro look very similar to the non digital version of Kaito’s Voyager radio the KA550 has a familiar face with all the functionality of this successful range of products.

The heart of this radio is the internal rechargeable battery that can be refreshed either for the hand crank or the built in flip up solar array.

For those using this radio at home there are a further 3 options for powering it.

  • 1. Via a mains adapter (not included)
  • 2. By using a standard set of 3 AAA batteries
  • 3. Plugging the radio into a 5v USB connection

Lightweight

Weighing in at only 1LB its light enough not to be too much of a burden if it ever has too be carried any distance. For an outdoor radio there are much smaller radios that could deliver the same in volume and coverage but if we want the addition of solar and hand crank its still a good size compromise.

Quick Specs

Frequency Coverage 88-108MHz, 530-1710KHz, 3.20-8.00MHz, 9.00-22.00MHz
7 NOAA Weather Channels
Dimensions : 8 x 5 x 2.6 Inches
Weight : 1 lb
Internal Battery : 600mAh Nickel–Metal Hydride

Accessories Included

Instruction manual
One set of Earphones
Adapter Kit for Charging Cell Phones

ka550frontback

The Included Phone Charging Kit and a View of the Solar Array

Summary

The KA550 does look and function very much like the KA500 but you cant get away from the fact that this is a proven design. With the hand crank introducing a mechanical stress element to the radio we would rather stick with what we know than take a chance on an unknown when dealing with what is for some an essential piece of emergency kit.

You can see full details of the Kaito KA550 along with customer reviews at Amazon

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