“ Self-sufficient FM/AM radio. Wind-up power. Compact, rugged and stylish design. Will play for approx. 35 minutes at normal volume from a 30 second wind, and can be rewound at any Time for as much playTime as you want. 25 hours play at normal volume from a „
If you are a Radio lover, gadget person or just want to make a purchase, which is ethical, then I have to recommend the Freeplay Ranger.
Before I detail the operation and technical information about this radio please bear with me for a bit of history and philosophy which I think will assist in your decision making as to whether you will rush and order one of these radios.
You may remember Trevor Bayliss the inventor who first created the Clockwork Radio. Its first use was to allow poorer people in Africa to access information about Aids where they did not have electricity or batteries. This is where the Freeplay Company comes in as they have developed the technology and it is now in wide use around the world but still primarily Africa.
Freeplay are still active in supporting the fight against Aids as they have a dedicated team that promotes and facilitates the use of these radios in Africa. This is so important in providing education and offering some light at the end of the tunnel to people in Africa. Many of these radios are now in classrooms and with children who are now on their own due to Aids.
The Radio itself: -
What you have is a solid well-constructed radio that offers AM and FM frequencies. These frequencies are selected by the push of a button on the front of the radio. Tuning is manual and controlled by solid knobs on the side. I cant emphasise enough the wonderful build quality of this radio. Everything about it is robust and so far long lasting. It is fine for outdoor use. I have mine in the garden all the time (well in the summer anyway) and have been camping and even sailing with it. I would obviously caution getting it wet as it is not sold as waterproof but it has survived a light shower or two, by accident!
There are three ways of charging the radio. A crank handle which folds away neatly into the back of the radio. Secondly there is a built in solar panel and thirdly a DC input for charging from the mains or any 6V DC source.
Obviously the joy of this radio has to be that you do not need electricity apart from the initial charge and the occasional manufacturer recommended DC charge, which I have actually never done and it is still going. So no more batteries.!
The solar panel really works and as long as the sun shines you have radio and it will charge itself but you will need the summer sun for this. Failing this 30 seconds winding it up will give you about half an hour radio at normal volume. This is not a ghetto blaster so high volumes will require more power and hence more cranking. Winding is easy as a light shows you are winding at the correct speed to charge. It is smooth and charges if winding clockwise or anti clockwise. This is great if you are left-handed. If you want longer playtime simply wind it up for longer. This may sound a chore but there really is something quite satisfying and grounding about the process as you feel you have earnt your listening time.
A headphone socket is on the side if you want to offer peace and tranquillity for the neighbours.
These are generally available for around £35 but as ever a trawl of the Internet may throw up a bargain.
This is the best gadget I have bought in a while and I can whole-heartedly recommend it. You will not be disappointed and if you are you have still made a contribution to Aids so its a win / win situation.
N.B For those of you that may want LW and SW as well Freeplay do make a radio called Summit Multiband. It has an alarm clock, digital tuning and pre set channels. Ive not used one but sure it would be worth looking at.
Height - 10cm
Length - 20.5cm
Width - 6cm