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write your own review of the Freeplay TUF.
Sep 24, 2016 11:22
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a bit pricey but good
Time owned: 0 to 3 months
FM - 87.5MHz to 108MHz
AM - 522kHz to 1620kHz
SW - 3MHz to 21.850MHz
Battery - 350mAh
Solar - 5V 25mA
Generator - 20min listening or 30min light per minute winding at 120RPM
Dimensions: 145mm x 60mm
A radio the size of a beer can sold for the survival and outdoor market holds up to it's promises.
On the first look I expected a second grade chinese product with mediocre performance but it seems that I got the real McCoy.
What I wanted:
A radio I could take along outdoors with a coverage on SW, AM and FM. A facility to charge the radio via solar and through a hand generator.
In addition there was also a torch and a clock.
What I got:
A radio which was a lot smaller than it appeared to be on pictures. Actually it is smaller than a beer can and much slimmer. This is not a bad thing if you carry it around with only limited luggage space in your rucksack.
Taking it out of the box I fond that the internal NiMH battery was empty.
Ways to charge it:
Solar Panel max output 5V 25mA (3 and more days to charge to full)
The crank: 20 minutes listening per 1 minute cranking at 2 turns per second.
Or via mini USB port
I tried the crank driving a generator which is highly geared. A minute of cranking does give you good listening time. I tried to wind the generator for 2 minutes at 120rpm which did feel like a minor workout.
Living in England - sometimes we actually get to see the sun. The radio suggests at times that it is charging as the battery indicator goes up. Based on the technical data a full charge via solar would take about 3 days. Still if you leave the radio on the window sill just for emergencies you can ensure that the battery is always fully charged just in case you need a torch or listen to the news in a disaster situation.
The torch is not the brightest flashlight but enough to find your way around or for camping to find your way around the tent. The manual suggests that a full charge will give you 20 hours of light.
On AM and FM it performs as expected. The immunity on AM was surprisingly good. Very little QRM from computers etc. was picked up. FM reception was good.
Short Wave reception:
The range of the radio is from 3MHz to 22MHz continuously covering most shortwave broadcast bands other than the 11m and 120m bands. Not many survival short wave radios seem to have almost the full range of SW bands. Most of them just cover a few broadcast bands but do not give you continuous coverage. When deciding which survival radio to go for it is worthwhile to look for the full band SW band coverage.
It is possible to scan the bands with the inbuilt scanning function.
Again the immunity on SW is surprisingly good and reception quality is ok. The little telescopic antenna is obviously not sufficient but it sill works for strong stations. Still it is nothing which cannot be fixed with a long piece of wire.
The radio has a facility to charge other items through a USB port such a mobile phone. I havn't tried this function yet but it is interesting to have this facility available.
The audio volume is not at the level of a ghetto blaster but not tinny either. For a radio that size is very good and clear.
The radio is supposed to be splash proof. It looks very sturdy and the plastic suggests that it can take a knock or two without suffering any damage. It looks and feels ruggedised.
Missing is a compartment to add additional batteries or an opening to replace the NiMH it runs on which worries me a bit once the cells start degrading. I am sure there is a way but so far I could not determine how to get inside the radio to do any servicing. With that you rely on the integrity of NiMH cells in the radio which will be ok for when you buy the radio but a few years down the line it may be a different story.
- Not a cheap Chinese radio full of broken promises but a real option to add to your survival kit.
- Good coverage for broadcast stations on AM FM and very wide coverage on SW more than most radios in that class.
- Good immunity from other sources of QRM
- Low power consumption - a fully charged battery allows the radio to run for more than 2 hours (tested) and up to 6 hours suggested in the manual.
- Solar is not enough to run the radio but it will ensure that the battery is topped up at all times if it is stored exposed to daylight.
- The telescopic antenna is not enough for SW but it pulls in strong stations.
- An option to charge a cellular phone via the USB port and the hand generator are certainly interesting options.
- No additional battery compartment and no access to the existing battery.
- A bit pricey at 50 dollars or 30 pounds which I paid for it but the quality is surprisingly good and it seems to keep all it's promise.
Good Sound, good range of frequencies, Solar and Crank power generation work, the torch works, small size and light weight with just more than half a pound in weight or 300gr.
I would buy it again!
Well done on Freeplay!
A fun radio which may come in handy if things go topsy turvy!
73 de Michael G7IDJ/DL6MS
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