I recently posted about 5 radios for emergency preparedness. I own several of those radio’s including the Midland ER102. The Midland ER102 Emergency Radio has a lot of bang for the buck and Midland has long been a big name in communications for years.
On with the review –
First – a quick summary of the specs:
- Emergency radio with all 7 NOAA weather channels and an alert override function
- Features AM/FM radio reception, a clock with an alarm function, and a 3-LED flashlight
- Rechargeable battery can be powered by dynamo hand crank, or included AC power adapter
- Constructed to be water resistant, and backed by a manufacturer’s 3-year warranty
- Model Number: ER102
- Channel: NOAA Weather Alert
- Tuner: FM/AM
- Display: Backlit LCD
- Alarm clock: Built-in
- Flashlight: Built-in LED flashlight
- Power supply: AC power adapter (included), hand crank
- Connectors: AC/DC input, headphone jack, cell phone charge
- Water resistant: Yes
- What’s in the Box: ER102 radio, AC adapter, cell phone charging cable, cell phone tips
Purpose: The radio was designed to be used in an emergency or day to day listening. Along with the common AM/FM bands – there are 7 NOAA Weather Channels. I think this provides a good coverage if information is what you are looking for.
Construction: Constructed to be water-resistant, the plastic body appears to be of good quality typical for the price-range. Seems plenty durable enough however I am not prepared to do any form of drop test.
Method of Use: This radio works similar to any other radio. There are switches, buttons and knobs to access whatever it is you need to adjust and select. Relatively easy to set everything – some improvement could be had here.
First – there are 3 power settings: OFF, AC/Dynamo, and Alkaline. This is confusing to me and maybe that is just because I rode the short bus and was in 1st grade twice. When I first was messing around with the radio I thought that OFF meant totally off – do nothing with it. OFF is actually the ideal setting to use the hand crank to charge the included on-board batteries.
Second – when listening to the radio – whether AM or FM the tuning knob is a dream. It is very easy to roll up and down the dial to find what you want to listen to and then fine tune it in for best reception.
Next – switching to a weather station is easy. There are 7 positions to select from. In my area I could clearly hear 3 weather stations broadcasting. It is also very simple to place the radio in WEATHER ALERT mode in case of an emergency. This is an excellent mode to have the radio set – just sitting in silence ready to alert you in case of some type of impending situation.
Value: As of this writing the radio cost $39.99 on Amazon – with Free Shipping. After evaluating several on Amazon – I just could not find another radio that fit within my budget at the time and had the features this one did.
Multiple methods of power – Dynamo hand crank, AA batteries, and AC plug
LED light is very functional
Excellent reception – even without the antenna fully extended
- So many features additional to just the radio – alarm, temperature, weather alarm, USB connector
- Compact and lightweight
Controls are somewhat confusing – specifically what positions to have switches for charging the internal batteries with the hand crank
- Odd and inconvenient place for the headphone jack – on the back of the radio
- Does not have any shortwave bands
Summary: I recommend this radio if you are looking for a high quality method to receive communications. Great value.
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7 thoughts on “Review: Midland ER102 Multi-band radio”
I think you made a good purchase. Like you, I am really interested in finding a shortwave with the dynamo. The price you paid makes it a great deal for a survival radio barring an EMP scenario.
I wonder about the value of a weather channel. I have lived in tornado country and the weather report is pretty much useless. A storm can miss you by yards or miles and still be reported as a risk to you. But more importantly anyone who has been in a bad thunderstorm you don’t need a radio to tell you. I’m just not sure what the weather channel can tell me that I wouldn’t already know from the 6:00 news or looking out the window. I have a weather radio it sits right beside my bed. I think the last time I turned it on was in 1999. The only reason I haven’t thrown it away is because it was a gift.
Hi Rourke, thanks for the review!
Hopefully I can persuade anyone that’s thinking of buying a wind-up shortwave
to switch plans and consider a portable shortwave that can receive SSB (sideband)
Here’s an article that explains why: http://advancedsurvivalguide.com/?p=687
i like midland products. for shortwave try Tecsun PL380 . should be available on Ebay or Amazon . an am/fm SW radio with DSP for under $70!! DSP!!!
they make the radios for Eton and Grundig too.
cosidered by DXer’s as the ultimate ultra light multi-band radio.
or this for stereo:
Nice review. Went on to Amazon and checked it out. I like that it has a clock and is water resistant along with all the other features. Did you have a chance to compare it to others (like the Kaito’s), or is that what’s next?
Hi Kevin –
Might be next – I have not had any other in hand yet. Great radio.
Thanks – Rourke