By Mike Sokol
Welcome to my J.A.M. (Just Ask Mike) Session, a weekly column where I answer your basic electrical questions. So if you’re a newbie who’s never plugged in a shore power cord (or ask – what’s a shore power cord?), read on. Or if you wonder why your daughter’s hair dryer keeps tripping the circuit breaker, this column is for you. Send your questions to Mike Sokol at mike (at) noshockzone.org with the subject line – JAM.
Hard to believe, but hurricane season has just begun this year and we’ve already had one of the largest weather systems to hit the United States in 150 years. Yikes!!! The only good thing about hurricanes is that, unlike tornadoes, you generally get a few days’ warning.
Why are hurricanes nasty?
Unlike tornadoes that are typically one and done, hurricanes are the gift that keeps on giving. That’s because they can have storm surges and water damage on top of their 150 mph winds. And this double-punch tends to disrupt electrical power and water services in an area, meaning you may not be able to get gasoline, AC power, or fresh water for weeks. So how can you listen for more weather reports if you can’t power up your own radio for a listen?
While I can’t do a lot about the water issues except tell you to buy some bottled water in advance, I can make a suggestion that will help you with power and radio reports, albeit on a small power scale. So here’s something that will help.
Be prepared for hurricanes: Get a portable weather radio with a hand crank
That’s why I suggest that everyone who owns an RV get some sort of crank/solar radio with weather alerts and shortwave bands. And many of them include USB charging ports so you can charge up your own cell phone even if you’ve run out of generator fuel in your RV. Getting one with a built-in light is a great idea as well.
Ham radio operators to the rescue
I’m sure that many of you are aware of the NOAA emergency radio warnings which can inform you that a severe weather condition is happening in the middle of the night. But it’s amazing the number of ham radio operators that are also in RVs and will begin to update each other on other important conditions. So they tend to alert listeners to topics like “The bridge is out” or “Gasoline is available at the local Piggly Wiggly,” etc.
Hurricanes and Power outages – A word from CarGenerator™
Did you lose power recently from the hurricanes and severe weather or forest fires? No internet or TV, and all that food in the fridge or freezer went to waste? CarGenerator is great for camping, but did you know it doubles as a backup generator for your house to keep your essentials running for 50-70 hours like fridge, internet, TV, sump pump, and gas or oil home furnace or boiler. All with zero maintenance or worries about starting, or storing dangerous smelly gas cans, and it’s ultralight at just 11 pounds so anyone can use it. See more at www.CarGenerator.com.
While I don’t have one of these for review yet, the Kaito KA500 Voyager is a top choice on Amazon. And it checks all my boxes, plus gets a lot of positive reviews on some of the survival websites like this one. You can find the Kaito KA500 Voyager on Amazon.
Please post more suggestions below…
If you have other suggestions for an affordable crank/solar/battery weather/shortwave radio as well as shortwave frequencies that would be good to monitor in an emergency, please post them below.
OK, everyone. Remember that electricity is a useful and powerful force, so we all need to pay attention to safety precautions while using it.
Let’s play safe out there….
Mike Sokol is an electrical and professional sound expert with 50+ years in the industry. His excellent book RV Electrical Safety is available at Amazon.com. For more info on Mike’s qualifications as an electrical expert, click here.
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