Saturday, September 24, 2022


RV Electricity – Just Ask Mike (J.A.M.): Be prepared for hurricanes

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) with the subject line – JAM.

Dear Readers,

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


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 For more info on Mike’s qualifications as an electrical expert, click here.
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And you don’t want to miss Mike’s webcasts on his YouTube channel.

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2 years ago

Sorry, but the hurricane season started 2 months ago. There have been hurricanes in May even. So for those of us on the Gulf Coast, we are watching the tropics and what is coming off the coast of Africa for 6 months out of the year. NOAA radios are great. But most of us are glued to the graphics and radar of our favorite weatherperson. For that you need TV which means you need to have a generator handy. Mike, how about a quickie lesson on SAFELY connecting a generator to your house and operating it properly. We have had, I believe, 16 people die from CO poisoning after hurricane Laura. You reach a big audience, I’m sure someone out there could benefit from your knowledge.

Mike Sokol
2 years ago
Reply to  Don

Great idea…. I’ve written about generator CO poisoning in the past, but this is a great opportunity for review.

Gene Cheatham
2 years ago

I purchased one several years ago for a bit more money, but performance is really lacking in its ability to tune in stations. It seems as if it is not sensitive enough and the dial is so small you can’t choose stations very well. I’d gladly pay more for one, but it has to be better than these. I want an emergency radio that works well, even in sub par reception conditions. Any suggestions?

Mike Sokol
2 years ago
Reply to  Gene Cheatham

I’ll gather more info. A colleague of mine is a radio station engineer and ham radio operator, so I’ll bet he can point me in the right direction. Thanks for the suggestion.

2 years ago

We live in “Earth Quake” country & there is no particular time for that event to happen, it just happens when it does. So one who lives in California has to be prepared all the time. We have a pretty good supply of essentials, drinking water, food for 2 for a week & at least a 1/2 full gas tank on our motor home thats stored on our property! Along with those items we have 3 ham radios, one permanently mounted & 2 hand held (also great for backing into a tight spot with rv, no weird hand signals) also a well equipped first aid kit, lots of rechargeable flash lights. If we have to live in our motor home because our house is no longer livable we can & we have all the essentials we will need!

2 years ago

(Ran out of space)
I really liked the “Car Generator” that mike was talking about, I’m going to get one as the cost is really worth it. I’ve lost our house power, but only for about 36 hours, but to loose it for a week is a big deal, good to have flex-able portable power!
With all these EMERGENCE essentials it is necessary to maintain them, especially rotating all the foods & water as they do have shelf life. Also replacing or upgrading batteries in flash lights to Lithium ones would be a good investment!

2 years ago

I believe the “Car Generator” was an advertisement inserted into the piece although it would be interesting to get Mike’s thoughts on it.

Mike Sokol
2 years ago
Reply to  Cletus

I’ve been experimenting with CarGenerator For the last several months and think It’s a great backup power source for disaster preparedness. I asked Diane to post that info in my article because I believe it’s important for readers to know about.

Bob Packer
2 years ago

There are some pretty bad reviews on Amazon of this radio.

Mike Sokol
2 years ago
Reply to  Bob Packer

But it gets top reviews on several “prepper” blogs. I’ve asked for a review sample to find out…

2 years ago

if you are in an area subject to hurricanes be prepared from June to November every year.
All motor vehicles gas tanks full. Cases of bottled water. Spare gas can (5 gallons).
Hard rations. Pet supplies. Fully charged cell phones (tower will go down.) Battery operated radio. Weather radio. Personal drugs and other personal supplies. Generators are handy.
Ham radio is your best source for local information. Deployed to 15 hurricanes so far.
In this day, personal protection, your local law enforcement will be busy elsewhere, they are not coming.
if you are not ready, you are a victim. I’m ready, are you?

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