Midland WR-100 Weather/RDS Radio Reviews
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Midland WR-100 Weather/RDS Radio

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A Low-Cost Weather Radio: Your Best Defense In A Storm Emergency

Dec 29, 2006 (Updated Dec 29, 2006)
Review by  
Rated a Very Helpful Review

Pros:A welcome device to warn you of danger.

Cons:Wish it were of metal; wish it could be powered by a hand-crank recharger.

The Bottom Line: This is an excellent device to have around the house if you live where severe weather could ever be a threat. Which includes, of course, just about everywhere.


If you live in an area of the United States where a hurricane, tornado, or other severe weather catastrophe could threaten you or your family, a $30.00 electronic device could be the difference between life and death. This device is the Midland WR-100 Weather Radio. If you live in an area where there is a government weather station within broadcast distance, this radio will alert you if severe weather threatens and tell you what is coming, hopefully giving you time to do something about it. It will warn you if you need to evacuate immediately. It’s like having your own personal weather person call you to warn you if you are under a threat.

The unit offers Specific Area Message Encoding (S.A.M.E.) technology which adjusts your radio in advance to receive only the kind of alerts that are appropriate to your geographic area. You can fit the warnings to your state, county, and/or counties close by. Access to 7 NOAA ( The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration/ USA ) weather channels, 25 programmable county codes, date/time/alarm functions, and a choice of siren, voice, or tone alerts are all important features of the radio.

If a severe storm threatens your area, the monitor sounds a loud 90-decibel tone through its single speaker, an LED light illuminates, and you are given an alert message on its scrolling 8-character LCD screen. The type of emergencies which are covered are ice and snow storms, tornadoes, floods, hurricanes, and other types of severe weather. However, weather related threats are not the only types of emergencies the radio will tell you about. It also alerts you to fires- such as housing, grass, and forest fires. And it will alert you to explosions, contagious diseases, food contamination, amber alerts (child abduction), and hazardous chemical spills. Presumably terrorist attacks would also be covered.

As with many radios today, it comes with standard 120v AC wall-plug power, but it has a 3 AA-battery backup system in case of power grid (wall plug power) failure. The batteries are claimed to provide a day (24 hours) of on-the-air operation. The clock will run for about 10 days on these batteries if you lose wall-plug power or if the monitor is otherwise deactivated. Coded alert lights visually indicate the threat level for the duration of the alert.

The console has several nice features. Among these is an accessory jack which will allow you to plug in an extra strobe light for wider coverage in, say, a large building or outdoor area. You also have the standard alarm-clock feature with snooze. There is also a jack for an external antenna, to increase reception in certain kinds of structures whose building materials block radio waves, such as those of metal or concrete construction. Optional accessories which may be purchased from the Midland company are the 18-259 window mount antenna and the 18-STR strobe light.

What may be the most handy day-to-day feature is the weather button, which you may push to simply get your local weather forecast. This feature may become so commonplace that a person might actually forget that, like a sentry on the alert, the emergency functions are there when an emergency threatens.

The radio is quite small, about as large as a telephone answering machine, and it weighs about 1 1/2 pounds. With the package you will find the radio, the AC adapter, and a manual, all in a box that weighs about 2 pounds.

The Midland company, of course, has an excellent reputation for electronic products, having been one of the largest suppliers of Citizen’s Band radios for millions of people for years.

This product may be found for around $30.00 from several different retail vendors. You can order them online from companies like amazon.com. Radio Shacks sell them. I bought mine in a United Supermarket.

My only negatives? I wish an emergency radio like this was made of metal instead of plastic. It is important enough that the higher-impact nature of metal would be better. Also, I wish its electricity could be recharged by a hand-crank. If an emergency situation lasted a couple of weeks, and grid power was unavailable, that would be a help. But both those things would drive up the cost and so what you have is a reasonable compromise.

If you are a U.S. citizen, your tax dollars are funding all those N.O.A.A. radio stations around the country. You might as well get one of these relatively inexpensive radios in order to take advantage of them. Lots of businesses and millions of your fellow private citizens are using them. If trouble comes from the skies or the seas, you may well be glad you were prepared.

Four Stars/****


Recommend this product? Yes

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