I'm impressed with this little radio from Emergency Essentials - the one that runs on solar, battery, electric or hand crank power. It says to hand crank it for 1-3 minutes. I counted off 1 1/2 minutes cranking on my watch and the radio has been running for a hour so far, better sound than my expensive one!!! And for $22 dollars I got the radio from Emergency Essentials - http://www.beprepared.com - for $22. It has AM/FM and works on 4 types of power sources.
RADIO: Bay Gen Radios
Looking for solar-powered radios? Here’s a site that sells BayGen radios for $79.95 plus $9 S&H = $88.95
This site has a more expensive price for radios, but also offers the BayGen lantern for $79.95
http://www.ccrane.com/ Non-Y2k site, old-line electronics catalog company. From here I am getting a solar powered nicad battery charger (for D, C, AA, and AAA batteries), some NiCads, plus a step down regulator that allows you to run various things off your car battery (9, 6, 3 volt type stuff). This site is also the place I found the $99 DC to AC inverter, which has been discussed in another thread. It may not be big enough to run a refrigerator, so I have decided to go more low-tech (rechargeable batteries and car batteries) and get a better water filter. I can do without electricity, but not without water (grin). Also, this site has a $28 AM-FM hand crank/solar battery charger radio that includes a light. Doesn't have shortwave, but it is a lot cheaper than the Baygen and it includes the light.
RADIO: Crank Radio
It is likely that radio stations would have alternative power during a crisis, e.g. during a hurricane, etc. So I bought a crank radio from C. Crane, the importer, it is $109 for the am/fm/sw "Freeplay" style. You can also get a sw antenna and a solar battery charger converted to plug into the radio and then you don't have to crank, but you have to invest in a couple of nicads. You can order it safely on-line at http://www.ccrane.com/. I think it is probably worth the money and is the only pricey thing we are getting.
You can get one of those small radios at the following web site: http://www.sportsmansguide.com/ It sells for $24.97 and is solar powered for day time and has a hand crank for night use (40 cranks/20 minutes) Also uses two AA batteries. This is an AM/FM radio only. No short wave.
TELEPHONE: Post Y2K Phone Tip
If electrical power is down in your area, but your phone company has alternative power or is in an area where electricity is working, your phone may still work *IF* you have a phone that doesn't require an external AC power supply. Many cordless phones don't work if the power is out. Ditto for some of the feature laden integrated phone/answering machine devices. If your phone plugs into a 110V electric socket in addition to the phone jack, check and see if it works when unplugged from the electrical socket. If not, go buy a cheap phone that works on just the phone jack alone w/o the need of external power supply. This way you might be able to use your phone in an electrical outage.