Weather Station Hardware > Weather Radios

Acurite weather alert radio

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gwwilk:
Picked up one of these units (#08550) at a local WalMart over the weekend after failing to find it there late last week.  Employee didn't know about this product which I found in 'Housewares'.  There was a nice selection of Acurite products displayed at very reasonable prices.

Programming the #08550 Weather Alert Radio wasn't difficult if you followed the instructions.  I found my local FIPS code on the NWS website, http://www.weather.gov/nwr/indexnw.htm#sametable, given in the manual, and the station was received with a strong signal.  I set up the unit in my bedroom since I'm a very sound sleeper and can easily sleep through alarm clocks unless they're across the room.  So far we haven't had any events with warnings, so I don't know how loud a warning is--I have it silenced so that only warnings will sound, but I may try 'Auto-On' to see how that works.

The only problem I had was with the blue backlight which was too bright for my darkened bedroom.  After the first night I turned it off by pressing the 'OK' button while I docked it.  It took several tries before I got it right and the light turned off.

In all, I think this unit is well-constructed and appears quite robust.  The belt-clip and 3 'AA' batteries enable it to be carried 'in the field' if necessary.  I'm looking forward to seeing what else Acurite has up their collective sleeves for the hobbyist.

WeatherHost:
#1, Get it to some other place besides Wally World.  I NEVER go there for any reason!

#2, Make certain the user can exclude Amber Alerts.  (Don't get me started!)

#3, Make sure the audio alarm is adjustable for volume and selectable for tone and duration.  Some people can't handle certain tones.  My current (other brand) unit sounds the tone far too long and I'd like to be able to cut it back to 5 seconds or so.

#4, Provide a selectable visual indicator.  If I'm outside when an alert is sent, obviously I'll miss the tone and audio.  A flashing indicator visible from across a room would show that something is active.  My current unit only has a small, flush mounted LED.  Very easy to miss from any distance.

#5, Make sure the audio shuts off after the alert broadcast and does not continue into other information.  I believe there is usually a code burst transmitted for that purpose.

#6, Provide auxiliary outputs for other audible and visual alert devices.  Also for auxiliary power inputs such as 12VDC.

Rhino:
Thanks for the feedback-
The AcuRite portable weather radio is available at many other retailers other than Walmart- Bass Pro & Cabela's for example. You can program radio to ignore certain advisories and alerts, but not warnings per NOAA guidelines. The volume is adjustable. Our radio DOES have LED indicators for advisories, watches and warnings. This radio includes an AC powered dock for everyday use, and the radio has a backup battery for power loss or when you need to move quickly during an emergency. The radio has a EXT jack integrated for audio, future plans include the addition of a output for external audio/visual notification devices.

AcuRite also has a desktop radio with all of the same features that will be available at Lowes, and some other major retailers soon.

i found a few videos some folks out there have made:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5vrr7qMAVp8&feature=related

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_WXa4I_xyvk&feature=related

I just brought ours with camping this last weekend- no weather emergencies thankfully. A few years ago we had a big storm come through during a camping trip and had a good bit of damage as a result of not knowing.



Bunty:
Sounds like a good radio, especially if you need battery backup for when AC fails.

WXman:
I bought a AcuRite 8550 from Walmart last week.  Have previously used Uniden, RadioShack, and Midland wx radios.

Thoughts on the AcuRite:

Cons:   Warning alert is a joke.  It's nothing more than the tone the NWS broadcasts directly to the receiver! There is not really a seperate "warning alert" that sounds from this radio at all.  Will this even wake me up in the middle of the night?  I have to give serious negative marks here...since that is the #1 primary reason to own a wx radio.

Audio has static in it.  It's not from poor reception.  It seems to be a natural occurance with this unit itself.  Audio is always full of static or "white noise".

Stations are listed by "channel" and not by frequency.  This does me absolutely no good whatsoever.  What I need to know is what FREQUENCY am I tuned to?  That way I can know that I'm going to get warnings broadcast to me from the appropriate tower.  The software needs to be changed to show the frequency on the screen, not some arbortrary "channel" number.

Pros:  Everything else.  Great price, love the docking stand, belt clip, and battery backup.  Love that I can grab it and take it with me on the run.  Ease of use is fantastic.  Feels solid for the price.  All around great radio.  Just needs a few changes.

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