Seeking information on BayGen Wind-up Radio : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) : One Thread

I have been scamed on past purchases and would like info from anyone who has purchased and used one of these wind up radios.

I have looked in the listings of past posts, but it is so large I could not find anything about this radio being tried and true. How about the solar power battery charger option on this radio? or the LED light. What is a good price and who is a reliable supplier?

Thanks for any info.


-- TJ (, January 19, 1999


Hi TJ!...The BayGen radio comes in several flavors AM/FM, AM/FM with solar panel built in, and AM/FM/SW. Check out the following link: and go to the online catalog.

Also, try typing baygen radio into one of the search engines, there are lots of links on the BayGen, including history, how it works, etc.

\/\/illis in OKC, OK on 01/19/1999

-- Willis (, January 19, 1999.

I just bought a radio, and went with battery instead. If you want shortwave, you need a good radio. An external antenna is very important in most cases.

Can anyone specifically comment on the shortwave capability of the BayGen?

I went with the small Sony 7600GS, but the Grundig YB800 (400?) and the Radio Shack (938?) are also VERY popular. Actually the Radio Shack is the most popular, but the Sony seems to be best at locking- in a station. This route requires, of course, batteries. The Sony is good for about 20 hours on 4 AA Alkaline.

-- Anonymous99 (, January 19, 1999.

Bought a Baygen from Real Goods last year. They're reliable but lots of stuff expensive and back-order. Still waiting for solar recharger!

Am using cheap Sangean SW antenna at moment to boos sw reception. Picks up Taiwan :-)

Baygen never claims to be top-of-the-line receiver. All bands adequate, none exciting. With AM Select-A-Tenna from Crane, can get WFAN in NYC 200 miles away and listen to them tell me why the Rangers are no good. Knew that already.

Sound quality: good. Hey, didn't buy it to be fussy! It works and it don't need none of that new-fangled lectric stuff.

Love their lantern/flashlight too.

-- BigDog (, January 19, 1999.

I have the Sunmate Info-Mate radio which is versatile but low end (tuning knob is not precise, no antenna connector, skimpy specs).

Sunmate Worldband Dynamo/Solar Radio

TE-8370 (AM/FM/TV/Air/Weather/SW) $99.95 (was $79.95);;27

-- Jon (, January 19, 1999.


I'd like to add to your information about the Baygen internal generator.

Last year, the magazine I write for (part-time) received several Baygen radios for an evaluation article. Within six months of use, every unit had experienced a failure of the generator spring. Perhaps this weakness has been corrected by now. Due to these failures, no article was ever printed.

It was felt that the springs would last considerably longer if the user followed some simple precautionary steps:

* Don't wind the radio fully. Determine the number of turns required on the hand crank to max-out the spring and wind it only half that number each time. Granted this reduces the playing time, but it also significantly reduces the stress on the spring.

* Use batteries whenever possible. Get two sets of rechargeable batteries. Use one set in the radio. Keep the other in a solar (or similar) charger. If using a solar charger, try to place it in a location that will provide maximum sunlight. When the batteries in the radio show signs of running down (distorted sound, weak sound, etc.), exchange them for the set in the charger.

* Use the optional solar panel accessory with the Baygen. This reduce s the need to use the internal spring-wound generator. Anything you can do to eliminate the need for the generator will in turn lengthen its life expectancy.

I hope this helps.

Regards from the northwoods.


-- Dan (, January 19, 1999.

Mike T ---

Though ours works fine, thanks for heads-up. Wonder if other people having same experience. What radio did you get?

What this reminds me of is two vital things about this and all preparation;

Even when you've prepared, some things won't work well or at all. Everything breaks when you don't want it to (for instance, the world). Expect it.

In the areas you're most concerned about, have back-ups if you can afford them. If not, don't sweat it.

So, living in area with lots of water (no problem) but cold, we have several different back-ups for cooking and heat. My joking aside, we do have lots of batteries for other radio and I am planning to learn ham ASAP, since comm is very important to me personally.

-- BigDog (, January 19, 1999.

Mike and Dan,

Don't mean to be a pest but recommending correctly to friends very important. Dan: are you saying, Baygen fine but use as you suggest? Or do you have a better recommendation? Why not just use battery charger for other, better radios? Which ones? Mike: which radio did you end up getting instead?

I should hit myself big-time on this one because though our Baygen works fine, and I don't regret getting it, we're only using it occasionally, purposely reserving it for "when we need it." And do expect to get/use the solar panel as you recommended once it goes off back-order.

Thanks for help.

-- BigDog (, January 19, 1999.


Other than the aforementioned failure in the spring, the radios we evaluated worked fine. The decision to purchase a Baygen is up to the buyer. If one elects to purchase a Baygen, I'd suggest the AM/FM shortwave model. I'd also strongly recommend using the internal generator as described.

There are other radios available that offer better (more sensitive etc.) receivers .. and even down to and including competitors for the wind-up generator aspect. The radio that one decides to buy depends on a number of variables; location (nearer to towns/cities generally means closer to the transmitter thus not as much sensitivity required); budget; and so forth.

The primary attraction to the Baygen appears to be the internal generator, thus providing for battery-free operation. The generator was also found in our testing to be the proverbial weakest link.

If you have the budget, and battery-less portable operation isn't a concern, there are a number of receivers that are superior to the Baygen. The better units are manufactured by Kenwood, Yaesu, Radio Shack, Sangean, and others. Given the option, and if the aforementioned characteristics aren't an issue, I'd opt for a battery-powered superior unit such as any of those above. Also, if you're some distance from the station, or if you're listening to shortwave, an outside wire antenna can provide a significant improvement in reception.

Re: Why not just use battery charger for other, better radios?

* That would be my preference.

Hope this helps. Happy listening.

Regards from the northwoods.


-- Dan (, January 19, 1999.

actually we're going with both options:

we have a battery powered multiband receiver and batteries, charger, etc...with a BayGen stashed away safely as a backup...


-- Arlin H. Adams (, January 19, 1999.

Big Dog:

I could never find a model no. on the thing to warn you away. It was only referred to as a "Baygen Free Play AM,FM,SW radio...cost: $108 w/shipping imported from S. Africa to Hauppage(sp.),N.Y. and the 800 toll free customer service no. was only available to resellers, who btw, didn't want anything to do with the defective units once sent to the customer.

I interpreted this later to mean the reseller had found the quality problems to be fairly typical and was losing money trying to deal with it.
One Arizona distributor, from whom I bought solar & wind power components, said he quit selling them because of this reason alone.

I'm open to suggestions for a replacement in the $100-300 range.

-- Mike T. (, January 19, 1999.

We just got in 3 Baygens- we gave the solar AM/FM to my parents and it seems to work great. I also got 2 AM/FM/SW's in. One had the plastic cover on the tuner missing, and made grinding sounds when tuned. The other Baygen made periodic, loud "popping" sounds as the spring unwound. I called the NY office and after 20 minutes on hold they requested I mail the unit back (I sent the other one to the retailer as a return). Now maybe I should have returned them both- I don't know, but my parents radio seems OK and worked well in the sun.

-- L (, January 19, 1999.

Thanks to all for the information. The jury is still out on what radio I am going to buy. I'm a little shy of the baygen now that I know some have had problems. I did find out that there are two models of this radio fpr1 and fpr2. The number two is suppose to have a better winding spring setup. Perhaps some of the problems have been with the older ones. Anyone who sells them are probably unloading the older ones first. Again thanks, TJ

-- TJ (, January 19, 1999.

I've owned the Baygen AM/FM/SW receiver for about six months. I use it approx. 3-4 hours per week using both the crank & running from the solar panel/battery charger (purchased separately). The solar works VERY well. No problems at all. It's built like a tank. I have heard that the earlier incarnations of the Baygen were problematic. Suffice to say, don't buy a used model.

C. Crane Co.

My main radio is a portable Realistic DX-380. Runs on (4) "AA" batteries. Gets AM/FM/LW/SW with alarm, presets. Virtually indestructible. I've run it 5-6 hours per night for about 6 years. (I get very little sleep thanks to "Millenium Master" Art Bell). Sangean manufactures many radios for Radio Shack. Quality all the way. Eats batteries quicker than I'd like, which is why I purchased a Baygen as a "just in case" radio.

Re: Shortwave listening: you can run a 60'-75' (length not critical) piece of copper wire (solid or stranded) out a window in the room you listen in, connecting it to your telescopic antenna using an alligator clip. This will seriously expand the sensitivity of the radio to weak signals.

Re: AM listening: The Select-A-Tenna works very well. It allows me to pick up a couple dozen more stations during the day. I love it!

-- Bingo1 (, January 20, 1999.

I bought a Grundig "Yachtboy 400" from Best Buy for $180 - fantastic performance! Has external antenna jack (critical! the BayGen AM/FM/SW did not), and several SW bands. Highly recommended. Best Buy has them on sale occasionally, but DON'T WAIT. When Yourdon's "flash event" happens and awareness goes over 5%, our preparation days are OVER. Grab your checkbook, get in your car and GO GET IT.

-- Bill from Chicago (, January 20, 1999.

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