Lingo NOAA Weather Alert AM/FM Digital Radio a Review

'Mostly sunny except for areas of low clouds and fog, highs in the 80's to lower 90's'


This lovely forecast for a late summer day in Los Angeles was brought to me by the National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration via the Lingo Weather Alert AM/FM Digital Radio.  The Weather Alert AM/FM Digital Radio is a versatile device, a well-designed portable AM/FM radio coupled with a Weather Radio for updates and emergencies.  To boot, there is a detachable compass, an attached flashlight that will signal SOS, an audio SOS signal, digital thermometer, plus, the built in alarm clock can wake you up in the morning.  All of these capabilities make the Lingo Weather Alert a nice radio to have for a picnic, a ball game, a camping trip, and even to keep you informed at home through weather and other emergencies.

Operated on 4 'C' cell batteries, or optional DC adapter, the Lingo Weather Alert is small and easily portable.  The LCD screen with backlight is a very readable display of the channel the radio is tuned to as well as the time, temperature, day of the week, and date (depending on your choice via the 'display' button).  Setting the date and time as well as programming the ten presets for the AM/FM radio was intuitive and easily accomplished by referencing the included instructions.  Setting the alarm time is straight forward, with the loveable snooze button well placed on the top of the unit.  I was not able to figure out how to change the alarm function from buzzer to radio, though the directions indicate both are possible, just not how to set it.  The digital tuner brings in a nice signal aided by the extendable antenna, even helping me find a Pasadena NPR station that I was never able to get here in the San Fernando Valley.  The single speaker provides excellent sound quality.

Good radio reception and a trusty alarm clock make the Lingo Weather Alert handy to have around the house, but the Weather Radio functions elevate the Lingo to emergency preparedness equipment.  NOAA Weather Radio (NWR) is a national network of radio stations broadcasting National Weather Service forecasts, warnings and watches 24 hours a day.  A public service provided by the federal government, NWR has 900 transmitters spread across the United States and its territories, each providing local information on one of seven reserved frequencies.  These stations can only be tuned in by a monitor like the Lingo Weather Alert. 

The Lingo instruction booklet provides information on how to find your local frequency on the NWR website, or, as there are only seven possible, you can just press the NOAA button and use the tuning buttons to cycle through the seven until you tune in your local transmitter.  A computer generated voice reads the weather forecast on a continuous cycle, in Los Angeles that includes ocean and surf information.  NWR's website notes that the computer voice is newer, within the last few years, and it does a fairly good job of pronunciation having a little trouble with some Spanish names.  The marine synopsis is done by what I assume is the older voice and sounds more like the computer voice from the movie 'War Games'.

While 'clear' was the word most often used in the Los Angeles summer forecast, storms here last winter and elsewhere in the U.S. this fall remind us that having constantly updated weather information can be incredibly important.  The Lingo Weather Radio can be set to just listen to the forecast and if there are warnings or alerts they will not only be heard in the broadcast but text messages can also be received and displayed on the unit.  While in NOAA mode, the radio can be set a number of different ways for an emergency.  For example, in Alert mode the radio will mute the audio until it receives an alert message when it will play a piercing alert tone and display messages which you can then scroll through.  While normally only used for weather, local NWR transmitters can also be used to broadcast information about other emergencies, such as earthquakes and fires here in the Los Angeles area, at the request of local officials.

Despite our advances in technology, weather still plays a sometimes dangerous role in our lives.  Internet and television are usually good sources of information, but in some weather emergencies the more old-fashioned portable radio can be essential.  The Lingo Weather Alert AM/FM radio can sit by your bedside providing a pleasant tune or a little wake up call, all the while insuring that you can have weather information at any time including an emergency.

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