Weather Channel Stormtracker Weather Alert Radio-Flashlight by Vector

Gear Up from the September 11, 2006 /SW eNewsletter/

WeatherChannelRadio

My wife rolls her eyes every time I bring home another gadget, but every once in a while I bring home something she appreciates. The last such item to get her stamp of approval was the Weather Channel Stormtracker Weather Alert Radio-Flashlight by Vector, an am/fm/weather broadcast radio/flashlight/cell phone charger. At first glance, the Stormtracker appears to be one of those annoying jack-of-all-trades products pitched on late-night infomercials. Until you notice the handle, that is, which, when rotated smartly, powers not only the radio and the LED flashlight, but can charge most cell phones as well. It goes without saying that it's great to have an emergency radio/flashlight which can be powered by cranking a handle, but tossing in a cell phone-charger renders it darn near impossible for guys to pass up, and easier for their significant others to allow into the house. The crank powers integral Ni-MH rechargeable batteries, which augment three AAA batteries, and the weather band radio can be set to alert users to bad weather on the way. A set of adapter heads will fit most cell phone charging ports. Vector has teamed up with the Weather Channel to produce an entire line of hand-cranked goodies, including (wait for it) two models of hand-cranked televisions for catching your "Must See TV" in emergency situations. All kidding aside, these are great products for boats and home emergency kits. They're also reasonably priced, with the Stormtracker Radio-Flashlight listing at $39.95. www.vectormfg.com