Radios for Ukraine

Firefighters work at a site of a thermal power plant damaged by a Russian missile strike, amid Russia’s attack on Ukraine, in Kharkiv, Ukraine September 11, 2022. Press service of the State Emergency Service of Ukraine/Handout via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS – THIS IMAGE HAS BEEN SUPPLIED BY A THIRD PARTY.

After having a nice Thanksgiving meal with my family, I was sitting around thinking about all the events in Ukraine. The situation over there is getting more desperate with each passing day. The wholesale destruction of the power grid is unfathomable to those of us sitting in our warm houses with full stomachs. It seems like these attacks will continue throughout the winter, which is charming.

With that in mind, I asked around with some people I know; would battery-powered radios help out? I was thinking about after any natural disaster here, most often battery radio is still the go-to source for information during a massive power outage. Where to get food and clean water, locations of warming centers, where to get medical treatment or just news in general. This is especially true if mobile data and internet service is affected. All of those things are currently happening in some areas of Ukraine. The short answer is; definitely YES! In fact, what was said was that for small villages and settlements, the need for small radios like this is urgent. Power restoration often happens first in large cities and settlements, while less settled areas can go for many days or perhaps weeks without power.

A little more research shows that the AM and FM bands in Ukraine are similar to ours with two exceptions; AM channels are spaced at 9 kHz and FM frequencies end in both odd and even numbers e.g. 96.0 MHz. Thus, radios need to be constant-tuning analog types. Other good features; small size and long battery life. Amazon has several models of radios in the 9-12 dollar range that run on two AA batteries. Something like this:

Portable radio

Along with a four or six-pack of AA batteries.

The next question is; how to get those radios from here to there? Knowing several people from that part of the world, I understand that care must be taken to ensure that the radios are not stolen in transit. I believe we have that sorted out. I have sent the first batch of 30 radios with batteries over. I should have confirmation of arrival in the next week or so. In the meantime, I have set up a GoFundMe campaign to send more portable radios over:

GoFundMe: Radios for Ukraine

If you would like to participate, any donation would be welcome. All funds (less the Go Fund Me fees) will be used to send portable radios and batteries to people in Ukraine.

UPDATE: So far, we have received about $730.00 from the GoFundMe campaign. All of the donations are highly appreciated! I have sent another shipment of radios off and there is another one on order.

Inexpensive, portable radios

As time and funds allow, I plan on sending about 80 radios by early January.

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8 thoughts on “Radios for Ukraine”

  1. Excellent! It would be nice if there was something available with the LW band (135-279 KHz).
    Several powerful stations in Europe use that band since it has better propagation than AM. Poland is transmitting Ukrainian language news on 225 KHz to Ukraine.
    Most inexpensive set I’ve found with LW retails for $14-$16. If I find anything with a better price I’ll drop a note if you’re interested.

  2. Greg, I didn’t think to ask about Long Wave, I thought most of those transmitter had been turned off. I did ask about Short Wave, the response was “don’t make things too complicated…” I will send an email and see if LW is a good idea. It usually takes several days to get a reply.

  3. great initiative.

    One point about compatibility – Some modern radios, whilst using dial tuning, are nevertheless DSP (and tuned by a potentiometer, not a variable capacitor). The AM tuning on some such radios moves along in 9kHz OR 10kHz ‘jumps’ (depending on area of the world its sold).
    If it is intended for AM/MW use (and it is DSP) I would check if its OK on frequencies such as 675kHz etc (or sounds off tune)

    For battery use, dial tuning is a good call for a bit less battery consumption

  4. KPC, good call. I have a second batch of receivers on my table getting ready to be sent out (I like to test each one to make sure it works). I will get the signal generator out and do as you say. I believe these units are dial tuning because I can tune off frequency on the FM stations.

  5. Paul, thank you very much for the help for Ukraine. Radios are important
    and necessary for us in conditions when there is no electricity. This happens often. Volodymyr. Ukraine.

  6. I would think most refugees would have a radio in there bug-out bag.
    So what happens when the batteries run out???
    A better radio would be a crank radio. They probably cost a little more.
    The refugee tent cities in Poland could use a solar panel to power their radios.
    Batteries are really not a good idea. Thanks. Lou KF4RCA

  7. These aren’t really meant for refugees, they are meant more for people who are staying put—mostly older folks living in villages and towns. The entire country is suffering from rolling blackouts. Many places are limited to electricity less than 50% of the time. The idea is, when the grid power is out, people will have access to information via the radio. We send batteries along with the radios and if we need to send more batteries, we will.

    There is also a need for generators at transmitter sites. Many transmitter sites have been damaged or looted and temporary sites are in use. Those sites consist of a trailer-mounted tower, transmitter, and satellite dish. Of course, if there is no backup generator at the transmitter site, then they are off the air during one of the blackouts.

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