Severe Weather Monitoring and Weather Alert Radios

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Severe Weather Monitoring goes beyond just scanning the weather band

Your scanner might double as a weather alert radio, but it can do more than just alert you during severe weather.   You might find that the Amateur Radio Band, GMRS , and FRS bands have active weather spotters in your neighborhood that can keep you up to date on weather conditions.


A weather alert radio is an item that should be treated as a life saving device

I feel that every home and place of business should have at least one radio that is setup to either monitor local weather conditions, or be setup as a standby radio in alert mode.   These radios should be on the same level of importance as owning a Smoke Detector, a Fire Extinguisher, CO alarm, or an Explosive Gas Detector.

A Weather Alert Radio is a life saving device and should be treated as one.

Weather Alert Radios in 5 simple steps

Step 1:

Purchase a NOAA Weather Radio.   We have reviews on our website at

Step 2:

Visit the NOAA Weather website to see if your area is covered and that your local transmitter is operational.  Be sure to check the outages map.

Step 3:

Locate a central area of your house or business where your weather alert radio can be heard in an emergency, and where your local NOAA station comes in clear.  You can usually listen to the NOAA weather stations in your area by turning on the radio.

Step 4:

Enter in the special SAME code for your area into your weather alert radio.

Step 5:

Wait for the NOAA weekly test to make sure your Weather Alert Radio is able to properly receive an emergency alert broadcast.   Alerts are normally sent out on Wednesday.


Weather Alert Radios that we recommend:

(Note: the links here are affiliate links.  This means that we would earn a small referral fee if you use these links to make a purchase.  This is a great way to support Scanner School at no additional cost to you.)

Here are some Weather Alert Radios that I would suggest.   Some are crank radios, some work on commercial power.

Kaito KA500

Our top pick choice, the Kaito KA500 will run off batteries, commercial power, crank, or solar!  It will monitor VHF, Radio, and Shortwave.  It has a USB port to charge your cell phone and a built in flashlight.

The Kaito KA500 currently has a 4.5 Star review with over 2,000 customer reviews on Amazon.  It is available in BlackBlueGreenRed, or Yellow.   I like the Red and Yellow versions because the colors stand out and make them very visible.  If you wanted something that would blend in, I suggest going for the black unit.

The Kaito KA500 is a throwback to radios of yesteryear with it's large analog dial display.  It not only include FM and AM on this display, but also shortwave as well.

For around $50, these should be in your home and places of business for severe weather monitoring.

Midland WR-120

The Midland WR-120 is a really nice desktop or wall mountable radio that has a loud 90db alert speaker.  If that wasn't loud enough for you, there is an accessory jack where you can plug in an external speaker.

The nice thing about the Midland WR-120 is that it also has an external antenna port.  It is an RCA style port and not the typical BNC, SMA, N, or PL-259 connector you typically see on a radio.  If you live in an area that has spotty NOAA coverage, an external antenna  or an antenna located someplace else in the house could improve your NOAA reception.

Other specifications include:

  • SAME programming sounds an alert only when specific counties are threatened
  • Receives 7 NOAA channels with flood, tornado, thunderstorm, and other warnings
  • 25-county memory system; 90 dB siren, voice alert, and flashing LED warning systems
  • Built-in clock with alarm and snooze; measures 6.0 x 1.5 x 5.0 inches (W x H x D); 1-year warranty
  • Trilingual (English Spanish French) Compact alert monitor for weather, civil emergency, and other hazards

Note – unlike the Kaito KA500, this unit only operates under commercial or battery power.

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Bonus Material:

Are you looking for your first scanner radio?

Download our new e-guide, “5 Thinks You Need to Know Before Buying Your First Scanner”.   This free PDF is about 30 pages long and has 5 things you should look for, plus a few extra bonus items to make sure you make an educated purchase.

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Podcast Transcription:

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