I have been both afraid of as well as fascinated by the weather since I was a toddler.
That is since about the late 1980s and early 1990s.
In the Summer of 2001, at age fourteen, I had become interested in all radio communications.
In December of 2001, at the age of fourteen going on fifteen, I discovered Weather Radios. I purchased my first Weather Radio at that time and have been listening to them ever since.
Fast forward to March of 2006, when I was nineteen, I had discovered a certain Weather Radio being sold at Academy Sports and Outdoors. I had decided to take a break from exams and go shopping.
The radio in question was a Midland HH50 and that will be the product reviewed in this piece.
At the age of nineteen, however, I couldn’t justify spending $25 or so on a very basic Weather Radio, though I wanted it.
For years I had seen videos of it on YouTube.
It wouldn’t be until June of 2015, at the age of twenty-eight, that I had actually purchased one for myself and at a discounted price of $10.
Unfortunately in December of 2017, my then-wife, now soon to be ex-wife, broke that radio in a fit of anger.
I had quickly ordered a replacement a day or two later. I was a few days shy of turning thirty-one.
It arrived on my doorstep a few days later and I have been carrying it in my EDC backpack ever since.
This Weather Radio does indeed have a Standby Alert feature which will allow it to remain Mute until an Alert is broadcast.
However, it lacks the S.A.M.E. feature, which means it will trigger the alarm regardless of what Parish, County, Borough or other Zone the alert pertains to.
It is an entry-level model and does not have all the bells and whistles that higher end weather radios have.
The Midland HH50 runs on three AAA batteries and should be able to receive any Weather Radio broadcast within forty miles.
I would recommend this model to anyone who is a pilot, mariner, hunter, golfer, farmer, hiker or anyone else whose activities are affected by changes in the weather.
It is also perfect for use traveling in areas where one might not know the S.A.M.E./F.I.P.S. code of the area in which he/she is currently located. It would be a decent item for the glove box of your vehicle when traveling out of state, but make sure the passengers, not the driver operate this radio.
I would also recommend one of these for the safe room of anyone who lives in tornado-prone areas, to monitor the progress of severe weather when grid power sources have failed.
As I stated before I carry mine either in my pocket or in my EDC backpack everywhere I go, but this would also be a staple for your bailout or bug out bag.
I would not recommend this as a main standby Weather Radio, however, I would recommend it’s bigger brother the Midland WR-120EZ, for that purpose, which I plan to write a review on very soon.
There are three reasons why I would not recommend this as a main standby Weather Radio:
1. Doing this will run down the batteries quickly and unnecessarily.
2. The alarm is probably not loud enough to wake a heavy sleeper.
3. It lacks an S.A.M.E. feature so, it will create plenty of false alarms which will do nothing but aggravate the user.
Here are the features of this neat little weather radio:
It has a decent front firing speaker that is clear and loud enough despite its tiny size.
It has a removable belt clip on the back, which is held on by a Philips or + screw.
To the left, it has up and down volume buttons and a Test/Scan button.
To the right, it has a three position switch of Off, On, and Alert, which is for Standby Mode.
On the top right it has a telescopic antenna and on the top and back left if has a nylon lanyard.
On the back of the radio is the battery compartment with a battery door that slides off.
To operate the radio:
After installing the batteries properly, extend the telescopic antenna all the way out. Then move the switch to the “On” position. The radio will then begin to scan for the strongest Weather broadcast available. This may take several seconds. When it locks on a strong enough broadcast, it will be heard on the speaker. If there is more than one broadcast available, press the “Test/Rescan” button to change channels. Holding this button down for a few seconds will test the alert siren. Pressing that button once again will return the radio to “Scan” mode. To use Alert Mode, have the first go to On mode and allow the radio to lock on to the strongest broadcast signal it can find. Then flip the switch to Alert and keep the radio in an area where reception is decent. When n alert is broadcast, the siren will go off followed by the broadcast information.
What I like about the radio:
It is compact and rugged for the most part and will give its end-user vital weather data when needed most.
It is fairly simple to operate.
It is most affordable to all but the lowest income brackets.
I wish Midland would build a passive VHF Hi Band and also a passive VHF Air Band radio in the same form factor as this Weather Radio.
What I don’t like about this radio:
My one complaint is that the belt clip should have been more rugged and maybe on a hinge.
Maybe a more rugged rubber duck antenna could have been installed instead of a telescopic antenna.
An earphone jack would also be nice.
All in all, I give this Weather Radio a 4.25 out of 5 stars.
PS, Here are some YouTube videos of this weather radio in action:
My first time using one June 3, 2015
Station KIH23 with the new Paul voice in 2016
Station KIH23 back on the air 2016
Advisory on Tropical Storm Danny in 2015
Tropical Weather Outlook July 8, 2021
2 thoughts on “A Review of the Midland HH50 Pocket Sized Weather Radio”