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April 13, 2013

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Jerry

Sangean RCR-9 AM/FM Digital Tuning Atomic Clock Radio

I have to say, I’m impressed with the Sangean RCR-9. Here are the highlights of my experience.

PROS
- Easy to set up and operate
- HWS (Humane Wake System) Alarm
- Radio sensitivity, sound and FM RDS system
- Back-lit clock display and dimmer control
- Aux-In and headphone jacks (nice, but haven’t tried them yet)

CONS
- Takes longer than anticipated for atomic clock to set out-of-the-box and long power outages
- No real batter backup for long power outages
- Instructions – some of the English translation needs to be reworked, booklet type is small
(NOTE – you can download much larger instruction manual from the Sangean website)

The two main reasons I purchased it was because of the Humane Wake System (alarm gently awakes you as the buzzer starts at a low volume and progressively gets louder), and the atomic clock (automatically sets itself). I’ve had a Sharper Image AM/FM clock radio for about 15 years that also had the same kind of alarm; a “progressive alarm system” that starts low and gets progressively louder. For me, it’s the best way to wake up after years of getting “jolted” out of bed with a regular loud alarm.

OUT OF THE BOX:
Very easy to set up. I set the clock on my night stand next to a large window, plugged in the DC adapter to the back of the radio and the wall wart into the wall socket, and extend the wire antenna straight out from the radio. The clock was set at 12:00, so I set the clock time zone to central time (per the instructions) and waited a few minutes for the atomic clock signal to be received. (This was at 2:30 p.m., and I noticed the clock finally set itself to the correct time at 12:00 a.m. (midnight). The date (month, day, year) was also automatically set too. But 9 ½ hours to automatically set itself? I didn’t know if this clock would be worth it.

The next morning, I set the alarm by first setting the clock to from 12 to 24 hour format, then the alarm time. It’s also easy to set the brightness of the back-lit clock, from off to very bright.

AM/FM RADIO:
It took me awhile to find the radio “on/off” button (per the instructions). I finally realized the instructions were referring to the universal power button symbol that is very difficult to see on the clock (the symbol is light blue on the black background). The instructions label it as the “Standby button-Sleep timer button”.

Very easy to operate. The RDS (Radio Data System) works great. The clock automatically displays the frequency, call letters and other information transmitted by the station, such as station format (news, sports, classic rock, etc.), and even current song title and artist.

For its small size, this has to be the best sounding FM clock radio I have ever heard. The sound is rich, and you would swear you were listening to a larger radio. Sensitivity is very good on both AM and FM. I live on the west side of Houston, and I could pull in weak AM and FM stations with ease, and on AM, could pull in KLBJ in Austin that sounded loud and clear, and believe it or not, just about as strong as my GE Superadio III and CCRadioSW I own. I haven’t tried the radio programming yet.

ALARM:
It’s very easy to set and operate the alarm. The alarm can be set to wake you to the AM/FM radio or buzzer every day, or weekdays only or weekends only. The alarm buzzer will start softly (soft “beeps”, actually), and will get progressively louder, then change to two quick “beeps” until it reaches the loudness level you set (yes, you can set how loud you want the buzzer and radio alarm to go). Very nice. Then you can either hit the snooze or turn it off.

ELECTRIC POWER OUTAGE – UNPLUGGING THE CLOCK:
Ok. I wanted to see what would happen to the clock when the power was cut off, either by a storm or power outage. I unplugged the clock and waited 15 minutes and plugged it back in. The clock immediately reset itself to the correct time and date, and all of my settings were saved. Sweet!

Then, I unplugged the clock and let it set unplugged for 2 hours. Not so lucky this time. When I plugged it back in, it reset itself to the “out-of-the-box” 12:00 time. After an hour, I noticed the clock was still trying to find the atomic clock signal. I came back to the bedroom two hours later, and it was automatically set again and working great. All of my settings seemed to be saved as well including my alarm time.

I purchased my RCR-9 at Amazon for about $60. I noticed the price fluctuates almost daily. The link is below.

All-in-all, this is a very good alarm clock. I gave it 4 out of 5 because there is no real battery back-up and it took the atomic clock signal longer than expected to sync itself out-of-the-box and after long power outages.

Sangean RCR-9 on Amazon:

http://www.amazon.com/Sangean-RCR-9-FM-RDS-Digital-Tuning/dp/B008B3U5NK/ref=sr_1_1?s=electronics&ie=UTF8&qid=1365879211&sr=1-1&keywords=sangean+rcr9

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