Play for Free – The Baygen Freeplay Plus AM/FM/SW Radio: yes Virginia, there is a free lunch
Sometimes you just need to buy stuff just for fun. When the Baygen Freeplay Plus radio came on sale from C-Crane Radio ( http://www.ccrane.com ) for $89 including shipping and no tax we could not resist.
The Baygen plus has to be the best eccentric para military, gloom and doom radio you could possibly possess. It seems that the Baygen would add to the ambiance of listing to Coast to Coast AM on broadcast AM. Brother Stair on shortwave, and also Dr. Gene Scott on shortwave. It should be noted that Dr. Gene Scott passed away a few years ago but can still be heard on radio preaching and asking for money.
The Baygen is the optimum listening device for information on flying saucers, alien implants, shadow people, rods, trans-dimensional beings, time-travelers, magnetic therapy, end-time prophecy, and the odd mix of Dr Gene Scotts lectures of biblical theology and flying saucers – all of which makes up much of the Shortwave bands. You will probably find a melted Baygen in the ruins of the David Koresh compound at Waco Texas.
One local ham near Chicago keeps warning on the local repeaters that, given the state of the economy in 2009, “We will soon be fighting for scraps”. So the Baygen Freeplay radio would fit right in with your survival pack next to your MREs (Meals Ready to Eat) and your collection of seeds for a 1 acre survival garden.
So what is the Baygen Freeplay Plus?
The Baygen Plus is a radio that covers AM broadcast, FM broadcast, and shortwave 3 MHz to 18 MHz in two back to back bands. The key differentiator of the Baygen with other radios is the concept of “Freeplay”. It plays for “free” from 3 power sources. It plays “for free” from the built-in solar panel, batteries, or wind-up generator.
The Baygen contains an internal set of three Nickel Metal Hydride batteries. These are charged by the solar cell or the clockwork generator. These three power sources are always available. When you play “for free” from the solar panel or the clockwork generator excess energy not used to play the radio is used to charge the batteries. If you do a little planning, the Baygen plays “for free” all the time.
How good a radio is it?
Surprisingly, it works very well for the price. The AM and FM broadcast is excellent. Shortwave covering 3 MHz – 18 MHz actually works quite well with the supplied antenna. SW tuning is by a gross tuning knob and a fine tuning control. The SW gross tuning is a bit touchy and inexact given the analog tuning dial but you can find stations and tune them in with a little patience.
The radio has a very large ferrite bar antenna which enhances its ability to pick up distant AM stations. The radio is solid construction. Looking inside the radio the construction is well laid out, plenty of space inside, and the wiring is neat and organized. There is plenty of space inside if you wanted to add some mods like a larger battery pack or a few switches on the case to have more control over the power sources.
The sound is great and the large speaker contributes to the good sound. In fact, the radio on AM and FM sounds better than my Sangean ATS 909. The ATS 909 has a very small speaker and poor tone – and does not play for free.
The Baygen has a build in DC generator that is run by a spring which you wind – a clockwork generator – for those who can remember a time when clocks had springs inside them.
Winding the spring via the crank for 30 seconds (60 turns) plays the radio “for free” for 25 minutes or more – depending on the excess energy that is available to charge the batteries while the radio is playing. 60 more cranks for another 25 minutes and more.
The rating for the spring is 10,000 uses. So, crank away all you want.
With the batteries drained, the Baygen will play “for free” if placed under a table or desk lamp that has a 60 Watt bulb. This is enough to play the radio but not charge the batteries. Turn the radio off and place it under the lamp or in the sun to charge the batteries in the radio. The claim is that it takes 15 hrs to charge the internal batteries in full sunlight.
The Freeplay stores energy in 3 internal Nickel Metal Hydride batteries (1200 ma). These are internal to the radio in a replaceable battery pack. The estimated lifetime of the batteries is 5 years. The claim is that the radio will play for 40 hours on the batteries alone if fully charged. We have not tested this yet. But it should be noted that it appears the these 3 AA cells could be replaced with higher capacity 2000+ ma cells if one wanted to tinker with the radio. There seems to be plenty of space inside for modifications.
External Power – for Sissies
Sissies can use external power. The Baygen can play “not for free” via an external power source. Powering the Baygen Freeplay plus in this way is considered, by true aficionados, as poor form – bad practice – and is discouraged.
Powering the Baygen Freeplay in a non-Freeplay way is a major violation of the spirit of Free Play.
If you did want to be out of compliance with the rules, external power is 6v at 100ma+. A $5 hamfest special multi-voltage multi-output adapter will work just fine – if you wanted to break the rules and embarrass yourself.
The internal battery pack can be fully charged using external power in 12 hours. You can play not for free and charge the battery at the same time.
Let there be light
When you are hiding in the basement during the end-times, you may need a light to read The Book and ask for forgiveness for the last time. As they say, there are no atheists in fox holes – but they do exist in Divinity Schools ( a personal observation).
The Baygen also lights “for free”. There is a built-in 3-LED light on a 6 foot cord with a magnetic base. The light is in the front of the radio and the radio can be used somewhat like an (inconvenient) flashlight. Like the radio, the LED detachable light is powered from all available power sources. The light and the radio can be used at the same time. Special note. the LED light is detachable from the radio using a jack. This means that a similar jack powering another device could be plugged into this and the Baygen could be used at a power source.
The Baygen Freeplay is just a fun radio. With a little planning, it will play for free all the time off the solar cell and internal batteries. Play for free whenever you want. But also remember that if you have a choice of placement then place it under a lamp allowing the solar cells to charge the internal battery either when playing for free or turned off.
The Baygen Freepay Plus would also be a good radio to take camping, out in the yard, on a picnic, and so on. Outside, there will be plenty of sunlight to play the radio all day from the solar panel and also charge the batteries. If all else fails, wind the radio for 30 seconds and get 25+ minutes of free play. If the Freeplay gets hit with a bat, falls in the water, or gets lost – well, its only $89 and better than losing a more expensive radio.
Special Note: On some conspiracy web sites it is claimed that the if you take the built-in LED light and shine it on the solar cell the radio will “Play Forever”. “Play Forever” is something the energy companies don”t want you to know about. We have yet to test this “play forever” capability for fear the black helicopters would descend upon us and take us to the remote outpost where those that invented the 100 mpg carburetor, infinite energy, and other perpetual energy systems are now held against their will.
What’s on Shortwave?
Here is an excellent resource – http://www.primetimeshortwave.com/