Sangean MMR-99 AM/FM-RBDS/Weather/Bluetooth Emergency Radio
(Expected Late January 2023)
Sangean just keeps coming up with new models that expand our expectations of what a radio should be, and they’ve done it again with their new MMR-99 Emergency Radio. We’ve come a long way since the early Baygen/Freeplay wind up radios with mechanical clockwork mechanisms which spun an internal generator to power the radio. Some were in see-through cabinets which allowed you to watch their spinning gears…I still have a red see-through model…their coolness factor was high! Their analog designs were simple and did the trick with no extra frills.
Above: Early Generation Wind-Up Radio
Fast forward a few decades and the Emergency Radio has grown up. The better ones (including Crane’s CC Radio Solar Emergency Radio and Sangean’s earlier (and still available) MMR-88 and others offer a host of features which make these radios an important part of your emergency preparedness kit, including not only solar, hand crank and USB battery charging but also the ability to charge a phone or other USB device, Emergency Lights, Weather Band with alerts and more. We’ll take a close look at the new MMR-99 after we look at the…
Specs & Features:
AM 520-1710 kHz (10kHz tuning steps)
522-1710 kHz (9kHz tuning steps)
FM-RBDS (Band Settable for 64 – 108 MHz / 76 – 90 MHz / 87.5-108 MHz
WX (USA version only) CH. 1 – 7 (162.40 – 162.55 MHz) with Emergency Alert
45 Station Presets (20 AM / 20 FM / 5 WX)
ATS (Auto Tuning System)/Defeatable
Individually Defeatable AM/FM Soft Mute
Two AM / FM Bandwidths
Powered by Hand Crank / Solar Power / DC-In (USB Type-C)
Rechargeable Lithium Battery 2600mAh
Battery Level and Charging LED Indicators
Adjustable LED Flashlight (High/Low / Wide or Focused / Blinking / SOS / Morse Code )
Red Light Flashlight for Night Use
Clock 12/24 Hour with RDS Auto or Manual Time Set
Alarm with 7 Different Buzzer Levels
Auto Off (Sleep Timer) Adjustable 15 – 120 Mins
1.5 Watt Audio Output
Loudness Control (On / Off)
Adjustable Backlight Timer
IP55 Rating Dustproof and Waterproof
Tough-Built for Extreme Conditions
Hand-Held Size for Maximum Portability
AUX-In for Additional Audio Sources
Stereo Earphone Jack 1/8” Stereo Mini jack/3.5mm diameter 32ohm
Reset Button beneath crank handle and in Menu
Detachable Carry Strap
IP55 Rated Waterproof and Dustproof
DC-Out (5V/1A) USB Type-A for Charging Other Devices
DC-In (5V/2.4A) USB Type-C
USB Type-A to USB Type-C Cable and Hand Strap Included
Dimensions: 7.87 in x 4.48 in x 3.48 in – Weight 1lb. 15.7oz
Dimensions: 200 mm x 113.8 mm x 88.5 mm – Weight 900 g
Checking It Out: Immediately upon opening the box my first impressions were overwhelmingly positive. The MMR-99 is handsome and solid. I powered it on and was immediately struck by the authority of its audio, then after some quick checks I decided to charge it fully before extended tests.
I went through the owner’s manual which a very large folded sheet in several languages with very small print so I downloaded the PDF from Sangean’s website then scanned just the English portion and printed it out full size…much better. You can download that version here:
Ergonomics are user friendly too. Present are all the features we’ve come to expect from a top of the line Emergency Radio such as the ability to charge its internal rechargeable battery via hand crank, solar panel or external USB power, AM/FM RDS and Weather Band with Weather Alert function, Siren, Emergency light in white or Red with a wide or spot focused beam and emergency SOS flashing modes, Bluetooth audio playback with play controls, key lock and the ability to charge an external USB device such as a phone. There is a Menu button which scrolls through several settings pages, then together with the Enter Button and Up/Down keys you can access everything. There are a few unusual and welcome settings as well, for instance, the ability to enable or defeat Soft Muting individually on AM and FM (I leave it off), Loudness control 2 AM and FM bandwidths, Stereo/Mono selection, the ability to scan UP or Down and the ability to turnoff the USB external charging output to conserve battery power. See the complete list of Features above in the Specifications section.
Performance: The MMR-99 is definitely one of the best performing Emergency Radios I’ve tested. It has powerful audio in a different class than other Emergency Radios I’ve tested. Audio quality is unexpectedly robust and satisfying on FM (and stereo through earbuds) although I could wish for a bit more high frequency clarity on AM…it’s a bit mellow but still it sounds good.
Reception is as good or better than other Emergency radios, rating *** on AM and ***** on FM…this FM is as sensitive and selective as my reference portables. Weather Band reception is also as good as any other radio I compared it to. My sample does have a het or interference of some sort on 700 KHz AM but I didn’t note this at any other frequency. Overall reception is excellent.
Conclusion: As far as Emergency Radios go it doesn’t get any better than the MMR-99. It is solid, replete with every feature one could ask for as well as some you may not have thought of, and has overall performance as good as it gets in this category. I think it is strikingly good looking too. Sangean’s MMR-99 – The Emergency Radio that’s good enough to use every day.