I bought my Mesqool CR2015 (or CR2015WB) from Amazon back in April of 2022 as part of a bundle with a larger weather radio. In the bundle, it only cost $9.11, so what the heck? The original version of the radio is no longer available, but an updated version with rechargeable batteries is now offered on Amazon for a higher price.
While it has some limitations, it’s not junk, and today I want to talk a little about it.
It’s an MW/FM/SW/Weather band radio with weather alerts. It has a belt clip, an earphone jack, a sleep timer and an 8-page instruction sheet. Shortwave coverage is 2.3 – 23 MHz, MW is 520-1710 kHz (10 kHz step) and FM is 87.5 – 108 MHz. It runs on 3 AAA batteries, with no external power supply provision. It has a key lock switch and an emergency SOS siren with a tiny red LED flashing light. The dimensions are approximately 4.5 x 2.6 x 1 inches (116 x 68 x 26 mm). The antenna extends 11 inches. I have seen pictures of a yellow version.
The major drawback to the radio is tuning; there is no easy way to get from here to there, especially on shortwave. The operator changes frequency by way of an up or down button. A long press of one of those buttons does a scan for the next active frequency and stops on it. Scanning the entire shortwave band takes 30 minutes. Ouch! If you want to go to a particular frequency, you can choose the closest direction from where you are and get there in a maximum of 15 minutes.
The radio received 3 daytime MW stations in this very weak signal area, better than some of my inexpensive radios that only get 1 station. Several get 4-5, my Tecsun PL-660 gets 12 and my vintage Panasonic RF-085 gets 20. What is unusual is that the radio appears to have the ferrite antenna aligned with the side of the radio, not the top, so to receive MW stations, the radio has to be placed on its side.
It received 31 stations on FM, lower than any other radio I have tested. Stations it did receive were clear and crisp sounding, quite listenable. I tried headphones and detected a bit more bass than from the speakers, but still not much.
The manual is one of the more literate ones I have seen from Chinese manufacturers, but it does have one big error. The manual gives instructions for setting the clock, but the radio has no clock. (The new version is advertised as having a clock.)
The CR2015 receives one NOAA weather station in my area, the same number as every other weather radio I’ve owned. I have not tested the weather alert function.
Now, for shortwave. It’s probably not worth testing the radio in the daytime with the diminutive whip antenna — better my 20-ft. WUT antenna (wire up tree). In the daytime (around noon local time, 05:00 UTC) in central Virginia the radio got some stations, but the band scan took 30 minutes! There was some overload / breakthrough particularly on the lower frequencies, omitted from the edited video of the scan. The wind was blowing something fierce and so there is noise from that.
And here is the radio’s evening performance receiving NHK Japan on 6105 kHz indoors around 03:21 UTC using just the 11″ whip antenna.
Here is the Mesqool CR2015 User Manual.