The Prime is the next generation of self-powering, multi-band radio carefully designed and developed to provide 24/7 listening access – anytime, anywhere. Even in far-flung communities that don’t have a cell phone signal.
Since we launched the Lifeline radio in 2003, we’ve been gathering user feedback as to how we could create an even better radio for groups – and we’ve done it!
An analogue radio with FM, AM and three SW bands, the Prime’s digital LCD screen, enables accurate tuning for even hard-to-find stations. Radio frequencies are displayed in a large, easily readable format. A color-coded user interface, with only three buttons and one knob, makes it easy to understand for children and adults alike.
The Prime features three power options – a solar panel, a hand crank and a DC input which can be plugged into mains or a car battery. The wireless detachable solar panel slides onto the back of the radio. The Prime can be placed inside and the solar panel outside to charge while using a cable. There’s an upgraded solar panel option with a strong rechargeable battery pack. It provides additional battery capacity and extends playtime. Solar panels can also be permanently affixed to the unit if requested.
When charging the Prime by hand in either direction, a green indicator light shines to let the user know that they’re winding at optimum speed. Therefore, if you turn the handle too slowly, you’ll know to speed up.
We paid extra attention to the sound quality. The Prime’s speaker makes it ideal for group listening in large classrooms, marketplaces, or in community meetings. Radio distance education classes in countries such as Malawi, South Sudan and Zambia can have more than 100 learners gathered around one radio. To cater for this, there is an auxiliary speaker option. Additional speakers can be plugged in to boost listening volume. Any standard speaker can be plugged in or one can be created from cardboard. We have a template for creating this.
The Prime has an integrated LED light that is pushed to activate. It provides a small bright light at night, or in unlit classrooms that can aid in reading or help teachers to grade papers.
Some of the team that brought you the famous Lifeline radio also designed and developed the Prime, under the direction of our new product development and trading arm, Lifeline Technologies. Like with the Lifeline radio in 2002, we listened to what end-users told us they wanted. We’ve made practical improvements while enhancing quality, and the result is a fit-for-purpose radio that is also less expensive.
The Prime is available to the humanitarian and aid sector only and is not for commercial sale. In addition, tens of thousands of Prime radios have been used all over the world in UNICEF’s School in a Box programme and in health projects in Ethiopia.