Picture of the Radio Shack 12500 NOAA Cube Weather Radio, Operating, Antenna Extended.

Radio Shack 12-500 Weather Cube Radio Review

The   Radio Shack 12-500 Weather Cube Radio   is one of the most reliable and cheapest forms of safety insurance in which you could invest.  It can alert you to the presence of earthquakes, tornadoes, strong thunderstorms, and any weather warnings issued by the National Weather Service; thus, giving you a little time to prepare for, and take cover from.

Picture of the Radio Shack 12500 NOAA cube weather radio, operating, with the antenna extended.
Radio Shack 12500 NOAA cube weather radio, operating, antenna extended.

Non weather emergencies may also be received, such as AMBER alerts and boil-water advisories.  Plus, you can listen to it anytime throughout the day, to get the latest weather reports and forecasts.  The weather radio services can be received most anywhere throughout the USA, and typically broadcast twenty-four hours per day, on all seven days of the week.

Benefits, Pros, Features, and Advantages of the Radio Shack 12-500 Weather Cube

Attractive Bright Color Case

The bright red, silver, dark black coloring create a definite yet not overbearing color contrast.

Curiously Big Sound

Produces a surprisingly full and clear sound for all the bigger its speaker is; approximately two inches in diameter.  It’s loud enough to be heard above the typical dins found in the average American home.

Batteries Easy to Replace

The required four AA batteries are easy to find for cheap, as AA batteries are so ubiquitous.

The Whip Antenna on the Radio Shack 12-500 Weather Radio Cube Works Well

The six-section whip antenna is very effective at pulling in those weak weather stations in rural areas in spite of its notable shortness.


Costs a minuscule $20. Quite affordable.

It’s Reasonably Sensitive and Selective

Picks up NOAA weather broadcast stations from as far away as 25 miles.

Non Slip Feet

Fitted with anti-skid rubber feet that really grab the table upon which you place this device.  The seem to work very well, even on very smooth glass surfaces.

The Radio Shack 12-500 Weather Cube Accepts Standard Batteries

Powered by four double-A alkaline cells (six volts).

Works Nationwide

Tunes the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) weather band, from 162.40 Mhz. to 162.55 Mhz.  Weather radio broadcast stations throughout the US use these frequencies, and since the NOAA goal is to reach every location within the states with at least one broadcast station, this weather cube will probably be able to pick up at least one station no matter where in the United States you are.

Front view picture of the NOAA weather cube by Radio Shack, model 12-500.
NOAA weather cube, Radio Shack 12-500, front view.

Disadvantages, Problems,, Cons, and Limitations of the Radio Shack 12-500 Weather Cube

Bright Power Lamp

This weather radio has a bright blue LED pilot light that glows while listening to it.  This may shorten battery life somewhat.

Exclusively Battery Powered

There’s no place on this NOAA cube to connect an AC adapter.  You must use battery power thus. Does not charge its batteries either.

Reaching Controls can be Cumbersome

The volume and tuning controls are located on the bottom of the cube.  Thus, you must pick the radio up to make adjustments.  We’d rather have the controls on either the sides, or at least, the back.

The Radio Shack 12-500 Weather Cube Has No Built-In Alert Feature

Some weather radios can automatically turn on and warn you when the emergency weather alert tones are received.  However, this radio does not implement the SAME protocol, and is thus, not equipped with that functionality. You cannot put it into standby mode, where you hear nothing, and then have it turn on when an alert comes through. However, when you play this at low volume, you can hear the alert tone that most weather stations send just prior to reading an alert message.

Tuning Knob Loses Precision Over Time

The tuning adjustment appears to be a variable resistor instead of a capacitor. And sadly, these types of controls get dirty and worn more quickly.  So our concern is that over time, tuning may get harder.  But for as little as this weather receiver costs, buying a new one would probably work best.

Picture of the 12500 weather radio, bottom, showing the volume, tuning controls, and battery compartment.
The 12500 weather radio, bottom, showing volume, tuning controls, and battery compartment.

Our Rating for the Radio Shack 12-500 Weather Cube

On the whole, this weather radio is a sturdy, good-sounding, and simple-to-operate receiver.  Great choice for the novice and intermediate listener besides. The price is good, and this makes it easy to replace in the event of loss or damage.  While it lacks some features we like, we’d still recommend it.  Any new NOAA listener wanting a basic but still good unit would love the 12-500. Thus we rate this receiver at 90 out of 100.

Where to Buy the Radio Shack 12-500 Weather Cube

Look for this radio exclusively at Radio Shack retail outlets across the country.

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Suggested Reading

  1. NOAA Weather Stream WNG589, Altoona, PA
  2. Emerson Clock Radio CKS1708 Review
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References for this Radio Shack 12-500 Weather Cube Review

  1. What is a Weather Radio?   On Wikipedia
  2. Where to Buy the  Radio Shack NOAA Weather Radio Cube 12-500 (12500)

Revision History

  • 2019-10-27: Added links.
  • 2019-02-26: Added key phrase targeting, more tags, and fixed a few typos.
  • 2017-02-18: Revised the tags list.
  • 2015-12-12: Added appropriate tags.
  • 2015-01-09: Added pictures.
  • 2014-12-17: Added whitespace, adjusted ad positioning, and tweaked the content.
  • 2014-11-05: Added a References section, revised, and tightened up the content.
  • 2011-06-20: Originally published this post.