WRMI to cover 2015 sporting events

WRMI(Source: WRMI press release)

OKEECHOBEE, FLORIDA, USA – America’s most powerful radio signal will carry previews and highlights of some of the world’s top sporting events throughout 2015. WRMI (Radio Miami International) will provide exclusive shortwave coverage from the USA for more than two dozen leading events in sports, including hockey’s Stanley Cup finals, baseball’s World Series, football’s Super Bowl and international tournaments involving soccer, cricket and rugby.

WRMI sports director Bruce Baskin provided daily reports on last weekend’s Army-Navy football game (won by Navy, 17-7) and is presently providing updates on soccer’s Club World Cup, which features seven of the globe’s top sides converging in Morocco. “This will be different from our WRMI Scoreboard,” says Baskin. “Rather than giving scores and short stories from several sports per day, we’re going to focus on specific events for days at a time. In essence, we’re going from a ‘miles-wide, inches-deep’ approach to the opposite.”

After purchasing and moving to the former Family Radio broadcasting site in central Florida one year ago, WRMI now possesses twelve 100,000-watt transmitters (with a 50,000-watt backup) along with 23 antenna systems on a 660-acre complex, making it America’s farthest-reaching radio station. WRMI first signed on in 1994 and has been managed throughout its duration by Jeff White, a past president of the National Association of Shortwave Broadcasters.

175 Fontainebleau Blvd, Suite 1N4, Miami, Florida 33172 USA
Tel +1-305-559-WRMI Fax +1-863-467-0185 E-mail info@wrmi.net Website www.wrmi.net

WRMI 2015 Sports Coverage Calendar

JANUARY (2)
12 NCAA Football Playoff Championship
18 NFL AFC/NFC Championships

FEBRUARY (2)
2 NFL Super Bowl
22 NASCAR Daytona 500

MARCH (2)
12 F1 Miami E-Prix
23-29 ICC Cricket World Cup

APRIL (2)
4-6 NCAA Final Four
9-12 PGA The Masters

MAY (3)
2 TRA Kentucky Derby
16 TRA Preakness Stakes
24 IRL Indianapolis 500

JUNE (3)
6 TRA Belmont Stakes
8-18 NHL Stanley Cup Finals
18-21 PGA U.S. Open

JULY (2)
10-13 ITF Wimbledon Finals
16-19 PGA British Open

AUGUST (2)
13-16 PGA PGA Championship
22-24 LLB Little League World Series

SEPTEMBER (2)
13-14 ITF U.S. Open Finals
18-31 IRB Rugby World Cup

OCTOBER (2)
3 NCAA Air Force-Navy football
21-31 MLB World Series

NOVEMBER (2)
7 NCAA Army-Air Force football
26-30 ITF Davis Cup finals

DECEMBER (2)
12 NCAA Army-Navy football
20 FIFA Club World Cup Final

175 Fontainebleau Blvd, Suite 1N4, Miami, Florida 33172 USA
Tel +1-305-559-WRMI Fax +1-305-559-8186 E-mail info@wrmi.net Website

Posted in News, Shortwave Radio, Sports, What's On Shortwave | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Cuts to Radio Australia shortwave broadcasts

Radio-Australia-Banner

(Source: WRTH Facebook Page via contributor, Mauno Ritola)

“According to information from Radio Australia, there will be a drastic cut to their shortwave schedule starting 1st February 2015.

Only these transmissions from Shepparton will remain to the Pacific:

  • 2100-0900 UTC on 15240, 15415, and 17840 kHz
  • 0900-2100 UTC on 6080, 6150, and 9580 kHz

Their web site hasn’t yet been updated:
http://www.radioaustralia.net.au/international/

Radio Australia is a staple news source for many in the Pacific islands. Fortunately, RA plans to maintain shortwave services 24 hours per day via the frequencies above. I’m happy to see that 9580 kHz–which is a morning blowtorch signal into  much of North America–will still be transmitted.

Posted in Broadcasters, International Broadcasting, News, Schedules and Frequencies, Shortwave Radio | Tagged , , , , , | 2 Comments

Shortwave Receivers, Past & Present: a book for every radio enthusiast

ShortwaveReceiversPastAndPresent

Last month, I received an unexpected–and most welcome–package: a copy of Fred Osterman’s Shortwave Receivers Past & Present, now in its fourth edition. My copy was a signed version, sent to those who contributed to the volume. Although my contributions to this impressive and highly comprehensive work are quite modest, I was  grateful nonetheless; author Fred Osterman is not only a good friend, but a radio mentor.  He’s also a supporter of my non-profit, Ears To Our World (ETOW); indeed, without his warm encouragement, I doubt I would have launched that enterprise so successfully.  Fred continues to support ETOW in innumerable ways. And more than anyone else I know, Fred is a guru of all that is shortwave radio. As the president of Universal Radio, he has the good fortune of seeing a number of new/used radios appear on his doorstep every day, many of which are quite rare. In short, Fred Osterman knows his stuff.

But what a pleasure, to be able to recommend whole-heartedly this book, not because my long-time mentor penned it, but because it is…well, good.  Really good.  The first time I opened Shortwave Receivers Past & Present, I couldn’t put it down for nearly an hour.

Why? First of all, to say that this reference is chock-full of information about shortwave receivers is an understatement. It catalogs virtually every model of any significant receiver about which I’ve ever heard; that alone is fascinating.  But there’s more. This volume lists receivers–and even manufacturers–that are entirely new to me.  Clearly, if you’re intrigued by all things shortwave, this book has much to teach…

ShortwaveReceiversPastAndPresent-HQ-180

Each section of Shortwave Receivers Past & Present lists the most relevant information about each receiver model–features, specifications, internal components, accessories, readout type, physical dimensions, review notes, current pricing. (Click to enlarge)

The book is logically laid out by manufacturer and model; each section devoted to a particular model and all of its iterations are noted. As you can see in the example above, in-depth information including the author’s comments are provided, as well as the vitals on each rig–features, specifications, internal components, accessories, readout type, physical dimensions, review notes, current pricing–all beautifully and clearly presented. Clear black-and-white pictures of the radios as well as manufacturer logos are also shown.

While one can, of course, research radios online, rarely can you find all the information you seek so complete; this book has done all the painstaking work for you, and made it infinitely more convenient.

Secondly, Shortwave Receivers is a quality publication.  Back in the 1990s, I had the good fortune to work in university archives for a period of time; since then, I notice things others might overlook–binding, paper, quality of print. This book feels like the archival volume it is, with heavy, glossy pages, a robust binding and sturdy spine. It feels like one of those heavy encyclopedias you might have found in libraries in the past, created to endure many page turns and, indeed, stand the test of time.

As heavy as this book is–and it is very heavy, I admit–I think I might start carrying it to hamfests, especially to those with antique radios (i.e. “boat anchors”) on offer. With this work in tow, not only could I determine, on the spot, if a particular model of radio is a bargain, but also tell at a glance if it’s rare, if the components can be sourced readily, and anything else noteworthy I really ought to know about it. This would give me a leg up when bargaining, not to mention, make the whole radio experience more fun.

Indeed, if you collect or restore vintage shortwave receivers, or dream of doing so, this book is an absolute must. That’s the power of a proper reference book with an author who is as passionate about these receivers as the readers.

In short:  I highly recommend Shortwave Receivers Past and Present. At $49.95 US, it’s pricier than most individual books; however, considering its role as an all-in-one encyclopedic reference, it’s a value that will serve you for decades.

But if you do obtain a copy of Shortwave Receivers, I leave you with a warning: if you’re like me, you may find it just about impossible to put this book down.

Purchase Shortwave Receivers Past and Present, Fourth Edition at Universal Radio.

[Note to international readers: international shipping costs are substantial on this book, no doubt due to its significant weight and dimensional size. Just make sure you note shipping costs prior to purchasing.]

Posted in Boat Anchors, Books, New Products, News, Radios, Shortwave Radio | Tagged , , , , , , | 3 Comments

More from 1 Radio News developer Steven Clift

1radionewsprocollagesmAfter publishing a post about the new 1 Radio News app, developer Steven Clift commented:

Thanks for the mention!

I had a private email in my draft box for Tom … here, I’ll share with all:

Thomas, Ken Reitz suggested you would be a good person to reach out to about my app.

In the days before the Internet, I can remember taking my shortwave radio up to my Grandparents in far northern Minnesota. I’d have the time to be “closer to the world” by listening global broadcasters like the BBC World Service and be intrigued by Cold War broadcasts from the Soviet Union and Cuba giving a decidedly different view.

As my Uncle gave me my first shortwave radio, what might one give to a teen today to easily expose them to the world of truly global news. Now there is an app for that: http://1radionews.com :-)

In 1993, when I first went online, my novice thought was this might be like “reception clear shortwave.” Going to the world.

I had forgotten that early thought until a few days ago when I added 30+ live English news streams from broadcasters around the world into the pro version of my 1RadioNews.com Android radio app.

I started channel surfing … what’s on here, fun, OK how about this station. What are Radio Sputnik and Radio China International up to … oh and Wisconsin Public Radio has some great original programming. So now I can go even deeper in my explorations of the voices around the world. I could discover radio, discover the world again through the power of sound and the human voice right on my mobile – quickly and easily.

FYI – “Pro” version has 3 times more – curated and well tested – streams, but the free ad-supported version has some classics like the BBC World Service. I tied to make the app “thumbable” meaning you can just hold the phone and swipe and press a button to play. Super simple and a lot quicker than apps with literally ten of thousands of stations. Saving ten seconds to switch the station matters!”

Many thanks for the insight, Steven! Since most of us SWLs are international “news junkies,” we appreciate having a curated, simple interface to hear top of the hour news from our favorite broadcasters.

By the way, Steven, I have added 1 Radio News to our list of the best apps for Shortwave and Ham radio enthusiasts–one of our most popular all-time posts.  Good luck and we look forward to hearing about any future developments!

Posted in Apps, Broadcasters, International Broadcasting, News | Tagged , | 5 Comments

1 Radio News equivalent for iPhone

HourlyNewsscreen568x568Regarding the new 1 Radio News App for Android devices, SWLing Post reader, Erica comments:

“I too wish 1 Radio News were available for iPhone. The nearest thing I know of however is an app called Hourly News. It allows you to listen to latest news bulletins from various news outlets.

Most news sources included are American broadcasters, but it does have Deutsche Welle, RTHK and VOA. You can also add podcast feeds to expand what you can hear. I hope this is useful to you all.

Many thanks, Erica. I use an iPhone when I’m on the move, so I’ll give this app a try!

Posted in Apps, Broadcasters, International Broadcasting, New Products, News | Tagged , , , | 1 Comment

Mobile news app inspired by shortwave radio

1radionewsprocollagesmMany thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Richard Cuff, for sharing the following article from TwinCities.com. The following is an excerpt:

Twin Cities developer creates ‘shortwave radio’ app for world news

By Julio Ojeda-Zapata

Smartphone users have no shortage of radio-style apps that will stream news-and-information programming to them over the Internet.

But app developers are always in search of niches within well-populated app categories, and Twin Cities resident Steven Clift thinks he’s found one.

He’s released an app called 1 Radio News that provides news-related audio from around the world for English speakers who are eager to keep up on the latest global happenings.

But, unlike other such apps like TuneIn Radio and iHeartRadio that are crammed with hundreds or thousands of audio sources, 1 Radio News aggressively culls options to just a few dozen.

[…]Clift is known in local Internet circles as the executive director of E-Democracy.org, a network of neighborhood forums that also has served as an election-information site. This is Clift’s first foray into app publishing.

[…]Clift’s app is no Android blockbuster yet, but he said he’s seen interest from all over the world — notably of late from unexpected locales like Malaysia, Nigeria and Pakistan.

For Clift, the app is in a way the realization of a childhood dream. When he was growing up in Winona, Minn., the geography where he lived made TV reception problematic. But he had little trouble pulling in short-wave radio signals from around the world.

Now, his app “turns a phone into a global short-wave radio filled with high-quality news sources from all over the world,” he said.

Read the full article on TwinCities.com.

You can find Clift’s app, 1 Radio News, on Google Play.

Posted in Apps, Broadcasters, News | Tagged | 9 Comments

Review of the C. Crane CC Skywave portable radio

CC-Skywave-1While electronics manufacturer C. Crane offers a number of unique AM/FM radios, including some of the best portable medium wave receivers on the market, they’ve traditionally only had two models of shortwave radio––namely, the CCRadio-SW, and the CCRadio-SWP. Earlier this year, however, C.Crane announced a new portable that would join their product line: the CC Skywave.

Admittedly, I was eager to give this little radio a go: C. Crane touts the Skywave as an exceptional travel radio, for which I’m always on the hunt.  Last week, I had my opportunity when C. Crane sent me the new CC Skywave sample for review.  I instantly got to work scrutinizing their newest offering…and here’s what I’ve discovered.

First impressions

CC-Skywave-FrontThe form factor of the Skywave is very similar to C.Crane’s CCRadio-SWP pocket radio; in fact, its smooth plastic body even feels the same. While this radio doesn’t have the rubberized coating that have become popular on radio exteriors in recent years, supposedly to provide an easy-to-grip surface, I’m pleased that C.Crane does not use this, as these coatings can eventually deteriorate over time and with heat exposure, becoming somewhat tacky or sticky to the touch.

CC-Skywave-DisplayThe Skywave’s backlit LCD display is small, but readily viewable from several angles.  All of the buttons on the front of the Skywave have a tactile response, again, similar to the CCRadio-SWP. The buttons require slightly more pressure to activate than Tecsun and Degen models; I prefer this, especially for a travel radio: should I forget to activate the key lock, it’s much less likely that the radio will accidentally turn on during transit.

As always, I attempted first to see how many radio features and functions I could uncover without first consulting the owner’s manual.  In the past, C.Crane products have been some of the most intuitive on the market.  Fortunately, the Skywave did not disappoint: first, I was able to set both the clock and alarm within moments; both essential in a travel radio.

Once the radio is on, it will display either the time or frequency on the main display. While the Skywave defaults to a time display, I discovered that the lock button toggles the display between time and frequency for ten seconds. (Note: After reading through the manual later, I learned that you can actually change the default display mode to either time or frequency–very nice touch!)

CC-Skywave-Keypad

I then turned on the radio and found the memory allocation to be very straightforward: tune to the desired station, then press and hold a number button two seconds to save. Press a button quickly to recall. Memory remembers bandwidth, stereo, or mono (if FM), and any voice or music audio filters utilized–very handy!

Speaking of bandwidth, the Skywave has five on shortwave, medium wave, and air bands: 6, 4, 3, 2, and 1 kHz. By pressing the bandwidth button, you can cycle through these from widest to narrowest. The bandwidth defaults to 3 kHz, but the default can be changed by holding down the bandwidth button for five seconds (with radio powered off).

To enter a frequency in AM/FM/SW, you simply press the FREQ button, then key in frequency. To scan through the band, simply press and hold one of the up/down arrow buttons. Worth noting: the Skywave’s scan function is one of the fastest I’ve seen in a portable.

On the topic of scanning, and since this is a travel radio, I would have liked C.Crane to include an ETM function like that found in the Tecsun PL-310ET and PL-380. It’s quite a handy function for auto-populating temporary memories from a simple band scan. I assume this is not an option on the DSP chip powering the Skywave.

Owner’s manual

Once I had my fun trying to discover as many functions on the Skywave without the manual’s aid, I finally opened it and discovered a few more functions.

One feature I’ve already come to love in the Skywave: the ability to change the tuning speed, and thus frequency step-spacing on the tuning knob (option of 5 or 1 kHz steps), just by pressing the knob itself. I much prefer this to using a front-panel tuning step button because it’s so easy to operate in low-light settings (lounging in bed, for example).

CC-Skywave-Tuning-KnobAnother unique feature of the Skywave is a switchable audio filter for voice or music. With the filter set to “voice,” the audio is enhanced for human voice intelligibility. When set to “music,” it widens the audio filter, thus optimizing audio fidelity. Toggling the audio filter settings between voice and music is very easy, but not intuitive; indeed, it’s almost a hidden feature you can discover via the owner’s manual. Simply press the “1” and “2” simultaneously while listening to a broadcast to toggle the filter.

I should note that the C.Crane owner’s manual is one of the most straightforward and simple I’ve seen in ages. You can tell that, at least in the English version that came with mine, this manual was written by a native English speaker. It made for simple, clear instruction without head-scratching over obscure terms. Even the least technically-inclined user will understand these instructions, no problem.

AM – Medium Wave

After asking SWLing Post readers what they would like me to include in this review, a number of you responded that you wanted me to give the AM broadcast band reception a proper review.

Zoomer_RadioMy foray into medium wave listening with the Skywave started off on the right foot.  The very first night with the Skywave, I tuned it to 740 kHz, my favorite, albeit challenging to reach, AM station here in the North America–CFZM “Zoomer Radio”  While those living in the midwestern and northeastern US can receive Zoomer radio easily enough at night, it is often a tough catch here in the southeast in the evening hours. After nightfall it competes with clear channel stations that also occupy 740 kHz. With a portable radio, the lock on Zoomer is never terribly strong and is very prone to fading.

But after tuning the Skywave to Zoomer, I received CFZM so well it sounded like a local station–in fact, I couldn’t believe it until a station ID confirmed that I was receiving it. Even more surprising was that I received it away from home, in an area plagued with RFI noise where I typically have to carefully turn a radio to null out the noise in an effort to enhance the desired broadcast. But the Skywave somehow mitigated this noise better than my other portables. Even when I turned the radio in the direction of the offending electrical noise, it wasn’t as bad as on other portables.  Truly, the reception was remarkable.

With Zoomer firmly locked in, I hopped into bed, turned the volume to a comfortable level, and listened for at least half an hour before falling asleep. I was pleasantly surprised the following morning, some eight hours later, when I woke to the Skywave playing CFZM at the same level. Phenomenal! Perhaps conditions were exceptionally favorable that night; nonetheless, the Skywave couldn’t have impressed me more.

A side note–on the previous day, I’d inserted two generic alkaline AA batteries in the Skywave; after a total of ten hours playing at medium volume, the battery indicator still showed full capacity.

CC-Skywave-RightMedium wave audio samples

While time won’t allow a full audio sampling of the medium wave band for comparison, I did record the following comparison between the Skywave and the Tecsun PL-310ET (which I regard as one of the more capable sub-$100 ultra-compact portables on the market).CC-Skywave-And-Tecsun-PL-310ET

Since SWLing Post readers specifically asked to hear how the Skywave handles choppy nighttime medium wave DX conditions, I tuned to two frequencies with overlapping broadcasts, one of which was slightly dominant: 950 kHz and 990 kHz. I set the AM bandwidth to 3 kHz on both radios and made the recordings within one minute of each other. The CC Skywave’s audio filter was set to “voice.”

In the following recordings, listen for Radio Reloj  (Cuba)–it’s buried deep in the noise. You might detect the ticking and “R” “R” in Morse code. These recordings were taken within one minute of each other.

The Tecsun PL-310ET on 950 kHz:

The CC Skywave on 950 kHz:

Note that the Skywave pulled out the dominant broadcaster–one I could barely hear on the PL-310ET.

I then made a recording on 990 kHz AM which had a stronger dominant station.

The Tecsun PL-310ET on 990 kHz:

The CC Skywave on 990 kHz:

To my ear, the Skywave was clearer and the commentator’s voice seemed to pop out of the noise better.

I’ve spent a great deal of time listening to the Skywave on the medium wave band this week and I feel comfortable recommending it for the medium wave DXer.

FM

While I’ve spent comparatively less time (thus far) evaluating the Skywave’s FM band, I can say that the Skywave receives my “benchmark” FM stations with ease. Sensitivity also seems to be on par with my other DSP based portables (meaning, excellent sensitivity).CC-Skywave-Left

Shortwave

Of course, being a shortwave enthusiast, I’ve spent the bulk of my listening time since receiving the Skywave on the shortwave bands. And during this time, alas, shortwave radio band conditions have been challenging for any radio. Yet I’m happy to note that this little radio does not disappoint: it has excellent sensitivity and selectivity for a radio of its size. When I compared the Skywave with the Tecsun PL-310ET, in almost every situation, they are nearly equal in performance.

Shortwave audio samples

Below I’ve included audio samples of the Skywave on 9580 kHz (Radio Australia). Under normal conditions, Radio Australia would be a blowtorch signal here in North America, but this particular morning, propagation was quite poor. In the audio, you’ll hear both radios attempting to cope with pronounced fading, with their AGC circuits reacting to the quick rise and fall of signal strength. Both radios were set to a 3kHz bandwidth and the Skywave’s audio filter set to “voice” to help mitigate noise.

CC-Skywave-And-Tecsun-PL-310ET-Side

Tecsun PL-310ET on 9580 kHz:

CC Skywave on 9580 kHz:

Note that Radio Australia was broadcasting music, which can be more difficult to evaluate, but the vocals were prominent enough I felt it made for a good comparison.

This morning, I also recorded WWV on 15 MHz. Again, propagation conditions were poor across the bands, so even WWV (normally very stable) was affected by quick fading (QSB). For kicks, I decided to add the benchmark Tecsun PL-660 to this comparison. If you recall, it received some of the highest marks for sensitivity in our weak signal shoot out. The Tecsun PL-310ET and CC Skywave were set to 3 kHz bandwidth and the Tecsun PL-660 to it’s narrow bandwidth (which I felt was most equivalent).

CC-Skywave-PL310ET-PL660

Tecsun PL-310ET on 15 MHz:

Tecsun PL-660 on 15 MHz:

CC Skywave on 15 MHz:

The good news is that the Skywave is certainly a sensitive and selective portable. While evaluating shortwave performance over the past week, I’ve been pleasantly surprised by how well this little radio receives.

NOAA Weather radio

NOAA-Weather-RadioThose of us living or traveling in North America will appreciate the Skywave’s built-in NOAA weather radio functionality.  Since I have at least a dozen self-powered radios and desktops that have built-in NOAA weather reception, I typically don’t give the band much thought. I figured NOAA reception would be a mediocre add-on with the Skyview. I was wrong.

Not only does the Skywave have NOAA weather radio, but it also has SAME weather alerts. What’s so great about that? Imagine that you’re travelling to a rural area and weather is looking ominous; in this case, you can simply set the Skywave to the strongest NOAA channel and activate the weather alert (choose options for 4, 8, or 16 hours). If severe weather is reported for your geographic area, the Skywave will alert you.

I’m very pleased with the NOAA weather radio reception, as well.  The Skywave receives NOAA stations even better than one of my dedicated weather radios.

AIR band

AirTrafficControllerC.Crane included the Air band for travelers, as a means to listen to air traffic control while in an airport or awaiting a flight’s arrival. I have several portables with the AIR band, but most lack an autoscan ability (Grundig G3, G6), and performance on these tends to be mediocre at best.

I’ve traveled to three different cities over the past week and used the Skywave to tune to the local air-traffic control tower. After a bit of scanning, it eventually found the frequency, and reception was quite good. I have not yet used the AIR band in an airport (notorious for RFI) nor in a large metro area, so I can’t comment about performance under those conditions.

What really separates the Skywave apart from my other shortwave portable with the AIR band is that it actually has an adjustable squelch mode. Nice touch!

CC Buds Earphones

HDP-AUDIO-CC-EAR-BUDSUnlike Tecsun portables which typically ship with batteries, an external antenna wire, chargers, travel cases, and the like, the CC Skywave comes with very few included accessories––just a carry case, an owner’s manual, and earphones.

Most of the headphones/earphones that accompany a shortwave radio package are of the cheapest quality. I’m happy to note that the Skywave’s included earphones are the best I’ve ever received as an included accessory with a shortwave radio.

The CC Buds Earphones are in-ear style (which I prefer, for sound isolation) with soft silicone earpieces. They are tuned to a frequency response which favors voice, an enhanced mid-range. For SWLing and MW DXing, I believe they’re nearly ideal. Indeed, I’m planning to use these with my Elecraft KX3 next time I’m operating QRP––I’m sure that SSB will sound great.

Since these are tuned for the spoken word, however, I wouldn’t necessarily favor the CC Buds Earphones over my Sony in-ear buds for music listening.

CC-Skywave-Top

Summary

Every radio has pros and cons, and I jot down my reactions as I evaluate a new radio so as not to forget any details. The following is my list:

Pros:

  • Overall great sensitivity and selectivity for a portable in this price class
  • Considerate design, well-tailored for the traveler:
    • Compact size
    • Air band
    • NOAA weather radio
    • Easy to set clock and alarm
    • Simple controls
    • Lightweight
    • Operates on 2 AA batteries
    • Charges from Mini USB (see con)
  • Wide HF frequency range (2.3 up to 26.1 MHz) compared to the PL-380/PL-310 (2.3 up to 21.95 MHz)
  • AIR band is truly functional: includes both scanning and squelch
  • NOAA Weather radio reception excellent
  • Includes soft silicone earphones (in-ear type) actually worthy of AM/SW listening
  • Auto scanning with the up/down buttons is very rapid
  • Integrated charging circuit
  • Uses common micro USB port for power/charging
  • Tuning speed easily changed by pressing tuning knob
  • Volume control is fully variable (free wheel, analog style), not in pre-determined digital steps
  • Selectable audio filters for music and voice

Cons:

  • Internal speaker audio is somewhat tinny (use of the voice audio filter helps)
  • No external antenna jack
  • No SSB mode (in this price class of $90 US, SSB is an included mode on some models)
  • Only one clock; no provision for dual local/UTC time
  • Mutes between frequency changes
  • Whip antenna is short––only 16” fully extended. While the Skywave seems to perform brilliantly with this short antenna (see pro), I can’t help but wonder if more length might boost some bands.
  • While no inconvenience to me, the Skywave does not come with an adaptor or USB cord for powering/charging. (Should you need it, C.Crane sells a proper noise-free regulated power supply separately ($15 US); however, most buyers will already have these cords and any USB port on your PC or USB-based phone charger will suffice. Also note that listening to virtually any radio while charging will inject noise into the receiver, resulting in sub-par reception.)

Conclusion

The CC Skywave is nearly identical in size to the late and great Grundig G6.

The CC Skywave is nearly identical in size to the late and great Grundig G6.

C. Crane has few shortwave radios in their product line, and all perform rather well for their price point; I know, as I have owned all of them and even purchased as gifts in the past.

But I was concerned a few months ago when I noted the similarity between the CC Skywave and the poorly-reviewed Digitech AR1733, sold in Australia/New Zealand by Jaycar.

Fortunately, it’s clear that C. Crane noticed the shortcomings of the AR1733 and has modified the Skywave’s design and firmware accordingly, which may account for the delayed roll-out of the CC Skywave. Obviously, the Skywave’s ACG circuit has been tweaked to cope with medium wave and shortwave listening, since a poor ACG circuit is one of the shortcomings of the AR1733. But, if so, wow…what a tweak.

Because all in all, the CC Skywave is a excellent little radio. Indeed, in terms of the ultra-compact portable market (models like I included in a recent shoot-out), I think it’s one of the best surprise performers I’ve seen in the past couple of years.

CC-Skywave-1After just one week with it, I’ve already decided to take the CC Skywave along on my travels to see how it performs over time. It will replace my PL-310ET and PL-380 for my one bag domestic and international travelling. The CC Skywave is also especially well-suited for the “go”-bags and “bug-out” bags used in evacuations and other emergencies. Indeed, with AM/FM/SW/AIR plus functional NOAA radio, this little radio packs a lot––in short, the Skywave packs enough to get packed in my bag.

The CC Skywave can be purchased directly from C. Crane. It is also available at (soon) Universal Radio and Amazon.com.

Posted in AM, Mediumwave, New Products, News, Portable Radio, Radios, Shortwave Radio, Shortwave Radio Reviews, Travel | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 20 Comments