Tag Archives: C.Crane CC Skywave

Digitech AR-1780: unboxing, photos and initial impressions

Yesterday, prior to heading out the door for two days of travel, I received the Digitech AR-1780 I ordered ten days ago from an Australian eBay vendor. I’m very pleased with how quickly the order was processed and delivered via the post. The radio arrived in a rugged mail pouch and was double boxed inside.
I’ve had no time to evaluate the radio’s performance yet, but I thought I’d post a few photos I took while unboxing the AR-1780.

There’s not much in the box: just the radio and an owner’s manual. There are no batteries, no charger, and no case or carry bag. That’s okay though as the AR-1780 takes standard AA cells and I have an assortment of bags that can protect it in my suitcase.

The buttons all have a responsive, tactile feel. The hard plastic chassis feels durable.

I really like the dedicated fine tune control on the right side of the radio.  Nice touch! But 7 VDC in? That’s an odd voltage for a power supply. That’s okay by me as I never use wall wart type power supplies due to inherent noise–rechargeable Enloop AA batteries are how I power all of my portables. Bonus! There’s also a dedicated external antenna jack! One odd thing, though, is the AR-1780 breaks the convention of having the volume control on the right side of the radio–it’s on the left instead. Last night, I tuned around the 31 meter band and the AM broadcast band.  I listened to the French language service of Radio Romania International from inside a noisy house–armchair copy.

The AR-1780 has an impressive 7 AM bandwidth settings: 6, 4, 3, 2.5, 2, 1.8 and 1 kHz. My radio defaulted to 2.5 kHz, so you’ll want to widen that to 4 or 6 kHz before listening to most broadcasts.

I really like the display–it’s compact, yet contains quite a lot of info and even has a dedicated line for FM RDS content.

This morning, I took a couple shots of the AR-1780 next to the venerable CC Skywave. The Skywave is slightly smaller in every dimension.

Stay tuned! Though this is a very busy week for me–with travels and total solar eclipse preparations–I plan to put the Digitech AR-1780 through the paces. I’ll try to post updates as I have time.  Follow the tag: Digitech AR-1780

David seeks a feature-packed “Swiss Army Knife” portable

The CC Skywave

Many thanks to SWLing Post reader, David, who writes with the following inquiry:

I really enjoy the SWLing site. It’s great and you guys have such good reviews and information!

I’m looking for a radio and one thing I have not seen on the site is a “features” type breakdown when you could limit the radios by the features you’re looking for. Maybe I missed it???

I’m looking for a portable radio (option to run on batteries, rechargeable, etc.) that has SW/AM/FM and the NOAA bands (perk if it has SAME) and has an Aux In so I can play music from my phone/whatever on it.

This will be a radio that I can take camping, to parks, have in the car for trips, gatherings, etc. I’d like it to have enough speaker that music is enjoyable, but not such a large form factor that it’s impossible/silly to lug around when needed.

Does such a thing exist!? Any recommendations? Thanks so much.

Good questions, David! I like your suggestion about a master feature list for comparing portables. If I have the time someday, I might try to put something like this together (else, perhaps, a Post contributor can volunteer for the job?).

To answer your question…

You’re certainly looking for a “Swiss Army Knife” of a radio. The only model that comes to mind is the C.Crane CC Skywave. I published a full review of the Skywave a couple years ago and can whole-heartedly recommend it. (Click here to browse our archive of Skywave posts.)

The C.Crane CC Skywave

The Skywave ticks every box on your feature list–it is even capable of SAME weather alerts! It’s also an excellent performer and my favorite compact travel radio that’s currently in production.

The only item missing on the Skywave is an audio AUX-in port, but I can’t think of any other radio on the market that comes closer to meeting your wish list than the Skywave.

SWLing Post readers: Perhaps you can help? Please comment if you can recommend a portable that meets all of David’s criteria. I may very well have overlooked a model. Obviously, the two features that make this search more challenging are weather radio and an an AUX-in port. Please comment with your suggestions!

CC Skywave Sale: $63.88 at Cabelas

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Rich Kuzma, who writes:

I’m a long time reader, and wanted to share this amazing deal I just stumbled across and maybe you would like to pass down to your readers.

Cabela’s is a national chain and I’ve never seen a price this low on the Skywave. I’m also not sure how long the sale or stock will last.

Click here to view this deal at Cabelas.

Thanks again for all the great work on your blog!

Thank you for for sharing this deal, Rich, and thank you for the kind comments!

This is the best deal I’ve ever seen on the CC Skywave, too.

Regular SWLing Post readers know the Skywave is one of my favorite travel radios.

Note that Cabelas does typically charge $10.95 for shipping. If you purchase more than $99 of gear, shipping is free. If you have a Cabelas store near you, the Skywave can be shipped for free for pickup.

Reviews of the Elpa ER-C57WR shortwave portable?

I recently received an email from SWLing Post reader, Ibrahima Ditinn Diallo, regarding a receiver I had never heard of–the Elpa ER-C57WR. Ibrahima has been searching for a new receiver and is considering the Elpa.

I did a quick search and discovered that the Elpa ER-C57WR is available from a number of sellers on eBay–as both new and used for around $63 US shipped from China.

The form factor is very similar to the C.Crane CC Skywave, but it apparently lacks some of the Skywave’s functionality like weather radio and (perhaps?) multiple AM bandwidths. Here’s the ER-C57WR spec sheet:

Remembering a post from a couple years ago, I quickly realized the ER-C57WR is almost an identical match to the DigiTech AR-1733 available via Jaycar in Australia.

If the ER-C57WR is simply the same receiver as the AR-1733, I would be hesitant to recommend it. Many AR-1733 owners complained of lousy AGC performance.

Of course, it’s been a couple of years since the introduction of the AR-1733–perhaps this Elpa-badged version has been updgraded?

I’m curious if any SWLing Post readers have purchased the Elpa ER-C57WR and could comment about the receiver’s performance.

Click here to search eBay for the Elpa ER-C57WR.

Trying to chose between the CC Skywave and Tecsun PL-310ET?

CC-Skywave-And-Tecsun-PL-310ET-SideMany thanks to SWLing Post reader, Joe, who recently asked in our comments section:

“The CC Skywave is more than double the price of the Tecsun PL-310ET. The two radios appear to have similar features and performance. Can anyone suggest a reason why one would want to pay the extra charge for a Skywave?”

Thanks for your question, Joe. I’m asked this a lot by SWLing Post readers, so quickly realized I should just turn my response into a proper post.  Here’s my response in a nutshell:

Tecsun PL-310ET

The Tecun PL-310ET

The Tecsun PL-310ET is (and has been for years) one of the best budget shortwave portables out there.

For the price of $40-45 US shipped (via eBay, for example), you really can’t go wrong.  It’s certainly a benchmark among the ultralight DSP portables.

The ($79-89 US) CC Skywave, in my opinion, has a few advantages:

  1. An excellent weather radio receiver (for folks in North America)
  2. The AIR band which is a fun and useful addition if you live near an airport or like travelling by air
  3. I prefer the Skywave over the PL-310ET on the mediumwave band. Its selectivity and AGC, in my opinion, have a distinct edge over the ‘310ET for MW DXing.

Because of these particular advantages, the Skywave has become my travel portable of choice when SSB reception isn’t a priority.

The CC Skywave

The CC Skywave

You might check out my CC Skywave review because I tried to include reception recordings which I felt represented both radios fairly:

http://swling.com/blog/2014/12/review-of-the-c-crane-cc-skywave-portable-radio/

In short, though? If I didn’t care about the AIR band or NOAA weather radio, I’d be quite happy with the PL-310ET. In truth, you really can’t go wrong either choice.

I can say that I now take my CC Skywave on travels more than my PL-310ET.

Click here to search for the Tecun PL-310ET on:

Click here to search for the CC Skywave at

  • C.Crane ($89.99 and free shipping through Dec 6, 2016)
  • Amazon.com ($89.99 with free shipping option)
  • Universal Radio (lowest price without shipping: $79.95)
  • eBay (pricing varies greatly)

Either of these radios, by the way, would make for an excellent gift.