Earlier today, intrepid SWLing Post contributor, Cap Tux, spotted an interesting link on Google when he searched for “C.Crane Skywave SSB”:
Turns out, it’s a product sheet for a new C.Crane radio: the CC Skywave SSB. Ther is no mention of this radio on C.Crane’s website yet. Here’s a screenshot:
Yes, C.Crane has obviously listened to our feedback and has developed a version of the Skywave with SSB mode–! Based on the product sheet, the CC Skywave SSB has all of the features of the original Skywave as well. That’s a plus because I love the NOAA weather radio functionality and the aviation band, especially when traveling.
If the Skywave SSB performs well, and the price point is decent, I think it might become one of the most popular shortwave portables currently on the market.
Well, for one, I’m a huge fan of the original CC Skywave (check out my review from 2014). It’s compact, feature-rich and has brilliant performance for a very compact travel radio. It’s a brilliant piece of kit for us one-bag travellers. The only glaring omission with the original Skywave was SSB mode, but at the time I believe DSP chips simply couldn’t implement this functionality.
Similarity to the Digitech AR-1780?
In terms of size, the side-mounted encoder and some key placement, the CC Skywave SSB resembles the Digitech AR-1780 I ordered yesterday. The overall chassis design and display, however, are quite different.
I wouldn’t be surprised if both the AR-1780 and the Skywave SSB are built on the same DSP chip.
Will they have similar performance? I doubt it.
If you recall, when the original CC Skywave was first announced, we radio geeks noticed a striking resemblance to the Digitech AR-1733. Fortunately, the Skywave was far superior in terms of performance. I made the following note in my Skywave review:
“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.”
I know the crew at C.Crane and I can confirm that they do their own product development. Their team consists of proper radio enthusiasts and ham radio operators who work directly the engineers. This is why C.Crane never releases products with serious receiver flaws like other manufacturers have in the past.
A CC Skywave SSB review?
As soon as I can get my hands on the CC Skywave SSB, I’ll share updates here on the SWLing Post. Just follow the tag: CC Skywave SSB.
You might have noticed that my expectations are pretty high for the CC Skywave SSB, so I hope I’m not disappointed when I do the review.
In the past decade, there have been very few full-featured, ultra-compact travel radios with SSB introduced to the market. There is, of course, the CountyComm GP5-SSB, but it lacks a direct entry keypad, aviation coverage and NOAA weather radio. There is also the discontinued Grundig G6, but it too lacks NOAA weather radio and SSB operation was pretty basic (let’s not forget the G6 was also a “sticky radio”).
The CC Skywave SSB could be a Holy Grail travel radio, if it lives up to expectations.
At this point, of course, I have no idea when this little radio will hit the market. We can assume, though, that C.Crane will do their best to ship it prior to the 2017 Christmas shopping season.
Stay tuned! And thanks for the tip, Cap!