Rocky is pleased with the CC Skywave SSB

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor,Rocky Robello (KA7EII), who writes:

Just got my new C. Crane Skywave SSB radio. Same size as my wife’s C. Crane Skywave. AM, FM, WX and Airband all work just as well on the Skywave SSB as the regular Skywave.

So far, I am very satisfied with the SSB reception on the new Skywave SSB. It has one strange quirk – when you press the SSB button, it takes about 3 to 4 seconds to go into SSB mode. Five dashes appear on the display during this wait. After that, it is great.

I enjoy aeronautical communications and I get good reception of San Francisco radio and aircraft flying between the west coast and Hawaii. This is on the built in whip antenna.

Also been tuning through the ham bands and it does a nice job. There is an extra 0.5 KHz bandwidth on SSB mode so it is possible to do some casual CW listening. I like how the “Band” button works on shortwave.

When in AM mode, it cycles through the shortwave broadcasting bands. In the SSB mode, it cycles through the ham radio bands. It even selects LSB on 160-30 meters and USB on 20 through 10.

The only other receiver I have to compare it with (other than my wife’s Skywave) is my 18-year old Sangean ATS-909. The ‘909 is a bit more sensitive on MW AM broadcast band but selectivity is as good or better on the Skywave SSB.

FM sensitivity is great and the FM selectivity of the Skywave SSB beats the ‘909 hands down. Using the built in whip antennas, the Skywave SSB is more sensitive than the ‘909 on shortwave. Haven’t tried the included roll-up antenna on the Skywave SSB yet.

Having a squelch is really nice for monitoring the VHF Airband. One thing the Skywave SSB does that the regular Skywave does not do – you can scan 10 VHF Airband frequencies on the Skywave SSB.

So far, I am very satisfied with this new, tiny shortwave receiver.

Many thanks for sharing your mini review, Rocky!

I’ll also post a CC Skywave SSB review here hopefully by the end of next week–after Thanksgiving travel. My review has been delayed a as my CC Skywave SSB production units have had some QC issues: a very slight internally-generated noise in one and subpar sensitivity in the other.

My pre-production CC Skywave SSB is as Rocky describes: a gem of a compact receiver with sensitivity equal to that of its predecessor and relatively good noise characteristics.

C. Crane engineering is looking into the issues with my early production units and dispatching a replacement. I’ll post an update and review when I receive the replacement.

8 thoughts on “Rocky is pleased with the CC Skywave SSB

  1. Gafer

    Yes Rocky, thanks for the review! I have the current Skywave and the County Comm GP-5/SSB so I’m trying to convince myself it’s not worth upgrading to the Skywave SSB but having one radio to cover everything I’m currently doing with two would be great.

    In your review you mentioned the delay on the Skywave SSB when you enable the SSB function:
    “It has one strange quirk – when you press the SSB button, it takes about 3 to 4 seconds to go into SSB mode. Five dashes appear on the display during this wait. After that, it is great.”
    For what it’s worth, the GP-5/SSB has this same “quirk” so perhaps we should just regard this a “feature”. Ha, ha.

    Reply
    1. Guy Atkins

      Likewise, the Eton Satellit and the Executive edition both take a few seconds to “think” when switching to an SSB mode. I believe these radios all have the same or similar SiLabs DSP chip.

      Reply
      1. Golan Klinger.

        Yeah, they do have that lag and even the same little >>> animation. I’ve see that on a few radios so I think you’re right. It must be hard coded into the chip’s firmware.

        Reply
  2. KA7EII

    Yes, it’s been a while since I have had a new receiver. A friend just got a Tecsun PL-880 and his also has the little delay when selecting SSB.

    Back to my new CCrane Skywave SSB – I have noticed a very strong wide (15-20 KHz) wide signal at 2.300 MHz. This signal also appears around 4.595, 6.890, 9.100, 11.500, and several other shortwave frequencies. Also have a whistle or heterodyne sound on many SSB frequencies. The whistle seems to vary in pitch when moving my hands around the radio and it changes pitch when switching the light on and off. Just wondering if anyone else using the new Skywave SSB has noticed this. I have e-mailed C.Crane and may call today to see if they have had anyone else with these problems. Overall, I’m still liking the Skywave SSB and hope these little issues can be rectified.

    Reply
    1. Thomas Post author

      Yes–I have noticed this as well and addressing it is why my review is so delayed. I’ve tested a total of 6 production units at this point. In my latest units, I only noticed 3 birdies: 2,305 kHz, 9,220 kHz and 11,520 kHz. But there are spans of spectrum with a background whine/tone.

      I’m detailing this all in my review and C. Crane is aware of the issues. They will stand behind the purchase, so if you’re not pleased, they’ll allow to to return or replace it.

      More to follow…

      Reply
      1. KA7EII

        Hello Thomas,
        I’m listening to CHU on 7.850 and there is a slight heterodyne sounding whine mixed with the CHU signal. I also get that when listening to WTWW on 5.085. 8.843 USB is especially bad with the whistle or whine which varies in pitch depending on if the dial light is lit or not. The whine is always there when tuning around.
        My wife and I have been buying products from C.Crane for 20 years and I just got an e-mail from Deanna in their technical support unit. She is sending me a return shipping label so they can do further troubleshooting on my Skywave SSB. I trust they will figure out what is wrong and make this amazing radio perform as it should. The serial number on my radio is A1710000131. The background whine/tone is what is most annoying to me. Thought there was some kind of interference (even though I did not hear the same whine/whistle on my Sangean ATS-909 or on AM mode frequencies on my wife’s regular Skywave). Went as far as to go outside to the power meter and open the main breaker to our house just to eliminate the possibility of any strange electrical noise. Looking forward to seeing what C.Crane finds out.
        73, Rocky

        Reply
        1. Thomas Post author

          Okay–this has been my experience too, Rocky. I’m preparing a review to post late tonight or tomorrow regarding all of this. I just took delivery of three units to check and spent several hours with them yesterday. They are working on this, but unfortunately it’s been a problem from my first production unit.

          Reply

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