Catching coastal shortwaves with the CC Skywave SSB

After Thanksgiving Day (here in the States) my family took a little camping trip on the coast of North Carolina. We spent a few nights near Holden Beach and Oak Island–some of my favorite parts of the NC coast.

Weather was splendid on Sunday, so we took a long walk on the beach and, of course, I packed a portable radio–this time, the CC Skywave SSB.

The Skywave SSB is a pricey portable, but it has certainly become my choice travel radio as it covers so many radio bands (AM/MW, FM, SW, AIR and WX). It’s also incredibly portable and can hang with the best in terms of sensitivity and selectivity.

I didn’t check propagations conditions on Sunday, but there were signals booming in from everywhere. I took a few short sample videos:

Click here to view on YouTube.

Click here to view on YouTube.

Click here to view on YouTube.

Click here to view on YouTube.

Being away from sources of radio interference and standing next to (and occasionally in—!) the Atlantic Ocean certainly helped a great deal with reception.

I had planned to put my Elecraft KX2 on the air while here, but simply didn’t have the time to fit it in with family activities.

Post readers: Do you have any radio vacations on the horizon?

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16 thoughts on “Catching coastal shortwaves with the CC Skywave SSB

  1. D Raff

    The most amazing place that I ever experienced for receiving shortwave was Richmond Virgina nearly at the Atlantic. The bands were just alive, and I hear stations I had a hard time normally receiving. AM DXing was also exceptional. Far better than the mountain and hills of New York.

    Reply
  2. Pingback: XHDATA D-808 and C.Crane CC Skywave SSB size comparison | The SWLing Post

  3. Matt

    I’ve just returned from Mexico where I had an SDRPlay RSP1A with me. Huge interference across SW, MW and LW in the resort making any reception impossible but great on the beach using a Pixel3 phone and a 7M wire antenna.

    Reply
  4. Brian

    Actually living down here near Holden Beach is good for the shortwave hobby; proximity to the Atlantic Ocean makes for good listening on shortwave, but AM listening is good as well. For most of the year, I can handily pick up 690 WOKV out of Jacksonville, Florida, west to 1110 WBT out of Charlotte, NC, and at night, all the powerhouses up and down the east coast sound as strong as local stations do in the daytime.
    I recently was forced to remove a Sony shortwave car stereo from my primary transportation because for some reason, it would keep locking up the CPU if it was fed less than 13.5 volts, and it wouldn’t reset unless the radio were unplugged. So I have to wait for warm weather to crawl under the dash and put a shortwave converter in between the factory stereo and antenna. I’m glad I bought them on eBay for ~$20 way back when…

    Reply
    1. Thomas Post author

      Yes, you’ve certainly got a lot going for you in that part of coastal Carolina! I also like tuning into WNMB 900 kHz, but didn’t get around to it this time. Do you know if they’re still on AM?

      Reply
      1. Brian

        They’re still on the air, playing beach music and oldies, but for some reason, maybe they changed antennas, they are difficult to pick up anywhere north of the state line. I live a little north of Shallotte at 56 feet of altitude (one of three spots that high in Brunswick County), and still can’t receive them.
        I always used to listen to that station when I used to drive my ’96 Ford Ranger because it had one of the few factory radios that could decode AM stereo. WNMB is one of the few stations still broadcasting in that format.

        Reply
        1. Thomas Post author

          Yes, funny you mention that because next time I’m in the area, I plan to bring an SDR to record the Cquam signal. One other station in NC with a similar format is WAIZ in Hickory. Its sister station is WNNC which is one of the only other AM stations I know of that broadcasts in AM stereo. https://swling.com/blog/tag/wnnc/

          Reply
  5. Richard Cuff

    Does a 3-day DXpedition count? 5 of us spent Sunday-Tuesday before the US Thanksgiving in a cabin at French Creek State Park in Elverson, PA. Reasonably decent conditions at times. Highlights (for me) were Hargesia, Eritrea, and Palau (with full ID). Receiver was my trusty Eton E1.

    Even though there is less on the bands every year, just getting away for a couple days to focus on the radio was great fun!

    Reply
  6. Sergio Potes

    Thomas Thanks for sharing with us your shortwave vacation. The radio is verry goodand the size is ideal for traveling. Looking forward to taking mine on my next vacation and conbining it with some qrp radio, let me see what kind of antenna I can take for the qrp. Thanks Sergio AE4TO

    Reply
    1. Thomas Post author

      I really enjoy using the LnR Trail Friendly EFT QRP antenna. It’s end fed, so only needs one point to hang it. I’ve deployed it at least 100 times over the course of NPOTA, POTA and other field ops. It’s held up very well. I also have a number of homebrew antennas, but tend to reach for the EFT the most.

      Reply
  7. Edward

    As the model number suggests: But does it really receive SSB (single side band) and CW?
    or is it marketing. Didn’t get my answer. As I say, a HF radio without a BFO is like a Harley Davidson motorcycle with a top speed of 25 miles per hour.

    Reply
  8. 13dka

    Nice weather and pics! Hmmm… it wasn’t so obvious to me before but it looks like the Skywave SSB is even smaller than the D-808. Now I’m jealous! 🙂

    I find it pretty amazing is that just a few wavelengths away from the water, the signals seem to be tapering off a bit already, so standing IN the water and holding a portable is certainly getting the absolute best out of the radio. When I moved here (to the coast) I took a portable with a relatively stable station tuned in and drove to my beach listening post with it, then I headed back home right away. It seemed pretty obvious how the proximity to the water gradually improved the signals but of course that was a pretty unscientific test. I should repeat that with an SDR rigged up on the passenger seat and do that a few times in a row.

    I’m off now to check how I can get a Skywave SSB to Europe. 🙂

    Reply
    1. Thomas Post author

      Yes indeed, the Skywave SSB is smaller than the D-808. I’ll take a few comparison photos and publish them in a post. Let me know if you find a source for the Skywave SSB in Europe!

      Cheers,
      Thomas

      Reply

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