Category Archives: Updates

Updated and Original Versions of the CCRadio-EP Pro Briefly Compared

Remember the American television game show To Tell The Truth? This very long-running show challenged four celebrity guests and viewers to identify the real “central character” in the midst of two impostors.I was reminded of this game show when attempting to tell the difference between the original and recently updated versions of C. Crane’s CCRadio-EP Pro receiver when viewing the front panels. If there’s a difference, I can’t spot it! You need to turn around the radios to see the new EP-Pro’s key feature: switchable 9 kHz/10 kHz tuning steps.

The only clue to the newest version of the CCRadio-EP Pro is the 9/10 kHz tuning switch on the back panel.

I recently met with a good friend and radio hobbyist from Oregon to compare a few selected portable radios, FSL (Ferrite Sleeve Loop) antennas, and the newest low-noise Wellbrook ALA100LN module that was introduced just a few weeks ago. I was particularly interested in a head-to-head match-up of my friend’s original EP-Pro versus my newly arrived EP-Pro (9 kHz/10 kHz steps) version.

I’m looking forward to Thomas’ usual thorough review of the new CCRadio-EP Pro, but I want to offer a few observations of medium wave tuning after my time with the two models:

  • On very weak daytime MW signals, the radios are equally sensitive except on higher frequencies where the new model excels to a moderate degree. It’s enough of an advantage to make the difference between catching an ID or not on a low, DX-level signal.
  • The new EP-Pro feels more accurate–and simply more enjoyable–to tune, thanks to the elimination of false “peaks” surrounding the main signal. This is a BIG plus for the new radio, and frankly the CCRadio-EP should have performed this way from the start. Kudos to C. Crane for correcting this problem, but I can understand why the original version was brought to market with the odd tuning quirk. It isn’t a deal breaker for most non-DXing purchasers.
  • I could not find an instance of soft muting on either radio. I listened for a while to signals barely above the noise floor, and never did audio “cut in and out” suddenly, a clue to soft muting. Both receivers are very useful for chasing weak MW stations…but the new version is highly preferred for ease of tuning because of the lack of false audio peaks.
  • With the tuning working way it should, medium wave channels “snap” in and out as you slowly tune. This took a little getting used to, but after a while I began to appreciate the sense of exactness with the newest CCRadio-EP Pro.
  • Fast excursions up or down the band (either radio) will blank the audio, recovering when you stop tuning or slow down. I believe this is simply a case of exceeding the AGC’s recovery time, not soft muting. It’s easy to live with, but granted the effect is not one of smoothness as found on traditional, non-DSP analog receivers. Successful DXing takes a slower approach anyway when scanning the band; casual listeners may be more annoyed by either version of the radio if they are used to very quick knob-cranking.
  • The Twin Coil Ferrite “AM Fine Tuning” control works well on both units, and gives significant gain to weak signals on either extremity of the band. I love this feature; it makes digging out the weak ones a lot more fun!

So, should you buy the newest CCRadio-EP Pro with the 9 kHz/10 kHz steps?

  • If you already own a CCRadio-EP Pro and are fine with the false tuning peaks and have no desire for the 9 kHz MW step option–keep your radio! Only on high band does the new model have a sensitivity edge. Especially don’t make the jump if you’re a casual listener and listen only to a handful of local stations, or a single distant station.
  • If you do not own a CCRadio-EP Pro yet, but are in the market, definitely buy the newest version. Be aware that you can only be assured of getting the newest model if you purchase directly from C. Crane. Amazon does not yet carry the newest version according to some reports.
  • If you’re a radio junkie and just have to have both…go ahead…we understand!

I also made a short video comparison of the new EP Pro versus the top-ranked Panasonic RF-2200 on medium wave:

Guy Atkins is a Sr. Graphic Designer for T-Mobile and lives near Seattle, Washington.  He’s a regular contributor to the SWLing Post.

 

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C. Crane Updates the CCRadio-EP Pro

Many thanks to reviewer Jay Allen for sharing the news that a significantly updated version of the CCRadio-EP Pro is now available:

C. Crane CC-EP Pro AM/FM Analog-tuned Radio

The update eliminates the “false signal peaks” (images) of the EP Pro, a tuning anomaly that was widely criticized at introduction of this model. In addition, a 9/10 kHz tuning step switch has been added, and Jay also reports that reception performance is improved on the high band of medium wave.

Check out the full details in Jay’s post above!

Guy Atkins is a Sr. Graphic Designer for T-Mobile and lives near Seattle, Washington.  He’s a regular contributor to the SWLing Post.

 

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Myke updates “At The Tone” and seeks recordings

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Myke Dodge Weiskopf, who shares the following update and request regarding At The Tone: A Little History of NIST Radio Stations WWV & WWVH (read about it here). Myke writes:

The times have demanded that I kick out a slightly updated version of “At the Tone”, as well as a humble request to your readership. I’ve also shared a long WWVH recording with you for the Archive by special arrangement.

As usual, [At the Tone] is still available in the same old place:

https://shortwavemusic.bandcamp.com/album/at-the-tone-a-little-history-of-nist-radio-stations-wwv-wwvh

The good news is that anyone who purchased it previously can simply re-download the album in their chosen format from their purchase history page on Bandcamp. They will be instantly treated to the new version with all the additional tracks and liner notes.

The changes aren’t major, but rather in the “nice to have” category:

  • There’s a new second recording of the 1972 WWV station ID, postdating the big format change in 1971.
  • I’ve replaced the very short WWVH 1990 broadcast sample with a longer recording which I finally got around to cleaning up from the box of reels and cassettes sent to me by the station in 2015. I don’t know the exact date, because it came on an undated handwritten cassette labeled “JB on Old Audichron TCG”, but the broadcast format and announcement indicate it’s from the 1980s sometime up until the digital voice replacement in 1991. I attach a scan of the cassette itself.
  • I’ve done a better job cleaning up the (also WWVH-sourced) 1992 station ID recording from the original master cassette, so I’ve swapped out that track, although it’s otherwise identical in content.

So, to piggyback on that: my gift to you via Archive.org is the complete unedited 1980s WWVH recording, which runs 23 minutes total. I figured this would be a nice thing to share at this particularly turbulent moment in the station’s history.

The tape was in pretty bad shape when I received it, so while I’ve done the best I can to bring it up to par, there are some audibly wonky things going on from time to time.

Lastly, since WWV and WWVH are so much on people’s minds right now, I’m putting out one more call for recordings.

In particular, I don’t have good quality versions of the terrible 1991-era digital voices — I’d love to have longer or better tapes of those, especially if they include station IDs.

I also lost my recording of the emergency system test announcement in October 2010, not to be confused with the tests conducted in July of that same year!

Beyond those, though, I’d love to hear of any other recordings folks have dug up recently. There’s been some great stuff shared to the Archive already, but I’m always on the hunt for more to add to “At the Tone.” Contributors will be thanked in the liner notes and will be offered unlimited downloads of the set as they see fit to distribute. And if people have really special WWV recordings which they think might be locked away on on an obsolete or unplayable format, they should also get in touch – WWVH themselves entrusted me with transferring their own archival recordings, so I have some good credit in that department.

I can also vouch for Myke as a trusted custodian of any archived NIST time station recordings you may have.

Readers: if you have any WWV or WWVH recordings you’d like to share with Myke, please comment or contact Myke directly via his website.

Myke, I would like to thank you for adding this rare unedited 1980s WWVH recording to the Shortwave Radio Audio Archive. What a gem–many thanks!

If you would like to purchase and download At the Tone, please click here. As Myke mentioned, if you’ve already purchased At The Tone, simply login and download the updated version for free.

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Popular SDR-Console V3 Software Moves from Preview to Beta

Simon Brown, G4ELI’s widely used, free SDR-Console V3 was upgraded from “Preview” to “Beta 1” level today. Many SDR enthusiasts have waited for this next step; even in Preview form, Version 3 has performed nearly as well as a production release in many ways.

I have briefly used SDR-Console (V2 and V3) off and on for a few years, but it wasn’t until acquiring AirSpy HF+ receivers that I took a serious plunge into V3. Now that I’ve gone through its modest learning curve, I like this SDR software quite a bit!

There are many things I enjoy about SDR-Console, not the least is the power and ease of use of the Recording Scheduler, a feature that’s important to medium wave DXers. I’m sure others who like to set up unattended WAV I/Q recordings for later review benefit from this also.

I’ve not found a list of improvements between Preview and Beta 1, but I suspect Simon has made the upgrade because the Preview has shown itself to be quite stable already. He did publish a list of a few known bugs:

  • External Radio using IF output does not work.
  • Remote Server using the SDR-IQ has stutter.
  • Kits are not signed – a code signing certificate has been purchased from Comodo but is not yet available.

Simon indicates that these bugs will be worked on in the next few weeks.

If you use and benefit from SDR-Console software, please considering support the development efforts through a PayPal donation. Links to download the newest Beta 1 version, and/or to donate, can be found here: http://www.sdr-radio.com/Downloads

Here are a couple YouTube videos which show SDR-Console V3 (Preview build) in action:

Guy Atkins is a Sr. Graphic Designer for T-Mobile and lives near Seattle, Washington.  He’s a regular contributor to the SWLing Post.

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LF Closure in Ireland Postponed Yet Again

rte

In yet another reversal concerning the fate of Longwave in the UK, this was reported in Radio Survivor Oct 10:

Ireland’s Longwave Station RTÉ 252 Spared from Imminent Closure

By on October 10, 2016 in International, Radio Bands

Listeners located in the U.K. who enjoy Ireland’s RTÉ 252 radio service are breathing a sign of relief. The planned 2017 closure of this longwave station has now been put on indefinite hold, according to Independent.ie.

An Irish diaspora in the U.K. is the primary audience for RTÉ 252, which broadcasts programming from the Radio 1 nationwide news and talk service. As Paul Bailey explained in a post this past June, the cost and complexity of maintaining the large LW transmitter and antenna amid budgetary pressures, along with the perceived obsolescence of the service, were the cited reasons for retiring the station.

There was public outcry in the wake of the original decision to shut down RTÉ 252, which resulted in delaying the date two years. That was followed by research from a group called Irish in Britain that argued the station helped listeners in England, Scotland and Wales keep up to date with matters at home and retain a “sense of Irishness.” A survey the group conducted showed that 92% of respondents listened to the station most or every day. Apparently, that added up to enough pressure on the Irish state broadcaster to keep RTÉ 252 going for the time being.

 You can read the full article here.

I have been watching this issue for some time and am encouraged to see people fighting for LF radio, indeed any continuation of broadcast radio. The key element in my mind being the many people who do not live within a regional broadcast area should not be discarded, or forced into services which which cost them significantly more money.

Here in the states people are still struggling to deal with reduced service areas due to the digital switch over of OTA television. With our “digital revolution” we are trying to force people into a “one size fits all” box, and there is no one box which can fit everyone.

The future is quite uncertain, as these reversals have shown, but I wish the Irish listeners well in their ongoing battle – they have accomplished more than most!!

Robert Gulley, AK3Q, is the author of this post and a regular contributor to the SWLing Post. Robert also blogs at All Things Radio.

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