Frequently when people write about attaching a long wire to a portable shortwave receiver, readers will comment that you need to worry about desensitizing or overloading the receiver or ever harming the front end of the receiver. Clearly that can be a concern.
But recently I noticed something on the CCrane website in the FAQ section that shows clearly that CCrane has thought about and dealt with this consideration:
Q: When using the 2-wire adapter and wire attached, why am I not noticing any improvement on shortwave?
A: To see any difference using the 2-wire adapter you will need to have a wire that is more than 30 feet long (we recommend 60-100’) with a good ground wire. Insulated wire will last longer and should be stranded so it is more flexible. If you do not have a good ground, you are actually inputting noise. If you look at the 2-wire adapter (included) you will see an antenna icon and a ground (G) marking. You need to connect them properly when using an external antenna. When a plug is inserted into the antenna jack of the radio the internal rod antenna is disconnected. (See page 30 of the Instruction manual.)
If you’ve read the SWLing Post for long, you’ll know that the CC Skywave SSB is my choice travel and EDC radio. I prefer it over any other portable I own (and I do have quite a lot) because it’s so insanely useful, efficient, lightweight, compact, and durable.
Me, at Charlotte-Douglas International waiting for a flight to the Winter SWL Fest in 2019.
When I fly, I take only one carry on bag that’s so compact it can fit under the seat in front of me in any type of commercial aircraft.
I firmly believe there is no freedom like one-bag travel. While others are stressing over where to stow luggage, how to carry it all, or why their checked-in luggage didn’t arrive at the destination, I’m cruising through the airport and to my destination unhindered.
The key to successful one-bag travel is only carrying what you need, and focusing on items that are multi-function.
Me? I need a good multi-band radio.
The CC Skywave SSB is the most comprehensive compact portable I own. It’s truly a “Swiss Army Knife” of a receiver. Here are the bands/features I appreciate:
AM/Mediumwave (9/10 kHz steps selectable)
FM broadcast (with expanded FM range when in 9 kHz step mode)
AIR band (to listen to Air Traffic Control and Air comms)
Weather Radio with alert (this functions brilliantly in the US and Canada)
A proper clock and alarm (that can display in 24 hour time!)
It uses two common AA batteries that can even be internally-recharged if NiMH
It even has a squelch feature for scanning, say, the AIR band
Folks who are regular readers of my posts here have already figured out that I am a big fan of the CCrane Skywave SSB. It is easily the most versatile radio I own, receiving AM (medium wave), FM, shortwave, HF single sideband, NOAA weather stations with alert, and scannable civilian VHF frequencies, and I have written enthusiastically about it here on multiple occasions.
I think of the Skywave SSB as my “anti-boredom machine.” It’s small enough to slide into a shirt or jacket pocket pocket or tuck into any pack. Get stuck waiting in line, whip out the Skywave SSB, plug in a pair of ear buds, and listen to whatever is available.
So when I noticed that a new version of the Skywave SSB – the Skywave SSB 2 – appeared on the first page of the C.Crane 2023 catalog, I was delighted that the folks at C.Crane decided to send one to me. The SSB 2 includes all the goodies of the original, plus a handful of incremental improvements; upgrades include a micro-USB port for external power or charging NiMH batteries, a slightly better speaker, and longer feet on the bottom for better stability.
But the improvement that really makes me grin is a two-fer: first, the inclusion of an external antenna socket on the side of the SSB 2, and, second, the CC Wire Terminal Antenna Adaptor for shortwave, which is a 2-wire to mono plug adaptor that plugs right into the external antenna socket. This allows a long wire antenna to be easily hooked up to the SSB 2, and it works like crazy.
Attaching a long wire to the SSB 2 is now really easy. Attach your long wire to the CC Wire Terminal Antenna Adaptor (you’ll need a small gauge screwdriver; the screws are really small). Next, plug the adaptor into the external antenna socket. You’re done!
I attached a 45-foot end-fed antenna to the CC Wire Terminal Antenna Adaptor while listening to some hams chatting on 80-meters and found that it delivered an impressive improvement to the signal-to-noise ratio. And when I wanting to hit the road, it was a simple of unplugging the adaptor so the adaptor and wire antenna combo would be waiting when I came back.
The SSB 2 includes a number of useful accessories: the CC Wire Terminal Antenna Adaptor, a portable 23-foot CC Shortwave Reel antenna, CC Ear Buds (very comfortable), and a faux leather carrying case (if packing the SSB 2 in your luggage, be sure to press the LOCK button, otherwise you find yourself with a singing suitcase or backpack.).
Bottom line: with the introduction of the Skywave SSB 2, CCrane has taken an excellent, versatile radio and make it even better. Highly recommended for all-round use, but especially as a travel and/or emergency radio.
Note: Jessica from CCrane sent me the following note regarding the SSB 2.
Please note: When using headphones or earbuds there is an easily discernable, but not loud “pop” when switching bands and on memory presets on airband. There is no pop when using the speakers. It will take time to find the hardware and software remedy. It will not be corrected on this first shipment but we are working it and expect it to be reduced on future shipments. The new Skywave SSB-2 was up for a price rise October 2022 but we’re keeping it at $169.99 for now.
For more of my musing regarding the CCrane Skywave SSB, please consult:
The CC Skywave SSB is one of my favorite all-time travel portables. I love it for its versatility, frequency coverage, and overall performance. Click here to read my review.
Version 2 of the Skywave SSB includes the following upgrades per C.Crane:
The new The Skywave SSB 2 has several improvements: The new Shortwave antenna jack can significantly improve SW reception when used with an external antenna. The new micro-USB connector now works well from any USB port along with improved in-circuit battery charging for optional “AA” NiMH rechargeable batteries. Other upgrades include a higher quality speaker along with slightly more audio amplification. Longer feet on the bottom of the radio for better stability.
All of these are welcome iterative upgrades. I especially love any improvement to the built-in speaker–travel portables are small, so any speaker improvements are most welcome.
Here’s the full copy from their catalog:
We will plan to review the Skywave SSB 2, of course! Stay tuned!