C Crane CC Skywave AM, FM, Shortwave, Weather and Airband Portable Travel Radio with Clock and Alarm
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- Small Lightweight Portable AM/FM/Shortwave/Weather/Airband Travel Clock Radio With Alarm
- Lighted LCD Display, Rotary Volume Knob, Stereo Headphone Jack, Sleep Timer
- 400 Memory Presets, Direct Entry Keypad, Autoscan Tuning, Signal Meter
- Runs approx. 60-70 hrs. at moderate volume on (2) AA batteries (not included) or can be powered by an optional AC adapter
- Includes Earbuds, Carry Case and Fold-out Backstand. 1 Year Warranty.
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|Shipping||FREE Shipping||FREE Shipping||FREE Shipping||FREE Shipping||FREE Shipping||FREE Shipping|
|Sold By||C. Crane||Amazon.com||Electronnix||Cefrank||stores123||C. Crane|
|Color||—||NGWFBTB||Black & Gray||Black||Black||Black|
|Item Dimensions||1.1 x 4.75 x 3 in||3 x 6.9 x 12.4 in||1.3 x 7.56 x 4.45 in||1.02 x 5.31 x 3.39 in||8 x 1 x 5 in||2 x 7.25 x 5.5 in|
|Power Source||AC & Battery||Corded-Electric, Battery||AC & Battery||Corded-Electric, Battery||Battery & AC||Kinetic|
The CC Skywave opens up a marvelous world of radio at home or when traveling. It has an intuitive layout so it is easy to use and has fantastic overall performance. Excellent AM reception for such a small portable radio. Strong ability to reduce signal interference. Worldwide Shortwave coverage from 2.3-26.1 MHz. NOAA weather radio with alert so you can be warned of local weather advisories. Aviation/Airband allows you to listen in on nearby traffic controllers. Excellent sound for such a small speaker. Perfect size for stashing in an interior crevice of any carry on. Standard features: Clear and pleasing audio for the size, 400 memory presets, direct entry keypad, auto scan, lighted LCD display. Rotary volume knob, Clock with 12/24 hour format, sleep timer, stereo headphone jack, fold out back stand, battery meter, signal meter, lock switch. .5W built-in speaker. Earbuds and carry case included. 9/10 kHz selectable tuning steps. Runs approx. 60-70 hrs. at moderate volume on (2) AA batteries (not included) or can be powered by an optional AC adapter. Size 4.75” W x 3” H x 1.1” D, 5.5 oz. without batteries. Never listened to the Aviation band? This band lets you listen in on nearby air traffic controllers. When traveling, airline schedule changes and problems can be perplexing. Listening to control towers can provide entertainment and informative bits of information. It is as simple as having the Skywave scan for an active frequency. The best one is usually the approach frequency used for planes that are landing. You can also search the web for “air traffic control radio Seattle” for example, to find information and to learn more about aviation radio. If you live next to a smaller airport you could ask a local pilot for the frequency or look up “common traffic advisory frequency” plus the airport name. English is the standard language used in aviation at all airports worldwide.
Seller Warranty Description1 Year Parts and Labor Warranty
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The skywave fits in my sweater pocket no problem (although it's noticably bulkier than an iphone), but the Tecsun reminds me more of my old table top scanner; but that's okay, since would be okay with that, if the performance increase matches the size increase. Basically you could call the C Crane a pocket radio but the Tecsun is more of a desk-top, around-the-house radio, although I would be tempted to throw it in a backpack. Both radios come with a protective pouch for such activities. Both have a flip out stand on the back, but the Tecsun has two parts that pop out, making it very stable indeed. The Tecsun also has a much longer whip antenna. Both radios have a wrist strap, which I don't anticipate ever using, unless maybe i hung it off of a bag. Both have sleep timers. I like using the sleep timers at night when i go to bed. Each have more than enough memory slots for storing stations and settings. At first I wished the keypad on the CC was backlit but it's so simple and intuitive after one day i already knew all the buttons in the dark by touch.
First, the Tecsun was harder for me to operate without checking the manual. Scanning and storing just isn't as quite as intuitive as on the C Crane radio. That said, I think the Tecsun has a lot more to offer in the long run, in terms of features, so the steeper learning curve might not bother some. And, it's not very steep. I do think the Tecsun manual is not quite as well written (more on that later).
Both radios have a mono speaker. The Tecsun has a much larger speaker, afforded by the radio's larger size, and is capable of much louder volumes. There is absolutely no bass on the C Crane, although it is quite clear and good for voice (onc just has to accept it's a pocket sized radio, and one can be quite happy), where as the Tecsun has a bit of bass. However, the sound quality is not as good as I was expecting from reading previous reviews which said good things about the Tecsun speakers. I really couldn't listen to music on either radio, but both are fine for voice. One things I noticed immediately on the Tecsun is that although there is bass, the treble sounded overemphasized... you know that horrible splashy percussion sound. It is then I noticed the "tone" switch on the side of the Tecsun. It was set to "treble". The other option is "bass", which did increase bass but left the radio completely lacking in treble... also not desirable. The oddest part of all of that is there is no 'neutral' setting. The manual is especially useless in explaining exactly what the tone switch does, and I quote, "Push the [TONE] switch upward for "TREBLE" listening, downward for "BASS" tone. On the other hand, the CC Skywave has a 'voice' and 'music' setting, and the manual clearly explains what both do ('music' is full bandwidth and 'voice' applies a bandpass filter that reduces bandwidth which may help make voice more audible and I found it to remove noise on very weak stations - the manual was very clear about all of this and how to use it!).
While I was disappointed with the speaker output this isn't a big deal breaker for me, because hey, it's a portable radio and I have my big hi-fi setup for when I'm not moving around. Before buying either of these I fully expected this and my plan was always to utilize the headphone outputs. I have quite a large collection of cans and in-ear-monitors and the idea was to use these radios on my commute, hiking, or around the house with headphones to not disturb others and get decent sound. Now, the shortfalls of EQing/tone-switch mentioned above with the Tecsun speaker carry over to the headphone output. On the other hand, moving over to the CC Skywave, the sound is really quite excellent. The only downfall I could point to is that the headphone amp does have a rather high noisefloor; there is a gentle hiss that can be heard if using isolating in-ear-monitors. Basically, the CC verged on sounding hi-fi!
Okay, onto the tuner performance. Again, operation for me was easier with the Skywave - I just found it more intuitive and only had to check the manual for special features. Starting with AM performance I found the Tecsun and the CC to be quite similar, with the Skywave having a slight edge in picking up stations, but I just did a quite test on a few stations; quite comparable. I know the PL-660 claims some fancy AM features but I don't see the proof in the pudding.
As for FM performance the Skyway did a great job picking up most stations I pickup with my McIntosh MR500 or my Sansui tuners, with their external antenna. It's truly impressive how well it picks up stations with that tiny whip antenna. And via headphones it can sound really really good for FM. Sadly the Tecsun was a disaster. I'm in SF and tuning into the classical station 90.3, which is a fringe reception station where I live is not problem on the CC Skywave - it's not perfect, but stereo and solid signal, albeit with a few artifacts. The Tecsun really couldn't even pick up the station at all. I never got stereo, and heard more of the Jazz station 1.5 MHz away, no matter which antenna gain setting I used. The Tecsun was able to pick up strong stations like 88.5 and the local jazz station in San Mateo. Even when tuned into a station with a strong signal the skywave had far fewer artifacts where as the Tecsun has significant distortion on parts of the music, even for strong signals. I was going between the two, using the headphone output, having both radios position in their optimum reception position. The CC Skywave did a better job across the board.
Another odd thing is that the Tecsun tuner as offset. For example, to tune into 98.100, the best reception was had at 98.140 (whereas the CC Skywave was spot on at 98.100). This doesn't sound like a lot, but the offset wasn't consistant across the spectrum. It's really quite annoying. A rather odd thing is that when using the automatic scanning the radio would stop at 98.100, thinking it is strongest reception, but 98.1 to 98.18 were fringe reception and 98.4 was center. Maybe my particular unit has a fault, but I swear I heard someone else saying something like this in a review on one of the HAM websites.
Next I tried the shortwave. I was able to pickup a couple of stations on each, and the reception was quite comparable (possible with the Skywave coming through slightly stronger). I did not apply external antennas and just used the whip antenna. i didn't play with the SSB feature of the Tecsun (the skywave doesn't have this). I was able to pickup Australia in the mornings loud and clear, but I wouldn't say the SW feature is strong with the standard antennas.
Moving over to AIR band, was tuned into SFO (120.5 MHz). The used two pairs of headphones, with one earbud from the Tecsun in my left ear, and an earbud coming from the CC Skywave in the other ear. No matter how I repositioned the devices I heard only part of the conversation on the Tecsun. With the Tecsun i only heard one party from time to time (tower?), while I could hear other parties on the Skywave. With the Tecsun it was like hearing one side of a phone call. The squelch feature on the skywave came in handy too.
The CC Skywave also have weather band which works find. I can pick up two channels from my place.
The Tecsun has a gain setting switch, which could conceivably help if you have two stations close together. If one was much stronger than the other you could get rid of the weaker station by turning to gain down. I played with this feature when doing my testing above and it didn't improve any of the issues I had with the Tecsun FM reception.
The Tecsun does have an antennas socket, that the Skywave doesn't. (but you can get similar antennas that clip onto the whip antenna). I didn't test this with the provide wire antenna. I wanted to just compare the portable radios with their whip antenna.
The Tecsun runs on 4x AA batteries, where as the skywave takes 2x AA batteries. i didn't compare lifetime. Both can charge if rechargable batteries are used. The Tecsun actually came with 4x rechargeable batteries and a switched-mode power supply. The CC Skywave came with no power supply of batteries in my package. However, this was on purpose in my case. While the Tecsun has only a regular circular DC socket, the Skywave has the option of a similar power supply, or using microusb (so I use my iphone charger and an appropriate cable, which I think is a much more elegant solution than carry an additional power supply). Both radios can recharge batteries internally.
Both also come with earbud style headphones. I didn't use either since I have a bunch of high quality earphones. What I can tell you is that the CC Skywave earphones look quite stylish, almost like some VMODA, where as the Tecsun are much more utilitarian (plain grey).
Perhaps my FM tuner issue is a fault, but given the much large size, and poor headphone output, I think the CC Skywave is drastically better on almost all fronts. I would love to hear any suggestions on portable tuners with even better headphone amps. I am returning the Tecsun, since I think it is not performing as advertised. I am keeping the Skywave and ordering another for my sister!
EDIT: still happy with this as of Sep 2017! Great little unit. Not sure I noted this, but the battery usage is really low and impressive too.
Well built for such a small receiver; the quality certainly went into the design before C Crane put their name on it
The tuning knob is tight and solid, with no "hash" sounds while adjusting frequencies
Keypad controls are also solid and very responsive to the touch
The bar tuning meter is very sensitive to signal strength
Performance on FM and SW is very good
Performance on AM is excellent, due to the built in ferrite bar antenna
Uses only two AA alkaline batteries, with an exceptional listed battery life of 60-70 hours
The weather band only receives two channels in my area; however this is adequate for my purposes
The whip antenna is only 16 inches fully extended; it seems to me the circuitry is excellent and greater sensitivity could have been obtained with a longer built in antenna.
The Air Band is new to me, but thus far, I have picked up very few transmissions and those were weak. I don't believe this is due to my location, since I am six miles from Morristown airport and 12 miles from Newark International.
Although the Skywave is listed at $90, as compared to the Tecsun PL-380 at $55, the extra cost is worth considering in terms of versatility, design and quality control that has gone into the manufacture of the C Crane Skywave.