The Madness Begins

Basketball Tournament BracketThis past Sunday was “Selection Sunday” which, for college basketball fans everywhere, means the madness is beginning. Whether you are an avid college basketball fan or you only watch/listen during this NCAA Men’s Basketball tournament time, the craziness that surrounds it is hard to ignore.

To say that people feel strongly about their favorite (or least favorite) college basketball team would be an understatement. This month ESPN has been running their 30 for 30 documentaries on legendary college basketball teams. One documentary was on the Michigan Fab 5 and another is on Duke’s team that had Christian Laettner and Grant Hill. In watching these you see that sales for Michigan merchandise during the Fab 5 went from something like 2 million to 10 million dollars. Someone actually wrote a book called “Duke sucks” because of how much they despise Christian Laettner and Duke basketball. This basketball fever is intense.

No matter if it’s because it’s your alma mater, it’s your family’s team or you just fell in love with the school, people just can’t get enough and the rivalries run deep. I was once told the reason people are so interested in basketball at this time of year is you just never know what’s going to happen. Single elimination. The upsets. The overtimes. The suspense. This is one of the most watched and wagered on annual sporting events in the United States and its continually growing. The crazy things are the odds. Check out this article on the odds of a perfect bracket – mind blowing but doesn’t stop us from filling one out!

If you’re like many of us and can’t watch because you work and your boss wouldn’t be thrilled at the prospect of you using all the company bandwidth on watching college basketball (not to mention the work you’re not doing….), you can still listen on the radio. It appears Westwood One has most of the rights to the actual games. ESPN Radio has a lot of coverage about the tournament but we didn’t find any games. I’m sure the local stations for the various participating (68) teams will have coverage of their games so find a bracket to see if your team is playing (better yet, fill one out in the many, many bracket contests and maybe win something :)) and tune in to listen.

In the spirit of competition, we are hosting our own competition. Tell us your favorite sports radio moment (it doesn’t have to be basketball related) and you’ll be entered to win a CC Pocket Radio. The more detail the better. Limited to one entry per person. The winner will be announced April 7th.

Also if you find any additional resources for listening to the games – let us know.

A Secret Garden of Music

secretgardenofmusic“Music gives a soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination and life to everything.” ― Plato.

Almost everyone perks up and starts a private inside dance, (or perhaps an evocation of sadness) when they hear a treasured song from their youth. The fact is we are all happy servants to the songs we grew up to. As far as I know, this human peculiarity spans every generation, state, country, continent and probably planet. Don’t feel the least bit slighted when you find out your music is not regarded as the “best ever recorded!”. My wife loves our CC Wifi time machine and says “It gives me the ability to go back in time and listen to something that was (or is) incredibly enjoyable. Good memories!”

Our music palette is not always as limited as I have portrayed. Most people respond to various music genres outside a personal world but may not have had the time or opportunity to learn more about it. As we mature, I think there is a combination of all music we have ever experienced, that leads us to a different kind of music enjoyment potential. I have never seen this theory in a scholarly paper but I firmly believe it is true for at least a large percentage of fellow humans.

How Do I Know? 

I still have affection for and was fortunate enough to see the Beatles and Jimi Hendrix live, among other big name groups. While very talented, I did not think the Rolling Stones or Cream had the same level of creativity. I also liked Buffalos Springfield and the Moody Blues and don’t know exactly why. I became apathetic to music in the late 70’s as it became more commercial. I found a chunk of heaven during that time when I ran across KFAT FM radio out of Gilroy (R rated). I had a disdain for modern country but I grew to love the much older country music (Hank Williams Sr.) and funny modern country they played. Back then 10% of a young Silicon Valley wore KFAT T-shirts and called each other Fat Heads! You can listen to the original broadcasts at KFAT.com including old commercials (you will have to download a player).

OK, What is available?

Beatles 101 RU from Russia:  If you love the Beatles you can hear a considerable amount of their music and off takes that you have never heard before. The Beatles played heavily in Germany and Russia while they were learning and it was recorded! I am not sure today how these stations are able to play these cuts legally.

Rock and Roll 101 RU from Russia:  Cuts are played from popular and/or obscure great artists but I have never heard most of them before. It is quite obvious someone in Russia knows and loves foundational American rock more than many Americans. The sheer quantity and variety of quality music from Russia on the CC Wifi is astounding. If you like classical music you are in for a quite a great ride!

Camara 95.9 from Columbia. This Spanish station plays very high quality music of tremendous variety.

Polka Heaven 24/7:  Yes, after a few hours of listening it becomes obvious the Polka music is recorded to produce pure fun and joy. My mother loves it and can’t stop being happy when she comes over.

Another favorite is African music. The best I’d found was streamed from Germany and disappeared one day and has never come back. See a tiny selection of African spirit music by searching YouTube for Kids of Sitya loss or see Simon and Garfunkle Call me Al Zimbabwe.

I love Cajun music as well but my favorite station disappeared around the time they started enforcing licensing fees. I like cuts from highly skilled musicians that have experience doing live concerts. Please let us know if you find any good stations like this.

Why is it secret/hidden?

Many Internet radio stations are not easily discovered, or do not play reliably from your smart phone or computer. You may find that true with a few of the stations listed above. I have the most success with the CC Wifi but there are a few other internet radios on the market as good or better. The CC WiFi plays the content from one of the original stream aggregators. I know at one point they had unique relationships with many stations and streamers worldwide. The ability to inquisitively play a station by country or genre works best for me.

I recommend you amplify the CC Wifi with a sound system or amplified speakers with generous bass response. The stream quality varies from bad to excellent so you don’t need the finest audio system to discover great new music.

Daylight Savings Time Begins this Sunday

This Sunday, March 8th, 2015 at 2:00am time springs forward 1 hour so don’t forget to turn your clocks ahead.

The main purpose for Daylight Saving Time or “Summer Time” is to make better use of the daylight. Something we may all wonder is why do we still observer Daylight Saving Time. Besides having more daylight to play and enjoy the sunshine, we get more done. By advancing the clock ahead an hour we benefit retail venues, sports games and other activities that utilize the sunlight after daytime work hours. However, the US Department of Transportation says the number one reason we still observer Daylight Saving Time is for the conservation of energy. A study showed that DST lowers the entire countries energy consumption during the spring and summer months. Another great added benefit to enjoying the sunshine!

So remember, this Sunday, March 8th, make sure to spring your clocks forward an hour. If you have a radio with an atomic clock and you are east of Colorado, put your radio in a western-facing window for 24-48 hours. If you are west of Colorado put your radio in an eastern-facing window.

If you have any questions about changing the clock on your C. Crane Radio, please call us during our technical support hours, M-F 9:00am-5:00pm (PST) at 800-522-8863.

And the winner of the CC Skywave Radio is…

© Frankljunior | Dreamstime.com - Air Traffic Control Tower And An Airplane Photo

© Frankljunior | Dreamstime.com – Air Traffic Control Tower And An Airplane Photo

Thank you all for your participation in our What is Airband (Aviation Band) on a Radio? blog post. There were a lot of wonderful comments and stories submitted. So many that we wish we had time for honorable mentions. Thank you all! If you didn’t have a chance to read some of the comments, we highly recommend taking a peek :)

We won’t leave you hanging any longer…. and the winner of What is Airband (Aviation Band) on a Radio? Tell us your best airline story isKathleen B Amptmann! Kathleen will receive the CC Skywave Radio

Wahoo Kathleen! Thank you for your great and entertaining story. It had everyone here at C. Crane in both stitches and ready to heave :) It was fantastic, thank you!

Kathleen B Amptmann Says:

‘I was a 20 year old “Stewardess” back when Ozark Airlines was still flying. On one of my first flights (only 1 cabin crew per flight), working the DC3, a nice elderly man pushed the overhead help button for the second time. I had retrieved a sick bag from him earlier in the flight.
When flying in the old DC3 prop planes there were always more than a few sick bags to be collected. Procedure was to store them back in the “blue room” for the ground service folks to remove on the next stop. I guessed the gentleman had another bag for me to stow. This leg of the trip had been rough & there were about 8 other such bags lined up against the wall. When I got to the mans seat I had to lean down to hear what he was saying. When it dawned on me what his request was I almost reached for my own bag. Seems he had accidentally lost his false teeth into the bag I had already picked up. He needed his teeth & wanted me to check his bag & bring them back to him!
I explained that would be difficult as he wasn’t the only one who was airsick! He understood my dilemma. Fortunately he agreed to check the bags if I brought them to him, 2 at a time!
I felt sorry about his mishap but lucky for him, he located them in the 4th bag…it could have been worse! To this day, every time I remember this event I smile & then go wash my hands!’

Earbud Safety -How to Prevent Ear Damage

EarbudsWith so many portable audio devices available these days, an increasing number of us have begun using earphones on a daily basis. Earphones, or earbuds, offer many desirable benefits ranging from convenient portability, to greater external noise isolation. Everywhere, people can be seen walking around with those tell-tale cords dangling from their ears; this is a true testament to our love of music and audio.

However, an indirect effect of this habit is the possibility of damaging your ears, lessening your ability to hear. Damaging your hearing in this way is referred to as Noise-Induced Hearing Loss (NIHL). Since we need our ears to continue enjoying audio, it is crucial to follow safety precautions when using earphones.

Two of the main factors which contribute to hearing damage/loss are sound levels and duration.

Loud sounds can damage your ears! Typically, any sound louder than 85 decibels (dB) is considered dangerous to your hearing. Sounds levels above 120dB may cause pain. When using earbuds, the audio is transmitted directly to your ear canal. This close proximity reduces the amount of sound that escapes, thus increasing the loudness. Unfortunately, many people make the common mistake of increasing their earphone volume in an attempt to get better sound, or to block out external noise. If your ears are routinely subjected to loud noise for extended periods of time, they begin to adapt. This adaptation may lead people to further increase the audio of what they are listening to and risk damage to their hearing.

The amount of time spent listening with earbuds or earphones also increases the risk of hearing damage and/or loss. Brief exposure to a 90dB sound may not damage your hearing, but if your ears are exposed for extended durations, there is a definite risk. In fact, if you were to listen to the 90dB sound for three hours, you could cause the same damage as a 150dB, 30 second sound blast. 150dB is the average sound level of a shotgun! So if a person is already using their earbuds at a level greater than 85dB and they are doing so for extended periods of time, there is a very high risk of permanent noise-induced hearing loss. Remember, the louder the sound, the shorter the duration of safe listening.

Volumelevels

To understand how loud sounds damage your ability to hear, we must first understand how our ears function. Please see the diagram below.

EarDiagram

Sound reaching the outer ear is funneled through the canal to ear drum. The sound causes the eardrum to vibrate, which in turn causes the malleus (mallet), incus (anvil), and stapes (stirrup) to also vibrate. The vibration of these three bones has an amplifying effect on the sound. The amplified sound is then transmitted to the fluid-filled cochlea. As the fluid in the cochlea vibrates, traveling waves are formed. Small sensory “hair” cells located on a membrane of the cochlea move with the motion of the traveling waves. This causes them to be pushed against an adjacent membrane. When these sensory “hairs” are agitated in this way, they are able to accept an inrush of chemicals which cause an electric signal to be generated. The auditory nerve transmits the electric signal to the brain.

Noise-Induced Hearing Loss occurs when loud sounds cause molecules to form in the ear which damage the small sensory cells. When the destruction of the sensory cells reaches a certain point, the damage can be irreversible, and the hearing loss may be permanent! Loud sounds can also damage the auditory nerve. Young, developing children are at especially high risk, so special attention should be given to developing and encouraging precautionary behavior in kids.

How to Prevent Damage to your Ears

Solution:

The best way to avoid Noise-Induced Hearing Loss is to keep your audio below 85dB and avoid prolonged use. Many people don’t exactly know how loud 85dB is. Vacuum cleaners, noisy restaurants, and New York City traffic have all been rated right around 85dB and are great examples. Your listening habits are yours to determine. Some people use the 60/60 rule: 60% volume for no more than 60 minutes per day. However, that may be a bit loud depending on the volume settings of your audio player. It is good to arrange safe habits around your listening schedule. For example, if you listen to audio while running for hours, keep your volume down around 30%. If you want to rock out to that really heavy song, feel free to turn it up to 50% volume, just make sure you’re not listening to the super-long, extended version! A good rule of thumb is, if you think your volume is perfect; turn it down just a bit.

A good set of high quality, well designed earphones can have a great impact on minimizing the risk of NIHL. Better quality drivers offering high-fidelity sound provide better audio, which requires less volume to get an improved listening experience. Some really nice earbuds are designed to fit into your ear instead of simply hanging on the outer ear. This puts the audio closer to your eardrum, decreasing the amount of necessary volume. Sound-isolation features are another component to look for in a good set of earphones. Poor quality earbuds often offer little or no sound isolation. This allows more external noise to interfere with the audio you’re trying to listen to, which causes many people to increase the volume beyond safe levels. There are also some really innovative people out there currently creating some incredible technology aimed at reducing and/or eliminating the harmful effects of earbud listening.

Earbuds are great options for portable audio enjoyment. By following a few precautionary guidelines, and using a high quality set of earbuds, you’ll be able to enjoy your favorite audio for years to come.

For more information on keeping your ears safe, please check out the links listed below.

Decibel Exposure Time Guidelines by DangerousDecibels.org

Earbud Safety and Hearing Loss Prevention by Ear-Buds.org

Noise and Hearing Loss Prevention by CDC.gov

Posted in Blog. 3 Comments »

The Reviews Are In

We thought you might like to see what others are saying about the CC Skywave. It’s one thing when we tell you what we think, but it’s a whole different story when customers and media give you their feedback. Below are a few highlights.

Customer Reviews:

The Ultimate Travel Radio

After putting this radio through all the paces, I am convinced that its quite possibly the ultimate travel radio! I am particularly impressed with the performance of the AM and SW bands. And I really appreciate the precision offered with the thumbwheel volume control, as well. Thanks for another great product, my 6th purchase from CCrane. I have yet to be disappointed!

By H Alexander, Franklin, TN

Love my new CC Skywave!

I absolutely love my new CC Skywave radio. I own several CC radios including the CC Radio2, Observer and SW Pocket. Although l really have enjoyed my SWP, the Skywave has made several improvements on the SWP design. The rotary volume knob and adding Airband frequencies to name a few. I work in aviation so I really love being able to scan the Airband and save them to memory. I was able to pull in a couple of nearby airports in my area right from my house. The ATS function is also handy as well especially for shortwave. Speaking of shortwave, what a great performer for such a little radio. Just sitting in my living room, downstairs…. I was able to pull in at least 10 SW stations. CC Radio has made another outstanding product and it is perfect for travel. I take my SWP on all my hikes and campouts and I will now be taking along my Skywave. A lot of radio and versatility in one great little package. Great job CC RADIO!!!!
By MB
PLEASANTON, CA

You can view more reviews on our website or on Amazon.com

Media Reviews:
about-techCC Skywave Radio – Portable and Powerful
The CC Skywave Radio continues the quality I have seen from C. Crane and when you’re buying a radio like this, for outdoor or emergency use, it’s important to know that your investment is appropriate. I already have a crank-radio for emergencies but, I’m adding the CC Skywave to my readiness supplies because it makes sense to have this more powerful, yet lightweight resource.
By Corey Deitz
Radio Expert
About Tech

Review of the CC Skywave Portable Radio
…all in all, the CC Skywave is a excellent little radio. Indeed, in terms of the ultra-compact portable market (models like I included in a recent shoot-out), I think it’s one of the best surprise performers I’ve seen in the past couple of years.
The SWLing Post

C. Crane CC Skywave
radio-jay-allen

The CC Skywave Radio is a fun radio to own and use. Its combination of great performance, ease of use, small size plus the inclusion of Weather and Air bands in addition to AM/FM/SW make it an unusually useful traveling companion. Highly recommended!
RadioJayAllen

Tell us your favorite feature on the CC Skywave.

What is Airband (Aviation Band) on a Radio?

© Frankljunior | Dreamstime.com - Air Traffic Control Tower And An Airplane Photo

© Frankljunior | Dreamstime.com – Air Traffic Control Tower And An Airplane Photo

This has become a popular question with our new CC Skywave™.

According to Wikipedia, Airband, also referred to as Aircraft or Aviation band, is a group of frequencies in the VHF radio spectrum that are allocated to civil aviation radio communications. VHF is a short range, line of site transmission. Our radio covers 118 – 137MHz for Airband. In most countries a license is required to operate airband equipment but that appears to apply only to transceivers, not receivers. In some countries it is illegal to listen to or monitor the Airband without authorization (even in the UK).

The language that is used to communicate on this band can be a challenge to follow. Ken Hoke’s article on Stuff Pilots Say, gives some great insight into the meaning of the seemingly cryptic language used on Airband.

The primary purpose of Air traffic control worldwide is to prevent collisions, organize and expedite the flow of traffic, and provide information and other support for pilots. It was difficult to find any “history” of airband but it appears that it was first used extensively after World War I and after 1921 at Croydon airport in London. Navigation and air traffic control have changed over time and many areas use higher frequencies and RADAR and other more sophisticated systems. The Airband radio frequencies still continue to play a part though, especially in ground communication with pilots. It is used almost exclusively in small airports that don’t have control towers. We have one customer who plans to use the CC Skywave for monitoring the ground to pilot communication at the local air races.

As to why we decided to include Airband in our radio? Here is Bob’s answer:

“When you are in a big airport you are sometimes subject to the whims of security and circumstance. TSA does a great job but when the process gets a little tense I yearn for more information. I want to know everything that will affect my tiny domain. When you listen to aviation band you can usually figure out more by reading between the lines on what pilots and the control tower are talking about. Sometimes you gain a sense of power and wisdom as you do with any knowledge.”

For more information on what you might hear or how to listen, visit the links below.

http://radio-scanner-guide.com/radioscannerguidepart3c-civilaircraft.htm

http://www.wikihow.com/Listen-to-Your-Local-Air-Traffic-Control

Tell us your best airline story to be entered to win a CC Skywave. One entry per person. Winner will be drawn on February 27th.

Insider Insights on the CC Skywave

CC-SKYWAVE_frontWhen traveling I find radio infinitely more satisfying than watching hotel room TV. Hotel radios rarely work at all on AM and figuring out how to run them could be entertaining but I am usually much too tired to find humor in it. Placing the Skywave near or on a window sill always produces acceptable results.

Discovering a good small travel radio can be difficult. Reception and audio are sometimes sub-par because of the small size. The keys and knob can also be difficult to operate (especially at night) for the same reason. We made the Skywave with usability in mind rather than features for “features” sake. Performance is good enough to gain my vote over a $300.00 radio I once traveled with. The only accessory you might want is a Portable Shortwave antenna depending on where you are traveling.

The Skywave is small enough for a trip anywhere in the world. It is easily switched to another country’s format. Two AA batteries last an amazing 70 hours. I love the Skywave for how easy it is to use at night.

All travelers eventually get delayed at an airport. The air band can be a real informer when traveling. The cryptic language used by pilots and air traffic control is very interesting. The word “heavy” is used for an aircraft on approach that is over 300,000 pounds and generates substantial wake turbulence. One time I heard our latest gate number change over the air and my wife and I got to sit in real chairs for the first time in four hours.

When traveling you need a radio to fit into a crevice of a carry on. Having one with top performance makes it wonderful.

The Importance of Radio When the Weather Turns

fortunaflooding

Fortuna Blvd. Flooding February 6th 2015

As we were all sitting around at lunch chatting, listening to the scanners go off and occasionally tuning into the weather channel on a radio, we realized again how important radio is. Facebook is great for seeing the pictures, but the scanner told us ahead of time which roads to avoid today because they were closed due to flooding, accidents, downed power lines and more. The local radio has been great about keeping people updated as well. And when push comes to shove, it’s consistently local radio that is there to help organize relief efforts. There is no question that the internet can be a powerful vehicle for community support, action and fundraising but when everything is down the one thing that continues to work is radio. We’d love to sell you a radio, especially one with the weather band, but even if you don’t buy one from us, make sure you have a radio and batteries. If you have an emergency radio, especially one with rechargeable batteries, make sure you charge it up at least every 6 months to keep everything in proper working order. If you have one that only works with alkaline batteries, be sure to change those batteries at least once per year. Also necessary are LED flashlights. We’ve written quite a few blog posts about preparedness but with all the recent storms, snow, flooding and don’t forget fires and earthquakes – we’re continually reminded to make this a priority.

Here’s our lovely town today

https://www.facebook.com/video.php?v=10153617999356982

http://lostcoastoutpost.com/2015/feb/6/chaos-roadways-slippery-friday-morning-roundup/

Nearby in Ferndale where some of our employees live

ferndalflodded

Super Bowl Game – How and Where You Can Listen

If television iSuper Bowl XLIXs not on your agenda for Sunday, you can still find a way to listen to Super Bowl XLIX.

Ideally, your local AM and FM stations should have the game available. Your favorite local personality may even have commentary on the big game with highlights and play by plays that differ from what’s broadcast on television. For your convenience, Westwood One (a radio syndication company) put together a station finder that will be offering the broadcast.

Local radio will not be the only ones hosting the game. Internet radio will also have a plethora of Super Bowl commentary available. For example ESPN Radio will have broadcasts all week, Super Week Live. These will include greats like Mike & Mike, The Herd and Dan Le Batard (link for each host). These will be commentary and not actual game broadcasts, due to licensing rights. It will be difficult to find a streaming version of the game outside of Westwood One.

You may also be able to find a stream here at Freefootballradio.com

Additional radio coverage that will likely include a variety of pre-game and post-game shows can be found for the New England Patriots and Seattle Seahawks.

Here are some great game day recipes (we know you must be hungry now :)

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 263 other followers