C. Crane’s Been Busy!

C. Crane took a short blogging break to work on exciting new radio and audio projects. We sure do feel like hard working elves in our tech shop but the work pays off. Here’s a look at what we’ve been up too.

cc-wifi-2-BLK-MER2-300-1500 (1)

The CC WiFi 2 with remote, in Black


CC WiFi 2 with remote, in Cherry

The new WiFi Internet Radio; the CC WiFi 2 was released in October. This radio took us some time. We wanted to create a WiFi radio that was both aesthetically pleasing and functional. The CC WiFi 2 uses TuneIn and is app based driven. There are thousands of stations available and hundreds of hosts to listen to, so that aspect of WiFi Radio hasn’t changed. WiFi radio still requires a broadband internet connection but the CC WiFi 2 has a built in FM tuner to receive local FM stations. We integrated Bluetooth® into the WiFi 2 so you can play your Bluetooth® devices like your smartphone or tablet through the radio’s speaker. We also include a full size remote control for easy access. The CC WiFi Radio 2 comes in black or Cherry finish.


CC Skywave

CC Skywave

The CC Skywave project has also been completed and is on the way now. The CC Skywave is a small, travel size radio that has AM, FM, Shorwave, Weather and Aviation. The Aviation band allows you to listen in to nearby air traffic controllers. This radio is the ultimate travel radio. The reception and audio is remarkable for the radio’s small size and the operation is straight forward and easy to understand. It took us a while to make sure it met our standards, but it was worth the wait.

New projects continue to be in the works for all of you C. Crane fans and we can’t wait to share them with you.

How To Make a Simple Powerful AM Loop Antenna For Free

AM-loop-3There are few truly magical things in this world that are practically free.
This DIY AM antenna is best used outdoors but you can make it work inside by somehow re-routing the wires. It amplifies all weak AM signals, so a powerful local station might be heard over your entire AM radio dial.

Here is what you need:

• 100′ or more of any type of insulated wire you can easily work with
• Twist or Zip ties or tape to hold the shape of the coil
• (2) alligator clips (available at most electronics stores)
• (1) three or four foot ground stake (any metal stake or 1/2″ diameter or greater pipe)
• (1) adjustable pipe clamp that fits around your metal stake

1. Form a three inch coil with seven turns. Secure into a round shape with ties or tape. The attached alligator clip shown below will be connected to no less than 60′ of your antenna wire. Generally the longer the antenna wire the better so if you have a 100′ antenna wire, that’s good.

2. The other end (not shown) of the coil will go to the ground stake so leave enough wire. The ground stake can be driven into a convenient and safe place nearby.

3. For maximum reception, stretch the antenna wire out perpendicular to the station you want to listen to. That means if you draw a make-believe line toward the station, you want to lay the antenna wire out 90 degrees to that imaginary line. You can mount the wire at any height, but consider eight feet for safety.

4. Bare the end of the antenna wire (I use a knife or diagonal pliers) and clip it to the coil. You really don’t need the alligator clips, but it is much more reliable than twisting wire together.

5. Our antenna did not work on the pipe we used until we sanded the rust away on a small section under the clamp. What you can’t see is that the dirt is damp. This is also important to make the ground work. If you have bone dry soil you may have to dump quite a bit of water on the dirt to make the soil more conductive. Clip the wire to the clamp.

6. Grand Magic Test: Tune your radio to a very weak station. You don’t need a signal meter but it is fun to watch it register the gain. Move the coil near the radio until you hear the station improve. You don’t actually attach this antenna to the radio. The coil intensifies the signal which is inductively picked up by the ferrite antenna inside the radio. A 1400 KHz station in our area went from “no discernible signal” to “full power”. Please let us know of your successes or failures so fellow listeners can benefit from your experiences.

You can experiment with the diameter of the coil, the number of turns and the length of antenna wire you use. If you want to see some other great AM antennas try searching am loop antenna DIY. We would love it if you send a comment and/or picture that we can post.

This antenna works great on the AM band because of the properties of these frequencies. Loop antennas can work on other frequencies also but need some modification because of the frequency property differences. There are probably some discoveries to be made in the future with loop antenna research.

If you’re not interested in building your own antenna, then C. Crane has one of the most powerful, patented AM antennas available; The Twin Coil Ferrite® AM Antenna Signal Booster.

As always, we value your opinion and encourage questions. Please feel free to contact us or leave a comment.





Radio Recording

Recording your favorite radio program or music may seem like a challenge but really it’s quite simple. Here you’ll read why recording live radio and music is so convenient and we’ll offer suggestions of possible recording devices that may work for you.

Why would someone want to record a live radio program or music?

If you enjoy listening to a radio program daily but don’t have time to listen live or stay up late to catch it, you can record the program and play it back at your convenience. It’s free and subscription is not required.
Purchasing music can be expensive. Recording music can be free! If you listen to music from a computer or from an internet radio you can record and play back whenever you like. This is an easy solution to getting music that can be costly.

What will you need to record live radio or music?

Picking the right device to record and for playback is important. Here are a few questions you may want to ask yourself when making the decision.

CC Witness PlusWill you need a portable device?

Having a portable recording device is convenient because sometimes you just need to record your favorite program, song or interview on the fly. Also, your music or radio program is available to listen to at any time whether in your car, on a walk or jog or even when waiting in a line at the grocery store. We suggest the CC Witness Plus. It is small, light-weight, runs on a battery pack, has built in microphones, AM/FM radio and can go anywhere with you. It also has a built in 2GB memory card and the ability to add additional memory. Patch cords are included.

Sangean DAR101Will you need a stationary device?

A stationary recording device is normally much larger. It’s considered “table size” and can even be compared to the classic tape recorder. Most stationary devices are supplied with electric cords and have the ability to run on batteries. They have larger display screens and an easier menu to read. The buttons are larger for simple recording and playback. The speaker is also larger which makes for better sound quality.
We suggest the Sangean DAR 101 Digital Recorder. It is considered a stationary recording and playback device that has a large and legible display screen, built in microphones and a high quality speaker.
It can be powered by either batteries or a power cord. There is no built in memory but it uses a standard SD card of any brand and size. The Sangean Dar 101 does not have a radio built in but will connect to most AM/FM radios, a computer or audio device you would like to record from. A patch cord to record from other devices is necessary and is not included.

Will you need something that is both portable and stationary?

Sangean PRD8Having both a portable and stationary recording device may be necessary for the recording aficionado. We suggest the Sangean PRD8 for this purpose. It’s portable and comes with an electric cord or runs on batteries, records from the built in AM/FM radio or the built in microphone and can connect to other devices. There is no built in memory and requires a standard SD card of any brand or size. A patch cord to record from other devices is necessary and is not included.

You’ll never be able to live without your digital recorder and player

Recording live radio and music is no longer a challenge with digital recording devices and playback is simple and very convenient. Missing your favorite show or song is practically impossible now.

We want to hear about your experience with digital recording and also any questions you may have. Please feel free to leave us a comment or contact us.


Happy 4th of July from the C. Crane Family

Happy 4th of July

Happy 4th of July

The Fourth of July is a day for fun, sun and the kickoff of summer. Flags are raised; the smell of barbeque permeates the neighborhoods, the tunes are flowing and fireworks light the night sky with beauty.

The Fourth of July in the U.S. is just more than a regular day. It’s a day we reflect on our own personal independence and the day we celebrate the birth of the United States of America as an independent nation.

But did you know that July 4th, 1776 was not the actual day the Continental Congress decided to declare independence? That was done on July 2, 1776. And did you know that Thomas Jefferson didn’t write the first draft for the Declaration of Independence on July 4th, 1776? That was done in April of 1776. And it wasn’t really signed until August 2nd, 1776.

What really happened on the 4th of July in 1776 was the approval and final wording of the Declaration of Independence by the Continental Congress and the date the original copies of the Declaration of Independence were circulated throughout the new nation.

We found a great article with more details about why we celebrate Independence Day here.

Radio plays an important role on the 4th of July. Whether you’re listening to your favorite tunes while boogieing down at the block party or tuning into an annual program dedicated especially to the Fourth of July, you will find valuable content on the radio this holiday. CBS will be broadcasting the live pre-show reports from the Macy’s 4th of July Firework Spectacular in New York on WINS 1010. If you don’t live in New York but want to hear the show, you can check it out on a CC WiFi Internet radio. Find out more 4th of July radio program info here and what’s going on in different parts of the US.

So while you’re enjoying the day, try to reflect on the true reason we celebrate Independence Day and take a moment to appreciate our freedom.

We want to know… What does Independence Day mean to you?

Flashback Friday- Summer Vacation

Summer Vacation is a time to make memories, be with family and friends and soak up much needed relaxation time. At C. Crane, we are fortunate enough to take vacation to spend time with family and friends.
Some of us decided to share our past vacation experiences to show what we do when we are away from the office.

Top and middle left: Sue and her Sweetie Scott at the Hoover Dam and Grand Canyon. Top right: Tara, her youngest son Bailey in the white shirt, Bailey’s best friend Preston, her oldest son Derek is next to Tara and her husband Sage at Six Flags Discovery Kingdom in 2012. Middle left: Edgar on his trip to Disney World in Florida when his son Joey was 5.  He had gone to Florida to attend a conference and his family met him in Orlando after his conference was over. Middle: Kim with her husband Gene fishing on the river in Northern California. Right middle top: Edgar with his Family on their first trip to Acapulco, Mexico when his son Joey was about 4 years old.  Here they are Mexico City in front of the statue of Pope John Paul II at the Lady of Guadalupe Cathedral in Mexico City. Middle Right: Carolyn, 9 years old in Denmark, Summer of 1974. Bottom Left: Katie and her husband Dave on Pier 39 in San Francisco. Bottom middle: Jessyca M at the pool on summer vacation in Disneyland in Los Angeles, CA. 1991. And camping at Lake Mendocino in Northern California in 1992. Bottom Left: Carolyn at 10 years old, packed and ready for Summer Camp in 1975.

Top and middle left: Sue and her Sweetie Scott at the Hoover Dam and Grand Canyon. Top right: Tara, her youngest son Bailey in the white shirt, Bailey’s best friend Preston, her oldest son Derek is next to Tara and her husband Sage at Six Flags Discovery Kingdom in 2012. Middle left: Edgar on his trip to Disney World in Florida when his son Joey was 5. He had gone to Florida to attend a conference and his family met him in Orlando after his conference was over. Middle: Kim with her husband Gene fishing on the river in Northern California. Right middle top: Edgar with his Family on their first trip to Acapulco, Mexico when his son Joey was about 4 years old. Here they are Mexico City in front of the statue of Pope John Paul II at the Lady of Guadalupe Cathedral in Mexico City. Middle Right: Carolyn, 9 years old in Denmark, Summer of 1974. Bottom Left: Katie and her husband Dave on Pier 39 in San Francisco. Bottom middle: Jessyca M at the pool on summer vacation in Disneyland in Los Angeles, CA. 1991. And camping at Lake Mendocino in Northern California in 1992. Bottom Left: Carolyn at 10 years old, packed and ready for Summer Camp in 1975.

Buying the Right Radio For You

CC Radio-2 Enhanced

CC Radio-2 Enhanced

Radios come in all shapes and sizes and with so many different features and configurations available it can be tough finding the one built to satisfy your needs. Whether you want a pocket radio for your daily jog, a portable radio for your next camping trip or one that will be the focal piece of your home entertainment center, we’re going to lay out the details on what to look for in your perfect match.

Size Matters

If you are an avid broadcast radio listener, you will want the best reception possible. In general, bigger means better. The more space a radio has inside for a bigger antenna, the more stations you will find and at a much greater distance. If you’re going on a 3-mile day-trek in the woods, you’re not going to want a massive communications receiver in your backpack. Conversely, you’ll probably need more than something with a 2-inch speaker to fill your living room with quality audio.

Trying to group all radios together in their own separate categories is a daunting task in itself, so we will narrow our field to three general sizes. Those will include:

Pocket Radios
Portable Radios
• Table-top Radios

The first choice is for people on the move or someone with very limited space. Pocket radios can be as big as a paperback book or as small as a wristwatch. As the radio gets smaller, a sacrifice has to be made for features and functionality. You probably won’t find too many good quality pocket-sized units with a full-function keypad or a high definition color display. They exist, but they cost as much and sometimes more than the bigger radios.

The next category is what can be called the “middle ground”. Portable radios can range from something you can comfortably toss into your purse all the way up to massive “boom boxes”. Anything that can be run on batteries and you are willing to carry with you to where you’re going can be considered portable. This group also has some of the best reception capabilities available due to their ability to be adjusted easily. They are, in simple terms, the best of both worlds.

The third group contains the work horses of consumer radios. Devices that would fall into the table-top category have all the bells and whistles anyone could ever want and even some nobody will ever need. They plug directly into the wall for their power and have extra connections for external antennas, speakers, controllers and accessories. They come with remote controls, multi-line digital displays, built-in keypads and multiple dials for every function available. Some even come with connections for hooking up to a home computer for added flexibility. These are where you will probably spend the greatest amount of money due to their complexity, but since their capabilities are far more advanced, you’ll be getting what you paid for and more.
The fact that some portables can be used as table-top radios gives them a great advantage when searching for the right one. You could leave it plugged into the wall for daily (or nightly) use, but you could then take it to the back yard for a family cookout.

Location, Location, Location

Where the radio will ultimately live and find its heaviest usage is a massive factor in choosing its size, function and capabilities. Many of the larger radios wouldn’t be able to sit comfortably on your bedside stand, so we’ll start by finding where you’re going to use the radio most. Once you have a better idea of where the radio will be, you can then make a more informed decision on the radio you want.

Most companies will have the dimensions of the radio either right on the box or at least detailed somewhere on their website. This will give you a chance to see if it really will fit on your side stand or that little shelf in the bathroom where your wife keeps the potpourri.

What’s The Frequency, Kenneth?

Some research into which features you need will be necessary. So many different features exist, though, that this one may be the most intimidating task of all. Start with the major broadcast bands you will be tuning in, such as:

AM (Amplitude Modulation)
FM (Frequency Modulation)
Weather (162.400 MHz to 162.550 MHz)
Shortwave (1.8 MHz – 30 MHz)
Includes the popular 10-meter band
Marine VHF Band
Amateur and Citizen’s Band
Ham Bands
• Digital or WiFi radio reception

As you look through the specifications of a particular radio, it may have only one band, just a few or a huge selection of them. You’ll likely never find a radio that contains all the bands, so choosing which you will use most and focusing on those few will narrow your search to a much smarter selection.

Function Over Form

Bells and whistles, knobs and buttons, colors, shapes and styles. We all want radios for specific listening reasons, but how you make it get to where it’s supposed to be can run the gamut of combinations.
• Clock
Alarm function
Sleep timer function
• Memory presets
• Auto Scan
• Built-in Speaker
• Headphone and/or Line-level output Jack
• Antenna Jack
• Direct input keypads
• Internal or external antenna
Jack for outdoor antenna access
• Tone controls
• Battery or AC power
• Remote control

The amount of functions you want in a radio will depend greatly on its size. Many smaller radios sacrifice external controls or an external speaker for higher audio quality or a larger antenna.

Analog v. Digital: A New Challenger

Even though they are relatively new technology, digital streaming radios, also more commonly known as internet or WiFi radios, are quickly becoming more popular, especially with younger, more tech savvy users. Streaming media can be found all across the internet, and people are discovering that these streams are much clearer and easier to listen to than the radios of yesteryear.

The chances are better and better as time progresses that the station you listen to is already streaming their broadcast on the internet, so it doesn’t matter that you’re in your concrete basement workshop that gets horrible reception. Anywhere you can receive an internet connection, whether wired or wireless, is where you can put these digital streaming radios. Some models will only get internet streams while others can connect to a home media server and play your own personal music collection.

They may not be exactly what you’re looking for right at this point in time, but a quality media streaming device could very well take the place of your favorite radio in the very near future.

You’re Gonna Pay for That

Setting a budget for a new radio isn’t unheard of today, what with the multitude of different radios available. Do you want to spend just enough to get a couple of the features you need, or go all out and get your dream rig all at once? It’s worth working out what your budget is before you even start looking so that you can narrow your choices before spending money on something you don’t really like. Radios with a lower price tag will usually have fewer features, and sound quality will be diminished when compared to larger, more expensive units.

You may even want to include a little extra in the budget for accessories like headphones, cases, antennas, AC adapters or batteries depending on which type you’re looking for. The perfect radio would already come with all the accessories you need, but the perfect package doesn’t always exist, so we have to plan ahead to get the biggest benefit.

Don’t Panic!

Everyone has experienced some type of emergency situation where communication with the outside world has been severed by one method or another. Tornadoes, hurricanes, earthquakes, flooding and other natural disasters happen no matter where you are, so being able to get information before, during and after these events is critical for the survival of you and your family.

Emergency radios can save your life. You won’t always have access to electricity, and they fill the communications gap when all other power is out. They have multiple power choices, such as alkaline or rechargeable batteries, crank generators, 12-volt adapters (for use in vehicles) and, more recently, built-in solar panels. They will generally have your standard AM/FM radio bands, but what really sets them apart is the weather band. Broadcasts on the NOAA weather frequencies keep you abreast of news and critical information regarding your immediate location and surrounding areas.


Finding the right radio for you may seem intimidating, but it doesn’t have to be. Once you know where and how your new radio will be used, as well as what you will ultimately be listening to the most, you can begin to find out just which radio will fit the bill the best. Also, it never hurts to ask for assistance. The staff at C. Crane have decades of accumulated and combined knowledge regarding radio in all its forms. If you’re stuck, give us a call. We are here to assist you with any questions you may have.


Super USB WiFi Antenna 3- It’s easy to install!

The Super USB WiFi Antenna 3 may seem a bit intimidating to install but really, it is quite simple. We created informative videos to better represent the Super USB WiFi Antenna 3 and how easy it is to set up. Before you know it, you’ll be connected to the WiFi hotspot and cruising your favorite websites.

As always, please feel free to contact us with any questions and we appreciate your feedback.

This video provides information about waterproofing the Super USB WiFi Antenna 3

Below is our amateur Super USB WiFi Antenna 3 install video recorded right in our very own C. Crane building. We had a little too much fun! 

Flashback Friday- Father’s Day



Happy Father’s Day to all the Dad’s from the C. Crane Family!SUEDAD












World Cup 2014

World Cup 2014

And so has the distraction of trying to sneak watching and listening to the games (sorry Bob). The energy and the excitement for those of us that love the game of soccer (or futbol depending on what country you hail from) is palpable. For the next month Brazil, the host country for this year’s World Cup, will be the stage for some of the best soccer players in the world to showcase their skills for their country. Brazil and Croatia kicked off today with the opening game and there will be amazing soccer until mid-July. USA plays their first game June 16th!

There are ways to watch the games if you have internet access and access through your cable company or if you need to get stuff done, you may also be able to listen on the radio by trying your local ESPN Radio affiliate. If you are on the internet or have a mobile phone and want to listen, you can go to tuneIn’s website or download their app to your phone and search “FIFA World Cup” to find the game or you can go to ESPN Radio and find it there (they have an app as well).

We’d love to hear from you soccer lover’s out there. Tell us, who you are rooting for? Will the USA make it past the first round? Do you listen to soccer? Can’t wait to hear GOAAAAAAAAAL!

Car Radio Reception Part 2

Vehicle Antenna

In the “Car Radio Reception Article 1“, we discussed the two most common problems with radio reception. The first problem we noted had to do with radio reception interference. We discussed the different causes for this frustrating problem, and we promised to provide possible solutions in this article. The second problem we discussed was simply a weak AM signal. If you’re not happy with the performance of your radio, read on.

Radio Noise and Interference

The first problem we will deal with is AM radio noise and interference. You can diagnose your car stereo reception issues as follows:

• If possible, disconnect the whip antenna in your car and start your car.
• Tune your radio to a clear, open channel without any programming and listen to the static.
• Step on the gas pedal to raise the engine’s RPM.
• If you hear the same noise you heard with the whip antenna connected, then you now know that the source of the noise is the car’s electrical system and the wire that supplies power to the radio.
• If the radio noise problem originates in the car’s electrical system, you should have your electrical connections inspected, especially the grounds, and you may have to install a noise filter on your radio.

Now, if you didn’t hear any noise with the antenna disconnected from your car, reconnect it and proceed to the next diagnostic step:

• Start your engine again and step on the accelerator again.
• If you hear noise that increases as you step on the gas pedal or a very high pitched crackle, the noise is actually being transmitted from your car and being sent through the hood to your antenna.
• This is very common and the easiest type of noise to correct.
• If the car is a few years old or has a lot of miles on it, the cheapest and most common solution is to change the sparkplug wires on your car to original equipment or resistor-type spark plug wires. Solid wires will cause more noise problems than you had in the first place.
• If this does not cure the problem, check your distributor cap for excessive wear or arcing.
• Also, check the coil wire to ensure that it is not arcing.
• One of our engineers says that from his own experience, opening the hood of your car, starting the engine, and looking around for sparks will often help you find the source of the noise if an electrical connection is arcing.
• Many people have eliminated the radio noise by having a complete tune-up on the vehicle.

This type of noise can be reduced or eliminated by grounding the hood to the firewall with a flexible copper strap. Unless you have a lot of experience working with cars and radios, please leave this type of work to the professionals.

You should also check to see that the antenna’s coax feedline is grounded properly both at the radio and where the mounting bracket touches the body. One more source of possible radio noise is your fuel pump. Please visit http://www.arrl.org/fuel-pump-noise for information on fuel pump radio noise — particularly some information from Ford.

If you have your own story about solving radio noise problems, please share it with us.

If you are dealing with reception interference problems on your home or office radio please visit our Radio Noise and Possible Solutions page for a very informative radio interference troubleshooting guide.

Weak Signal Problems

The next problem we will discuss is poor or weak AM reception. If you suffer from poor reception and have a portable radio with much better reception than your car’s radio, the problem is most likely the antenna. Cars are very susceptible to vibration, corrosion and other factors that conspire to degrade the AM reception. If you have an older model car or live in an area where conditions cause a lot of rust or corrosion, your poor AM reception might originate at the base of the antenna or the inside of the fender.

If you can, unscrew the antenna, and look for rust or corrosion where the antenna attaches to your car. Removing the antenna and checking the contact to the fender often reveals the corroded parts that might be interfering with your radio reception. You may find that you’ll either need to replace the antenna (if it’s corroded or rusted) or go for a Full Replacement Auto Antenna. Be sure to check the coaxial cable connector at the antenna base to see if there’s excessive corrosion at the contact point as well.

Some vehicles on the market don’t have an external “whip” type antenna, and instead, have their antennas imbedded in the glass. These antennas typically don’t work well for AM radio. We suggest installing (or paying a professional to install) a Full Replacement Auto Antenna on the fender of your vehicle and disconnecting the in-glass antenna. The full replacement antennas can simply be attached to the front fender of most cars, trucks and mini-vans.

Once you’ve zeroed in on the source of your car radio woes, and have gotten that fuzzy reception back to factory specs, or better, you may want to boost your indoor radio reception as well. Heck, you don’t want to be stuck in the car listening to the end of a talk show or a ball game just because you know you don’t get good reception inside. Fortunately, improving indoor radio reception is much easier than tinkering with a car. A Twin Coil Ferrite AM Antenna will work magic for AM radio reception, while a FM Reflect Antenna will do the same for FM. Put it all together, and you’ll have the best radio reception in town — and won’t miss a thing.

For other radio reception tips, please visit the following “What’s in the News” archived articles:

Improving AM Reception In An Office Building
FM Reception Tips
AM Reception Tips

As always, please contact us with any comments or article suggestions you might have.


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 164 other followers