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Systems That Will Extend & Boost Your WiFi Range

WiFi has integrated into our lives to an unforeseen level as a tool for knowledge and entertainment but it doesn’t travel very far. All of our CC Vector systems must have a “line-of-site” view to the host router to work.

CC Vector Extended Long Range WiFi Receiver System

If you have a remote garage, greenhouse or guesthouse you may be faced with the cost of a new Internet service. The CC Vector Extended Long Range WiFi System can connect to your home host router up to ½ mile away and save you the cost and trouble of setting up a new router or digging a trench. Typically you would mount the parabolic antenna on an outbuilding wall pointed towards your home router. It is powerful enough to pick up your home signal from several hundred feet away or much more if your router is near a window facing the outbuilding. The narrow beam of the parabolic antenna ignores other interfering WiFi systems that might be in the area. Best of all our CC Vector models work with all WiFi devices!

With the CC Vector RV Long Range WiFi Receiver System it’s nice to have a powerful antenna when you park several hundred feet away from the office. And remember that all CC Vector systems work with all devices. 

The CC Vector Home Long Range WiFi Receiver System is good for a hop to the shop for Internet radio and a smartphone. This model works well if you have an existing weak and unreliable signal from your host router. 

All of the CC Vector models provide “basic Internet service for:

  • Surfing the web
  • Making Skype calls
  • Watching SD quality video

Helpful Notes:

  • C. Crane recognizes that setting up any computer product can be a challenge. Our software was designed by us, is relatively easy to use and we have a talented U.S. crew to help you if you run into a problem.
  • A universal mount DS 2000, by Winegard, is a great alternative to the traditional mast. The angle can be adjusted to work on a wall, gable or roof. A gable mount is a good place because you may have access to the attic and getting power is easier too. You can put the CC Vector in the attic for better coverage to the living space below. If you need height to make a “line-of-site” connection, another good place is the ridge of a building.
Winegard DS 2000 mounted on a roof

Winegard DS 2000 mounted on an outside wall

  • All of the CC Vectors have Ethernet ports for direct connection to a computer. This results in a faster and reliable connection.
  • The CC Vector systems will stream SD quality video and audio well, but if you need the highest internet speed for your application (like fast stock trades) then consider a new Internet service. The CC Vectors have to handle twice as much data so they are slower than a one-hop connection.
  • If you live next to a McDonalds Starbucks or library and you buy coffee there every morning, then consider a CC Vector for mooching basic WiFi service. Many have a new daily password so you really will need to buy that cup the coffee.

Can I use the CC Vector for security cameras?

The CC Vector Extended Long Range WiFi Receiver System can provide Internet to a distant remote building for a camera monitoring system. A simple system may have 1 or 2 cameras. When the CC Vector is installed it creates a separate network so it cannot be accessed over the LAN from your primary router. The cameras used must allow online access and web viewing to be able to view it from your home or another location. Most new cameras have this feature. You can view the video feed via an app or web program that came with the camera using your smart phone, tablet or computer over the Internet.

Security Camera Notes: 

  • The CC Vector system can be used with several more cameras but you may need to reduce video quality and/or frame rate for best results.
  • If you already have an additional camera surveillance system, you may need to open two windows on your computer to view both at once since the networks are separate. You can combine both systems but it becomes complex with an additional bridge and switch needed. This is beyond the focus of C. Crane’s specialty.

Top Gardening Tips from Bob Crane

A gardener's slice of heaven

A little slice of Bob’s heaven

Knowledge

I learned how to grow crops by taking a Master Gardner class and by looking online for information available from the great people and organization of the Cooperative Extension Services. If you like audio, search for “farmers podcast” and I am sure you will find something you like. I have made at least two failures for every gardening success I’ve had.

All my vegetables are in raised beds. I don’t make a living at farming so my focus is definitely not as intense or as well skilled as a full-time farmer. I do raise 90% of the vegetables, fruit, nuts, and eggs we eat and share the extra with friends.

What is the Cooperative Extension? In 1914, the U.S. Department of Agriculture partnered with a nationwide network of “land grant” universities to create a system of “extension” services. The goal of these services is to improve life across the country with advice from local experts regarding all things agriculture and farming and much more. A wonderful Master Gardener program class is available to gain knowledge and increase your ability to raise food. To get some idea of what is available online simply search your state.edu and your interest. There are usually tips and information about your county where you live. Example:  “iowa.edu growing peaches”. Pests are a big problem if you go organic and they have lots of research and tips on how to do it. Here is an easy way to find the nearest Cooperative Extension office near you:  http://npic.orst.edu/mlr.html

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How to use the C. Crane FM Transmitter 2 for church services, parking lot concerts, or other events

We’ve had some questions around our FM Transmitter and how exactly it works, especially for use for church services, a parking lot concert, or other events. Below we’re going to give you some ideas on how it might work for you.

A couple of things to keep in mind, FM is line of sight, if you have walls or obstructions, it will limit the reception. If you live in a populous area with a lot of FM stations, this solution may not work well for you because there are no vacant frequencies or too much interference.

fmtransmitterwithconnectors

Our FM Transmitter 2 includes a 1/8″ stereo jack and an RCA to stereo female cable that allows you to plug into the line out or headphone jack of any device that you want to transmit audio from.

The transmitter doesn’t “care” what the source of the audio signal is, it just uses the FM frequency band to send that signal to other devices on that same frequency. It will accept a source of audio from about any line-out or headphone jack.

One of the greatest benefits of FM transmitters is the fact that the transmitted audio signal may be received by any and all FM radios within range. As far as the radios are concerned, they are receiving an FM signal just like a normal FM radio station.

WirelessAudio-FMTransmitter

Locating a Vacant FM Freqency

Before we get to specifics there are a couple things you need to do.

First, find a vacant FM frequency in your area. On our FM Transmitter 2 page, we have a search tool to help you determine if there are any vacant frequencies in your area.

Enter your zip code and state. You’ll get results similar to below – you’re looking for great and good. If you only see poor and bad, it’s unlikely you will get the results you desire.

radiolocatorvacantfrequencies

Now tune the FM Transmitter to the open frequency you found. In our case, we’re using 107.6

fmtransmitter1067

  • Church services – generally in this case someone is using a microphone. In this set up there are a couple of considerations. A powered (condenser type) mic is required to work with the FM Transmitter.
    • A powered wireless mic will work. You will plug the FM Transmitter Audio In, into the Line Out of the Wireless Mic.  Now everyone will tune their FM Radios to the frequency you selected above. In our case, it would be 107.6.2020-04-09 09_58_48-wirelessmicsetup1
    • If your church has one of the larger more traditional mics, you would plug into an amp or your audio mixer and the FM Transmitter would plug into the headphone jack or line out. Line out is preferable because the audio output is regulated differently than a headphone jack which results in better audio quality.
  • A cell phone
    • Any phone with a standard headphone jack, the FM Transmitter line in, will plug directly into the headphone jack and whatever audio is playing through your phone will now transmit over the frequency you have the FM Transmitter set to.
    • If you have one of the newer iPhones or other phones without a headphone jack, you will need a special adapter (often called a dongle) to make this work. Something like the one shown below with the correct connector for your phone. The one shown here is a lightning connector for the iPhone XR.lightningadapter
    • We have had some experiences with newer iPhones where the audio isn’t consistent from the microphone depending on how you’re broadcasting (such as Facebook Live or various apps). In that case you might need a special combination of adapters that look like the ones below. These are two separate pieces that you can purchase on Amazon or other similar place that sells connectors.
  •  A musical instrument
    • You would need an amp with a line out or headphone jack and the audio will now transmit over the frequency you have the FM Transmitter set to.
  •  A television or movie projector 
    • Again, you’d need a line out or a headphone jack and whatever audio is playing through the television or projector will now transmit over the frequency you have the FM Transmitter set to a nearby radio.
      • If the audio is digital as with some newer televisions, you might need a converter (available through a Google search).

Can I use the FM Transmitter 2 as a repeater?

As a matter of fact, yes, you can broadcast from one radio to another radio and then rebroadcast from that radio to another radio. At some point, there is likely to be loss, but it does work. Again, keep in mind it is still line of site. Also, it will require multiple open frequencies for this to work.

Can I use it with a 12V plug (cigarette lighter) in my car?

Yes, but you will need one that has the ability to stepdown to the correct voltage. We used to sell one similar to this one available here.

Is there any way to improve the range?

Yes, here are some things that impact the range:

  • The number of FM stations in the area
  • The quality of the FM receiver and the antenna – cars actually work quite well as receivers
  • The number of walls the signal needs to travel through, every wall presents a challenge to the line of site transmission so the more open the area with the fewer obstructions, the better
  • The types of walls (e.g. wood, metal, stucco, etc.

As a hobbyist, you can also search Google on ways to improve the range of the “FM Transmitter 2” to see what others have done.

The output power of the FM Transmitter 2 is set to the maximum limit specified by the FCC. Most of our customers achieve 40 – 60 feet depending on their situation. The signal will travel up to 70′ under good conditions. The FM Transmitter-2 will work better in a noise-free environment. In a noisy environment (such as one with lots of FM and computer noise) you can expect less range. We recommend extending the FM transmitter-2 input cable away from the computer (or any other RF noisy device) when connected.

In open environments with minimal radio noise, the range of an FM transmitter can be easily increased by attaching a length of wire to the telescoping whip antenna of the FM transmitter. In our experiment, we attached a 31-inch length of wire to the whip antenna of an FM transmitter using an alligator clip (Any wire will work. Any clip that secures the wire to the transmitter’s antenna will work). We highly recommend our FM Reflect 2 Antenna

fmt-clip

We attached the other end of the wire to a PVC pipe to keep the wire vertically oriented. We could have used a regular thumb tack, a stationery clip, or just about anything to pin the end of the wire up vertically.

Please keep in mind, that if you interfere with other FM broadcasts, you could get a visit from the FCC so please be smart and compliant about your broadcasts.

Here’s a video to provide a visual for all of this information.

If you have any additional questions or need help figuring out a specific setup, please contact us. If you have pictures of what you are trying to connect to/from, those are particularly helpful. We love seeing and hearing about how the FM Transmitter is being used, please share your uses in the comments below.

November Podcast Friday

We’ve mentioned that we LOVE to learn new things and to listen to shows that challenge our thinking and provide intelligent discussion. And you guys loved Big Picture Science. We’ve found another podcast that does exactly that.

Overheard at National Geographic

This podcast just might make you the most interesting guest at dinner. It’s a weekly podcast in its second season. Exploring the ancient Maya Cave of the Jaguar God. The graffiti of Pompeii. Searching for alien life underground. Each week we’ll dive into one of the curiously delightful conversations we’ve overheard around National Geographic’s headquarters. You’ll be introduced to the explorers, photographers and scientists at the edges of our big, bizarre, and beautiful world.

Some of the recent topics in Season 2 of Overheard at National Geographic:

The Alien Underground

Half a mile below the surface of the earth, in a cave too hot to explore without an ice-packed suit, NASA scientist and Nat Geo explorer Penny Boston clambers around glassy crystals that are taller than telephone poles and wider than dinner tables. But it’s not The Crystal Cave’s grandeur she’s interested in—it’s what may be hibernating inside the crystals. Astrobiologists like Penny Boston scour the Earth’s most hostile environments for microorganisms, to see if they hold clues to what life might look like on other planets—maybe even planets in our solar system.

 Humpback Whale Song of the Summer

There’s a Humpback whale song sensation that’s sweeping the South Pacific. We’ll learn about the burgeoning study of “whale culture”—and why these super smart cetaceans may have a lot more in common with us than we’d ever imagined. 

 Evolution of a Little Liar

Most parents see lying as a cause for worry or reprimand. But some suggest that at young ages it could be a welcome sign of childhood development. We ask writer Yudhijit Bhattacharrjee and researcher Dr. Kang Lee: what does lying tell us about human cognition?

 This is only available on podcasts – you can listen online or subscribe through Spotify or Apple Podcasts (or of course one of our favorites ListenNotes).

We also love that they have transcriptions on their website because sometimes you want to share an interesting fact in an email or text.

We’d really love to hear what you think about this podcast! Let us know what you think and receive a free 1 year subscription to National Geographic magazine (or the digital version – your choice)! Drawing will be held November 22nd. Please only one entry per person.

October Podcast Friday!

We’ve been listening to Clark Howard on the radio for years, but now he also has a Podcast. He’s great for helping you save money, find good deals and avoid rip offs. He knows a tremendous amount about travel and has a ton of tips about that on his shows and his website. He also answers questions from listeners live on air.

Some of the recent topics on the Clark Howard show:

10.1.19 Schwab eliminates trading fees; Using your credit card overseas; Getting married in a diamond store

9.30.19 Another reason not to use debit cards; Payroll company scam; Hotel deals are coming

9.27.19 Grocery story happy hours lower costs and prevent food waste; Clark Stinks

9.26.19 Apple & Google get into gaming; New tax form for seniors; Negative interest rates

9.25.19 Open enrollment; Massive airline fees; Hot deals today

9.24.19 How to stop SIM swapping; Digging up dirt on Amazon; Your TV is spying on you

You can find all of his episodes here https://clark.com/podcasts/ and they’re even available to download.

He also has a great resource for his shows that provide links to much of what he discusses in his shows https://clark.com/clark-show-notes/

You can learn more about Clark’s background, credentials and why he does what he does here https://clark.com/about-clark/clark-howards-bio/​​​​​​​.

If podcasts aren’t for you, you may be able to find an on-air radio show near you https://clark.com/find-a-station-near-you/.

We’d love to know – Have you used radio or podcasts to learn about money?  Which one has helped you the most?

Words From Bob 2020 Catalog

From Bob,

This year our catalog cover is based on one of the most famous TV commercials of all time. It was the day Apple® announced Macintosh computers during the 1984 Superbowl. . . the first iPhone® was released in 2007. Now that we are all significantly attached to our brilliant pocket phones, maybe it’s gone too far? As a tool the Internet is hyper-revolutionary, but the pace of incoming polar information is intense and beyond anyone’s faculty to follow. . . radio is far less invasive and does not know who you are.

Radio continues to ring a big bell with a surprising percentage of dedicated listeners by reaching more people every week than any other media type. We all need reflective time to rediscover who we are. While a cell phone demands your focus, the simplicity of radio sparks creativity, regardless of the signal source. Walking, gardening or any activity that does not require conscious attention allows you to mentally focus on a specific problem to gain wisdom and promote insight. We are here to support you in your resistance to distraction with great radio products . . . including Internet radio. Please peruse our custom radios and earphones to see if one rings a bell with you.

It has become important to have WiFi available in every corner of your house and property including a guest house, greenhouse, barn or a garden. While inexpensive repeaters work in most circumstances, please check out our extended range WiFi repeaters to create a new WiFi zone up to 1/2 mile away. . . we love making weak signals strong and bringing radio everywhere YOU want to go.

September Podcast Friday

AT C. Crane, we LOVE to learn new things and to listen to shows that challenge our thinking and provide intelligent discussion. Big Picture Science does exactly that . . . as uncovered by our friend Thomas Witherspoon at SWling.com

Some of the recent topics at Big Picture Science:

Skeptic Check: Brain GainSeparating pseudo from science in cognitive enhancement.

Looking to boost your brainpower? Listen in.

 True GritWe’re running out of sand.

Without sand, engineering would be stuck in the Middle Ages.  Wooden houses would line mud-packed streets, and Silicon Valley would be, well, just a valley.  Sand is the building material of modern cities, and we use more of this resource than any other except water and air.  Now we’re running out of it. 

 Granting Immunity Microbes, fungi, and T-cells.

“Diversity or die” could be your new health mantra. Don’t boost your immune system, cultivate it! Like a garden, your body’s defenses benefit from species diversity.  Find out why multiple strains of microbes, engaged in a delicate ballet with your T-cells, join internal fungi in combatting disease.

Sci-Fi From the Future Our future portrayed in film.

Are you ready to defer all your personal decision-making to machines?  Polls show that most Americans are uneasy about the unchecked growth of artificial intelligence. The possible misuse of genetic engineering also makes us anxious.

Here is some background on the Big Picture Science podcasts:

They also broadcast on the radio in various locations and times around the country and Canada and New Zealand  http://radio.seti.org/listening_options

Here are all the episodes:  http://radio.seti.org/episodes

Their blog has additional links and information if you want a little more background before deciding to listen to a particular episode.

We would love to hear from you if you listen to Podcasts. What topics and podcasts are your favorites?

In honor of Preparedness Month, if you answer this survey in the comments on our blog, you will be entered to win our CC Solar Observer Emergency Wind Up Radio. Drawing to be held 9/30. Please only one entry per person.

August Podcast Friday!

The first Friday of every month we will be featuring a new podcast that we’re listening to here at C. Crane. Our hopes are that we expose you to something new that you may have not heard of before and something you may enjoy. 

What we’re listening to — as recommended by one of our customers

The Today’s Homeowner Podcast Danny Lipford and Joe Truini discuss a variety of projects renovations. They have some call ins and some email questions that they answer. It’s real life challenges that most homeowners can relate to. Danny also has a television show. Their website has a lot of videos as well. They have a down to earth approach and an excellent way with their listeners along with tips and tricks to help you get the most out of your house. They get right into the show and don’t have a lot of discussion around unrelated topics.

Our new favorite podcast listening tool, makes it very easy to listen at your computer without having to download any apps or subscribe, but if you go to the website, it’s easy to subscribe and use your preferred app.

The weekly shows range in time 30 – 45 minutes and then they put out tips throughout the week that are one – two minutes.

Some of the recent topics:

Ep 28. Paint Plight & Repairing Chipped Baseboards
Tips: Cooling off on a Budget
Ep 27. DIY Privacy Wall & Pool Noodle Storage
Ep 26. Widening a Doorway & House Ventilation Strategies

Danny Lipford is America’s home improvement expert. Danny hosts the Emmy-nominated, nationally syndicated Today’s Homeowner TV and Radio Show as well as this podcast. 

Joe Truini is a seasoned contractor and an accomplished author. He is a handy guy, who’s always on the lookout for ways to make the job easier and more efficient.

If you already listen to this and are looking for something similar, here’s a curated list of some similar podcasts

We’re interested – do you prefer to listen to podcasts on your phone, your computer or some other device? Please tell us in the comments and you could win one of our new CC Buds Solo earbuds. Drawing to be held Friday August 23rd. Please only one entry per person.

Pros and Cons of WiFi and Internet Radio

We’ve received a lot of emails and several comments about the confusion surrounding “internet radio”. What is it? How does it work? How do I pick the right radio? So we put together some of the pros and cons and then a few additional considerations. In this post, we aren’t recommending one particular radio over another but rather giving you some points to consider when making your decision so you can pick the right product for you.

First, let’s establish that there is a pre-requisite to using WiFi Internet radio –

  • You need to have a high speed internet connection. Most internet radios will work on WiFi or with a direct Ethernet connection (that network jack on the back of the radio that provides a connection to the router. Sometimes a USB to Ethernet adapter might be necessary.).

Let’s jump into the benefits for you as a listener – Continue Reading

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