A Quick Way to Start Listening to SSB

SSB-REFLECT-4BOX-R4-1500Single Sideband is a comparatively unknown, interesting and important radio format that takes a special radio for listening and a little time to learn.

If we start an hour after sunset, on a weekend, it is easier to pick up your first station. Attach and stretch out your portable shortwave antenna to the CC Skywave SSB™ and select the SW band. “SW” will show on the display. Push in on the tuning dial so that it steps 1 KHz at a time. “SLOW” will show on the display. Tune between 7125-7300 KHz until you hear a modestly strong distorted voice. Now press the SSB key and let the SSB circuit download. Then press the Fine Tune Key (both key lights be on) and turn the tuning knob up and down until the voice becomes legible. Most likely you will be listening to a ham talk to his friends. It normally takes a few successes to get the basic swing of it. You can look up call signs at QRZ.com, (you have to register) and find out who and where people are talking from. The University of Alabama has a great website on which ham bands are currently active: http://dxdisplay.caps.ua.edu/.

Note: Radio conditions on shortwave change every day like the weather. Sometimes you may hear many stations on the air, and sometimes just a few or even none. Evenings and weekends tend to be the best times to listen. There is more to learn by searching the web for “ham radio”.

Generally higher frequencies work better during the day and lower frequencies at night.

Listening suggestions:

  • Daytime – try: 7125-7300kHz (LSB), 14150-14325kHz (USB) or 21200-21450kHz (USB)
  • Nighttime – try: 3600-4000kHz (LSB) or 7125-7300kHz (LSB)

Please see What in the world is SSB? Part 1 from the hams at C. Crane.

Amateur radio gives you the best news in a true emergency

A true emergency is something like what happened recently in Oroville and Sacramento Valley area – where an emergency spillway that has never been used in the previous 48 years begins to fail. This failure threatened the lives and livelihood of over 150,000 people and resulted in forced evacuation. Everyone thinks, if they have a cell phone they’ll be fine, but what we’ve seen time and again is that cell phones are an unreliable service under these circumstances. The lines are often jammed with “all circuits busy” messages. In some cases, towers are down due to flooding or power failures or a combination there-of. HAM radio coordinators really come to the rescue in these situations.

orovillespillway1

Oroville Spillway Damage Feb 2017 – Photo Courtesy N.Brooks, Placerville CA (c) 2017

This particular emergency hit closer to home than usual – one of our employee’s brother and his family had to evacuate. It took them over 4 hours to travel what normally would be a 45-minute drive. Many of our close friends and loved ones have experienced loss due to flooding. One of our other employee’s daughter, who lives close to Oroville, California has HAM Radio to thank for keeping her family and friends safe and informed. “So happy the mandatory evacuations are over, and glad we live high enough that we never had to evacuate. I’ve never been one to watch news much, but I think I’ve watched more news in the last 48 hours than I have in the last five years! I’ve also never quite understood my husband’s love of amateur radio, but after listening to the Yuba-Sutter Amateur Emergency Coordinator, Steve Sweetman, I have a whole new respect for amateur radio, and I felt like I got my best news from the radio! Thanks!”

Steve Swteetman is the Amateur radio emergency coordinator for Yuba and Sutter counties. They volunteer their time and use their own equipment. Below is a summary report from Steve on the communications that were handled during the evacuations.

“On February 12, Yuba/Sutter ARES EC Steve Sweetman, K6TAZ, opened and managed a net to provide information and gather reports of road closures or problems during the Oroville Dam Incident evacuation. The net received reports from radio amateurs who were evacuating. Traffic was reported to be very heavy, with a trip that would normally take 20 minutes extending into “3-hour stop-and-go ordeal.” The net also gathered information on where evacuees could get fuel for their vehicles, where evacuation centers were being set up and road closures. “This became a critical need, as the thousands of people evacuated their houses with 1-hour notice. K6taz was operating from his house on a high hill outside Yuba City, He is was safe from flooding and housed 17 evacuees staying on his property.” The net ran on and off from Sunday 4pm until Wednesday 8pm. Total operating time was 48 hours and 322 contacts were made. He had reports that the information he was relaying was more informative than the radio or television. Steve was also monitoring the press conferences and would give updated reports. He was in constant communication with the Governor’s office of emergency services in Sacramento.”

 73’s
Steve Sweetman
K6TAZ

 EC ( Emergency Coordinator)
Yuba/Sutter  ARES

ARES Website
SKYWARN Weather spotter YU-19
AF/MARS Member AFA9SS
ARRL Official Emergency Station

Bob Crane, founder of C. Crane has always been a huge proponent of HAM radio because it is so valuable in these situations. Several C. Crane employees have their license as well.

In a day and age where what people have said is impossible is now happening, it seems prudent to invest in something reliable. Whether you choose to go as far as getting a license and investing in amateur radio equipment so you can communicate both directions, or you purchase a reliable radio like our CCRadio-2E that allows you to listen to the 2-Meter HAM band, you will never regret being prepared and having access to the best and most up to date information when you need it.

Below are some additional resources on the Oroville spillway:
http://www.sacbee.com/news/politics-government/capitol-alert/article133932379.html
http://www.sfchronicle.com/bayarea/article/Releasing-water-at-Oroville-Dam-a-lingering-10941922.php

If you would like to get your license, please visit ARRL (American Radio Relay League). Not sure exactly what Amateur (HAM) Radio is or what you might here? – visit one of our previous blog posts to learn about it.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Keep Your Family Safe – Prepare Ahead of Time

prepkit

Not many people are really prepared for a disaster, especially in areas where they aren’t common. Maybe folks in areas where there are regular hurricanes, tornadoes or winter storms that shut everything down have a good handle on being prepared or people like the Preppers, but the rest of us find it easy to slack on preparedness and then find ourselves scrambling when a real disaster strikes.

It’s easy to make a case for being prepared. Look around at all of the unexpected emergencies like the recent flooding in Louisiana and tornadoes in the Midwest. Emergencies don’t have to be only weather and naturally caused. In California, recent fires that destroyed entire communities have been attributed to arson. With record breaking temperatures across the US and people using electricity like crazy or an even more sinister possibility – an energy grid hack, our next disaster might be extended blackouts or there is the very real possibility of terrorism that continues to plague the entire world.

Here’s a few questions to ask yourself to see how you fare on the preparedness scale:

  • What essential supplies do I need?
    If you are missing some, it might be time to re-think priorities since stores often sell out, are out of service, or have no way to process payments (even cash).
  • Do I have a written list of important phone numbers?
    If you answered no, then you have some work to do. An electronic list on your cell phone isn’t going to do you much good once the phone dies and the power is out.
  • Do you have any cash or would you need to go to the ATM?
    If you answered no to the cash and yes to the ATM then you need to stash some cash. ATMs go down and require power and banks are so automated now and reliant on computers, they often can’t even provide cash from the tellers if there isn’t any power.
  • Do you have copies of important documents stored safely somewhere else?
    As cumbersome as this sounds, having copies of things (think insurance policies, passports, deeds, titles, etc.) stored in a safe deposit box or at a relatives’ home will really reduce the headache and time spent in the event you lose your home to a disaster. It can help even if it’s just a time where you’re out of town and you end up with a water leak that damages your ceiling.
  • Do you have a good emergency radio and flashlight? How about spare batteries?
    No? Well this is the one we can actually help you with! Call us or visit the links above and order online. We’ll get you set up right away.

We’ve written several articles on how to be prepared and what that might look like. REI has a great article on basic concepts with some important additions that people often forget like medications, infant formula and diapers, and pet food.

If nothing else, at least create a basic plan, get a radio and flashlight, write down the list of phone numbers and read about Bob’s potable water trick with your water heater.

Tell us about your emergency plans in the comments below and be entered to win a CC Solar Observer October 11th– the best all-around emergency radio. It covers AM, FM and Weather and has a built in flashlight. You can even use it without batteries and if it came down to it, it even will charge most cell phones.

Decide for Yourself

We would love to tell you all the reasons you might enjoy the CC Skywave Radio, but our customers are so much better at it.

skwyavetravel

Sorensen – Much better than anticipated
Pros: Everything about this little jewel is Pro. I have been using this for past 6 months and nothing has disappointed. I also use to check on aviation weather at local airport before I got to fly our aircraft. As an added bonus the tonal quality is amazing for such a small unit.

Cons: No Cons that I can think of.

Best Uses: Both music and spoken word. Also very good for NOAA weather.

M Mooney – Great Emergency / Travel Radio
This feature packed radio best satisfied my need for an emergency type radio. I live in hurricane and tornado country, so the weather band was a must have feature during power outages. My Skywave arrived the same day as an expensive pair of Marshall earbuds. Although not perfect, the CCrane earbuds trounced the Marshalls in every way. Quality FM stations will have your toes tapping. Problem FM stations aren’t magically transformed into powerhouses…. …Skywave does a fine job with any reasonable signal. I can imagine others would like an external antenna connection. That’s fair, but this IS a pocket radio and not a full feature desktop entertainment system. About the only major item on my wish list for the Skywave would a rubberized Otterbox like case for the inevitable drops that will occur. Overall I am exceptionally pleased with this radio. It easily covers all of my must have features in a well thought out, compact package. I believe it would be the perfect answer for many people.

Pros: Size, Weather Band, Battery Strength Indicator, Signal Strength Indicator, Ability to charge [rechargeable] batteries, Handy Keyboard Lock, Quality Earbuds, Time and Radio Presets retained on battery change

Cons: Average Sensitivity, No AC Adapter, No Batteries, Built-in speaker sound

Best Uses: Beach, Boating, Hunting, Camping, Emergency, Natural Disaster

S Lowry – The Greatest
Went on the wait list for this one to be shipped as soon as available. I’ve had several Grundigs, Kaitos and others, but the Skywave trumps all, especially with the aviation band, battery efficiency, panel layout and more. Look at the other reviews: there are a lot of good reasons for so many 5 stars.

C Stacks – Better then expected! A big smile on my face.
6:30 PM yesterday attached 20 ft long wire and counted 58 readable shortwave stations. Also able to rcv aircraft from several airports with the radio’s antenna. C CRANE please make a Sky II that covers the HF ham frequencies!!!!

Pros: Great Reception on all bands, Does not drift, Speaker does a great job even better with head phones

Cons: None except ssb is missing

Best Uses: With me all the time

H Alexander – The Ultimate Travel Radio
After putting this radio through all the paces, I am convinced that it’s 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!

Sharonon – Worth it.
Now my father-in-law can listen to his baseball games inside and not have to drive to a clearing on the mountain’s side. Great buy and great price.

C Desmaraison – Buy this radio.
Reception is outstanding. I am in MA and am able to receive Beijing Radio International, Radio Romania and Radio Havana Cuba just to mention a few. I also use their 23 foot clip-on wire antenna to increase reception. Radio is easy use and has many useful features. C.Crane customer service is also outstanding. Buy this radio.

There you have it folks, a wide variety of different users and uses. If you aren’t sure if this is the right radio, contact us and we’d be happy to help you determine which radio is best for you. A good starting point is our article on “Buying the Right Radio for You”. Don’t forget, we offer a no risk 60 day money back guarantee on all of our radios!

September is National Preparedness Month

September is Emergency Preparedness month. By now, if you don’t already have your emergency kit ready, here are a few tips from the C. Crane Family that may help you out.

Make a plan

Create a plan for yourself, your family and your pets. Plan how to stay safe and how you will communicate during a major disaster.

Emergency Preparedness KitCreate your Emergency Preparedness Kit

Food and Water is a Must

Have at least one gallon of drinking water per person per day for at least 3 days. Have at least a 3 day supply of non-perishable food and a can opener (that’s a must have tool). If you have pets make sure you have food and water for them too.

Emergency Radio with extra batteries.

A reliable way to stay informed at all times during an emergency is with an all hazards weather radio. Radio communication will always stay in operation, with reliable sources like Ham Operators. Ham Operators are local and have equipment ready to help coordinate emergency efforts. The CC Radio 2E is C. Crane’s all hazards AM, FM, Weather and Weather Alert with the 2 Meter Ham Band Radio. It will keep the information flowing. The CC Solar Observer is also a fantastic emergency radio. It covers AM, FM and the Weather band, and can be powered by using the built in hand crank, by the built-in solar panel or by using regular alkaline batteries. It comes with a built in flashlight, and in an emergency, it can charge cell phones. Also make sure you have plenty of extra batteries on hand.

The perfect light to add to your Preparedness Kit

Do have the right light so you can see in a power outage? The New, advanced CC LED Spot XB Spotlight’s brightness is nearly equal to a 100 watt old style incandescent spotlight, and it’s 3 times brighter than our previous model CC LED Spotlight. Not only is the CC LED Spot XB exceptionally bright but it will run with usable light for up to 60 hours. The CC LED Spot XB is lightweight and easy to use. Also, the Unity Plus LED Flashlight is a reliable flashlight to have in your emergency kit. Its light weight, runs on 2 C batteries and will give you up to 22 hours of usable light. The Unity Plus is rugged and is the perfect combination of power, size and weight.

First Aid Kit

Keep it simple. Nothing big, but make sure you have Band-Aids, a bandage wrap, antiseptic, moist and dry towelettes and tweezers in your emergency kit.

Tool Kit

Keep a wrench and pliers in your kit to turn off utilities like gas and water. Also a fire starter that will help to start a fire to help keep you warm.

Personal Items

Keep prescription medications, clothing, blankets and hygiene items in your kit. You don’t know how long you will be put out and being without these items could be life threatening.

Show us what you’ve got

Share this post on Facebook (see share button below) with a picture of your emergency kit or comment on our C. Crane Facebook page with #emergencypreparednesskit2015 and also comment on our blog post with the number one most important item you have in your emergency kit.

You will automatically be entered into a drawing to win a NEW CC Spot XB LED Spotlight. One entry per person. Drawing will be held October 15th.

Congratulations to blog winner Awenner1! Thanks for participating in our Blog post!

Back to School Must Haves This Season

Whether your kids or grandBacktoSchoolkids are starting pre-kindergarten or taking their first steps into college this fall, send them back to school with the right gear and most helpful must haves for the year. We can help you find the best electronic equipment to keep your scholar connected through the entire year.

The Necessities

Radios aren’t just for adults
Give your kid the opportunity to open up an entire new world of radio listening. The internet is great but your kids may not have considered listening to the radio as an amazing wealth of knowledge and information. Kids love music on FM and their MP3 players but introducing a bit of AM talk radio into their lives may do major justice. The information is endless on the AM dial. The CC Pocket Radio is small and compact so the size will be familiar and it fits into any size backpack. The CC Pocket Radio offers AM, FM, Weather and Weather Alert. 

Why would my kid need a radio, they have a cell phone
Kids may have the impression that their cell phones will always keep them informed but whether or not we’d like to admit it, we all know an emergency can happen at any time and cellular communication may go down. A reliable way to stay informed at all times during an emergency is with an all hazards weather radio. Radio communication will always have the ability to stay in operation with reliable sources like Ham Operators. Ham Operators are local and have equipment ready to help coordinate emergency efforts. The CC Radio 2 E is C. Crane’s all hazards AM, FM, Weather and Weather Alert with the 2 Meter Ham Band Radio http://www.ccrane.com/CCRadio-2E-Enhanced-AMFMWX2-Meter-Ham-Band-Radio-Black-Mica that will stay up and keep information flowing. The CC Solar Observer is also a fantastic emergency radio that comes with AM, FM, the Weather band and can be powered by using the built in hand crank, solar panel or by using regular alkaline batteries. It also comes with a built in flashlight and in an emergency it can charge cell phones.

A Flashlight can save your life
Having a reliable flashlight on your key chain or in your bag can be a lifesaver. The Power Vivid Pocket Flashlight is small, light-weight and will provide a large amount of light to see by. Never be too cautious when it comes to staying lit. The Unity Plus Flashlight is a beefier version. It’s larger and puts out more light but it can also act as a self-defense tool with its firm grip and rigid top. It’s the perfect combo of power, size and weight.

The Fun Stuff

Tricked Out Dorm Room
Turn any dorm room from a dull den to a chic chill zone by livening up the place up with a small and portable, Bluetooth® speaker. The Senta Ally Portable Speaker with FM will fill any room with rich, full range sound. Its generous battery time will last hours and hours. Connection via Bluetooth makes listening to music endless and it comes with all the cables necessary to connect to anything from cell phones, to tablets, to laptops.

Beef Up the WiFi
The School’s WiFi can be hard to receive and depending on location, almost impossible. A WiFi Antenna can be your internet savior. The Super WiFi Antenna 3 will receive a WiFi signal from hundreds of feet away and will significantly boost the WiFi to your computer or laptop. Couple the Super WiFi Antenna 3 with our Repeater to create the Super WiFi Repeater Kit that will connect multiple WiFi devices. Free WiFi normally surrounds campuses so a good WiFi antenna is a priority to stay connected.

Now that we’ve given you a few back to school tips, we want to know what your back to school must haves will be this school year. Let us know what’s on your school shopping list and you’ll be entered to win a C. Crane back to School Starter Kit filled with a few necessities any scholar would need. One entry per person. Drawing will be held September 3rd.

Congratulations to winner Paul Walker! You will be receiving the Senta Ally Bluetooth Speaker, a pair of CC Buds, the Power Vivid Pocket Flashlight as well as a pair of AA batteries.

25 Days Of Christmas

December 8, 2014

Congratulations to Clayguy winner of the Unity Plus LED Flashlight, Marv of the CC Spotlight LED Light and Shared of the Voz-P Premium Wooden Earbuds.

CC Solar ObserverToday’s giveaway is the CC Solar Observer.

For a chance to win, all you have to do is comment on today’s blog.

Today’s blog question: What is your favorite holiday movie?

The winners will be selected in a random drawing and will be announced tomorrow morning. Good Luck!

April is Earthquake Preparedness Month, Are You Ready for the “Big One”?

A two story house collapses during a 6.2 magnitude earthquake

A two story house collapses during a 6.2 magnitude earthquake

As I just drifted off to sleep that Sunday evening, suddenly I heard the wine rack rattling and felt the bed shaking and shifting. I quickly sat up and yelled to my husband “We are having an earthquake!” He calmly said “It’s ok. It will be over soon.” The light fixture continued to sway at least another 45 seconds after it was over. It wasn’t the “Big One” but it was a 6.9 and shook us pretty good. To my amazement the earthquake that struck on March 9th, 2014 didn’t cause severe damage to us here in Humboldt County.

California is not the only state that has the potential of being hit by the “Big One”. This past March Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming was rocked by a 4.8, followed by several aftershocks with magnitudes ranking over 3.0. This past Saturday, April 12th, Oklahoma was hit with over 48 earthquakes larger than a 2.5 magnitude. That same day Idaho was also shook by a 4.9.

These states aren’t the only ones being “rattled”. Chile was struck by a devastating 6.7 quake on March 16th that caused major damage. More than 100,000 people had to briefly evacuate their homes.

The destruction of an earthquake is shocking and not something that can be avoided. You may even think your state, city or town will never see a quake. However, earthquakes are becoming more common and everyone should be prepared for when a catastrophe occurs.

Here are some useful tips for preparing for an Earthquake:
• Create a preparedness kit that will last for (at the very least) 72 hours. Include canned foods, water, a radio, flashlights, batteries, blankets, clothing and shoes, a first aid kit, money, a pipe wrench for turning off the gas and water, and specialty items such as medications, infant food and pet food.

• Know the safest places in each room of your home, such as under a sturdy table or against walls.

• Know the most dangerous places in each room to avoid, such as near windows, mirrors, fireplaces or near any hanging objects.

• Create a plan for where your family will meet if separated during an earthquake.

• Secure your water heater by strapping it to wall studs.

• Know where the gas and water valves are and how to shut them off.

Below are some additional links to information that may help you and your loved ones be prepared. http://www.calema.ca.gov/NewsandMedia/Pages/Current%20News%20and%20Events/Earthquake-Preparedness.aspx

http://emergency.cdc.gov/disasters/earthquakes/supplies.asp

http://www.redcross.org/images/MEDIA_CustomProductCatalog/m4240216_Earthquake.pdf

 

C. Crane’s 30 Year Anniversary- 30 Days of Giveaways, Day 30!

Today is the last day to enter into our 30 Days of Giveaways Blog!

Congratulations to yesterday’s winner Gerald for winning the CC Solar Observer AM/FM/Weather Windup Emergency Radio and Matt R for winning the GeoBulb®-3 LED Light Bulb (Warm White).

Today’s 30 Days of Giveaways Final Blog Topic is: How would you spend the $200 C. Crane Gift Certificate if you win?

Today’s giveaway is a $200 C. Crane Gift Certificate. To participate all you have to do is leave a comment on today’s blog post. We will select one comment in a random drawing and post the winner Thursday morning. Good luck!

 

C. Crane’s 30 Year Anniversary- 30 Days of Giveaways, Day 29!

Congratulations to yesterday’s winner KGRP77 for winning the Senta Ally Bluetooth® Stereo Speaker w/ FM, Charles Case for winning the Power Vivid® BR20 LED Light Bulb (Cool White) and Helen Scott for winning the GeoBulb®-II LED Light Bulb (Warm White). 

Today’s Blog Topic is: If you won the Lottery, what would be your first purchase?

Today’s giveaways are the CC Solar Observer AM/FM/Weather Windup Emergency Radio and the GeoBulb®-3 LED Light Bulb (Warm White). To participate all you have to do is leave a comment on today’s blog post. We will select two comments in a random drawing and post the winners Wednesday morning. Have fun!

GeoBulb®-3 LED Light Bulb (Warm White) & CC Solar Observer AM/FM/Weather Windup Emergency Radio

GeoBulb®-3 LED Light Bulb (Warm White) & CC Solar Observer AM/FM/Weather Windup Emergency Radio