Evolution of the CCRadio- Survival of the Fittest

selectatenna

Select-A-Tenna – AM Antenna

C. Crane started in 1983 selling AM antennas. After starting to gain momentum selling mostly antennas and radio accessories, we received our first real technological challenge when customers starting asking for recommendations on the best radio. It was pretty easy to select the Sangean 803A as the first radio we offered to our customers. Tuning was precise and voice audio was sharper and more legible than most other radios on the market. With the Select-A-Tenna that we sold, it turned into one of the best radios made for reception. It was a little complex to use as a regular daily radio but it met many customer’s needs. We also carried the GE Super Radio which was much easier to use but lacked some of the functionality customer’s wanted and supply was erratic. It seemed that there wasn’t a good blend of features, performance and ease of use.

In the background we went about acquiring and testing just about every popular radio made at the time. It turns out that most radios are tuned for music and FM. There are many that have too much bass or filtering which distorts the human voice for talk radio and even voices found in music tracks. It turned out nobody was making a radio that made voices sound realistic and very few had good reception. If they did, they were so complicated that you needed a PhD just to turn it on or they were so expensive you needed a small loan to pay for it. It took 10 years to convince a manufacturer to help us make the radio we knew our customers needed and wanted. Something that had some of the most desired functionality (memory presets, clock, alarm), audio tuned for voice, excellent reception and wasn’t too difficult to use.

ccradio2eWe started the CCRadio by selecting a speaker and an amplifier designed to react well with voice frequencies. Trying to make a sensitive radio that picked up weak stations was the real challenge. The new solid state chips generated their own static noise that masked the weak signal so that is all you heard. It took months to reduce the noise and make the radio quiet so a weak station was above the noise level. The original CCRadio was introduced in July of 1998 and we haven’t looked back. Grandma Faye gave the best compliment; “you can hear the voices with this radio”. It’s gone through a few different iterations based on customer feedback and changes in technology but the idea behind it remains and it continues to be one of the most popular radios we offer. Models based on our design are still popular worldwide. It took several more years but we eventually invented and received a patent for the Twin Coil Ferrite AM antenna. This allowed us to exceed the reception of our original AM antenna and radio.

Our line of CC Radios has expanded to include different types and styles but the focus on reception and audio remains. C. Crane has talked first hand with over one million radio listeners concerned with improving their reception. There is a considerable group of listeners who enjoy or by circumstance choose to use radio as their primary source of news and entertainment.

In honor of our anniversary month, 18 years of CCRadios, you can enter to win, tell us your if you own any of the CCRadio line and which one, how long and your favorite thing to listen to on it in comments on this blog and win the CCRadio of your choice. Drawing will be held July 31st. Only one entry per person.

Congratulations winner SoCalPal! Thank you for participating!

Best AM Reception Tips

Best AM Tips - blog-ed2

Summer time in all its fabulousness leaves much to be desired when it comes to AM Reception. We’ve put together the best tips we’ve found for improving AM Reception and reducing interference, especially reception on portable radios.

First, if you’re having trouble receiving your favorite talk radio program – determine if you get the signal at all. If the station is a 500 Watt station across the country, no amount of reception tips will help you receive this signal. That said, if the station streams, an internet radio or combining your smartphone and a portable Bluetooth speaker may be a viable solution.

If you get the signal but it is weak, try moving near a window or outside wall. If your reception improves, then you know that the signal is having a hard time reaching where you prefer to listen or there may be some interference. You have a couple of options – you can run an antenna over to the window (or maybe even outside). Another thing we’ve learned recently is that some stations are being rebroadcast on sister stations either AM or FM so if you go to Radio Locator and look up the station call letters you’re trying to receive; you might see another station listed as “also broadcasts from” with a different frequency so you may be able to find a closer station that is stronger that is rebroadcasting the same content.

If the problem is noise, try the radio on batteries and walk around your home and see if the static or buzzing gets worse or better. If the noise gets worse, odds are good the offending device (or electrical component) is located here and you may be able to turn it off. Rotating your radio when you get near the buzzing can help you determine exactly where the noise is coming from. If it’s the same throughout the house, try going outside. Is it better? If it is, then an antenna may help or you may end up needing to do a more thorough investigation in your home. We’ve talked to people who end up turning off all the breakers to find out they have some electrical wiring issues that are producing noise in their entire house!

If you’re on an analog radio, slowly turn the dial and consider using a piece of tape to mark where you find the station. Also, keep in mind that there are times where a signal will not broadcast exactly on frequency or a radio’s tuning isn’t completely accurate so tuning a little off frequency may get you a stronger signal.

Don’t want to buy an antenna or a new radio – no problem, we have instructions on how to make your own AM Antenna.

Many people don’t know (or forget) that stations may be required to power down, change direction or in some cases power up at night so differing signal during day and night may not be limited to summer, solar flares and the atmosphere, it may be that your 10,000 Watt daytime station switches to a 5,000 watt station at night that broadcasts in the opposite direction. Again, radio locator is a great source of information about your favorite station.

Have a tip to share? Enter it in the comments below!

Common causes for interference, buzz and hum on AM radio

Easily determined and turned off:

Incandescent Lights
Fluorescent Lights
Lights that are about to burn out
Touch lamps (must unplug turning off may not be enough)
Christmas Lights or other blinking bulbs
Televisions
Computers and Monitors
Electric Motors
Vacuum Cleaners
Microwave Ovens
Bug Zappers
Electric blanket
120V AC smoke detectors or carbon monoxide detectors
Air purifiers
Motion detectors
Cell phone chargers
Even your own radio adapter may be the culprit

More Difficult to Determine:

Neighbor’s using fluorescent lights
Faulty electrical switch
Neighbor’s dimmer switch
Scanners
Dirty insulators on a nearby power pole

Additional Sources of AM Reception Information

http://www.ccrane.com/University?by=University

https://news.ccrane.com/?s=AM+reception

https://radiojayallen.com/combatting-am-and-sw-interference/

http://radiosausalito.org/listen/AM-reception-tips/

http://www.radionz.co.nz/listen/AMhelp

Mother’s Day Gift Guide

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We know it’s still early, but we wanted you to have plenty of time to find the perfect gift for Mom. After a quick internal poll here at C. Crane, we’ve compiled a list of what employees have purchased and would recommend as Mother’s Day gifts. We hope this helps you find a great gift for your mom this Mother’s Day.

John recommends the PowerVivid Pocket Flashlight. He’s given them as gifts and everyone loved them. They are the perfect size for purses and glove compartments.

Christine loves the CC Solar Observer Wind Up Radio. Her perennials that survived the record rain fall are popping up all over the garden and of course there are plenty of weeds which need attention now and this radio allows her to power it with the solar panel. She can listen to music all day long while gardening and not using any batteries or electricity.

The Senta Ally is always a favorite. Whether doing the dishes or cleaning the house, being able to stream your favorite audio like Pandora through the Bluetooth® speaker definitely makes the work go by more quickly.

Carolyn recommends the CC Pocket Radio. She gave one to her sister when her iPod® died. Her sister likes to take morning walks with music as motivation. The CC Pocket overcame her initial skepticism because this unit brought in plenty of FM stations from her city, and she was able to program her favorites into the preset buttons to easily switch between them while on her walks.  Now she also tunes to the AM band for news updates and information about what is going on in her city – something she had not done in a long time.  When asked if she ever bought another iPod®, she said the CC Pocket Radio worked out so well for her that she had forgotten all about it!

Many of you may know Bob Crane always recommends the CC Radio-EP because that’s who he built the radio for – His Mom. She wanted a radio that was easy to use without all the extra stuff, so that’s what he gave her.

Isaiah recommends the CC WiFi internet radio. His mom has her radio on every day for several years. It only goes off at bedtime and when “The Voice” comes on television. Jessica’s grandma loves this radio as well. She gets to listen To St. John’s out of Newfoundland Canada and it brings her information and music from her home country.

Sue recommends the CC Witness Plus – whether she rides a motorcycle, works in the yard or loves to shop – she can record her favorite music, talk shows or even her language lessons and take it with her and listen at her leisure.

So many options for you to choose from, you’ll have no problem picking a great gift this year! Tell us what your plans are for this year’s Mother’s Day!

The Big C. Crane Move

CCrane Ribbon Cutting2

Photo by Mary Bullwinkel

C. Crane’s big move to our new building has been a very memorable experience. Last Friday, October 30th, we celebrated our Ribbon Cutting Ceremony along with a big Halloween themed shindig for members from the Fortuna Community. Below is a wonderful article published by Talkers writer, Michael Harrison, as well as a few pictures taken from the event.

C. Crane’s Impressive New Building.

The family-owned-and-operated C. Crane company has been in business since it was founded at the Crane family’s kitchen table in 1983 selling AM antennas for the love of talk radio. Pictured, you see the staff of the AM/FM radio and accessories vendor posing during the ribbon-cutting outside C. Crane’s newly remodeled 14,000 square foot facility.  Local dignitaries and employees decided they might as well celebrate Halloween at the same since a big move like this is kind of scary.  Company founder Bob Crane says the new digs provide improved efficiency and better access for customers to the new showroom.  He says, “Our ability to design and manufacture new proprietary radio products has dramatically accelerated with the new facility.”

Read the Talkers article here: http://www.talkers.com/?s=c+crane&x=0&y=0

Halloween2Halloween 3

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Why We Made the First CCRadio

selectatenna

Select-A-Tenna – AM Antenna

After C. Crane started to gain momentum selling mostly antennas and radio accessories, we received our first real technological challenge when customers starting asking for recommendations on the best radio. It was pretty easy to select the Sangean 803A as the first radio we offered to our customers. Tuning was precise and voice audio was sharper and more legible than most other radios on the market. With the Select-A-Tenna that we sold, it turned into one of the best radios made for reception. It was a little complex to use as a regular daily radio but it met many customer’s needs. We also carried the GE Super Radio which was much easier to use but lacked some of the functionality customer’s wanted and supply was erratic. It seemed that there wasn’t a good blend of features, performance and ease of use.

In the background we went about acquiring and testing just about every popular radio made at the time. It turns out that most radios are tuned for music and FM. There are many that have too much bass or filtering which distorts the human voice for talk radio and even voices found in music tracks. It turned out nobody was making a radio that made voices sound realistic and very few had good reception. If they did, they were so complicated that you needed a PhD just to turn it on or they were so expensive you needed a small loan to pay for it. It took 10 years to convince a manufacturer to help us make the radio we knew our customers needed and wanted. Something that had some of the most desired functionality (memory presets, clock, alarm), audio tuned for voice, excellent reception and wasn’t too difficult to use.

ccradio2eWe started the CCRadio by selecting a speaker and an amplifier designed to react well with voice frequencies. Trying to make a sensitive radio that picked up weak stations was the real challenge. The new solid state chips generated their own static noise that masked the weak signal so that is all you heard. It took months to reduce the noise and make the radio quiet so a weak station was above the noise level. The original CCRadio was introduced in July of 1998 and we haven’t looked back. Grandma Faye gave the best compliment; “you can hear the voices with this radio”. It’s gone through a few different iterations based on customer feedback and changes in technology but the idea behind it remains and it continues to be one of the most popular radios we offer. Models based on our design are still popular worldwide. It took several more years but we eventually invented and received a patent for the Twin Coil Ferrite AM antenna. This allowed us to exceed the reception of our original AM antenna and radio.

Our line of CC Radios has expanded to include different types and styles but the focus on reception and audio remains.

In honor of our anniversary month, 17 years of CCRadios, you can enter to win, tell us your favorite radio story in the comments on this blog and win the CCRadio of your choice. Drawing will be held July 31st. Only one entry per person.

Congratulations to Bob Emery for sharing his favorite radio story! Thanks to everyone who participated! ~Jessyca

AM Reception Tips – Part 3 – Tips for Tricky Reception Areas

One of the toughest places to get radio reception is inside an office or apartment building. Construction materials like brick and metal, and noise from computers and other electronics can all combine to make radio reception nearly impossible to receive. Besides the construction of the building, you sometimes have to account for your location in the building as well. Often people are allowed to listen to music or radio while they work but a radio can be rendered useless by all the interference. Below are some possible solutions to this issue:

Conventional Solution:
The simplest way to improve radio reception it to put a radio in a window. If you can’t do that you still have several options. First using a CCRadio-2E, with its sensitive AM capabilities, is often enough to improve radio reception. If you’ve already done that, you can try running a wire from your radio to an antenna in a window. You could also try running cable along the floor or through the ceiling, or you could even wrap it around a few co-workers if you like (just kidding). But really, running a coax cable (like TV cable) from your radio to a well situated antenna might just do the trick. Two antennas to consider for this type of setup are the Twin Coil Ferrite® AM Antenna or the FM Reflect. If you have an “in” with the super, you might even be able to mount an antenna just outside your window. Not interested in purchasing an antenna? Try building your own for free, using our simple antenna plans.

conventional-solutionWireless Solution:
If you can’t imagine setting up a bunch of wires in your office or home, or it’s just too much trouble to get a cable to run cleanly along the floor or the ceiling, you’re not alone. Another possible solution – go wireless. You can set up any radio that receives the station you want next to the window or in the location you receive the signal. Then plug our FM Transmitter-2 into the headphone jack. You can then send that clear signal – be it AM or FM, to any radio that is strategically placed around your home or office. If you opt for the FM transmitter solution, you can expect up to a 45-ft range in an office setting. That will probably drop about 10 feet for every wall or large object the signal has to pass through. You can view our FAQs to see additional ways to improve the transmit range.cc2-fm-trans-1-500WiFi Internet Solution:
If you have broadband access you can opt for one of our WiFi Internet radios that stream a variety of content. You’ll just want to check and make sure that the show or station you want to listen to is available prior to purchasing. We’ve written several articles explaining in great detail the pros and cons of internet radio and what kind of content you might hear to help you decide if that’s the right solution for you.

Bluetooth Solution:
If you know what you want to listen to is available on an app, like iHeart or TuneIn, you can use your Bluetooth enabled device (such as a smartphone or tablet) with our Senta Ally Bluetooth®  Speaker. It provides much better sound than phones or tablets. Here’s a quick video to explain how it might work for you.

You can also check out Reception Tips 1- Radio Noise Problems & Static and Reception Tips 2 – How to Improve AM Reception and Boost the Signal.

And of course, if you need help figuring out the right solution for you, we’re always here to help.

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.

AM-loop-1
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.

AM-loop-2
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.

AM-loop-3
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.

AM-loop-4
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.

AM-loop-5
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.

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