It’s Snowbird Season!

snowbirdrvFor those that may not be familiar with the term, a “snowbird” is an individual from the Northern United States or Canada that spends the colder months in the warmer climates of Florida, Arizona, California, Hawaii, or well, you get the idea.  After spending a balmy winter among the palm trees or cactus, they pack up and make their way home to family, long-time neighbors and hopefully, a house that is exactly as they left it months ago.

For those of you unfamiliar with the not-so-rarely sighted snowbird, they are a special species with a lot to offer the communities where they land.  Making a visit to the BLT blog for lifestyle & travel will fill you in on “30 Things You Probably Didn’t Know About Snowbirds.”  Maybe one day you can join the flock.

If you are one of the millions of people that already call themselves a snowbird, you probably don’t need to be reminded of the many complications this human migration can bring.  In addition to a mile-long checklist to winterize the home up north and arrange for your absence, there is also preparation for the trip itself.  This includes saying goodbye to family with a strict promise to give them up-to-the-minute progress reports on your journey, lest you should fall off the face of the earth.  These days a whole lot of folks still do this by email or Facebook, which leaves you relying on the WiFi signals available at RV parks, or a free signal from an eatery across the road.  These signals can be spotty, causing a lot of frustration and keeping you from sending out those anticipated updates, or getting a weather report for tomorrow.  You have enough to worry about without receiving a verbal finger wagging from your adult children, or having everything strapped to the roof get soaked because you didn’t know rain was headed your way.

CC Vector Home WiFi Repeater System Item # VEC1 $149.99

CC Vector Home WiFi Repeater SystemItem # VEC1 $149.99

CC Vector RV WiFi Repeater System Item # VEC2 $169.99

CC Vector RV WiFi Repeater SystemItem # VEC2 $169.99

 

C. Crane has the perfect solution for unreliable WiFi with a variety of antennas and signal repeaters based on your situation.  Please visit our web site to help make your migration a smooth one.

 

 

 

 

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

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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Tips for Improving Your WiFi Reception

WIFI 5

Relocate your  wireless router to the middle of your house. This is the most effective way to maximize your home WiFi coverage. If you have DSL or cable internet then it is likely that you have several other cable or telephone jacks in your house. Any one of these jacks can be used to connect your modem/router. It is not necessary to move your computer; just add a WiFi adapter to it for wireless communication.

 

 

WIFI 2

 

Position the antennas on your router vertically. Although they can be positioned at various angles, your best results for covering larger areas will be vertical positioning. The reason for this is because the signal pattern is not a bubble but is flat like a pancake.  If the antenna is placed at a 45 degree angle then most of the beam pattern will be pointed at the ground and roof.

WIFI 3

 

Elevate your WiFi router off the floor or a metal surface. For best reception, place the router on a wood table or desk. For even better reception, place two or three of those old encyclopedias under your router. WiFi can usually pass through soft materials like books and wood without too much trouble.

 

WIFI 4Reposition dense obstructions in your home so that your routers WiFi signal path can reach your WiFi device. Some common household obstructions include mirrors, metal filing cabinets, kitchen appliances, bathroom fixtures, and furniture. Basically anything metal, brick, stucco, porcelain, tile, or hardwood will hinder or stop WiFi. Foil covered insulation will also stop WiFi.

 

 

Move or shield interfering devices that use the same frequency as WiFi. Most people don’t realize that they are experiencing interference on their WiFi network because it is still operational. Interference can reduce the speed or momentarily pause WiFi network communications. Some common causes of interference are microwave ovens, baby monitors, laptop-pic2_001cord less handsets, Bluetooth devices, garage door openers, fluorescent lights, and bad electrical connections.

One possible solution is to change your router channel. It is better to remove the interfering device completely but this is not always a practical solution. In this case try moving the interfering device as far away from your WiFi equipment as possible. You can also try shielding the device using aluminum foil or a metal sheet.

For more information to Improve WiFi or if you have any other questions, please contact us.

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! 

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.