C. Crane’s Employee Recommended Gift Guide

christmasgiftsonplanks

We feel your pain in the effort to try to figure out what to buy each year, we’re in the same boat. Whether you are shopping for your spouse who buys whatever he wants when he wants, your father who already has everything, your mother-in-law who insists she doesn’t want anything but will be devastated if you don’t buy her something, or your teenage grandkids who are pretty sure you know nothing about gifts they might like and hope you give them cash, we might be able to help.

A couple years ago, we took a poll of C. Crane employees and got some great responses of C. Crane gifts given to family and friends so we thought it was time for an update. Below are some of the responses:

John:     I gave a Spotlight XB to my Uncle as a gift. At home and at his rental, he works under sinks, under the house, under his truck, etc. a lot. The high brightness and kickstand help him to get his work done in a more efficient manner.

I gave a set of Voz Headphones to my Wife. She likes them for the comfortable fit and great audio quality. She uses them with a portable Blu-ray player and her computer.

For my oldest (15) I am getting him a Versa 3 to make his desktop computer WiFi capable. He prefers using an older laptop since it has built-in WiFi and lets his amazing desktop computer gather dust. The Versa 3 will allow him to enjoy his desktop the way he wants to … online.

For my youngest (8) I am getting him a set of Voz Headphones. This is so he can listen to his FM radio stations without bothering the rest of the house with that loud music kids listen to these days.

Bob:  Earlier this year I visited my aunt who is now in an assisted living home. She understands everything but talking is a difficult process. She let me know that she could not find a radio that worked well where she lived. I am happy to report the CC Radio EP gave her the reception she wanted . . . WCCO . . . loud and clear.

Kim:       I bought my husband the CC Skywave and he loves taking it all around the yard to listen to all the ball games. He loves that the batteries last a long time. He even asked for one to take to the race car shop.

All my kids love their Senta Ally. They can listen to all their podcast’s and “stuff” on their phones all over the house or in the yard or the kids can listen to something in their rooms and mom and dad do not have to listen.

Kathy:   My husband loves the Senta Ally that I bought him. He uses it in the wood shop and listens to his music from his iPhone.

Jessica: Every year at least a few C. Crane products make an appearance at Christmas. The Pocket Vivid Flashlight goes in every stocking and often the Unity Flashlight will go with a bottle of wine for friends or extended family. I’m really excited about our new CC Buds Pro and CC Buds Pro Mic earbuds because my teenage boys have actually developed a preference for them over other much more expensive brands, those will be in stockings this year as well! Past presents have included the CCRadioplus (now the 2E) which is used daily up at my father-in-law’s lodge and the CC WiFi which is used daily at my husband’s grandmother’s house. It’s nice to know that these gifts actually get used!

Annette:  I live where the power goes out a lot. I found that the CC Led Spot XB is my best friend when its dark and power is out or even when it’s not. I use it to check out the backyard since I have a lot of critters in my area that I don’t want to meet in the dark. It puts a large spot over a hundred feet away on the barn.  This makes a great gift for those who don’t know what to give a parent or grandparent.  I even gave them to the grandchildren for their cars. This light will also light up a room and the stand makes it easy to use. I personally shine it at the ceiling which lights up a room very nicely.

Carolyn:  The Unity Plus LED Flashlight has been one of my favorite gifts to give others for the last couple of years.  I was later told by some receivers that they needed another one because other household members keep taking theirs.  So now I make sure to include everyone when giving out the Unity Plus to help avoid domestic disputes!

Sue G:  This year I am buying myself something for Christmas from C. Crane. I love my CC Witness Plus and depend on it to work for me every single weekend, all day long. I am buying myself a second CC Witness Plus as a back-up! This is my gift to myself.

The new CC Buds Pro-Mic is my gift of choice this year for all my family members that have a smartphone and don’t have hearing aids, I won’t be giving them to Great Grandma, but everyone else is getting them.

We hope this helps you with some ideas for your Christmas gift list (or maybe gives you some ideas for a gift to yourself).

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!

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.

Summary

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.