WiFi Calling When You Have Poor Cell Service – Guest Post by Jessica Crotty

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CC Vector WiFi Network  – 5 Bars!

Recently we were visiting my Father-in-Law at Quail Lodge Lake Almanor in Canyon Dam, CA. The lodge has decent WiFi through most of the property except where we were staying. Since I work at C. Crane I figured it would be the perfect time to test out our new CC Vector RV System – so I set up our system and went from one bar (in some cases none) to 5. Mission accomplished.

We were fortunate enough to meet our neighbors who were parked staying in their 5th wheel. I checked with them to see how their WiFi was in case they wanted to connect to the hot spot I’d created. Their problem wasn’t WiFi but it was no cell service. So we got to chatting about possible solutions and I remembered that while in China last year I had an issue that I was able to resolve by enabling WiFi on my iPhone SE. I am able to send and receive calls over WiFi when it’s available (like at the lodge). For many travelers this is a great solution, since so many remote places have poor cellular service but do have WiFi. In our case, with Verizon you do have to contact them to enable the setting and there may be a fee so it may not be something you want to have on all the time. I’m sure each carrier varies. To find it on an iPhone SE go to Settings -> Phone-> Calls -> WiFi Calling and enable the WiFi Calling on This Phone.

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FaceBook Messenger App – Make Calls by clicking the phone icon in the app.

The other option I shared, was the Facebook Messenger App. It requires that the other person also have the app, but I’ve used it with my Mother-in-law when she’s traveling internationally. It is much less expensive than adding an international data plan and there is even video calling available if you have a strong enough WiFi signal and it works even without an iPhone.

One of our resident WiFi gurus, Isaiah, also had this story of another solution – A couple years ago I added $10 to my Skype account for calling anywhere in the world and to any phone when I needed it. I’ve made many many calls .. some even to China and New Zealand and some just to family when I couldn’t find my cell phone.. I just used my computer and plug-in gaming headset. My audio was much better than using my phone and the other party could always hear me clearly because of the high quality microphone in my gaming headset. Anyways.. to this day I still have $4 remaining on my Skype account in case I need to make a call.

I hope this helps someone out there with similar issues and if you’re ever near Quail Lodge, tell my Father in Law, John and his partner Debbie that I sent you!

What are your biggest pain points with WiFi or Cell service while traveling and what solutions have you come up with? Tell us in the comments below and be entered to win a CC Vector Home Repeater System. Drawing September 8th. Please only one entry per person.

Special Note: Although we do have the most AMAZING U.S. based tech support (in my humble opinion) and we love to help, we only support our products and are unable to troubleshoot your cell phones.

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What is Airband (Aviation Band) on a Radio?

© Frankljunior | Dreamstime.com – Air Traffic Control Tower And An Airplane Photo

This has become a popular question with our new CC Skywave™.

According to Wikipedia, Airband, also referred to as Aircraft or Aviation band, is a group of frequencies in the VHF radio spectrum that are allocated to civil aviation radio communications. VHF is a short range, line of site transmission. Our radio covers 118 – 137MHz for Airband. In most countries a license is required to operate airband equipment but that appears to apply only to transceivers, not receivers. In some countries it is illegal to listen to or monitor the Airband without authorization (even in the UK).

The language that is used to communicate on this band can be a challenge to follow. Ken Hoke’s article on Stuff Pilots Say, gives some great insight into the meaning of the seemingly cryptic language used on Airband.

The primary purpose of Air traffic control worldwide is to prevent collisions, organize and expedite the flow of traffic, and provide information and other support for pilots. It was difficult to find any “history” of airband but it appears that it was first used extensively after World War I and after 1921 at Croydon airport in London. Navigation and air traffic control have changed over time and many areas use higher frequencies and RADAR and other more sophisticated systems. The Airband radio frequencies still continue to play a part though, especially in ground communication with pilots. It is used almost exclusively in small airports that don’t have control towers. We have one customer who plans to use the CC Skywave for monitoring the ground to pilot communication at the local air races.

As to why we decided to include Airband in our radio? Here is Bob’s answer:

“When you are in a big airport you are sometimes subject to the whims of security and circumstance. TSA does a great job but when the process gets a little tense I yearn for more information. I want to know everything that will affect my tiny domain. When you listen to aviation band you can usually figure out more by reading between the lines on what pilots and the control tower are talking about. Sometimes you gain a sense of power and wisdom as you do with any knowledge.”

For more information on what you might hear or how to listen, visit the links below.

http://radio-scanner-guide.com/radioscannerguidepart3c-civilaircraft.htm

http://www.wikihow.com/Listen-to-Your-Local-Air-Traffic-Control

 

Public Radio Is Important

pmdmc2017C. Crane recently exhibited at the Public Media Conference 2017 in beautiful San Francisco #PMDMC17 (Public Media Development and Marketing Conference). We previously exhibited in 2013. Once again we were blown away at the awareness these stations have in relation to their listeners. It’s much different than we see and experience in other environments where there seems to be more disconnect between the station and the listener. We believe it’s because these stations exist because of their member base. No members supporting the station equals no station or a “lesser” station.

What is Public Broadcasting and why should I listen?

America’s unique public broadcasting system is a collaboration of 1,300 local non-commercial radio and television stations that meet the standards of and are supported by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. They work with each other and with hundreds of national and local producers and community partners to ensure that Americans have universal access to high-quality non-commercial programming….

https://current.org/about-public-media/why-public-media/

https://www.metamorafilms.org/2016/08/10/why-public-media-broadcasting-is-still-important-in-our-world/

We speak with people every day who couldn’t imagine a day without their local public radio station. The variety of programming includes NPR, BBC, classical music and often local on-air talent (which you all know is hard to come by in these days of mega consolidation, syndication and automation).

You might wonder how C. Crane fits into Public Radio since we’re normally an advertiser and well….there isn’t really advertising on Public Radio. We fit in, in a few different ways.

  1. We build radios that help the listeners get the signal. Often these stations are in rural areas or have fringe area listeners who struggle to receive the signal – our radios are high quality and help them pull in the weak signal and sound great too!
  2. If the station’s power is too low (or maybe it’s HD so the coverage radius is small and limited to their vehicle or an app) – we offer our internet radio which in many cases is the perfect solution. If the stream isn’t already available, we are usually able to have it added within a short period of time.
  3. Our radios make great membership premiums. The most popular is the CC Solar Observer.
  4. In the event our products don’t make sense for a premium, we also have a radio for resale program. We offer this to both public and private stations where they can offer our radios direct to their listeners.
  5. This year there was also a lot of interest in our new CC Buds Pro – Earbuds for Voice. A LOT of people listen using earbuds daily and finding a good pair, where you can hear the voice at a reasonable price is hard to do. We see earbuds in our futures 🙂

We met the most amazing,  down to earth, community minded and radio loving individuals at PMDMC and were so honored to be a part of this event. Stay tuned for some really great blog posts based on some of the people we met and stories we heard at the show!

Do you listen to Public Broadcasting? Share your favorite Public Broadcast show/station(s) in the comments below to be entered to win the NEW CC Buds Pro! Drawing will be held July 31st. Please only one entry per person.

Congratulations to Mer on your win of the CC Buds Pro! Thank you all for participating.

Happy Independence Day

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We wish all of you a safe and fun holiday – C. Crane Family

It’s Officially Summer – Time to Travel!

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Summer solstice was June 21st and we hope you were able to enjoy the long hours of daylight (and maybe some sunshine too). With summer comes travel. Whether you’re chasing sunshine or trying to get away from the heat, we have some ideas of essential items for your traveling:

CC Spot XB LED Spotlight – Even if you’re only traveling a few hours this light is perfect for changing a tire or finding the spot for your RV hookups. It’s bright, easy to hold, runs a long time on standard C batteries and has a kickstand for stability if you need it.

C. Zimmerman says Sturdy and powerful spotlight  “This is a very powerful spotlight that is well built but lightweight. I took it out and compared it to an incredibly bright 750 Lumen flashlight I have, and this has to be at least 100 Lumens on the bright setting. It lights up a large are to make it look like the sun came out. I don’t think you will be disappointed with this spotlight.”

CC Skywave Radio – This has become a favorite for those who want all the various communications and functionality with good reception in a small size and the weather alert comes in VERY handy if you’re traveling in areas with unpredictable weather.

N. Rosas says Perfect travel radio “This is the perfect radio for travel. I’ve had several, and this is the best. I tend to go to the same places, so the page memory feature is great for saving stations by location. The lighted display is a great feature. I would recommend this radio.”

Senta Ally Bluetooth® Wireless Speaker – There’s nothing better than being able to play your own tunes! Works with your iPhone™, Android ™, or any Bluetooth device or you can plug it in directly from any line out or earphone jack using the included stereo patch-cord.

TD says My 2014 favorite gadget of the year! “I use it pretty much every day. By following the instructions it paired easily with my iphone. Once I started using it, I realized it also paired wonderfully with my CC Witness. I record radio programs all week with the CC Witness using sandisk cards (the witness is able to screen out hours of commercials if you program the timers). I can play the disks in either unit at my convenience. I also use it to play The CBS Radio Mystery Theater, episodes that are available for free download on the internet, the voices are crisp and easy to listen to with the Senta. Navigation is a little tricky, but once I got the hang of it, its very simple. Also pairs great with the pillow speaker!“

And for those of you who struggle with WiFi at campgrounds, RV parks or hotels – the CC Vector Systems are a great solution for extending WiFi to multiple devices or the Super USB WiFi antenna is great for a single Windows Computer.

B. Freeman says Exceeded My Expectations “We travel full time in a motor home. Often RV Park WiFi is weak or unable to connect. This ‘kit’ makes it strong and stable and fast. Super easy to use and setup. Couldn’t be more satisfied.”

Whatever your travel plans are this summer – stay safe and make some amazing memories! If you missed it before, and your AM listening is leaving a lot to be desired with all that daylight – check out the tips on our blog.

Tell us your summer plans in the comments below and be entered to win a Senta Ally Bluetooth Speaker. Drawing will be held July 3rd. Please only one entry per person.

Congratulations Julie Horner winner of the Senta Ally Bluetooth Speaker!

Gift Guide for Dad

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It’s almost that time again – Father’s Day! We have some ideas to help you score a big win in the gift category.

The CC LED Spot XB Spotlight is great for any dad. We’ve had folks buy it for night time walking, camping, working under the house or to keep in the car. It’s bright, durable, and lightweight and makes an excellent gift.

If your dad likes sports or working in the garden, the CC Pocket might be the perfect fit. We hear about folks taking it to the baseball game so they can listen to the play by play on their radio. If gardening is more his speed, we’ve developed a kit that includes the CC Pocket,and noise blocking headphones with an optional chest harness.

When nothing but the best will do, the CCRadio-2E is the right choice. This is our top performer for long range AM reception. The voice focused audio on this radio is superb and will have him thanking you for years to come.

Still not sure what to buy? A gift certificate allows your dad to get what he really wants. No re-gifting or hurt feelings.

If you need any help with a recommendation, please call us and we’d love to help you pick out the right gift for that special dad in your life!

Memorial Day

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While we view Memorial Day as the official summer kick off and enjoying a B-B-Q with friends or family, please remember to set aside some time to honor the service men and women who made the ultimate sacrifice for our freedom. That freedom extends into radio in the form of Freedom of Speech. Whether you agree or disagree with a host, your right to do so is largely a result of those who have gone before us to secure that freedom.

Gene Burns, an unforgettable icon in radio history, believed that talk radio played a crucial role in exercising and preserving our First Amendment Right. He gave one of the most moving speeches about the Freedom of Speech when he accepted the “Freedom of Speech” award at Talker’s. It was so long ago, there is no recording that we could locate (still working on it), but we did find some YouTube videos of Gene that make one realize that even though everything seemingly changes, everything really is the same…. Michael Harrison, founder of Talker’s Magazine and host of podcast Up Close and Far Out is also a huge proponent of Freedom of Speech. He said this in an interview on KNPR “I think talk radio is a very vital expression of the First Amendment,” he said, “And I think that the First Amendment, freedom of speech, is not a tidy affair. You cannot have free speech and have it be nice or the way you like it or only the truth or only things that are political correct. Free speech is the foundation upon which America is built.”

Take a minute this weekend when you’re listening to the radio or watching YouTube videos, about whatever content that you have the freedom to choose, to say thanks to all of those that died to secure your freedom.

May we never forget freedom isn’t free.

Top Gift Picks for Mother’s Day 2017

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Mother’s day is just around the corner and C. Crane is here to help you find a gift that will actually be used!

  1. CC Radio-EP – Bob Crane designed this radio for his Mom. It’s the easiest radio to use and has great reception and sound.
  2. CC Pocket – This radio is perfect for the Mom who is out walking regularly.
  3. CC WiFi – Mom’s love this – no static, no fade and thousands upon thousands of stations to choose from.
  4. The Senta Ally – A consistent favorite. Mom controls the playlist from her smartphone using a Bluetooth connection. Perfect while doing household chores or even relaxing in the tub!
  5. CC Solar Observer – You’ll have peace of mind knowing your Mom has the information she needs even if the power is out with this Wind Up Solar Emergency Radio.

If you’re still not sure which item is right for your mom, contact us! We’re happy to help you make the best selection for your Mom.

Earth Day 2017

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Since the first Earth Day on April 22, 1970, millions of people continue to bring awareness and solutions to local and global environmental concerns. This year there is a March for Science and teach ins regarding current issues facing our environment.

Radio stations across the nation are playing a role, gathering communities for common causes and helping spread the word. It’s fascinating to see the variety of topics that are covered: trail creation and maintenance, clean water, community clean ups and restoration projects, gardening and invasive plant education, alternative energy and endangered species awareness.

Here’s just a few events (there are literally thousands and it seems almost every city has some opportunity to volunteer).

http://sunradio.com/2017/03/26/earth-day-2017/
http://www.espn1320.net/events/cspf-earth-day-2017
http://nwpr.org/post/earth-day-northwest
http://www.radiowoodstock.com/amp-events/earth-day-volunteering-celebration/

How do you plan to participate in Earth Day? Does your community have an event? Enter you answer in the comments below and be entered to win the CC Solar Observer AM, FM, Weather Wind Up and Solar Powered Radio. Drawing will be held April 25th. Please only one entry per person.

Why is Television so Hard to Hear?

This question came up during a recent tour at C. Crane with the Fortuna Senior Center. “My brand new television has terrible audio and I have to turn the volume way up and then next thing I know it’s blasting out my eardrums – do you have a fix for this?” There was a Wall Street Journal article on exactly this issue and we were able to share some ideas on possible solutions and some basic info on why this happens. While we’re usually known for radio, we do know a bit about audio as well.

Often it’s assumed that the sound issues are all related to hearing loss, but it turns out while that may be part of the problem, it’s not the whole story. With TVs getting thinner and thinner, speaker size, positioning and sound are often an after thought if even considered at all. This could be a big reason why personal sound systems are making a come back. We offer the AEGO Soundbar system to help combat poor audio. Not ready to make that kind of an investment? Here are a couple things you can try:

  1. Locate the speakers on your TV – depending on where they are (often pointing down on the bottom of the television), move your TV. Setting your TV on a wooden surface could do the trick because the sound needs something to bounce off of. Try out different combinations since even a table runner could muffle the sound by absorbing it.
  2. Play with the settings on your TV’s sound. Depending on the issue you are experiencing – illegible voice, too loud, too soft, etc. – you may be able to find a better audio setting on your television.

If none of those things, work you might want to consider our FM Transmitter that can bring the audio from your TV to your radio. Our CCRadio 2E has amazing sound quality and then the audio is right next to you. This is a pretty inexpensive way to improve the sound. Or if you don’t mind wearing earphones, there are many wireless and Bluetooth® options that might work with your new television.

Have you found this to be an issue for you? Share your solutions in the comments below!