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.

National Grandparents Day: Do Something Grand

grandparents
In 1978, President Jimmy Carter signed the proclamation that established the first Sunday after Labor Day as National Grandparents Day.

Since beginning a campaign in 1970 to set aside one special day recognizing grandparents, Marian McQuade spearheaded the movement that focuses on three main goals:

  1. To honor grandparents
  2. To give grandparents an opportunity to show love for their children’s children.
  3. To help children become aware of the strength, information, and guidance older people can offer.

It is the third goal of National Grandparents Day that a radio buff can really take and run with.

Do you remember when a cloud was something you saw floating in the sky and tried to decide if it looked like a dolphin or a motorcycle?  Perhaps they caught more of your childhood attention because you were actually outside.  Admittedly, today’s youth faces a more complex world full of different challenges than previous generations, but they lack hands-on experience beyond a keyboard.  Most people’s grandkids are a wiz with all things internet and computer related, but few can tell you how any of it actually works.  By contrast, radio wave reception is a readily explainable concept that can be demonstrated, experimented with, and shared with one’s grandchildren.

Since the line between entertainment and education can be on the thin side, the wisest path is to find a way to combine the two.  Most grandparents don’t even attempt to achieve “cool” status since they learned long ago through their own children what a no-win game that is, not to mention expensive.  But without the day-to-day stresses of the parent/child relationship infringing on your time together, the passion that grandparents show for the world of radio can then spur excitement for further discovery.  Your grandchildren need you to pass along this important information.  One day the cloud may rain torrents of megabytes, and then where will they be?

Crane has a free library on our web site that may prove helpful:  http://www.ccrane.com/University?by=University

These links help explain AM reception facts:
http://www.ccrane.com/University/am-reception-1
http://www.ccrane.com/University/Sky-Wave-Radio

This link is great for those looking to share a hands-on experiment:
http://www.ccrane.com/University/How-To-Make-a-Simple-Powerful-AM-Loop-Antenna-For-Free

This year the holiday falls on Sunday, September 11th.  To find out more about the history of Grandparents Day, visit http://www.grandparents-day.com/.

We’d love to hear about the favorite thing you’ve taught your grandchildren or learned from your grandparents! Tell us in the comments below.

What is Shortwave?

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Shortwave radio
is a radio transmission using shortwave frequencies, generally 1.6–30 MHz (187.4–10.0 m), just above the medium wave AM broadcast band. Many of SW’s properties are similar to AM like the ability for the signal to travel long distances.

Since the early 1900’s, there have been significant advances in radio. One of the biggest advances that has had the most impact on shortwave, is streaming on the internet and through internet enabled devices like smartphones and Internet radios. Many of the most popular shortwave broadcasts in the late 90’s and early 2000’s have almost disappeared from shortwave and switched to streaming. If stations are still broadcasting, they often no longer broadcast to the Americas or much of Europe.

At any one moment, there are literally hundreds of millions of signals now transmitted from a wide range of devices. Cell phones, garage door openers, AM and FM broadcast stations, police, fire, airlines, TV stations and even the AC power to your home all occupy a part of the frequency spectrum. Time, propagation and the ionosphere all have an impact on what you are able to receive. Because all signals are affected by these things, it is important to understand the basics of radio transmission.

If you really want to learn about shortwave, the best way to learn, is to listen to it. ShortwaveSchedule.com provides a list of all the signals currently broadcasting at the time of your search and is a great starting place for your shortwave listening quest.

Why Would I Listen to Shortwave?

  1. Governments often use shortwave “utility” bands. Utility bands are where the action is on shortwave and are used for reliable long range communication. Coast Guard Search and Rescue, coordination of US military aviation and spy networks all use this band. One reason it continues to be used, is it is very difficult to block these transmissions. Utility stations generally operate in upper sideband mode. Virtually none of these type of transmissions is on the Internet.
  2. During a big crisis, whether it be an earthquake or hurricane, your best source of real news can be shortwave. Ham operators do an excellent job of contacting emergency services and handling messages between people. You may have experienced “all circuits busy” situations or failed text messages in a large scale emergency situation due to cellular towers being down or overloaded. Amateur radio is the only communication that works well under all circumstances and for that reason, it will continue to be used for the foreseeable future.
  3. News from other countries will give you a new perspective on the world. Following shortwave closely over a few months will give you information that approximates the political information the President and staff have at their disposal to make global decisions. When you listen to shortwave you find out how difficult it is to make decisions with global consequences. The political bent of a country slips out providing you with an alternative point of view. There is a whole world of listening and very little of it may be found on the Internet.
  4. You might stumble across a Pirate Radio station

If you have the urge, you can even take to the air waves yourself by becoming a Ham operator through the American  Radio Relay League (ARRL). You don’t even have to learn Morse code anymore unless you go for an advanced classification.

SWLING.com is probably one of the most comprehensive sites in regard to shortwave and advocating for it. This article on Does Shortwave Radio Have a Future really outlines what’s available and what’s not and why.

Share with us the most interesting shortwave broadcast you’ve heard.

Art Bell. . . What the heck is he doing? He is going back on air July 20th, 2015!

Midnight in the Desert Art BellArt Bell will be broadcasting on Internet radio, shortwave and even some regular radio stations! What a wonderful unorthodox blend! He is dramatically reducing the number of commercial breaks so it will be very interesting how this meshes with a traditional broadcast station. Keep up with latest news and station list at Artbell.com.

Where can I hear him? Most people may already have their favorite way to listen but if not here are some tips:

The inherent streaming quality of Art’s stereo broadcast is high. You can listen on a phone, tablet, Internet radio, Shortwave or perhaps even a local station. Shortwave station WTWW at 5085 KHz puts out a powerful signal so those beyond any services can hear him. The small CC Skywave radio with 10′ of wire attached to the whip antenna works excellent along with our larger CCRadio-SW.

You can also listen to Dark Matter Digital Network on the CC WiFi Radio or the CC WiFi 2 Radio (available in classic black or gorgeous cherry wood finish).

How can I make Art’s audio stream sound great on a tablet or smartphone?

Speakers:

  • The Senta Ally Stereo Speaker can use Bluetooth or a patch cord from your smart phone. Audio on the Ally is particularly accurate and full for voice. Our price and the fact that it is portable make it a great value.
  • My “spoiled brat-best way” to listen in bed is a tablet directly connected to my CCRadio-2E for impeccable voice rendition. We offer a 1/8″ stereo 3′ heavy duty patch cord that works well for this and other similar devices.

Headphones:

  • If you have a tendency to mangle and destroy headphones you should try our low cost Voz. Many people think they are the finest for voice.
  • For audio connoisseurs check out the Senta-40 at a price that defies the quality.

Earbuds:

  • The Voz Earbuds are inexpensive but normally better than what you may have received with your smartphone.
  • Art Bell’s Hot Pick: The highly rated Voz-P Premium Wooden Earbuds are his favorite.
  • The CC Buds are a new invention of C. Crane that are tuned for voice but also accurate for music without heavy bass.

Tips for Extending WiFi Reception:

Crane has always specialized in long range reception and WiFi is no exception!

Art Bell is on 9-12 PM Pacific Time but you may not have good WiFi reception where you like to listen. There are inexpensive repeaters you can find that work very good for 30′ or more from your router. I particularly like Netgear’s wallplug repeater. But If you have a serious problem making an internet connection then C. Crane has some very powerful solutions to check out.

Good ‘Ole AM/FM Radio:

You can check out the station list on ArtBell.com and see if you can get any signal. The CCRadio-2E is probably the best radio for reception.

Art’s new show has all the signs of a great ride and the future is downright bright and mysterious at the same time. Please join the show!

If we can be of any help, please give us a call. That’s the job we love doing!

Insider Insights on the CC Skywave

CC-SKYWAVE_frontWhen traveling I find radio infinitely more satisfying than watching hotel room TV. Hotel radios rarely work at all on AM and figuring out how to run them could be entertaining but I am usually much too tired to find humor in it. Placing the Skywave near or on a window sill always produces acceptable results.

Discovering a good small travel radio can be difficult. Reception and audio are sometimes sub-par because of the small size. The keys and knob can also be difficult to operate (especially at night) for the same reason. We made the Skywave with usability in mind rather than features for “features” sake. Performance is good enough to gain my vote over a $300.00 radio I once traveled with. The only accessory you might want is a Portable Shortwave antenna depending on where you are traveling.

The Skywave is small enough for a trip anywhere in the world. It is easily switched to another country’s format. Two AA batteries last an amazing 70 hours. I love the Skywave for how easy it is to use at night.

All travelers eventually get delayed at an airport. The air band can be a real informer when traveling. The cryptic language used by pilots and air traffic control is very interesting. The word “heavy” is used for an aircraft on approach that is over 300,000 pounds and generates substantial wake turbulence. One time I heard our latest gate number change over the air and my wife and I got to sit in real chairs for the first time in four hours.

When traveling you need a radio to fit into a crevice of a carry on. Having one with top performance makes it wonderful.

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

Thank you all for participating in our C. Crane 30 Year Anniversary- 30 Days of Giveaways Blog! We had a huge amount of response and the comments that were left were very nice to read.

Congratulations to yesterday’s winner Kathy Spacone who won the final prize of the $200 C. Crane Gift Certificate! WAHOOO!!!!

Please keep the C. Crane Blog bookmarked and check it from time to time, we have great entry’s and you never know when we will have another giveaway…

Thank you again!

C. Crane’s 30 Year Anniversary- 30 Days of Giveaways, Day 22!

Congratulations to yesterday’s winners Keena Reed for winning the CC Gozo AM/FM Radio with Hi-Fidelity Audio, Robert Jackson for winning the GeoBulb®-II LED Light Bulb (Warm White) and J. Warren for winning the GeoBulb®-II LED Light Bulb True Color.

Today’s Blog Topic is: In honor of National Punctuation Day, what is your favorite punctuation mark?

Today’s giveaways are the CCRadio-SW AM/FM Shortwave Radio, the GeoBulb®-3 LED Light Bulb (Warm White) and the GeoBulb®-II LED Light Bulb True Color. To participate all you have to do is leave a comment or punctuation mark on today’s blog post. We will select two comments in a random drawing and post the winners Wednesday morning. Good luck!

CCRadio-SW AM/FM Shortwave Radio & GeoBulb®-3 LED Light Bulb (Warm White)

CCRadio-SW AM/FM Shortwave Radio & GeoBulb®-3 LED Light Bulb (Warm White)

C. Crane’s 30 Year Anniversary- 30 Days of Giveaways, Day 13!

We have had a great time reading everyone’s comments here at C. Crane!

Today’s Blog Topic is: If you could put two talk show hosts in a debate with each other, who would they be and what would they debate?

Today’s giveaways are the CC SW Pocket AM/FM/SW Pocket Radio and a Power Vivid® BR40 LED Light Bulb in Cool 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 on Monday morning. Good Luck and have fun!

CC SW Pocket AM/FM/SW Pocket Radio & Power Vivid® BR40 LED Light Bulb in Cool White

CC SW Pocket AM/FM/SW Pocket Radio & Power Vivid® BR40 LED Light Bulb in Cool White

C. Crane’s 30 Year Anniversary – 30 Days of Giveaways, Day 2!

Congratulations to Ed Strnad winner of the CC SW Pocket AM/FM/SW Radio and David for winning the GeoBulb®-3 LED Light Bulb Warm White.

Today’s giveaways are a SoftSpeaker™ Pillow Speaker with Volume Control and a Dimmable Power Vivid BR30 LED Bulb Bright White. For a chance to win, all you have to do is comment on today’s blog. Today’s blog topic is radio shows. If you had your own radio show, would you be on AM, FM or Shortwave and what would your show be about? The winners will be selected in a random drawing and will be announced tomorrow morning. Good Luck!

SoftSpeaker™ Pillow Speaker with Volume Control & Power Vivid BR30 LED Bulb Bright White-Dimmable

SoftSpeaker™ Pillow Speaker with Volume Control & Power Vivid BR30 LED Bulb Bright White-Dimmable

 

C. Crane’s 30 Year Anniversary – 30 Days of Giveaways!!!

This month marks C. Crane’s 30 year anniversary! Everyone at C. Crane is celebrating and we have you to thank for supporting us these past years. Come join our celebration by participating in our 30 days of giveaways! Each day we will be giving away two products and selecting two winners. In order to participate, all you have to do is comment on our blog. Let us know which is your favorite C. Crane product, what would be your dream radio, what is your favorite radio station and why, what has been your favorite C. Crane catalog or anything radio related you would like to share with us. The winners will be selected in a random drawing and will be announced the following day.

Today’s giveaways are the CC SW Pocket AM/FM and Shortwave Radio and the GeoBulb®-3 LED Light Bulb Warm White.

CC SW Pocket AM/FM/SW & GeoBulb®-3 LED Light Bulb Warm White

CC SW Pocket AM/FM/SW & GeoBulb®-3 LED Light Bulb Warm White