Top Gift Picks for Mother’s Day 2017

MothersDay

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.

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.

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

Gift Guide for Dads and Grads

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Tis the season to shop for some of the most important people in your life. Your dad (or husband) – the man you can never figure out what to buy for since he’s already bought everything for himself. Your graduating child or grandchild who thinks the world of you but may not share your taste in gifts….

We have some ideas to help you find the perfect gift.

An emergency radio that has a built in flashlight – what a great way to show you care. Make sure that they have what they need in the event of an emergency. Everyone thinks their cell phones replace a good radio nowadays, but we’ve learned (in some cases the hard way) that this just isn’t true. All circuits busy anyone? Phone died and the power is out, and your car is floating down the river? We’ve heard stories like this, and more, where radio is the only way they know what’s going on – and the CC Solar Observer can charge most cell phones.

The Senta Ally Bluetooth speaker with FM Radio is always well received – We can’t tell you how many employees here have given these as gifts to their dads, siblings and graduating family members. This speaker has a very broad appeal and is really easy to use. They are in work shops, on kitchen counters, and out in the garden. The only limitation is your smartphone’s apps or your playlist. It also has a replaceable, rechargeable battery.

Have a gardener in your life? Get them the garden noise blocking headphones – This may be more geared for dads, although Jessica’s younger brother has found great use for this with his smartphone in the wood shop. The planer is just too loud! Bob’s gardener uses the kit with our CC Pocket radio regularly while weed eating out in the yard.

The Super WiFi Repeater System will allow anyone looking to extend the distance from their router by repeating the signal. Great for apartment complexes and dorm rooms where the signal might not be so great or for offices in the back of the house that are too far away from the router.

If you’re in a house where your political views (especially this election year) and thus taste in talk show hosts are as far apart as you being a vegetarian and him being a cattle rancher, a pillow speaker could be your best investment ever. We can’t help you with your differences in the kitchen, but this lovely little piece of equipment allows him to listen to his preferred stations in bed, and you don’t have to hear it. It also works great for audio books.

Still not sure what to buy? A gift certificate allows for them to pick whatever they prefer.

If you need any help with a recommendation, please call us and we’d love to help you pick out the best gift for your loved one.

Tell us – what’s the best or worst Father’s Day or Graduation gift you’ve ever received?

 

Celebrating the Freedom of Radio

We thought July would be the perfect month to introduce our new Blog; since it is the month we here in the U.S.A. celebrate our freedom and independence; both of which are apparent in radio. We are very fortunate to live in a country where we are able to listen to what we want, where the hosts are able to talk about what they want and where there is so much choice. There are so many countries where governments censor what content can be broadcast to the frequency ranges that are available on the devices on which people listen.

Whether you listen on your traditional radio, your computer, your smartphone or you own a station; don’t ever take for granted the freedom that radio represents; it is the one medium that still allows millions of people to listen; connect and have a voice at the same moment. You don’t have to be wealthy or have a degree in order for your opinion to be heard. Radio is the medium still used by Voice of America  to provide news and information to an international audience and Radio Free Asia who brings free press to closed societies.

Radio also offers something for everyone. Whether you love gardening, home repair, politics, sports or just want to listen to music, you can generally find it on the radio. But radio is often more than just tuning into the topic of your choice; it’s how it relates to your life, the discussion that happens and being part of a community. And now, with the onset of social media there are additional opportunities for radio to generate discussion.

So if you haven’t listened lately, turn on your radio. If you need to find something new to listen to, watch our blog for an introduction to what else is available on the radio. Or if you have a favorite but are unable to find them anymore, send us an email at ccraneblog@ccrane.com and we may be able to find them for you or point you toward someone with a similar format. We appreciate and look forward to your input.