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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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!

World Radio Day – Radio is You!

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Celebrated February 13th just in time for Valentine’s Day World Radio Day! The theme this year is “Radio is You”.

This couldn’t sum up our founder’s belief about radio any better. Radio is you! Bob and Sue Crane, founders of C. Crane, continue to be avid radio listeners.  The main reason they love to listen is because radio can be a very personal medium.  Even though it reaches the widest audience of any medium in the world, there is an individual connection to it that is unavailable elsewhere.

This synopsis from UNESCO in regard to their theme this year for World Radio Day really says it all:

Radio is still the most dynamic, reactive and engaging medium there is, adapting to 21st century changes and offering new ways to interact and participate. Where social media and audience fragmentation can put us in media bubbles of like-minded people, radio is uniquely positioned to bring communities together and foster positive dialogue for change. By listening to its audiences and responding to their needs, radio provides the diversity of views and voices needed to address the challenges we all face. Radio informs us and transforms us, through entertainment, information and audience participation.  Having a radio means you are never alone – you always have a friend in radio.  

C. Crane is proud to be a friend to many in radio from customers to stations to hosts and shows! We hope you celebrate World Radio Day, and if not, don’t worry about it – it’s never too late to celebrate radio (we do it here every day!).

Tell us how radio is personal to you in the comments section and be entered to win the CC Pocket Radio! Please one entry per person. Drawing will be held 3/10/2017.

Congratulations to Lee Horner, winner of the CC Pocket Radio. Thank you all for participating!

The Month for Thanksgiving

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This is the month to reflect on all that we have and what we are truly grateful for, to get in the spirit we wanted to find out which radio show, host or station you are most thankful for! Enter in the comments below and be entered to win the product of your choice (excluding the AEGO sound systems).  Drawing will be held November 30th. Please one entry per person.

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.

 

 

 

 

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.

DO YOU RIDE?

P1020104 curves Sue Garcia is an avid motorcycle rider and works here at C. Crane. She and her husband ride as often as possible. Sue has lived in Humboldt County all of her life. She’s ridden in over 22 states. With thousands of hours of riding under her belt, she can’t wait to explore more roads.

DO YOU RIDE?

For those of you that ride and like to cruise the roads on motorcycles, this is for you. I’m assuming if you clicked on “Do You Ride?” you probably ride too or maybe you’re considering it.

I don’t know how old you are, but I feel the need to tell you we are both 60ish and our mantra is this: “We are going to ride as much as we can, for as long as we can.” The reason I told you how old we are is that in our travels, we meet more bikers in our generation than any other age group and I feel a special kinship with these “seasoned” riders” that still get on and ride. Our passion is curvy roads with corners. Lots and lots of corners! The more corners the better! There are so many roads and so little time.

A couple of weeks ago (the latter part of July) I rode the California Hwy 101/Hwy 20/Hwy 36 loop (11 hours and 466 miles). My husband Scott and I ride big cruisers and we ride every single weekend we can. We’ve only missed 2 weekends in the last year. Even with 50 lbs. of leather on, we ride. Christmas, Thanksgiving, Valentine’s Day, our Anniversary are no exceptions. The only thing that makes riding better fSue Gor me is my rock n’ roll music. I take my CC Witness Plus with me always: Bike – check, me – check, CC Witness Plus – check and so on (and in that order). I hear stereos blasting from other bikes when we pass them on the freeway or in town and although I’ve had a stereo on a bike myself, it doesn’t compare to how great my music sounds with my CC Witness Plus! I’ve tried all kinds of earbuds over the years and the CC Buds are my favorites for comfort, price and sound.
Last summer we hit 15 states in 12 days (CA, NV, WY, UT, NE, KS, TX, OK, LA, MI, AR, MO, IL NM and AZ). (I counted CA, even though we live here, beStrugescause we rode the entire length of the state on that trip). We averaged about 650 miles a day. Late this summer (August to September), we’re going to take a month off and hit all 48 states in one trip. Even though my CC Witness Plus has 2GB of memory built into it already, I add my recorded 4GB memory card to the SD card slot on the side of the unit (for a tremendous amount of music) and in preparation for the upcoming trip I’ve got 5 memory cards full of rock n’ roll! I’ve been recording from my CC WiFi Internet Radio for months now and believe me, I won’t get tired of the music I’m taking on the road with me. I want to ride the Tail of the Dragon starting in Deals Gap, NC (318 curves in 11 miles)! And I can’t wait to let you know what I think of the Dragon and the other twisty roads around Deals Gap. I’m sure we’ll need to spend 3 or 4 days in this area, because we just can’t miss rides with names like Devil’s Triangle (TN), Blood Mountain Run (GA), the Moonshiner (NC/GA/SC) and my personal favorite, the Warwoman (GA)!

This coming road trip we’ve allowed enough time to actually get off the bikes and check out some neat stuff along the way. On our road trip last summer RedwoodsI was honking my horn and pointing as we passed things we could see from the freeway. We had a blast when we rode Route 66 in 2014, so we rode it again last summer. Williams, AZ is worth a look-see and a good place to stay if you’re going to the Grand CaLivin the dreamnyon. Bourbon St and the French Quarter in New Orleans were awesome too, but mostly it was just a lot of honking and pointing from the freeway. It’s a little scary riding through tornado country, we just have earthquakes where we live, so I’m keeping my CC Skywave in my saddlebag with it tuned to WX Alert and I’ll check it when we stop for breaks or see those dark, funny looking clouds in the sky. Seriously, last year we rode at a 45 degree angle for miles and miles in Kansas. When we finally checked into a motel and turned on the TV there was a big red warning on the screen and they were telling everyone to get on the bottom floor away from windows. You bet I’m taking my CC Skwyave!

C. Crane is right off California Highway 101. In fact you can see it off the overpass that’s right out the front showroom doors. I invite all of you to stop by and have a cup of coffee and a cookie (heck, they’ll give you as many cookies as you like). Come and enjoy our weather and by all means, take a ride through the Redwoods and aMendolong the coast.

But, if you like a challenging ride: a ride with corners, curves, twisties and switchbacks, stop by and if I’m in the office, I’ll share some of the secrets of our roads with you.    If enough riders respond, I may be able to keep writing about what I love to do most and I’ll share our road trips and tips with you. For the many, many riders that come into Humboldt County and for those that like to ride the kinds of roads Scott and I do, there are some rides you don’t know about yet and will love. Maybe, after yScott and Sueou ride Hwy 36, you’ll even want to start your own Best Rides list.

If you are intrigued about riding Highway 36, stop by before your ride and I will give you an idea of what to expect. You might even want to take a picnic lunch with you. If you start the ride from the east side and you get to C. Crane before 5:00 on a weekday, I’d love for you to come by and tell me your Hwy 36 thrills and chills stories!! Take a photo of your bike along 36 and we will post it on our Facebook page and in a future blog post.

Until then, Journey On Biker Buddies!river

Where do your travels take you this summer? Enter to win in the comments on this blog and win the CC Witness Plus. Drawing will be held August 17th. Only one entry per person.

Congratulations Terrance, the winner of the CC Witness Plus! Thanks to all who participated.

The Traveling Life

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With summer looming on the horizon, we start to hear from more and more of our customers who are preparing to travel. We get to speak with quite a diverse group – from folks who travel seasonally throughout the year and stay in one location for several months or weeks; those who only travel during the summer; others who travel every weekend; or some who now only travel only through books and radio listening.

Whether your travel involves RVs and campgrounds; airplanes, hotels and exotic locations; or books and radio, we have heard some great tips from your fellow travelers on what you need for the best experience.

First, having a radio that also includes the weather band and alert is a priority. As the weather has continued to show this year, it can be completely unpredictable, and sometimes dangerous. If you are traveling somewhere new there is nothing better than a radio that can alert you to weather related incidents that might impact your travel plans (or your life). The local radio is often the best place to learn about where to go and what to do in the event you are caught in a weather related emergency like a fire or tornado.

Second a flashlight or our spotlight can come in really handy. If your vehicle has broken down, or you have a flat tire, or you’re at a campground with less than fantastic lighting and paths, then you will be so thankful you bought that flashlight and stashed in your glove box or emergency bag next to the jumper cables.

And last but not least – this is more for the RVers, campers and long haul truckers than anyone else. If you are at parks or gas stations where the WiFi is weak or spotty, we do have a couple of options that can help you improve the signal reception.

Enter to win:
Are you a traveler? Where are you heading and how do you prefer to travel? Tell us your best vacation story in the comments and be entered to win the CC LED Spot XB. Drawing will take place Friday June 3rd. Limit one entry per person.

Congratulations So Cal Pal, winner of the CC LED Spot XB!

Decide for Yourself

We would love to tell you all the reasons you might enjoy the CC Skywave Radio, but our customers are so much better at it.

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Sorensen – Much better than anticipated
Pros: Everything about this little jewel is Pro. I have been using this for past 6 months and nothing has disappointed. I also use to check on aviation weather at local airport before I got to fly our aircraft. As an added bonus the tonal quality is amazing for such a small unit.

Cons: No Cons that I can think of.

Best Uses: Both music and spoken word. Also very good for NOAA weather.

M Mooney – Great Emergency / Travel Radio
This feature packed radio best satisfied my need for an emergency type radio. I live in hurricane and tornado country, so the weather band was a must have feature during power outages. My Skywave arrived the same day as an expensive pair of Marshall earbuds. Although not perfect, the CCrane earbuds trounced the Marshalls in every way. Quality FM stations will have your toes tapping. Problem FM stations aren’t magically transformed into powerhouses…. …Skywave does a fine job with any reasonable signal. I can imagine others would like an external antenna connection. That’s fair, but this IS a pocket radio and not a full feature desktop entertainment system. About the only major item on my wish list for the Skywave would a rubberized Otterbox like case for the inevitable drops that will occur. Overall I am exceptionally pleased with this radio. It easily covers all of my must have features in a well thought out, compact package. I believe it would be the perfect answer for many people.

Pros: Size, Weather Band, Battery Strength Indicator, Signal Strength Indicator, Ability to charge [rechargeable] batteries, Handy Keyboard Lock, Quality Earbuds, Time and Radio Presets retained on battery change

Cons: Average Sensitivity, No AC Adapter, No Batteries, Built-in speaker sound

Best Uses: Beach, Boating, Hunting, Camping, Emergency, Natural Disaster

S Lowry – The Greatest
Went on the wait list for this one to be shipped as soon as available. I’ve had several Grundigs, Kaitos and others, but the Skywave trumps all, especially with the aviation band, battery efficiency, panel layout and more. Look at the other reviews: there are a lot of good reasons for so many 5 stars.

C Stacks – Better then expected! A big smile on my face.
6:30 PM yesterday attached 20 ft long wire and counted 58 readable shortwave stations. Also able to rcv aircraft from several airports with the radio’s antenna. C CRANE please make a Sky II that covers the HF ham frequencies!!!!

Pros: Great Reception on all bands, Does not drift, Speaker does a great job even better with head phones

Cons: None except ssb is missing

Best Uses: With me all the time

H Alexander – The Ultimate Travel Radio
After putting this radio through all the paces, I am convinced that it’s quite possibly the ultimate travel radio! I am particularly impressed with the performance of the AM and SW bands. And I really appreciate the precision offered with the thumbwheel volume control, as well. Thanks for another great product, my 6th purchase from CCrane. I have yet to be disappointed!

Sharonon – Worth it.
Now my father-in-law can listen to his baseball games inside and not have to drive to a clearing on the mountain’s side. Great buy and great price.

C Desmaraison – Buy this radio.
Reception is outstanding. I am in MA and am able to receive Beijing Radio International, Radio Romania and Radio Havana Cuba just to mention a few. I also use their 23 foot clip-on wire antenna to increase reception. Radio is easy use and has many useful features. C.Crane customer service is also outstanding. Buy this radio.

There you have it folks, a wide variety of different users and uses. If you aren’t sure if this is the right radio, contact us and we’d be happy to help you determine which radio is best for you. A good starting point is our article on “Buying the Right Radio for You”. Don’t forget, we offer a no risk 60 day money back guarantee on all of our radios!