Friday, January 31, 2014
Tuesday, January 28, 2014
I added two Western New York AM radio stations to my log this weekend.
WNYY on 1470 kHz running 5 kilowatts out of Ithaca, NY 190 north-northwest with an S0 to S3 signal. Logged at 0005Z on January 25.
WSKO on 1260kHz running 5 kilowatts from Syracuse, NY 190 north-northwest with an S3 to S5 signal. Logged at 1260Z on January 26.
WSKO is represents my 200th AM radio station logging!
Equipment used was the barefoot C.Crane CCRadio 2E Enhanced AM/FM/WX/2-Meter Ham Band Radio.
Sunday, January 26, 2014
I was primarily interested in the AM and FM performance of the CCRadio 2E Enhanced. I have been using the CCRadio 2E Enhanced “barefoot,” that is, using only its stock antennas, although it does have screw terminals for connecting an external AM antenna. The performance of the CCRadio 2E Enhanced on AM and FM was amazing when matched up against the two radios I used for comparison --- both using external AM antennas.
My comparison radios were the C.Crane CC SW Pocket AM/FM/SW Radio and the C.Crane CCRadio-SW AM/FM Shortwave Radio. I used the Terk AM Advantage Antenna with the former and the C.Crane Twin Coil Ferrite AM Antenna Signal Booster with the latter.
These days, my favorite FM radio station is WLNG, 55 miles southeast in Sag Harbor, Long Island, New York. To receive WLNG on my comparison radios, I must fully extend the telescoping whip antenna of each radio and carefully adjust the position of each antenna to receive WLNG with a solid signal.
With the CCRadio 2E Enhanced, I can receive a solid signal from WLNG without extending the telescoping whip antenna at all! No finicky antenna positioning is required; the antenna remains nested inside the case of the radio.
The CCRadio 2E Enhanced is very sensitive on AM. It is probably the most sensitive AM receiver I have ever used. It hears stations that the comparison radios don't hear or do not hear very well.
For example, when I logged WGGO is Western New York on 1590 kHz, the WGGO signal varied between S2 and S6 on the CCRadio 2E Enhanced. At the same time, WGGO was down in the mud (an S1 at best) on the CC SW Pocket and was imperceptible on the CCRadio-SW and note that both comparison radios were using external AM antennas, whereas the CCRadio 2E Enhanced was not!
Selectivity is also very good with the CCRadio 2E Enhanced. The only stations that cause any selectivity issues are a 1000-watt station less than two miles away (WPRX on 1120 kHz) and a 50,000-watt powerhouse 12 miles away (WTIC on 1080 kHz). WPRX splatter can be heard on 1110 and 1130 kHz and WTIC splatter can be heard on 1070 and 1090 kHz. I have logged other stations on 1090, 1110, and 1130 despite the splatter, but I have yet to log anything but WTIC splatter on 1070.
Period of Adjustment
When you change frequency, the radio fine tunes its antenna circuitry for the received signal on the new frequency. The Signal icon on the display flashes during this period of adjustment, which lasts 1 or 2 seconds.
This takes a little getting used to. When I first started using the radio and changed frequency, finding no signal on the new frequency, I often changed frequency again without allowing the antenna circuitry to complete its fine tuning. I soon realized that I might have been missing something, so now I wait for the fine tuning to be completed before abandoning a "dead' frequency.
The audio produced by the CCRadio 2E Enhanced is excellent. On the AM side, it is the best sound I have ever heard for an AM radio. It rivals the sound of FM radio. Even the weaker AM stations sound good!
I live 7 miles line-of-sight of the nearest NOAA weather radio station, so after my experience receiving WLNG, it was no surprise that I was able to receive weather station WXJ-42 (162.400 MHz) in Meriden, CT, on the CCRadio 2E Enhanced without extending the radio's telescoping whip antenna at all.
With the whip antenna fully extended, the radio also pulled in WWH-33 on 162.500 MHz in Cornwall, CT (24 miles), WXJ-41 on 162.475 MHz in Somers, CT (36 miles), and WXL-93 on 162.550 MHz in Paxton, Mass (70 miles).
Although I am a ham, the ham band coverage (144-148 MHz FM) of the CCRadio 2E Enhanced was a nice feature, but it was not a "selling" point for me. I have a few ham radios that cover the 2-meter band and their scanning functions are better than that offered by the CCRadio 2E Enhanced.
With the CCRadio 2E Enhanced, you can scan the whole band or the channels stored in the five memories. After you start a scan, the radio stops at the first active channel and stays on that channel until the channel is no longer active. That is all.
The radio does provide a squelch function for the 2-meter band.
There are a few things about the CCRadio 2E Enhanced that I do not like.
By far, my biggest complaint is the frequency display. When you tune the radio, the radio displays the frequency, but when you stop tuning, the frequency disappears after a few seconds and displays the time, if the clock has been programmed or nothing, if the clock has not been programmed. To display the frequency again, you must press the Freq button momentarily and again, the frequency disappears after a few seconds and displays the time or nothing!
When I am DXing, the frequency is much more important than the time of day, so I would prefer that the frequency was the default display, not the time. Or at least allow the user to select the default display. I could find no way to make frequency the default display and when I asked C.Crane about it, I never received a response.
I never program the clock in the radio because I often unplug the radio from AC to move it to another location (and thus lose the programmed time). So when I use this beautiful radio, it sits there looking dumb with nothing but three hyphens and a colon (-:--) on its front panel display.
Location of Memory Buttons
This can be considered carelessness or a just-getting-used-to-the-radio issue on my part, but on more than one occasion, when I reached across the top of the radio either to adjust the position of the radio or to pick it up by its handle, I inadvertently pressed a memory button and thereby changed the frequency I was monitoring to whatever frequency was stored in that memory.
While I was experimenting with the radio trying to find a way to set the frequency as the default display, I held down the Freq button for a few seconds and the radio went bonkers (or so it seemed). The Weather Alert light started flashing and the radio started changing frequency all on its own, not doing a band scan, but jumping from 1710 kHz to 1600 kHz to 1500 kHz and onwards. I pushed various buttons, but nothing would stop it, so I reset the radio using the reset switch on the bottom of the radio and then everything returned to normal.
I consulted the manual, but nothing mentioned this feature, so I assumed that it was a quirk in the radio.
While I was writing this review, I downloaded the manual from the C.Crane website and noticed that the electronic version of the manual added a section that mentions this "quirk." Rather than being a quirk, pressing the Freq button for about 5 seconds initiates the radio's Antenna Alignment Procedure. So it is not a quirk, but the Procedure was missing from the printed manual and left me a little concerned until I downloaded the updated pdf of the manual. I assume future print copies of the manual will also include this information.
By the way, I was going to ask C.Crane about the "quirk" when I discovered it, but since they never answered my e-mail query concerning how to change the default time display, I did not bother with another e-mail.
The Bottom Line
The C.Crane CCRadio 2E Enhanced is one of the best AM radios I have ever used and it is no slouch on FM either. The weather radio and 2-meter ham radio coverage is icing on the cake. However, I am very disappointed with its default time/nothing display and it might have been a deal breaker if I knew about this “feature” before asking my sister to gift the radio to me.
Thursday, January 23, 2014
Western New York radio station, WGGO, was often loud and clear last night on 1590 kHz and represented a new entry in my AM radio log. Using my new C.Crane CCRadio 2E Enhanced and its own stock internal antenna, WGGO’s 5 kilowatts out of Salamanca 300 miles to my west varied between an S2 and S6 with the S6 occurring fortuitously during station identification at the top of the hour.
Friday, January 17, 2014
While tuning across the AM band last night, I heard the distinct sound of Radio Disney on a frequency that I had not heard it on before: 1260 kHz. Turns out it was WMKI out of Boston with transmitters in Milton, Mass cranking out 5 kilowatts 110 miles to my east-northeast. The signal was up and down at 0030Z varying between an S0 and an S6.
Equipment used was my new C.Crane CCRadio 2E Enhanced receiver barefoot.
Thursday, January 16, 2014
Last night, I logged two new stations using my new C.Crane CCRadio 2E Enhanced and its own stock internal antenna:
WPNH at 0052Z on 1300 kHz running 5 kilowatts from Plymouth, New Hampshire, 260 miles north-northeast. WPNH's signal varied between S0 and S4.
CJBK at 0100Z on 1290 kHz running 10 kilowatts from London, Ontario, 430 miles west with a signal varying between S0 and S5.
Wednesday, January 15, 2014
WABH is number 194 in my AM radio log and by the way, I was using the 2E's internal antenna when I logged it --- no external antenna was in use.
After I kick the tires a few more times, I will write my review of the 2E and post it here.