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Author Topic: C.Crane’s new CC Skywave SSB 2? An improvement, or an over-priced P.O.S.?  (Read 605 times)

Offline ThaDood

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Yeah, SWL´ing rip:    https://swling.com/blog/2022/10/c-cranes-new-cc-skywave-ssb-2/   Ya know, for $200.00, I could get an older YB-400, and have much $$$$ lest over. For a good used price, I would consider the C Crane SSB2, but not for $200.00 new.
Alright. I´ll admit giving in to peer pressure. It´s been suggested that I add more excitement to my life. So, on Saturdays, instead of cinnamon added to my coffee, I´ll add nutmeg.

Offline Zoidberg

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Muting or chuffing while spinning the VFO or mashing the tune up/down buttons is a deal killer for me as a DXing machine, although it would be fine as a backup for travel or when I know the frequencies I plan to monitor. I had a decent shortwave portable that muted while tuning, but gave it to a family member who was vaguely interested in shortwave but wouldn't consider it a hobby.

But it's hard to get excited about most portables made the past 10 or so years if they cost more than $50. I bought all of my portables in pawn shops and thrift stores back in the early 1990s for less than $100. That was just after the first Gulf war, and the initial hype over listening to international news via shortwave had worn off. Folks who got into it as a fad quickly grew tired of the work involved in DXing, and the static. So it was fairly easy to find bargains in shortwave portables, and occasionally even in tabletop receivers and some ham radio sets.

I think the most I paid was $75 for a Sony ICF-2010, which is still my most-used radio for shortwave.

My most-used radio is a Magnavox D2935 (also sold by Phillips under the same model designation). Paid $25. Best audio of any portable I've found, including some Grundigs. But I mostly use it for FM. It's even useful for FM DXing, which none of my other portables is particularly good for.

But while the telescoping whip is outstanding for FM and HF, it can't be completely disabled to use an external antenna, and it includes only screw posts for Hi-Z wire with spade lugs. The built in ferrite rod is large and also very good for MW DXing. But "portable" is just a suggestion with the D2935. It's large, heavy, and wants a full complement of six D cells, which don't last long in the power hungry radio. So it's mostly been my indoor everyday radio for 30 years or so. Occasionally I'll take it outdoors on batteries and it performs well, although it's necessary to tend the drifty BFO knob.

I had a bunch of Sangean and others, mostly under the Radio Shack moniker. They were all good, but I sold or gave them away after getting the Sony ICF-2010. Among the largish portables, the ICF-2010 may still the best ever made.
That li'l ol' DXer from Texas
Unpleasant Frequencies Crew
Al: Palstar R30C & various antennae
Snoopy: Sony ICF-2010
Roger: Magnavox D2935
(Off-air recordings.)

Offline BoomboxDX

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I've read nothing but good things about the CC Skywave. I suppose this new one had improvements. The additional Audio level is probably good, because with DSPs sometimes the low signals channels could use some extra audio boost, depending on the radio and how the audio chain is set up.

Never understood the hang-up about chuffing. It's not like you're not hearing anything when the radio is going from one frequency to another.

The only digitally tuned radio I have that has no chuffing is the Radio Shack World Receiver 200629. But even without any chuffing or muting whatsoever the stations 'pop in' when the tuner hits a frequency. It's still digital tuning, not analog....

I guess the price is up a bit on the new Skywave. But inflation is up, too, so there's that.

If I were to get a new SW rig, I'm at a loss as to what radio I'd get. I'm pretty much radio'd up, really.
An AM radio Boombox DXer.
+ GE SRIII, PR-D5 & TRF on MW.
The usual Realistic culprits on SW (and a Panasonic).

Offline Zoidberg

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Yeah, the chuffing/muting isn't a big deal for many listening purposes on shortwave. It's mainly an issue for hardcore DXers spinning the VFO in search of obscure stuff, or monitoring some utility bands (military, aviation, maritime, etc.) without benefit of an SDR to visually spot new activity and quickly tune in.
That li'l ol' DXer from Texas
Unpleasant Frequencies Crew
Al: Palstar R30C & various antennae
Snoopy: Sony ICF-2010
Roger: Magnavox D2935
(Off-air recordings.)

Offline BoomboxDX

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Understood. If you're tuning across the band quickly to see if there's anything unusual, I can see where chuffing would be a bear, as some radios (my DX-390 is an example) keep muting until you slow down the tuning knob. It seems to depend on the radio. YMMV. My Panasonic RF-B45 just chuffs along, but you do hear every channel as it passes each one.
An AM radio Boombox DXer.
+ GE SRIII, PR-D5 & TRF on MW.
The usual Realistic culprits on SW (and a Panasonic).

Offline RobRich

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Short of perhaps those wanting extended VHF/NOAA reception, I am not inclined to see the "added value" of many currently-in-production small SWL portables over the Tecsun PL-330 or PL-368 for around $80 shipped.
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Offline dxace1

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How CCrane has missed the boat on this receiver, specifically regarding the muted tuning, is puzzling.  Tecsun leads on portables, with the 990x and 501x neither of which have this muted tuning issue, which is how a radio should be.  There are also zillions of older classic portables available.
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Offline ThaDood

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Re: C.Crane’s new CC Skywave SSB 2? What Radio Jay says about it.
« Reply #7 on: November 13, 2022, 1807 UTC »
Here´s what Radio Jay has to say about the Skywave SSB2.   https://radiojayallen.com/c-crane-skywave-ssb-2/
Alright. I´ll admit giving in to peer pressure. It´s been suggested that I add more excitement to my life. So, on Saturdays, instead of cinnamon added to my coffee, I´ll add nutmeg.

Online Ray Lalleu

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What's that craziness to cut the MW band at 1620 kHz when the 9 kHz step is selected ?
What do the Australians think of that with their 9 kHz step going up to 1701 kHz ?
D/E/F/G/It/Sp : Dutch/English/French/German/Italian/Spanish
+/- : about 0.02 offset, ++/-- 0.03/0.04 offset
Balanced wire antennas, wire lines and ATU

Offline Zoidberg

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Yeah, by now all portables with built in ferrite rods should cover the full MW band. My Sony ICF-2010 dates back to the early 1990s and covers the full MW band with its internal ferrite rod, with selectable 9 kHz and 10 kHz spacing.

My next best portable, a Magnavox (Phillips) D2935 tops out at the old 1622 kHz limit, cutting out access to the excellent and larger than usual internal ferrite rod. Within the old MW band limit that D2935 with just the internal ferrite rod is an outstanding DXing machine, and can be tweaked by using an external ferrite rod adjacent to the D2935 to "focus" the desired station.

The cheap trick is to simply use another portable (doesn't even need to be working, just needs an internal ferrite rod antenna) and orient it around the main receiver to focus the desired station. Cute trick.

Alas, the Sony ICF-2010 doesn't respond as well to that trick, so despite having access to the full MW band, it's still difficult to use it in conjunction with another ferrite rod (or portable radio) to null out the many stations cluttering 1700.

And the D2935 has external antenna connectors, but they're just screw terminals for spade lugs. These aren't fully isolated from the internal whip or ferrite rod. And there's no socket for a shielded feed line or loop. So it's difficult to use the D2935 for MW DXing around 1640-1710 kHz because it defaults to SW/HF mode via the whip. But within its MW limit, I've snagged DX that seemed improbable here in Texas. My best catch was a medium power station from Montana or Wyoming that came in clearly for a few minutes near dusk in winter back in the mid-2000s. Never had the same luck with the Sony ICF-2010, despite the fancy bells and whistles, AM sync, etc.
That li'l ol' DXer from Texas
Unpleasant Frequencies Crew
Al: Palstar R30C & various antennae
Snoopy: Sony ICF-2010
Roger: Magnavox D2935
(Off-air recordings.)

Offline Shortwave_Listener

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Yeah, by now all portables with built in ferrite rods should cover the full MW band. My Sony ICF-2010 dates back to the early 1990s and covers the full MW band with its internal ferrite rod, with selectable 9 kHz and 10 kHz spacing.

My next best portable, a Magnavox (Phillips) D2935 tops out at the old 1622 kHz limit, cutting out access to the excellent and larger than usual internal ferrite rod. Within the old MW band limit that D2935 with just the internal ferrite rod is an outstanding DXing machine, and can be tweaked by using an external ferrite rod adjacent to the D2935 to "focus" the desired station.

The cheap trick is to simply use another portable (doesn't even need to be working, just needs an internal ferrite rod antenna) and orient it around the main receiver to focus the desired station. Cute trick.

Alas, the Sony ICF-2010 doesn't respond as well to that trick, so despite having access to the full MW band, it's still difficult to use it in conjunction with another ferrite rod (or portable radio) to null out the many stations cluttering 1700.

And the D2935 has external antenna connectors, but they're just screw terminals for spade lugs. These aren't fully isolated from the internal whip or ferrite rod. And there's no socket for a shielded feed line or loop. So it's difficult to use the D2935 for MW DXing around 1640-1710 kHz because it defaults to SW/HF mode via the whip. But within its MW limit, I've snagged DX that seemed improbable here in Texas. My best catch was a medium power station from Montana or Wyoming that came in clearly for a few minutes near dusk in winter back in the mid-2000s. Never had the same luck with the Sony ICF-2010, despite the fancy bells and whistles, AM sync, etc.

Your Sony ICF-2010 covers the whole MW band with the ferrite antenna? Mine only goes up to 1620 kHz. I know they were manufactured for a long time, maybe the later ones covered the whole band?
Songs are identified with Shazam if needed. I usually use KiwiSDR receivers. Reception from my QTH is using a Sony ICF-2010 with an 11 meter band inverted V antenna.
Shortwave Radio Archive: https://www.youtube.com/@SW_Archive

Offline Zoidberg

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Your Sony ICF-2010 covers the whole MW band with the ferrite antenna? Mine only goes up to 1620 kHz. I know they were manufactured for a long time, maybe the later ones covered the whole band?

Yup, although the scan covers only up to 1640 for some reason. But I rechecked the internal ferrite antenna tonight and it covers up to 1700 in MW. Above that it switches to the whip. AFAIK, there's no button or switch to manually switch between the whip and ferrite rod.

The D2935 does have that feature, a button to switch between the ferrite rod and whip on MW and LW, which is of limited value. The whip picks up too much RFI in most locations. In a quiet environment it might be useful for omnidirectional reception on MW and LW, with the option to switch to the ferrite rod.

But that switch doesn't affect SW/HF. There's no way to use the ferrite rod above 1622, although it might be of some limited use in the 160m band.

Fully retracting the whip antenna on both doesn't appear to disconnect or disable the whip, just reduces the sensitivity. Plugging an external antenna into the Sony ICF-2010 does disabled the whip, although the socket connectors are mine or a bit loose or oxidized and finicky about consistent contact with external antennas.

The Magnavox D2935 whip is never fully disabled or disconnected, and the external screw terminals are only for hi-z antennas. Occasionally I've used random wire with fairly good results outdoors away from RFI. And a bit of random wire attached to the ground connection as a counterpoise, which worked okay. I might have used a proper ground on the D2935 years ago when I lived in a rural home with a proper copper rod and braided ground, but that was 20 years ago. I mostly used that ground for my old portatop, a Uniden Bearcat DX1000 that died about 10 years ago.
That li'l ol' DXer from Texas
Unpleasant Frequencies Crew
Al: Palstar R30C & various antennae
Snoopy: Sony ICF-2010
Roger: Magnavox D2935
(Off-air recordings.)

 

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