C Crane Skywave SSB Mini Review

This is a quick and dirty mini review of the new C Crane Skywave SSB radio.  Right to it then.

What’s the first thing I noticed?  It’s small.  Very compact.  Also after a few minutes of use I have to say that THIS IS ONE OF THE MOST INTUITIVE RADIOS THAT IS CURRENTLY ON THE MARKET.  It’s not too terrible to figure out how to navigate around and yeah, okay, there are a few crazy things that make no sense like figuring out how to apply squelch to the Air Band.

So what we have in the package is an AM/FM/SW/AIr Band/Weather radio in one TINY package that is pretty easy to use.  Sign me up!  Okay Pros and Cons time.  Sorry for the redundancy.

PROS

  • Small, light
  • Very intuitive
  • Air Band and Weather
  • Great Single Side Band performance
  • Nice carrying case
  • Decent LCD screen that you can see at varying angles.
  • Good run time on Alkalines
  • Direct frequency input
  • Band width setting
  • Comes with clip on long wire antenna

CONS

  • Expensive.  $170
  • No external antenna connector
  • No Line Out
  • Squelch on Air Band impossible to find.  Gotta read the manual
  • Just a whip antenna
  • Seems to be a mute between frequencies which made it annoyingly slow to search for 40 meter hams on SSB. Click, wait, click, wait, click, wait.

To be honest, I’m not sure this radio is worth $170 without an external antenna connector and a Line Out jack.  Lets face it, if this radio had those two features it would be worth every penny of that $170.  And I realize that having those things means a little more size and heft.

Even without the external antenna the ShortWave performance isn’t bad and of course I’m in a house in a low signal area.  Next time I go camping and I’m out in the middle of nowhere on the big lake I’ll bring this thing and see how good a reception it gets when I’m not surrounded by computers and routers and other sources of interference.

And as always I threw together a little video of a demonstration of the SW / Air / Weather bands on the radio.  You can’t go wrong with this radio but for the money you could get a Tecsun PL-880 that has it all.   If this radio cost $90 it would be more palatable.

 

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