|Good, but arguably "overpriced"
||Time Owned: 3 to 6 months.
|Some months ago I was kindly gifted a C. Crane Skywave SSB and have been using it at various times of day, under different conditions, and generally putting it through the paces I tend to do with any newly acquired receiver. |
I respect CCrane as a maker and a business; I think they do great work/R&D, make solid gear and treat their customers well. I own a lot of CCrane products, and have for years. The Skywave SSB certainly works just about as they claim it does -- and reliably.
However, for MY listening purposes, I absolutely need to use decent headphones or earbuds with it to truly evaluate and enjoy its features properly. This is not a bug or a flaw or complaint at all -- the thing is LITTLE, and so it has 'little' audio. It's still fair audio, but it's weak. LOTS of otherwise good little radios have weak or wispy audio onboard and require good 'phones or an external speaker to really be properly enjoyed.
But I don't feel the Skywave necessarily performs any better than any of number other very worthy small and in most cases more budget-friendly radios I have used which also require the same external audio help. In fact, I find the Tecsun 368 actually is a better receiver -- with good 'phones -- than the Skywave SSB, and at half the cost.
I do think the Skywave SSB is a good radio, and given their diligent research and development, CCrane has the right to make whatever profit they can. I'm not suggesting they're being unreasonable. They've earned it, and certainly have more value than the cheaper Chinese models that stole CCrane's products without having to do any of the work (and those models do NOT get my respect or my money and they shouldn't have yours either).
I'm just suggesting that if you want tiny form factor with decent features AND will be using headphones/earbuds anyway, then there may be other, and in my opinion better, values worth exploring out there for your budget.
|Good receiver! Spendy though...
||Time Owned: more than 12 months.
|Here's the deal. I'm heavily influenced by all the inexpensive portables on the market and I own a lot of them. Also have the "higher end" like the Sangean ATS-909x2 and Tecsun H501x. This little radio is one that I grab quite often because it's sort of a Swiss Army knife having MW/FM/Air/Wx/ and SW with SSB in one radio. It's size makes it pretty great for traveling... so it's just that, my travel radio.|
The closest radio I have to this would be the XHDATA D-808 which is quite a bit cheaper and I love it too. Realizing that this too is made in China, It appears to me that Bob Crane had a lot of influence in it's development as far as buttons and menu. I find the useability much easier than other portables and I recommended this over ALL others to a visually impaired friend as it's the only radio I can operate entirely by feel in the dark.
The radio is about twice the price of the others... but I'm also happy to support a US company and know that CCrane will take care of me if issues arise.
Curiously, I've seen that CCrane is partnered with Sangean who I was told makes the radio... however, it more closely resembles my Sihuadon/XHData portables. Hard to tell who makes what over there.
Only wish is that it had an external antenna jack and a slightly bigger speaker. But it's still a great little receiver.
|A nice radio for the price
||Time Owned: more than 12 months.
|Like others have stated, the CC Skywave SSB is a bit pricey. It does have some nice features such as Aircraft Band. SSB tuning takes some getting used to, but not bad. The receiver seems sensitive as well. I do wish it had external antenna jack, but I understand that the updated version does have one of these. When I don't feel like lugging around my Sangean ATS 818, I go for the CC Skywave SSB.|
|Decent Travel Receiver...a Bit Overpriced
||Time Owned: 0 to 3 months.
|A good review should be contextualized...as in price point, performance, size, age, etc. In the case of the Crane Skywave, it's a potent travel size radio in some regards. It is not a table top radio. The radio is small, the sound is small. I also have a Tecsun 380, and have compared these two side by side a fair amount. The Skywave has superior reception on both AM and FM broadcast bands. The Tecsun has a slightly 'larger' sound because the speaker/box is somewhat larger. Neither one of them seem to be much good at hearing short wave stations lately, which could be a function of poor conditions. Neither one has the capability of connecting an external antenna, outside of clipping on to the whip antenna. For the money, the Tecsun 380 is an amazing radio. For the money, the Crane Skywave SSB is lacking, though to my ears, it is the better radio. You can buy three Tecsun radios for the price of the Skywave. But the Crane is easier to navigate, has nicer feeling buttons, and seems quieter on AM broadcast bands. The tuning knob is a bit 'wiggly'. All in all...a good radio, not a great one. I like the SSB feature, but hearing much on the 40 and 80 meter bands has been challenging. We'll keep trying. |
|C.Crane Skywave SSB
||Time Owned: N.A.
|C.Crane Skywave SSB Review|
I compared the C.Crane Skywave SSB to two other similar portable radios that I own. The two other radios are the Tecsun PL-380 and my Grundig / Eton Satellite radio. Some o
AM Sensitivity - C.Crane Skywave SSB (fair), Tecsun Pl-380 (fair), new Grundig Satellit (good)
AM Selectivity - C.Crane Skywave SSB (good), Tecsun Pl-380 (good), new Grundig Satellit (Very good)
Am Sound - C.Crane Skywave SSB (poor), Tecsun Pl-380 (good), new Grundig Satellit (excellent)
FM Sensitivity - C.Crane Skywave SSB (good), Tecsun Pl-380 (very good), new Grundig Satellit (very Good)
FM Selectivity - C.Crane Skywave SSB (fair), Tecsun Pl-380 (very good), new Grundig Satellit (very Good)
FM Sound - C.Crane Skywave SSB (fair), Tecsun Pl-380 (very good), new Grundig SSatellit (excellent)
SW Sensitivity - C.Crane Skywave SSB (good), Tecsun Pl-380 (very good), new Grundig Satellit (very Good)
SW Selectivity - C.Crane Skywave SSB (good), Tecsun Pl-380 ( good), new Grundig Satellit (Very Good)
SW Sound - C.Crane Skywave SSB (fair), Tecsun Pl-380 (good), new Grundig SSatellit (excellent)
SSB - C.Crane Skywave SSB (good), Grundig Satellit (Good) Note: No SSB on Tecsun PL-380
WB Sensitivity - C.Crane Skywave SSB (poor) Reception was poor and the NOAA transmitters are located not far from my home. Note: Tecsun & Grundig Satellit do not have WX band.
The C.Crane Skywave SSB is definitely not worth the high price they are asking for it. The radio does not have the greatest sound due to the very small speaker it has. The AM sensitivity is fair because it has a very small ferrite antenna. I am not sure why it had poorer FM selectivity compared to my other radios that I own and I am not sure why the weather band has poor sensitivity but its possibly that there is a flaw in their design. Overall the C.Crane Skywave SSB is a very compact pocket radio but has some limitations due to its small size. When it first came out they wanted $169.95 and now I they dropped the price to $149.95 and its possible that the price will drop even more !
|Excellent tiny shortwave radio!
||Time Owned: 0 to 3 months.
|Just got my new CCrane Skywave SSB radio. Same size as my wife's CCrane Skywave. AM, FM, WX and Airband all work just as well on the Skywave SSB as the regular Skywave.|
So far, I am very satisfied with the SSB reception on the new Skywave SSB. It has one strange quirk - when you press the SSB button, it takes about 3 to 4 seconds to go into SSB mode. Five dashes appear on the display during this wait. After that, it is great. I enjoy aeronautical communications and I get good reception of San Francisco radio and aircraft flying between the west coast and Hawaii. This is on the built in whip antenna. Also been tuning through the ham bands and it does a nice job. There is an extra 0.5 KHz bandwidth on SSB mode so it is possible to do some casual CW listening. I like how the "Band" button works on shortwave. When in AM mode, it cycles through the shortwave broadcasting bands. In the SSB mode, it cycles through the ham radio bands. It even selects LSB on 160-30 meters and USB on 20 through 10.
The only other receiver I have to compare it with (other than my wife's Skywave) is my 18-year old Sangean ATS-909. The '909 is a bit more sensitive on MW AM broadcast band but selectivity is as good or better on the Skywave SSB. FM sensitivity is great and the FM selectivity of the Skywave SSB beats the '909 hands down. Using the built in whip antennas, the Skywave SSB is more sensitive than the '909 on shortwave. Haven't tried the included roll-up antenna on the Skywave SSB yet. Having a squelch is really nice for monitoring the VHF Airband. One thing the Skywave SSB does that the regular Skywave does not do - you can scan 10 VHF Airband frequencies on the Skywave SSB.
So far, I am very satisfied with this new, tiny shortwave receiver.