C. Crane Skywave

by George Paul Tire

While in the wild, it’s wise to know what’s coming from the weather. The easiest way to do that is with a radio. The C Crane CC Skywave is a slick little 8.25 ounce (with batteries) marvel. It covers AM, FM, shortwave, aviation and the all-important NOAA weather channels. NOAA transmitters cover most of the US now, but if you can’t get NOAA, you can probably get something on one of the other bands.

The Skywave is 4.75x3x1 inches in size and can easily fit in a shirt pocket. It has an alarm so you won’t miss your rendezvous with Bambi if you’re hunting. It uses AA batteries and if you install rechargeable ones, you can plug it into a USB outlet to keep them charged. It will even run from USB without batteries. They don’t include a USB power supply, but mine worked from every USB port I tried. It has a mini USB connector rather than the now more common micro one, so be sure to bring the right cable. There are a number of inexpensive solar panels with USB output you can buy to keep it going off grid.

There is a plug for the included earbud to listen in quiet. If you want to enhance reception, bring a length of wire and wrap one end around the collapsible whip antenna and experiment with stringing it around your camp. I found it made a nice improvement to shortwave and AM reception. Unfortunately, there isn’t much on shortwave broadcast anymore. The Internet has taken its place, though you can still get strong signals from China and Cuba and a number of Christian stations from the US. I’m not sure I trust the Cuban and Chinese much more than I trust NPR, but they do sometimes offer interesting perspectives and give you information you don’t hear elsewhere.

The Skywave does lack single sideband which means you won’t be able to hear much on the amateur bands or any of the unencrypted military and governmental channels. The aviation frequencies, however, can sometimes provide a lot of information.

I have found the radio to be a very pleasing addition to my accumulation of radios. Sensitivity is quite good and for such an economical and small device, selectivity and reasonable resistance to overloading from strong signals. The controls are reasonably intuitive and it has five settings for bandwidth that can help separate signals. You can change the tuning steps for US or the rest of the world if you need to. The audio tone is quite acceptable for such a small box. My only problem is that I mislaid it and it’s small enough to be hard to find. Sigh.

18 Responses

  1. Even for the price this sounds like a fantastic deal with everything it can do! Most I know of don’t charge the batteries while they are inside the device!

  2. My son has just passed his first HAM radio test, and now I’m being dragged along into learning all there is about radio signals, the FCC, and so on. I don’t want to get busted on something stupid when we communicate. But this looks like a great, small, lightweight receiver which wouldn’t add any more weight when we’re bugging out. Thanks for the suggestion.

  3. I don’t know if the antenna is removable, but if it is I would recommend removing it when not in use to protect it from an EMP type scenario. Also, if this is for your bug out bag you might want to consider leaving it tightly wrapped in aluminum foil with batteries removed, for the same reason. The data I have seen regarding this indicates most radios would survive an EMP if the antenna is detached along with the power source.

  4. hey Dave, hope you dry out soon. Memories of boot-camp came to mind. At least you have your radio to keep you company (better than Drill Sargents, for sure). That is a nifty little valuable bugger for bug outs. Sure be sweet to win one. I would be the cool survivalist in my circle, if I had one. Will be waiting for your next message.

  5. This sounds like a very useful device! We’re just starting to work on prepping and this would be a great first tool to get! Would really love to win it!

  6. I’ve been really pleased with the CC line of products. Price is a bit higher than others, but it speaks to their quality. You can’t overstate the importance of having some radio(s) available during times of being ‘out’. Remember, 2 is 1 and 1 is none, so we all probably need at least one more…

  7. Looks like a great little compact device that would be a great addition to camping or bug out bag, or just to leave in the truck in case of emergencies. Probably best to leave the batteries out of the unit until needed and probably even carry an extra set just in case. Hope everybody gets one of these units.

  8. I really like that it can be run off of USB power! I keep a Limefuel 20,000 mAh usb charger in my kit and that would work perfectly with this radio!

  9. Sounds awesome! It seems to do everything that I would want except amateur shortwave and that is saying a lot. The small size is good too. It would fit nicely in my bug out bag or backpack.

  10. Good information….be sure to wrap the radio in paper then tin foil in the case of an EMP situation. I usually finish off wrapping in a mylar potato chip bag or pop corn mylar bag after eating the contents. Can’t be too prepared for what might come. Also here is another idea for a grid down situation….Bucket Solar Hot Water Heater for washing dishes or bathing. I used a 6 gallon bucket and found half the parts at thrift and recycle stores. I ordered the DC water heater element through http://www.missouriwindand solar.com…..where you can also find the instructional video on how to make this. They take pride in do-it-yourself videos and educating the public. Great people to just call and ask questions. Be Prepared!!!!!

  11. Great idea! We don’t receive NOAA weather channels in our valley. The aviation reception sounds interesting! We keep our batteries, radios, and other electronics in homemade faraday cages. I downloaded many books on living off the grid, medical info, gardening, etc. on a kindle and keep it in there with a power pack and solar battery chargers. We had a faraday cage made for our generator too.

  12. I am in love with this radio. It has all the features I’ve been wanting. I love the size of it. My hubby who isn’t into my crazy radio kick would appreciate the earbud plug. This will fit in my purse or daily bug out bag as I am always ready for monitoring everything from the weather to those interesting perspectives you mentioned. The C Crane CC Skywave would find a very happy home with me.

  13. I suggest, if you want to hear some amateur radio signals , maybe a local ham can rig up a beat frequency oscillator, so you can hear CW and SSB with some effort. There is no need to dig into the radio where a mistake might harm the radio. a oscillator in close proximity to the radio could work. Just a suggestion!

  14. Looks like a nice radio, with a bunch of interesting features. I really like the USB power option, I often find myself out and about and don’t always have an outlet or batteries in my pocket but I do often have a USB power bank.

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