Later Model CC Skywave Portables Have Improved Audio Amp

Gary DeBock

While going through the checkout tests of newly "Supercharged" (7.5" loopstick transplant) C.Crane Skywave portables I noticed that the audio amplifier in the newer (2017 and later) versions of the non-SSB models has been significantly upgraded to a much more powerful version, correcting one of the weak points noted in the detailed review contained in the 2015 Ultralight Shootout article (posted on after the Skywave was first introduced. The CC Skywave was acclaimed as having an innovative design, but limited by its wimpy audio amp

After this latest improvement the CC Skywave's audio amp is not only competitive with that of the XHDATA D-808 model, but the 1 kHz DSP audio has also been improved, so that fewer high frequencies are clipped off because of the narrow DSP filtering. The compact Skywave's speaker does a superb job of delivering the improved audio amp power, so that DXing for weak stations in noisy areas is still a viable option (maybe as on an exotic ocean beach? :-) Of course the limitation of the stock Skywave is still its midget loopstick, which can be outclassed in MW sensitivity across the band by that of the longer XHDATA D-808 model, as well as the classic portables like the Sony ICF-SW5W and Panasonic RF-2200. But this is a congenital issue in compact Ultralight radios, and can only be solved by upgrading the loopstick with a larger external version, or boosting up DX reception by an inductively-coupled signal transfusion from an FSL antenna or air core loop.

Unfortunately, wimpy audio amps are still being manufactured and deployed in Ultralight radios, most notably by the Radiwow company in its new "no guarantee" R-108 model. If you purchase one of these Chinese-made models (with come with no manufacturer's warranty) you will discover that the MW sensitivity is good enough to get you a wispy signal on weak stations, but not good enough to give you much in the way of identifying details. You can advance the volume control all you want, but it will only leave you with a broken knob (which Radiwow does not guarantee, by the way). It is a poster-child situation for one of the newly rejuvenated CC Skywave models, or any of the compact FSL antennas.

73 and Good DX,
Gary DeBock (in Puyallup, WA, USA)



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