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Re: C.Crane Skywave Ultralight-- Disassembly and Tech Report

policow6@...
 

Gary,


Great info...thanks for sharing it.


Jay

http://radiojayallen.com


Re: C.Crane Skywave Ultralight-- Disassembly and Tech Report

Gary DeBock
 

Hi Paul,
 
Thanks very much for posting the link for the SiLabs Si4730-31-34-35-D60 PDF document.
 
<<<   The radio has a Si4734 with firmware revision 6.0, see page 37 of
 
According to the chart on page 37, if the first two digits on the first line are "34," then the chip is an Si4734. But this CC Skywave chip has a code of "3640" on the first line. Following the SiLabs' code system on page 37, could this mean that this Skywave chip is an Si4736 (which is not covered in the PDF document), with Firmware revision 4.0? Additional evidence in support of this would be the "Ordering Guide" on page 31 of the PDF document, which shows that all the Si4734 chips have Longwave band capability. This Skywave radio does not have Longwave band capability, but does have AIR band capability (which is not listed among the functions of the Si4734 chip).
 
In such a case, it would appear that the "CUN4" on the second line (following the SiLabs coding system on page 37) would mean a "Revision C" die, and an internal tracking code of "UN4." The ".249" on the third line would mean (besides the pin 1 identifier on the lower left) that the chip was manufactured in 2012, in the 49th week of the year.
 
I'm not sure if there is any online access to a SiLabs Si4736 chip technical guide, Paul, but if such a chip does indeed have AIR band coverage, that would provide further confirmation of its identity.
 
73 and Thanks,
Gary DeBock (in Puyallup, WA, USA)
 
 
 
 
 
       
 
 

-----Original Message-----
From: texnote@... [ultralightdx]
To: ultralightdx
Sent: Thu, Dec 25, 2014 11:08 pm
Subject: [ultralightdx] Re: C.Crane Skywave Ultralight-- Disassembly and Tech Report

 
The radio has a Si4734 with firmware revision 6.0, see page 37 of

What is curious is the die revision (C). Latest Silicon Labs die revision is D. Die revision C has only appeared with firmware revision 4.0, not 6.0.

Paul


Re: C.Crane Skywave Ultralight-- Disassembly and Tech Report

texnote
 

The radio has a Si4734 with firmware revision 6.0, see page 37 of

https://www.silabs.com/Support%20Documents/TechnicalDocs/Si4730-31-34-35-D60.pdf


What is curious is the die revision (C). Latest Silicon Labs die revision is D. Die revision C has only appeared with firmware revision 4.0, not 6.0.


Paul


C.Crane Skywave Ultralight-- Technical Report (Cont.)

Gary DeBock
 

Hello All,
 
As reported previously, a C.Crane "Skywave" AM-FM-SW-AIR portable was fully disassembled for a technical investigation. The previous report covered the SiLabs DSP chip, RF board and loopstick; this report will cover the disassembly process and build quality.
 
In general, this model is engineered for logical disassembly, which is a vast improvement over the C.Crane SWP model (a jumbled maze of haphazard switches, wires and plugs). The Skywave is composed of a digital board and an RF board, secured to the front cabinet and back cabinet sections respectively. Removal of the four back cabinet screws allows access to the front of the RF board and back of the digital board, connected by a multi-conductor plug-in cable. Oddly enough the SiLabs DSP chip is not under the shield on the back of the digital board, but is readily accessible once the four back cabinet screws are removed. Despite this, there doesn't seem to be any issue with digital whine or heterodynes. Removal of the digital board shield provides access to the display and front panel switch connections.
 
Removal of four screws on the back of the digital board (and the tuning control knob) provides access to the front of the board, composed of the display and the front panel switch buttons. The design of the front panel plastic switches should provide reasonable protection against rain damage during foul weather (similar to that provided by the design of the Tecsun PL-380 model). As reported yesterday the RF board appears to be a custom design of C.Crane, with the company name and revision number stamped on the board. The front of the digital board also has similar marking, providing further evidence that this model is indeed the unique product claimed by C.Crane in its promotions (despite being manufactured in China, presumably by the Redsun Company). Build quality of the Skywave model appears to be of a high standard, with the radio likely to survive moderate bumps and shakes without any problem. After the full disassembly the Skywave model was restored to full operation easily, with reassembly likely to be a pretty routine operation for any technician with reasonable experience. In general the Skywave model is intelligently engineered, with impressive components and build quality.
 
73 and Good DX,
Gary DeBock (in Puyallup, WA, USA)
 
 
 
      


Re: C.Crane Skywave Ultralight-- Disassembly and Tech Report

josephrot
 

Dear Doctor DeBock...

RE: <<  As part of an upcoming review on C.Crane's new "Skywave" AM-FM-SW-AIR pocket radio, a full disassembly was performed on one of the three review units here.  >>

Many thanks for performing surgery on this new patient, and advising the positive results of said exploratory knife.

It is encouraging also that the patient survived and is now fully recuperated.

Joe Rotello / Knoxville, TN / USA


Christmas Score- a Tecsun PL-360

jcereghin@...
 

Merry Christmas all!


I received a PL-360 for Christmas to add to my stable of ULRs.  I'm naturally going to put it through its paces tonight.  I've always wanted to see how the external "mini-ferrite" antenna performs, especially to test how directional it might be.


Right now, I am at 926 ULR logs (I added WAAM 1600 from Ann Arbor MI just yesterday).  New logs have been hard to come by lately as the :aw of Diminishing Returns starts to kick in..  I would like to hit 950 stations by next Christmas.


I'm also interested to see how the PL-360 does on FM, to see if it might be serviceable for FM DX season for chasing skip when I'm away from the main radios.    


So far, my impressions overall are favorable.  My mother commented that it was the funniest looking radio she ever saw!


John Cereghin  WDX3IAO

Smyrna DE


C.Crane Skywave Ultralight-- Disassembly and Tech Report

Gary DeBock
 

Hello All,
 
As part of an upcoming review on C.Crane's new "Skywave" AM-FM-SW-AIR pocket radio, a full disassembly was performed on one of the three review units here.
 
As expected, this model is powered by a Silicon Labs' DSP chip of the same size and orientation as the Si4734 chips in the Tecsun DSP Ultralights (square shaped, with four connections on each side). The code stamped on the DSP chip is "3640" (first line), "CUN4" (second line) and ".249" (third line, with the first character being a solid circle). A photo of the DSP chip is attached with this report. I know that some members of our Ultralightdx group have the ability to decipher these SiLabs chip codes-- if so, they may provide very useful information about the software programming for this Skywave model.
 
C.Crane claims that this model is a unique breakthrough in RF design, and there is some technical evidence that this model is unique to C.Crane (and not simply a rebranded Redsun model, as the SWP model is of the Redsun RP-300). The back side of the RF board does have the C.Crane name and revision number, which would be unlikely in a Redsun product manufactured for other sellers. Although the model is stamped "Made in China," there doesn't appear to be any current Redsun product with the same appearance and capability of this model. My hunch is that C.Crane custom designed the RF boards, and had Redsun include them during factory assembly in China.
 
The loopstick of the Skywave model is a 2 3/4" x 5/16" x 3/16" (70mm x 8mm x 6mm) long ferrite rod with a single 235 uH coil of 13/16" (21mm) length. Although of similar inductance to the loopstick of the Tecsun DSP Ultralights, this antenna appears to be of higher quality, with more ferrite than the 3" long flat bar in the PL-380. The two-lead design also makes it relatively easy to solder in a replacement loopstick of much higher sensitivity, such as the 7.5" long Amidon MW loopsticks used to "Supercharge" the PL-380. "Supercharging" the new "Skywave" (with its superior DSP filtering) may turn out to be a real thrill-- possibly even creating an "air superiority" portable on Medium Wave :-)
 
73 and Good DX,
Gary DeBock (in Puyallup, WA, USA) 
     


Building two 7.5" FSL's

Everett N4CY
 

If anyone is interested I am in the process of building two 7.5" diameter X 7.5" long FSLs. In the past I have done many experiments with this size FSL, and there should be an article posted on this sight covering those experiments.
 
I will be selling both of them and will either build them as single band, or dual band. With the single band units I can build it for LW, or MW coverage. With the dual band units they will cover both LW and MW. Based on my past experiments I know that they will perform equal to, or better than a 4' box loop. My method of building is using ferrite bars rather than rods, however, I can not tell any difference between the two methods in performance. With the bars they are much lighter and allow for a much nicer looking build.
 
Both FSLs will have Oak end pieces and will be mounted on a Lazy Susan. The variable capacitors that I use are the very small Russian high Q units, with a 3:1 turn ratio. the front panels will have nice looking graphics.
 
The prices for the FSLs will be $400 for MW band coverage, $435 for LW coverage and $475 for dual band coverage, plus shipping cost. These will be built first class, no junk.
 
These maybe the last that I build, although I still have materials to build more.
 
If anyone is interested please contact me off list at everettsharp  A O L
 
Everett N8CNP
 

 


Re: Ultralight Longwave DX-- One New NDB (410-ZQ in Victoria, BC)

robert ross
 


On 2014-12-23, at 9:23 PM, D1028Gary@... [ultralightdx] wrote:

 

Hello All,
 
Sometimes new Longwave beacons fall into your lap, no matter how lazy you are! Thanks to multiple notices on the Ndblist the shipboard beacon 410-ZQ (currently in Victoria, B.C.) was received here on a 7.5" Longwave loopstick Tecsun PL-380 Ultralight at a distance of about 98 miles. Signals weren't exactly overpowering, but I'll take it anyway. Thanks to Steve and the others on the Ndblist for the many notices.
 
410  ZQ   Victoria, B.C.   (Ultralight NDB # 253-- watch out, Rob!)
 
 
73 and Good DX,
Gary DeBock (in Puyallup, WA, USA)
 
 


Yes Gary…I saw all the Hullabaloo about ZQ on the other lists and I got all excited!! Then I realized it was in BC!!!!! WAHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!

Looks like you've snuck a little closer to me and there's not a thing I can do about it…Unless Conditions go all wonky tonight!!

Glad you were able to snag it, as I'm doubtful I will!!

Merry Christmas….what a great Gift eh, a couple days before Christmas!!

Have Fun….ROB VA3SW

Robert S. Ross
London, Ontario CANADA


Ultralight Longwave DX-- One New NDB (410-ZQ in Victoria, BC)

Gary DeBock
 

Hello All,
 
Sometimes new Longwave beacons fall into your lap, no matter how lazy you are! Thanks to multiple notices on the Ndblist the shipboard beacon 410-ZQ (currently in Victoria, B.C.) was received here on a 7.5" Longwave loopstick Tecsun PL-380 Ultralight at a distance of about 98 miles. Signals weren't exactly overpowering, but I'll take it anyway. Thanks to Steve and the others on the Ndblist for the many notices.
 
410  ZQ   Victoria, B.C.   (Ultralight NDB # 253-- watch out, Rob!)
 
 
73 and Good DX,
Gary DeBock (in Puyallup, WA, USA)
 
 
 
 


Re: Stormeise ferrite Rech?- most directional ferrite

Rik
 

Scroll down to it here, it looks like it is the 6 th one down to me-

903-383-7047 Stormwise Earthquake Detection Seismograph Antennas

 

The handy Q-stick+ I mentioned  is described here-

RADIO PLUS

 


Re: New Eton Satellit Shortwave Radio - Tom's YouTube Report

josephrot
 

Look forward to your review, Jay.


Although I am not (yet) personally interested in this currently new unit, I do have interest in it from our local RF and all things related technology group here in East Tennessee, and I have promised to monitor reviews on this little receiver.

 

Also, Master Tom Stiles appears to be planning additional reviews as he has more experiences with the receiver.


I will say that I did have about 15 quiet minutes with the receiver down in Atlanta, and it did seem sensitive pro and con on AM and the daytime shortwave bands, but there seemed to be some build quality issues, the chuffing/muting issues, some matter of images on the AM and SW bands, and another interested party mentioned "it seems to suck" at FM work as well, but I formed no opinion at that time on its FM qualities.

 

Joe Rotello / Knoxville, TN / USA



New ULR stations, 12/23/14

bbwrwy
 

Two new stations were heard on my SRF-T615 the past few days.

12/20/14
1060 kHz  XERDO, Reynosa, Tamps., Mexico, 7 kW @ 1182 km/735 mi.  Heard at 1204 UTC with musica grupo and frequent “Radio Raza” ID with an occasional “XERDO”.  Faded out under CKMX after 1313.

12/23/14
1060 kHz  KXPL, El Paso TX USA, 10 kW @ 978 km/608 mi.  Heard from 1317 with musica  and occasional “Radio El Paso - Juarez “ and “KXPL-AM” ID.  Audible until 1332 sign-on of KIJN.

Total ULR stations are 1047 (1034 barefoot).

Happy Christmas and good DX.

Richard Allen,
near Perry OK USA.



Re: Stormeise ferrite Rech?- most directional ferrite

josephrot
 

RE: <<  Stormwise sells pre wound 6.5 inch ferrite antennae for AM BCB  >>


Thank you for the heads-up kind person, but do you happen to have an Internet link or two that describe this apparent fine product and where / how to procure ?

 

Usually have a knack for web-searching to locate items, but this one does not seem to want to jump out at me...

 

Joe Rotello / Knoxville, TN / USA


Re: New Eton Satellit Shortwave Radio - Tom's YouTube Report

policow6@...
 

On the antenna jack, when I initially tested it with my Wellbrook ALA330S during the day time I found exactly the same thing, but I would not say signals were reduced to "Zero"...they are merely attenuated. At night the radio overloaded using this method but pushing the plug all the way in cleared things up.


I therefore think they have the proper amount of attenuation built into the Aux Ant jack for the SW sensitivity of this radio.


Also I find its AM sensitivity much better than the G3...it's as good on AM as the E5/G5 were which the G3 never matched. I don't believe it is a rebadged G3...there are too many differences.


I agree the muting sucks.


But this radio has many pros and cons,..I'll be posting a full review soon.


Jay

http://radiojayallen.com


Re: Rech?- most directional ferrite

Rik
 

Stormwise sells pre wound 6.5 inch ferrite antennae for AM BCB. I thought of buying 4 and series parelel conecting them to one cap. I would have to experiment, but I thought I'd place one pair next to each other on each side about a foot apart. It would be a little pricey, but I don't have full use of my hands to wind my own coils. Anyway I decided to upgrade to a better isolation transformer this month  to block more noise in my house wiring.
 After I had my 'bright' idea I did find some one on line who wound two ferrite spaced apart like that and connected them to a single cap. They liked the result, but of course all experimenters favor there own projects. I got the idea because my Q-stick works along side an internal radio ferrite and also end to end with an internal radio ferrite antenna. So I am guessing each pair would help the one close to it and the wider stance of the other pair might make it more directional, that is, have a narrower beam for separating AM stations on the same frequency and not too many degees apart in direction. It's just an idea I could actually experiment with. No idea if it would work. So I thought I'd ask here. Maybe next months project, maybe not. - FARMERIK


Extra Comment... Re: New Eton Satellit Shortwave Radio

josephrot
 

RE: << New Eton Satellit Shortwave Radio >>


And yes, I happened to see one down in Atlanta GA this weekend, yet Tom's Review is more worthy than my comments.


Joe Rotello / Knoxville, TN / USA


New Eton Satellit Shortwave Radio - Tom's YouTube Report

josephrot
 

FYI for all...

Tom Stiles YouTube report and commentary on the new Eton Satellit Shortwave Radio.

I get the feeling that this small apparent Ultralight-sized one may be a dud, gravely in need of major designer / engineer attention...I really do.

Grin, no, no, NOT Tom being a dud... the @&#&  receiver.

Suggest watching in 720HD res video...

TRRS #0445 - New, New Eton Satellit Shortwave Radio

Joe Rotello / Knoxville, TN / USA


 


Re: Rech?- most directional ferrite

mediumwavedx
 

Interesting. It may be possible. You might try wiring them like the C Crane Twin Coil.

Bill


Try Something New This Winter!

Gary DeBock
 

Hello All,
 
One of the reasons why our Ultralightdx Yahoo group has had booming growth for over seven years is because we have accepted many diverse challenges... from the basic challenge of DXing with a simple pocket radio (which all of us share) all the way up to the challenge of developing 21st Century antennas (and discovering innovative DXing sites) to make pocket radios surprisingly effective in Transoceanic DXing results.
 
Not all of us have the ability or desire to develop breakthrough antennas or perform loopstick transplant operations, but when our late Co-Founder John Bryant was still with us he would constantly challenge each one of the Ultralightdx leaders (including me) to try something new-- either in antenna work, DXing accomplishments or volunteer service. Many of us (including me) even remember John "volunteering" us for certain Ultralight group responsibilities :-)                         
 
John was an ex-Professor of Architecture at Oklahoma State University in Stillwater, and he had a natural teaching style familiar to all those who knew him. John was the one who introduced me to DU-DXing in 2008, teaching me all the basics of how to track down exotic South Pacific DX right in the middle of the worst possible season-- the dog days of summer. At the time it sounded like science fiction to me, and I thought that John might be "pulling my leg--" but he was absolutely right.                         
 
I don't have anywhere near the accomplishments or leadership ability that John had, but he and I did share a fascination with antennas-- especially monster antennas that could make Ultralight radios highly competitive in Transoceanic DXing. So, in the spirit of John Bryant, I would like to offer some links to articles that have inspired many Ultralight Radio DXers to really push the limits in antenna construction-- including one article that John and I wrote together. As I have shared with anyone willing to listen, I'm convinced that the future of our Ultralight Radio community is very bright-- and optimism and innovation will win out over pessimism and boredom every time. Sometime this winter, why not try something new to increase your Ultralight Radio DXing fun-- maybe a new Ultralight radio, a new antenna, a new band (FM, SW or Longwave) or Transoceanic DX reception? The future belongs to those of us who are excited about it-- one of the primary reasons why our Ultralight Radio Community has become one of the most vibrant segments of the AM-DXing community.                         
 
73 and Good DX,
Gary DeBock (in Puyallup, WA, USA)
Ultralight Radio Group Co-Founder
 
1)  E100 Slider Loopstick (September 2008)
Co-authored with John Bryant, this article explains how to replace the E100 stock loopstick with a far more effective 7.5" Slider loopstick. Many of these highly sensitive models are still in DXing service today
 
2)  PVC Loops-- The Low Cost Ticket to High DX Gain (August 2009)
Tired of expensive commercial antennas or pricey ferrite sleeve loops? This article will teach you how to build a dirt-cheap PVC air core loop with side sizes from 18 inches up to 9 feet... all of them (MW models) costing well under $100. The 9' monster size loop was used here to receive 7 Medium Wave TA's in 2009-2010.
 
3)  PL-360 Plug-in 7.5" Loopsticks  (June 2010)
Do you have a PL-360 model (with its plug-in antenna jack for AM and LW loopsticks)? This article will teach you how to replace the deaf midget loopstick with extremely effective 7.5" Medium Wave and Longwave plug-in replacements-- with no modification required to the radio at all. 25 of the MW and 5 of the LW plug-in loopsticks were made here and sent out to PL-360 owners-- many of which are still in use.
 
4)  7.5" Longwave Loopsticks  (June 2011)
Detailed technical article describing the challenge and success in developing 7.5" Longwave-optimized loopsticks for the Tecsun DSP Ultralights. Includes basic instructions for building your own 7.5" Longwave loopstick PL-380 model
 
5)  7" FSL Antenna-- Detailed "Heathkit-like" Construction Article (October 2011)
Build your own 7" Ferrite Sleeve Loop antenna at a cost of under $200. This detailed article has multiple Photoshop-enhanced instructional photos to guide you in creating a highly effective 7" FSL antenna
 
6)  5" FSL Antenna-- Detailed "Heathkit-like" Construction Article (March 2012)
Build your own 5" Ferrite Sleeve Loop antenna at a cost of under $100. This detailed article has multiple Photoshop-enhanced instructional photos to guide you in creating a highly effective 5" FSL antenna
 
7)  Supercharging the PL-380-- Detailed "Heathkit-like" Construction Article (October 2013)
Replace the midget stock loopstick in your Tecsun PL-380 with a far more effective 7.5" Medium Wave or Longwave loopstick transplant-- and enjoy a new level of DXing success. Multiple Photoshop-enhanced assembly photos to guide you in the process of creating your own highly sensitive DXing portable-- for under $100 in assembly parts.
 

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