CC POCKET RADIO
BY JERRY ADAMS
June 25, 2014
Portland, Oregon, USA
6' 1" (1.85 m)
195 lb (88.50 kg)
I started hiking about 45 years ago. My first backpack was 40 years ago. I currently try to do one backpack trip of 1 to 5 nights every month (which can be tricky in the winter). Mostly I stay in the Western half of Oregon and Washington. In recent years I have shifted to lightweight - my pack weight without food and water is about 12 lb (6 kg). I make a lot of my own gear - silnylon tarp-tent, bivy, synthetic bag, simple bag style pack.
Manufacturer: C. Crane
Year of Manufacture: 2013
Manufacturer's Website: http://ccrane.com
Listed Weight: 3.8 oz (108 g) without batteries
Measured Weight: 3.6 oz (102 g)
2 AA batteries weigh an additional 2.1 oz (60 g)
Dimensions: 4.3 x 2.5 x 1 in (109 x 62 x 25 mm) including any knobs or clips that stick out
The CC Pocket radio is a portable AM/FM/WX radio. WX stands for "weather band". This is a new product first available in 2013.
I listen to AM or FM radio when backpacking far from the city, where signals barely come in. I have used another radio for years that works pretty good, but has no internal speaker. I have tried several radios that have internal speakers, but the reception is poor - I can't get distant stations to come in at all.
I've been eyeing this new C. Crane radio and bought one when it first became available. It has an internal speaker and they claim it has better AM and FM reception than other pocket radios.
This radio reminds me of Apple products - very well designed. First, the reception is better than any other other radio I've used. Second, there are lots of little design elements, like that the buttons are recessed so it's harder to brush up against the radio and accidentally press a button. You can see that in photo below.
The case is a black plastic that has a soft feel which makes it feel nice and possibly resist damage if dropped.
It has a digital tuner - there are up and down buttons that set the frequency to a specific channel. It doesn't drift with time. A display shows what the frequency is. There are preset buttons (up to 55) that can be programmed to favorite stations.
There's no external antenna. There's an internal AM antenna and the headphone cord is used for the FM antenna.
If I want to use the internal speaker and listen to FM, I have to plug in the headphone cord anyway since it's the antenna. For strong signals, like in the city, maybe I don't need to do this. A switch is toggled to use headphones instead of speaker.
On the front are 5 unmarked buttons. Push a button once to get one of the pre-set stations. Push them in combination to get some other functions, for example the AM can be switched to narrow tuning to exclude a powerful signal that's close to a weaker station that's desired. I think it also makes distant signals come in better, because noise is also excluded. The buttons also can set the clock somehow - I have to consult the manual. And the display can be set to display time or frequency. Read the user manual to figure out which combination and sequence of buttons to select these other functions, too complicated for me to describe here.
* LCD display of clock or frequency
* up and down buttons
* 5 buttons used for pre-sets and other functions
* Power button
* analog volume knob
* headphone plug
* Speaker/headphone switch
* Band - to switch between AM, FM, and weather
* Alert - I wonder what that does?
* Lock - when switched, the buttons don't do anything so they're not accidentally pressed
* Battery compartment
* Belt clip
CC Pocket radio (you can see I wrote some clues of how to set advanced functions):
This radio is not waterproof, which is too bad, because sometimes it rains when backpacking. I just put it in a plastic bag.
I have used the CC Pocket radio for a year and a half on about 18 backpacking trips and around the city.
This radio works really well. When I was at Kalaloch on the Western side of the Olympic Peninsula I could pick up 690AM, the CBC station out of Vancouver. The other radio I have used could also pick it up about as good, maybe a tiny bit better. Since the reception of the CC Pocket radio is not significantly better than other radios I own, that alone is not justification for me to buy it. It's the internal speaker of the CC Pocket that made me buy it.
During the day, when the signal was weak, I could hear the station with my headphones but not the speaker. Maybe there's less background noise with the headphones that makes it more usable.
C. Crane says the batteries are good for 25 hours with speakers, 75 hours with headphones. I tested it with the new Eneloop NiMh 2400 mAH batteries and they lasted 100 hours with speakers at fairly low volume. This way exceeded the C. Crane numbers, but my speakers were at fairly low volume and those batteries are supposed to hold a larger charge than typical batteries. This is pretty good because I typically do 4-night trips so I don't really need to bring spare batteries, especially because this isn't a survival item so if the batteries died for my last few hours it wouldn't matter.
I didn't think much of the belt clip. The radio kept falling out. I fashioned a clip out of aluminum and screwed in with the same screws, and put a cord through it so it goes around my neck. This isn't too bad. Nobody's perfect. And the defect is pretty minor.
The battery door is a little hard to open, but at least it won't accidentally open. The battery compartment is big enough to hold NiMh batteries which are slightly bigger than alkaline or lithium. I have tried other radios that don't have big enough battery compartments to hold NiMh batteries.
When I replace the batteries, the radio retained the clock and pre-sets for about a year. Then, the clock would get reset but the pre-sets were retained - there must be a tiny battery that keeps the clock running when the main batteries are removed, but this tiny battery doesn't work anymore. I just don't bother setting the clock anymore.
I like how there's a speaker switch. I can just leave the headphones plugged in when I switch to speaker.
The display has several icons, for example it shows how strong the signal is with bars and shows when the battery is low.
A possible negative is that with the five unlabeled buttons, it's hard to remember what button sequences to use to set things. To switch to narrow AM tuning, I have to press button 1 and 3 simultaneously. No way I'll ever remember. I marked with felt pen some clues about which buttons to press, which allows me to switch to narrow AM tuning, but I can't remember how to set the clock. Okay - looked at manual - I have to turn power off, then press button 1. Maybe I'll remember now.
But, when there are only 5 buttons and a number of things to set, there's no other solution. Having more buttons isn't good. And not being able to set those things isn't good. Maybe this isn't so bad.
Hmmm - there's one tiny Phillips screw on the back. Do I unscrew it and see if I can see what's inside? I don't want to break it...
When I was listening to a station that was barely strong enough to get, there was this obnoxious clicking noise that occurred twice per second. I could still hear my station, but if this was fixed, it would be a little better. When I rotated the radio away from the station, both the signal and the clicking got quieter. After a while the frequency of the clicking sped up and became less noticeable, and then later it came back. When I set to narrow AM tuning it wasn't quite as bad. But, with any radio, there will be a point where a station is too weak, and nearing that point noise will become louder, and maybe this is just that noise for this radio and signal.
I really like the CC Pocket Radio
This report was created with the BackpackGearTest.org Report Writer Version 1.5
Copyright 2014. All rights reserved.
* As good reception as any other portable radio I've used
* Internal speaker that's fairly loud and good quality
* Overall, the design is very good, for example the buttons are recessed so they won't get pushed accidentally
* This is really good for a brand new product - frequently such products have some bugs that have to be fixed
* The battery compartment is big enough for NiMh batteries
* the radio is a little heavier than the lightest portable radio
* 2 AA batteries are heavier than the lightest portable radio
* the battery door is a little hard to open, but not a big deal and barely worth mentioning
* the belt clip isn't very good, radio comes off easily, not too bad though, nobody's perfect
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