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Here's a review of the CC Pocket radio posted today by m_a_schuster on the Yahoo ultralightdx group:
My radio came in today's mail. I have only tried in on daytime MW so far. Some initial observations.
The radio is slightly larger than the DT-400. The case, while clad in rubber on some surfaces, is made of what I call "cheap Chinese plastic". It's that silvery-grey brittle stuff that never looks or feels quite right, and has a tendency to crack under stress. This is of functional importance because of the battery cover; which is unlatched by squeezing along the edge, causing the latched edge to deform towards a rectangular slit. I could easily see that, after 50 openings, that deformable edge will crack off.
The LCD display on my specimen lacks contrast. It improves somewhat when you tune around and the LED illuminates the display - but considering the QC issues that CCrane has had with displays on other larger models, I'm a bit surprised.
Getting used to pressing multiple unlabelled buttons simultaneously to accomplish certain functions is tedious. Also I've had a few instances in which I've selected something (like changing from 10 to 1 KHz steps) and the controls are frozen afterward, requiring power off to get access again. Accessing presets off the first (default) page is a pain too.
There is some minor CPU/display noise on some frequencies which disappears when you use the 2-key combination to turn the display off. Firmware is intelligent here; if you change frequency the display comes back on.
Adjacent channel selectivity is superb even with the default 4 KHz filter. The only situation in which adjacent channel splash is apparent is around strong IBOC signals where absolutely nothing helps on any radio.
The radio is also relatively immune to bleed-trough of the local blowtorches clear across the dial, a plague on most other radios here in RF Alley, NJ.
My biggest gripe in initial daytime listening is speaker volume. Only local stations are received with enough volume to listen to at more than 1-2 feet away. In side-by-side comparison with the DT-400, daytime reception of 3-bar strength stations ~40 miles away, even with proper antenna orientation, wide filtering, and fresh batteries often requires putting your ear right on the cabinet. In contrast the DT-400 blasts the same station clear across the room. This is absolutely unacceptable, and I've just emailed CCrane to ask about it. If this can't be fixed, the radio is a non-starter.
Posted at 02:01 PM in Radio Lovers Can't Be Cured | Permalink
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Interesting comments here. For me, Mark Roberts' review convinced me to buy. The "cheap Chinese plastic" comment in the Yahoo blog is too subjective to sway me and I honestly couldn't care less about whether the speaker sounds like its Dolby 5.1 or not. There are MANY other radios that sound good, so the reviewer totally missed the mark there - especially given his admission that reception is "superb". Which is exactly what I was hoping to hear. I'll probably pull the trigger late next week.
Bob C |
December 29, 2012 at 02:57 PM
It sounds like something is wrong with the AM AGC on the reviewer's radio. With a properly performing AGC, medium strength stations should sound just as loud as strong stations. Hopefully this is just a sample defect.
Among the larger radios that I have, the CCRadio-SW has a very good AGC. Even relatively weak stations sound as loud as strong stations. My WR-2 has only a fair AGC. Weak stations have a low audio level compared to strong stations.
I'd be interested to hear if Mark Roberts has this AGC issue with his CC Pocket radio.
December 29, 2012 at 04:28 PM
One of the small Tecsun radios with DSP would probably be a better choice for a travel radio. You give up the NOAA weather stations, but most hotel rooms in N. America are now equipped with cable TV and wifi for checking the forecast. Maybe for camping...
Keith Beesley |
December 29, 2012 at 11:26 PM
I'd probably use the CC Pocket for walking around and a Tecsun DSP for travel. Essentially, the Pocket would replace my DT-400w. Selectivity is the key. I live between Chicago and Milwaukee, so there are lots of first adjacents here. Chicago FMs have the edge thanks to great line of sight from the Sears (er, Willis) tower. Meanwhile, most Milwaukee FMs have tx's on a tower north of Milwaukee. Often i'll be listening to Oldies 95.7 from MKE only to turn a corner and have the Beatles rudely interrupted by sour-horn Ranchero from 95.5. WNUA. That said, they're competitive enough that I have issues when walking around with the DT-400w. The FM feed of WBBM newsradio on 105.9 is often clobbered by WMIL on 106.1. Tried the Tecsun F100, which has DSP but it lacks sensitivity. The Insignia is good, but is FM only. Hence my quest for a sensitive and selective "walking around" portable.
Bob C |
December 30, 2012 at 01:51 PM
Gary: yes, it sounds like my radio has an AGC problem. However, since it is advertised as using DSP without a describing how, I am reminded of the "soft mute" function on the SiLabs DSP chips which can make the audio drop off a cliff when below a certain level.
I am now also regularly able to reproduce keyboard lock-up after using the 2-key combo presses to activate some functions. Usually I can recover by holding the UP or DOWN button for a few seconds.
Perhaps my specimen should have failed QC. Awaiting a response from CCrane.
December 30, 2012 at 04:56 PM
I don't think it's soft mute; I don't detect any signs of it. I'll put more on Posterous shortly but to make it brief, AGC is decidedly different between the two, and there seems to be a functional relationship. There doesn't seem to be much AGC on the CC. On the other hand, the DT overloaded on a very strong local signal, complete with audio distortion, while the CC didn't.
I haven't had the keyboard lockup so far.
Mark Roberts |
December 30, 2012 at 05:16 PM
Bob C: We each have our own criteria for what makes a good product. I think you've misunderstood - evne misquoted - my comments.
My concern about the plastic used for the case is that such material, in my experience, proves to crack under stress. Removing the battery cover provides exactly that stress.
Regarding the audio - no, I'm not looking for Dolby 5.1 from a tiny speaker. But I do expect the high sensitivity of this receiver to be useable - i.e. it produces enough volume on mid-strength signals to be audible without putting your ear 3 inches from the speaker.
And I didn't "admit" that the reception is "superb" ... if you re-read my posting, you'll see that I only used that word to describe adjacent-channel selectivity (which it, in fact, is).
December 30, 2012 at 05:47 PM
Mike & Mark,
Thanks for your additional thoughts on the AGC action with the CC Pocket radio.
Here is Mark's updated info on the AGC issue:
Hopefully C. Crane will rework this on future units. I'm surprised that something as basic as a properly performing AGC got past their QC efforts during the design and prototyping process.
December 30, 2012 at 06:28 PM
I just revised that post (URL is the same) after normalizing the audio output to 0 dB peak. The results didn't meaningfully differ. I'm still not entirely satisfied with how I measured things -- for one thing, I wish I had more music programming to work with -- but it does provide enough of an indication, I think, that AGC is one of the unit's weak points.
Mark Roberts |
December 30, 2012 at 07:17 PM
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