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July 12, 2009



Using a C. Crane Twin Coil Ferrite antenna inductively with small radios like the G8, E100 or DT-200VX will give quite a performance boost as well. Maybe this is not as good as the external ferrite mod, but no changes to the radio are required, and the TCF can be used with many different radios. I have two TCFs, each purchased for only $50 during the annual "orphan" sale.


I, too, have the C.Crane Twin Coil, this one mounted outside my bedroom window via a 25' extension, and I use it primarily with my Sony ICF-EX5MK2. I like the Twin Coil attachment that allows me to connect directly with the AM EXT ANTENNA leads on the back of the receiver.

I've tried the inductive coupling of the Twin Coil on my other radios, such as my Sangean DT-200VX with the internal rod moved 1 1/2" outside the case, and I really appreciate the boost it gives the AM reception. On this modified radio, it's fairly easy to hold the inductor to the external ferrite rod. I also like the fine adjustments I can make using the 9-Volt powered tuner.

The only downside for me is that the inductor unit must be held parallel to the internal ferrite loop either by hand or by tape, in order to maintain a good inductive connection. I guess I must must flail around a lot when I'm DXing the AM band!

I say for anyone who has not yet tried the C.Crane, by all means find an "orphan" for a great price as Gary mentioned. If you would like to try something different and kinda home-built, contact Steve Ratzlaff to learn more about his "invention." I really love DXing with it!

Ken K.

My only comment on the current craze of attaching external antenna contraptions to Ultralight radios, is that one winds up with something that is even more cumbersome than a Panasonic RF 2200, my favorite but most cumbersome AM DX radio. This kind of defeats the whole concept of an ultralight radio.

I have several UL radios, but I use them as intended, when portability is the priority, like if a take a walk around sunset and want to do a little DXing along the way.

Jeffrey McMahon

I can't deal with eyesores, but I understand the tinkerer's impulse to tweak and upgrade.

Mike W

I had been thinking about buying a TCF for a while now and was trying to hold off, but reading these comments broke it for me, so I ordered one.

One of the reasons I chose a Boston Acoustics Solo over the other table radios available nowadays is the unusual provision that BA made for listeners who wish to hook up an outboard AM antenna.

Many radios have screw connects which allow an outboard antenna to be effectively wired in parallel with the internal AM antenna, a cheap but electrically clumsy option which in my experience introduces more noise than anything else.

BA's simple but clever solution allows an outboard antenna to be wired in, but more importantly, disconnects the internal antenna completely. That's ideal for something like the TCF, and I think it's an example of a manufacturer showing some respect for their customers' level of technical understanding.

The passive outboard antenna pictured above could also be connected directly into a BA set. I wonder how well that would work?


The modified 300WT pictured is a prototype that I built from Steve Ratzlaff’s parts. I’m working toward ways to make it more compact like some I’ve seen in the photo albums at the Ultralightdx Yahoo Group and at DXer.ca

In any case, what we end up with in modifying this ultralight is definitely NOT more cumbersome than a Panasonic RF-2200! Furthermore, it does NOT defeat the whole concept of an ultralight! Case in point:

My Tecsun 300WT set-up weighs 1¼ pounds with batteries.
My Panasonic RF-2200 weighs 7½ pounds with batteries.

The modified 300WT costs about $80, radio included.
A good RF-2200 sells for $250+ on eBay.

Building modded ultralights is a hobby wherein the finished project often rivals even the best of the portable desktop receivers costing three times as much. You can use whichever radio you want, but please get your facts straight before dissing the creative effort that goes into this niche hobby of the AM DXing world.


Norm, I believe even with all the pros and cons expressed, the readers have the highest respect for the kind of creativity that goes into the AM DXing world and if they don't, they should.


is steve selling the modified radios? and yes, i agree, the modifications are an exciting and welcome part of the hobby---no doubt providing the foundation for new and better factory builds...


Yes, Steve is selling the modified radios, and the best price is for the Grundig Traveler II Digital G8 AM/FM/LW/Shortwave Radio from Amazon. The Tecsun 300WT (its Asian cousin) is only available from Chinese outlets on eBay, so you have to pay high shipping costs. The Grundig G8 is available for $50 with free shipping. I also hear that Radio Shack is carrying the G8 for $50. Contact Steve Ratzlaff at: steveratz @ wildblue dot net.

Steve advised me by email that he can offer a complete package of the G8 and ferrite rod mod for $80 shipped. Of course, you will need to mount it yourself, because this keeps the cost down. I added the clear plastic tubing and the clamp to the pegboard for my experiment.

This is an awesome radio and even better yet using the external 7 7/8" antenna. You won't be disappointed and Steve is a great guy to work with!


thank you norm, i will follow up with the information you provided. great to see some home-spun innovation that improves the product!

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