Review: C. Crane CC Skywave Portable Travel Radio

Review: C. Crane’s CC Skywave Portable Travel Radio
by Jeffrey Reed, Editor,

With the world in such a volatile state today, and concurrently with many of us spending much more time at home listening to radio news, shortwave radio monitoring has seen a recent surge in participation. In fact, all genres of radio broadcasting are more popular than ever – read my story on radio popularity here.

Of course, during the pandemic, civil unrest, as well as the U.S. Presidential election on tap, we all crave news from around the globe just as much as we want news from our own backyards. If you’re a shortwave radio enthusiast like me, then you know this is an exciting time for monitoring.

C. Crane, manufacturer of the very best AM/FM radios, offers a portable AM/FM/Shortwave/Weather/Aircraft that proves great things come in small packages: the CC Skywave portable travel radio.

CC Skywave

Now out of production, the C. Crane CC Radio Shortwave still boasts a strong following amongst serious radio monitoring enthusiasts. C. Crane general manager Jessica Crotty says there’s a mid-size shortwave radio in the works – stay tuned.

But if you’re looking for great reception, great sound and a myriad of sophisticated yet easy-to-use functions in a pocket radio, then the CC Skywave is for you. I’m listening to mine as I write – local CBC FM at 100.5 MHz. And at just 4.8″ W x 3″ H x 1″ D with a speaker with specs 1.5″, 25Ω, 0.5W, I’m pleasantly surprised with the sound quality of this little radio.

The Skinny On CC Skywave

C. Crane calls the CC Skywave the “Swiss Army knife of portable radios.” I won’t argue. With AM, FM, NOAA Weather band plus alert, shortwave (1711-29.999 MHz) with SSB, as well as VHF Aviation Band, this is an amazingly versatile radio. Its aesthetics are terrific, too, and its display and front panel are both diverse yet clean.

Of course, what matters most is reception, and this little dynamo doesn’t disappoint: even with its small telescopic antenna, I have been able to pull in AM stations from the Great Lakes region with wonderful clarity, FM stations with rich sound and shortwave stations from around the globe. The included CC Shortwave reel antenna boosted my reception five-fold, after some scanning. I am also able to pull in the local government weather broadcast, and some local aviation communications. It really is a Swiss Army knife of portable radios.

The well-designed front panel of the CC Skywave is easily mastered The lighted LCD screen is sharp and complete, and includes symbols/indicators for: battery icon/charge; page number (for station memories); station memories 0-9; weather band; weather alert activated; reception signal strength; bands; frequency/time; stereo FM reception; SSB activated; Upper and Lower Sideband activated; fine tuning for SSB activated; alarm set for radio; alarm activated; radio lock; tuning speed with knob; sleep timer activated; squelch; and audio filter for music or voice.

The side panel adjacent the speaker includes a 1/8” stereo headphone jack, and a mini USB jack. You may purchase an optional CC Skywave AC adapter ($14.99 US).

With the low noise C. Crane AC Adapter you can power the CC Skywave or charge NiMH batteries while they are in the radio. The CC Skywave will recharge a set of 2 AA NiMH batteries in less than 10 hours. Note: never mix batteries with different chemistries, or mix old and new batteries together in the radio. It has a 6-foot cord. You can power your radio or charge NiMH type batteries with the USB jack connected to a computer or USB power adapter. Note: when powering the CC Skywave, a computer or non-approved power adapter may generate too much interference on the AM, SW, and AIR bands. The FM band should not have as much interference when connected. For best reception, C. Crane recommends using the C. Crane power adapter or AA batteries. Specs for the power adapter: Input 120V ~ 60Hz @ 90mA, Output 5V @ 300mA.

As I continue to write this review, I sometimes need to look at the radios in my office/shack to make sure it is the CC Skywave I have powered on, since the FM radio quality far exceeds any pocket radio in this class. I also like the fact it offers 400 memory pre-sets, 10 aviation memories which can be scanned for activity, selectable fast or fine tuning on all bands (minus weather), and, of course, SSB shortwave capability.

If you’re not familiar with SSB, C. Crane defines it as “an obscure but very important way to communicate via radio. It is used primarily for two-way voice communication by ham radio operators, aircraft and air traffic control (ATC), ships at sea, military and spy networks. Occasionally some shortwave broadcast stations use this format. A lot of interesting and sometimes exciting talk goes on every day on these bands. Read more about SSB here.

The CC Skywave tuning knob and volume control rest on the right panel. At rear is the battery panel, and a flip-out rest for setting your radio at a 45° angle on your desk or table top, if desired.

I’ve spent the past day putting the CC Skywave to the test, and I’m impressed by everything it offers – especially for such a tiny package. It even comes with the quality CC earbuds for private listening, and a nice-looking faux leather carry case, in addition to the shortwave reel antenna.

At $169.99 US, the CC Skywave offers great sound, great reception and extreme portability. If it finds a home in your office or shack, it won’t take up much space, either.

Kudos to C. Crane on its tiny but mighty CC Skywave portable radio. For more information, visit the C. Crane website here.

Specs, CC Skywave Portable Travel Radio

Input Power: AC Adapter: 5V DC 300 mA with Mini USB Tip (not included)
Batteries: (2) AA (not included)
Power Consumption: 30-100 mA DC (depending on headphone, speaker usage, and volume)
Run Time (on batteries): ±70 hours (earbuds), ±60 Hours (built-in speaker)
Audio Output: 0.5 Watts, 1/8″ Stereo Earphone Jack
Speaker: 1.5″, 25Ω, 0.5W
Frequency Coverage:
AM 520 – 1710 kHz (10 kHz Steps)
AM 522 – 1620 kHz (9 kHz Steps – International)
FM 87.5 – 108 MHz (Regular Mode)
FM 76 – 108 MHz (When 9kHz is Selected)
Shortwave 1711 – 29999 kHz
Aviation 118 – 137 MHz
Weather Band:
Ch. 1: 162.400 MHz
Ch. 2: 162.425 MHz
Ch. 3: 162.450 MHz
Ch. 4: 162.475 MHz
Ch. 5: 162.500 MHz
Ch. 6: 162.525 MHz
Ch. 7: 162.550 MHz
AM Antenna: Internal Ferrite Bar – 5.5mm High x 7.65mm Wide x 70mm (2.75″)Long
FM, Weather, Shortwave and Aviation Antenna, 21.5″ Whip Antenna
Presets: 400 Total
Lock Switch: Yes
Sleep Timer: 15, 30, 45, 60, 90 and 120 Minutes
Alarm: Yes
Clock: 12/24 Hour Format
Display: Lighted LCD
Dimensions: 4.8″ W x 3″ H x 1″ D
Weight: 6 Ozs. Without Batteries
Warranty: 1-Year Limited Warranty
Included Accessories: CC Earbuds, SkyWave SSB Carry Case, CC SW Reel Antenna
Price: $169.99 US
For more information, visit

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About jeffreyreed

A leading Canadian communications professional. Corporate office established 1989. Publisher/Editor of this website and Sports journalist since 1980.

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