Writers Workshop: My Latest Purchase

CCrane CC Solar Observer radio with AC adapter (source:Amazon)

It’s that time of the year again: severe weather season. We get more than our share of severe weather during the summer, and when that happens it’s always good to have a radio at your disposal, particularly a radio with the weather band built into it.

Now, we’re not hurting for radios around here. I have two practically identical radios from the CCrane company that receive the broadcast bands (AM and FM) as well as shortwave, aviation, and weather bands. The main difference is that one radio has the ability to isolate single sideband (SSB) broadcasts on shortwave. I keep one in the bedroom for the times when one of the weather apps on my phone alerts me to dangerous weather.

We’ve been lucky so far in that no tornadoes or severe thunderstorms have knocked the power out for several days, but Mary and I realize that it could just be a matter of time before the lights go out for an extended time, and we decided that we needed a radio that could be powered several ways (battery, AC power, using solar power or wound up to keep the radio going), a flashlight, and a way to charge our phones, as well as AM/FM/Weather bands.

I found all of that at Amazon with the CCrane CC Solar Observer radio. At just under $80, it gives us all the things we want.

The main source of power is the rechargable battery pack, which when fully charged gives enough power for almost 20 hours. It can be recharged using the AC adapter, the hand crank, or the solar panel, depending on your situation. You can also power it with 3 AA batteries (which we always keep in stock here).

There is an analog tuner for AM and FM and a dial for selecting which NOAA radio station carries your local weather. The analog tuner is a bit of a pain especially after you’ve gotten used to digital tuners, but it does the job, and we don’t use the tuner that often. There’s an internal antenna for AM radio and a whip antenna for FM and weather radio.

There’s a very bright LED flashlight, a headphone jack, and a jack for a USB adapter. Why they didn’t just build a USB port into the radio is hard to understand, but the USB adapter does its job.

I like it: there are things I would have liked to have seen (a digital tuner, alarm for alerts, and a USB port rather than the adapter), but it’s a good radio and does the job. 4.5 out of 5 stars.

17 thoughts on “Writers Workshop: My Latest Purchase

  1. This is so interesting. I never even considered getting a radio now that I have everything on my phone. Then again, there aren’t many power outages here knocks on wood. I love how you got so much functionality for just $80.

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  2. We use our mobile phones for that. We have 2 battery packs we keep charged so our phones can be recharged. One relies on electricity (but we keep it charged and it has a very long life) and then we have a solar charging battery as our reserve.

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    1. I have two battery packs, both of which are charged from the house current. I keep them to charge various electronics. I should buy a couple more…

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  3. I’d suspect they used an analog tuner because it doesn’t consume any power just sitting there on one station. Digital tuners require power for the display and the tuning circuitry.

    I like CCrane radios. I have one down in my office area, which is also our tornado shelter, along with our battery-powered camping lanterns, batteries, and an asthma med canister.

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    1. They’re nice radios, and not too complicated, a good value for the price.

      Never thought of the digital tuning being a draw on the battery. That’s probably why they don’t put a USB port directly into the radio and why there’s no standby mode with an alarm, too. If the weather’s that bad, you’ll probably have the radio on…

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  4. Hi John – that sounds great … I wish my radio had a dialler … I struggle with getting mine set up, and then decide to undo it somehow – now it just sits on one station … it works – but not without power. I hope the nasty bank of weather stays away from you … cheers Hilary

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    1. We’ve been lucky so far, though there have been a few scares. We’ve mostly just had a lot of rain, maybe a few hailstones.

      When you think about it, you really only need one local radio station for weather bulletins, and most of the time running off house current is fine. I’m just really into radios….

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  5. Interesting. We have solar and generator/battery power at camp, and we have a radio there that at least gets local stations. And we have a generator we bring back and forth with us. Last time power went out here, we didn’t bother to power it up since it was short, but am wondering about a better radio here, especially in light of the world ending as it might these days. My husband is in the process of buying a marine radio deal for the new (old) boat. and an antenna, though that would be stored over winter somewhere. We also have a CB radio in our truck to travel with the our trailer.

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