C.Crane TCA

Status
Not open for further replies.

WA8ZTZ

Member
Joined
Feb 23, 2014
Messages
603
Took advantage of the sunny and mild WX here yesterday to put my new CCrane Twin Coil Ferrite Antenna to the test. Set up outdoors so as to get away from all RFI/EMI. Did this test at midday to obtain steady sigs and avoid nighttime QSB.

Basically, stations that were barely copyable with just the built-in ferrite bar on my Satellit 750, came in loud and clear when the CCrane TCA was used connected directly to the set's antenna jack.

The following stations were all "armchair copy" from my Rochester Michigan QTH:
670 WSCR Chicago
700 WLW Cincinnati
720 WGN Chicago
740 CFZM Toronto
850 WKNR Cleveland
1010 CFRB Toronto
1100 WTAM Cleveland

This was just an initial quick test but my initial impression is favorable.
 

cmdrwill

Member
Joined
Mar 30, 2005
Messages
3,302
Location
So Cali
I wonder how the antenna would work on HF Ham RX out side with a short coax cable. IF it is capable of a coax cable
 

WA8ZTZ

Member
Joined
Feb 23, 2014
Messages
603
Well, the nice WX has turned to winter here so good excuse to stay indoors and play radio. So, played with the CCrane TCA last night and had some interesting results.

Started out on the expanded band (above 1600). Tuned into a local TIS on 1610 and was able to manipulate the loop antenna element to null out the pest and bring in CHHA Toronto. Tuning up the band heard a faint signal at 1630 and tuned it in with the tuner control box. It was KCJJ in Iowa City "The Mighty 1630" and it now sounded like a local. Slid up the band to 1640 and heard nothing but tuned the control box and WSJP a religious broadaster near Milwaukee came in clearly.

Dropping down to 710, heard a jumble, probably WOR New York in the mix. Have tried in the past with various other radios and antennas to pull Radio Rebelde out from under with some success but the TCA did a pretty good job of pulling in the Cuban and was able to listen to the music. Moving up to 720, heard the Blackhawks hockey game coming in quite clearly on WGN Chicago. Tried tuning it in better with the tuner control box but got a lot of distortion. The extra amplification was overloading the receiver. Tuning up to 750. heard a weak signal which turned out to be WSB Atlanta when tuned in with the control box. Sounded like a local, no QSB. Moved up to 870 and was surprised to hear nothing. WWL New Orleans usually has a good signal in here all night. However, adjusted the control box and WWL jumped right in literally from out of nowhere. Again, sounded like a local.

Anyway, an interesting evening on the AM BCB with the CCrane TCA. The receiver used was an Eton Field and the TCA was coupled to it via its ferrite stick. Oh, and by the way, this was from the basement of my Rochester Michigan QTH.

btw, maybe this thread would be better placed in the receive antenna forum... if a mod wants to do so, go for it, tnx ;)
 

ridgescan

Member
Joined
Apr 1, 2008
Messages
4,548
Location
San Francisco, Ca.
WA8ZTZ good logs having fun with the Justice twins. I love mine too, and on occasion I'll give the comms receivers here a break and work it. My old Delmonico Novum tabletop radio sits out in the kitchen on the table and the Justice's pickup coil is ziptied right onto the delmonico's internal MW loop stick. The thing about the twin coil is there's notably less fade. I have run it simultaneously while running one of the comms rigs on the Wellbrook loop outside and often times the Justice has less fade than even that loop.
 

ka3jjz

Wiki Admin Emeritus
Joined
Jul 22, 2002
Messages
22,081
Location
Bowie, Md.
Moved to our receive antennas forum. Carry on folks, as this is an interesting thread for those folks that chase MW DX

Mike
 

WA8ZTZ

Member
Joined
Feb 23, 2014
Messages
603
Ridge... how is the AM BCB DX from your QTH? Alaska? Hawaii?

Anyway, not familiar with your German radio so looked it up on the internet, looks sharp, the cat-eye tuner is a nice touch, hope your TCA does it "justice".
 

ridgescan

Member
Joined
Apr 1, 2008
Messages
4,548
Location
San Francisco, Ca.
Ridge... how is the AM BCB DX from your QTH? Alaska? Hawaii?

Anyway, not familiar with your German radio so looked it up on the internet, looks sharp, the cat-eye tuner is a nice touch, hope your TCA does it "justice".
Unfortunately that eye is out. Got to find a new one cause you're right about the nice touch. But the radio is still a blast to run and sounds great and is one LOUD tabletop. Gorgeous FM sound too.
DX from here is unremarkable. No overseas catches yet. Anyway here's a shot of it tonight with the Justice control along side.
 

WA8ZTZ

Member
Joined
Feb 23, 2014
Messages
603
Visited the AM Graveyard last night with the CCrane TCA and the Eton Field. Nothing to report really as all the TCA seemed to do was amplify the rumble. Was able to null out a local on 1340 but just a jumble underneath. So, just started tuning around randomly and came across a weak signal on 1370. Tuned it in with the control box and the melody of Patsy Cline greeted my ears. Listened for awhile and barely caught the station ID as it began to QSB back into the clag. Going to tentatively log it as WTAB Tabor City NC. Only runs 109 watts nighttime, so was lucky to hear it for awhile.

Continued randomly tuning and came across some good old classic country on 1190 mixing with some talk station. Tuned it in with the control box and the signal jumped up in volume and clearly covered the talker. They ID a lot (which is nice for us DXers... thank you) as KQQZ "Kool Killer Kountry". Very little QSB but during one of the fades, tuned in the talker just to see who it was.
Turns out it was WOWO in Ft. Wayne. Somewhat amazing that KQQZ was able to cover WOWO (with some help from the TCA) as KQQZ runs only 650 watts at night beamed away from me vs WOWOs 9800 nighttime watts radiated roughly north-south with WOWO being located between KQQZ and me. (Note: A little bit confusing but looks like KQQZ city of license is in Missouri but the towers are located across the river in Illinois so as to beam southwest and cover St. Louis).

Another interesting evening on the AM BCB.
 
Last edited:

WA8ZTZ

Member
Joined
Feb 23, 2014
Messages
603
Had some time this afternoon to try out the CCrane TCA on the expanded AM band above 1600. This is a good place to experiment as there is less congestion and the stations run a decent 10kw daytime.

The receiver would have been deaf to all of the signals received (other than a local 1610 TIS) without the aid of the TCA. Listening took place from 2030Z to local sunset 2202Z.

There were three TIS heard @ 1610, 1690, and 1700. All could be nulled but nothing was heard in their nulls.

At 1640, Catholic religious station WSJP near Milwaukee was heard with a weak but originally steady signal that began to QSB as time passed. There was a sports talker at 1650 (not positive of the ID) probably KCNZ Cedar Falls. At 1660, conservative talker WBCN Charlotte was broadcasting Sean Hannity. This was replaced by Korean ethnic WWRU Jersey City as sunset approached. Was not able to get a certain ID on the station at 1670 but probably WOZN Green Bay. At 1680 heard Mexican format WTTM in NJ but it got covered near sunset by WPRR here in Michigan.

The TCA made possible the reception of all these stations that otherwise would have been covered by static. btw... reception was from the basement of my QTH.
 
Last edited:

fleef

Member
Premium Subscriber
Joined
Jun 19, 2010
Messages
209
Location
Phoenix Arizona
I am enjoying your review and experience with the CCCrane twin coil. I had one a while back but misplaced it, but your review and fascinating comments are getting me in the mood to get another one. This is great, your dxing reports are quite entertaining to read. AM - MW, rather, is a fun hobby of mine that I do each time I get in the car, too. I can easily receive Mexico's ESPN station from my area of Phoenix AZ, and have received Nebraska's farm report station (call letters escape me) and WOAI from good old Texas, to name a couple of stations. When you mentioned you tuned in and got Patsy Cline, I figured your wonderful twin coil antenna not only got you some dx but also took you back in time! lol NC is quite a dx from your QTH.

Now I am in the mood for MW dxing. I will purchase another CCCrane twin coil too. They sound very much worth it.
 

WA8ZTZ

Member
Joined
Feb 23, 2014
Messages
603
I am enjoying your review and experience with the CCCrane twin coil. I had one a while back but misplaced it, but your review and fascinating comments are getting me in the mood to get another one. This is great, your dxing reports are quite entertaining to read. AM - MW, rather, is a fun hobby of mine that I do each time I get in the car, too. I can easily receive Mexico's ESPN station from my area of Phoenix AZ, and have received Nebraska's farm report station (call letters escape me) and WOAI from good old Texas, to name a couple of stations. When you mentioned you tuned in and got Patsy Cline, I figured your wonderful twin coil antenna not only got you some dx but also took you back in time! lol NC is quite a dx from your QTH.

Now I am in the mood for MW dxing. I will purchase another CCCrane twin coil too. They sound very much worth it.
Good to see that you found this thread useful. ;)

Another nice thing about the TCA is its portability. Makes it easy to take along with a portable radio out in the backyard or to a local park to get away from the RFI/EMI noise indoors. Don't have to mess around with stringing up an antenna. Just set the twin coil antenna on the picnic bench and that's it. Plus the antenna can be rotated to peak/null. In my side by side comparisons, its performance is as good as or better than simple wire antennas... even when the wire antenna is connected to the set through an antenna tuner.

You mentioned auto radios, too bad they don't seem to be as good nowadays as back when. However, an auto radio today is still a top performer compared to the average AM-FM portable.

You also mentioned AM radio as sort of a time machine. CFZM "Zoomer Radio" AM 740 Toronto puts in a fair but sometimes scratchy signal here day and night. The TCA makes it "armchair copy". The format covers Big Band, Frank Sinatra, 50s, 60s, Motown, and yes, Patsy Cline. :D

From your location, you should be able to pull in some of the Mexican AM flamethrowers. Anyway, good luck with your AM BCB DX. :)
 

cmdrwill

Member
Joined
Mar 30, 2005
Messages
3,302
Location
So Cali
You mentioned auto radios, too bad they don't seem to be as good nowadays as back when. However, an auto radio today is still a top performer compared to the average AM-FM portable. )
The problem with the newer car radio antennas are very short physically, especially the ones on the roof with the 'satellite' and or GPS antenna.

Back in the 60's I had a 59" whip on my car's AM radio, never missed a station.... The current car stock/factory antenna is a 8" whip at 45 degrees on the roof, can not be too efficient on AM. Maybe they make longer aftermarket 'whips'.

It still comes down to "more iron in the sky, the better the reception", as told by a college radio station electronics instructor. circa 1963. And up to a certain point, as I learned later working on the antenna range.
 

WA8ZTZ

Member
Joined
Feb 23, 2014
Messages
603
The problem with the newer car radio antennas are very short physically, especially the ones on the roof with the 'satellite' and or GPS antenna.

Back in the 60's I had a 59" whip on my car's AM radio, never missed a station.... The current car stock/factory antenna is a 8" whip at 45 degrees on the roof, can not be too efficient on AM. Maybe they make longer aftermarket 'whips'.

It still comes down to "more iron in the sky, the better the reception", as told by a college radio station electronics instructor. circa 1963. And up to a certain point, as I learned later working on the antenna range.
My guess is that the automakers are not going to spend R&D and testing dollars on AM radio but rather on FM, satellite radio, and GPS.

Anyway, you're right, stubby whips and windshield antennas on todays cars pale in comparison to a nice telescoping whip from the 50s-60s. IIRC, back then, the bottom side of the car radio had an access hole for a tuning tool so as to adjust the antenna trimmer to match the antenna for optimum reception.
 

ridgescan

Member
Joined
Apr 1, 2008
Messages
4,548
Location
San Francisco, Ca.
I bought a 2016 Lexus RX350 in April. The radio in this thing can do MWDX just as well as my home shack with the loop up 50'! I knew by what I have learned about radio that for sure it aint that little sharkfin aereal on the RX's roof doing MW. That one's for the sattelite stuff and the GPS/emergency. I still don't know where exactly the AM antenna is, but the manual says it's "within the rear window". The only thing I see there is the defrost wires. Whether those act double as the AM antenna I cannot say, but regardless, they have figured how to make this thing a very sensitive and powerful AM receiver. I can easily listen to smallfry far out stations clear out to Stockton while cruising down the highway here in Frisco.
I still have my 2001 Tacoma hybernating in my gal's garage and that one has a strong AM receiver as well in typical Toyota fashion albeit with its 3' whip on the front fender.
So I suppose it depends upon the carmaker and how much quality they want to put into their stuff.
 

WA8ZTZ

Member
Joined
Feb 23, 2014
Messages
603
I bought a 2016 Lexus RX350 in April. The radio in this thing can do MWDX just as well as my home shack with the loop up 50'! I knew by what I have learned about radio that for sure it aint that little sharkfin aereal on the RX's roof doing MW. That one's for the sattelite stuff and the GPS/emergency. I still don't know where exactly the AM antenna is, but the manual says it's "within the rear window". The only thing I see there is the defrost wires. Whether those act double as the AM antenna I cannot say, but regardless, they have figured how to make this thing a very sensitive and powerful AM receiver. I can easily listen to smallfry far out stations clear out to Stockton while cruising down the highway here in Frisco.
I still have my 2001 Tacoma hybernating in my gal's garage and that one has a strong AM receiver as well in typical Toyota fashion albeit with its 3' whip on the front fender.
So I suppose it depends upon the carmaker and how much quality they want to put into their stuff.
Sometimes hard to find where they hide the AM antenna on the newer cars. Sometimes molded into a plastic body panel. If you can't see a separate set of antenna wires in the rear window then they may be using the defrost wires with a DC blocking capacitor.
 

ridgescan

Member
Joined
Apr 1, 2008
Messages
4,548
Location
San Francisco, Ca.
Sometimes hard to find where they hide the AM antenna on the newer cars. Sometimes molded into a plastic body panel. If you can't see a separate set of antenna wires in the rear window then they may be using the defrost wires with a DC blocking capacitor.
It is perplexing to say the least. They do such a neat and tidy job of everything it's impossible to even see the telltale coax. Just 2 or 3 rubber conduits coming off the hatchback into the body.
If they are using that defrost grid I wonder if the thing is acting as an active loop.
Sorry to wander off-topic in your thread about the twin coil antenna. Just wanted to address the comments about newer car radios.
 

WA8ZTZ

Member
Joined
Feb 23, 2014
Messages
603
If they are using that defrost grid I wonder if the thing is acting as an active loop.
Sorry to wander off-topic in your thread about the twin coil antenna. Just wanted to address the comments about newer car radios.
Hmmm... now that's an interesting thought... an active defrost grid loop. :)

Haven't played with the TCA for a couple of days. Been chasing LW NDBs and working the ham bands... nice 2 meter opening across Lake Erie into Ohio and Pennsylvania right now but nobody on. :(
 

WA8ZTZ

Member
Joined
Feb 23, 2014
Messages
603
Got back to the TCA this afternoon. Tried using it with an Eton Traveler III portable. This radio is about as small as portables come and therefore has a small (3") ferrite rod antenna for AM reception. Figured that it could use some help from the TCA.

In summary, the TCA did help although not as much as it improved reception for the Satellit 750 or Eton Field. But, it did make it possible to get good copy on some signals that were otherwise unuseable. CFZM 740 Toronto, CKOC 1050 Hamilton, and WAAM 1600 Ann Arbor were all unreadable without the TCA but came in clearly thanks to the TCA.
 
Status
Not open for further replies.
Top