‘Best’ is a bold word, however in my opinion (and that of others if you search for it) one of the best AM radios for long range (DX) listening is the new CCRadio-2E by C Crane. I now have this radio, and can absolutely confirm its attributes.
Here’s why I bought it, and a short review as to why I like it for preparedness…
First of all, I simply enjoy radios and radio listening. When time permits, and when I’m in the mood, I might spend a little time listening to HAM radio (HF and/or VHF) as well as AM radio during the evenings (the best time for DX listening). While HAM radio and its purpose is quite different than AM radio programming (often technical & personal 2-way conversations vs. general broadcast), I do enjoy listening to AM radio for a handful of talk shows that interest me. Even though I can listen to most any of these on the internet, I enjoy the good old fashioned ‘airwaves’. ðŸ˜‰
Additionally, an AM radio for preparedness is a good thing because should you lose power at home and your cable, internet, or satellite is down – you will have a source of news and information (these radios are battery powered). Since AM radio is local-centric especially during the day (when reception is mostly limited to 100 miles or less), you will have a good resource for news reporting of any event which may be unfolding. During the evening and night, atmospheric conditions enable AM radio wave propagation to great distances – which is where the CCRadio-2E really shines.
Attributes of the CCRadio-2E
Superior audio quality. Even with my older C Crane radio, their audio quality has always been a significant design parameter. This AM radio has the best sounding audio I’ve heard in this category with a 5-inch, 6-watt speaker and audio tuning for the spoken word. The bass and treble controls allow you to equalize the sound to your own taste. Very solid. Given my previous career in audio technology I can appreciate what they’ve done.
Superior AM antenna. One very important factor to good reception (regardless of what type radio) is its antenna. The new CCRadio-2E has a new internal ‘Ferrite Bar’ which measures 8 inches long and has what they call “Twin Coil FerriteÂ®” technology. Let me tell you – it works! There are also terminals for an external AM antenna, however I have not used or needed to use it given the remarkable performance of the internal antenna (no doubt superior to many or most typical external antennas).
Additional bands. The radio also has the FM band (most do), but also has all seven NOAA weather radio bands (with emergency alert functionality), as well as the HAM radio 2-meter band (often used during emergencies and disaster situations by emergency responders). The inclusion of the 2-meter band is new for C Crane, and is a perfect fit for this radio as a preparedness information gathering tool.
Additional features. Other features include memory presets, clock, sleep timer, headphone jack, line in-out, and adjustable display light. Let me expand on the display light… this is a nice touch and something I’ve not seen in other radios. There are several brightness settings for the green hue LED back-light display. The dim setting is perfect for lights-out listening and won’t hurt your human night vision.
Conclusion. The attributes are very well indeed. That said, there’s the old saying that ‘you get what you pay for’, and this radio is not cheap (here’s a half-way decent ‘cheap’ portable AM radio if you’re curious). All in all I am very satisfied with the new CCRadio-2E and am amazed by what it’s able to pull in…
Note: One thing I’ve noticed regarding its functionality is that when you’re tuning to a station that is faint, the circuitry in the radio is ‘doing something’ (seemingly changing its internal automatic gain structure) such that the volume (strength) of the station will change up/down a time or two until it ‘locks’ on. This is normal – and interesting to observe. A powerful machine…
Here’s a list of 50kW AM radio stations that I put together, sorted a few different ways:
Download a PDF copy and print it for your reference…
(I feel the frequency sort is the most useful, given that an unknown station that you’re listening to will reveal their station identification call letters often at the top and bottom of the hour)