Archive for February, 2011

CCrane Twin Coil Tuneable Antenna Part 03

February 18, 2011

For the test detailed in this article I used an old Onkyo Hi-Fi tuner from the 70s, an excellent looking and well built beast boasting high performance but then again that’s what all Onkyo products are about aren’t they?

 

This tuner is different from the Yamaha tuner in the Surround-Sound receiver I described in the previous article because it has a built-in ferrite antenna as well as connections for an external antenna so the CCrane system was therefore tested in 2 different ways to see which yielded best results, one test was with the CCrane system directly connected to the external antenna connections and the other was using the ferrite stick coupler for an induction connection.

 

Results with the CCrane system connected to the tuner directly through the terminals were good but would have been better I suspect if I had a way of isolating the built-in antenna of the tuner, certainly passable.

 

Results using the ferrite stick coupler for an induction connection to the built-in ferrite antenna of the tuner were far better and this would be the way I’d recommend connection.  One could just about say that the designers of this particular Onkyo tuner I had new the CCrane ferrite stick coupler existed more than 30 years ago when the tuner was made, the ferrite antenna of the Onkyo tuner slides out from the back of the unit on a tray and the ferrite stick coupler fits very nicely behind the Onkyio’s antenna on the tray.

 

When receiving signals from the external antenna connections I found that noise was boosted nearly as much as the signal strength and this was nowhere near as bad using the coupler.

 

 

CCRane Twin Coil Antenna Part 02

February 16, 2011

As promised here are the results of the second test I did yesterday with the CCrane Twin Coil Antenna system.

 

In my previous entry on this topic I detailed how I connected the antenna system to a CCrane EP radio, for this test I connected the antenna to a Yamaha RX-v520 surround-sound receiver.

 

The tuner of this receiver normally uses a loop antenna, quality of tuner is excellent and sensitivity is quite reasonable though I felt sure it could be improved upon with the connection of the CCrane antenna.

 

For those with sight problems, make sure you know which connections are for antenna and which are for earth.  For the connection of the Yamaha I used the adapter that plugs into the patch cord of the CCrane antenna, One wire is to go to the antenna terminal and the other to earth, if you get these the wrong way round then reception is impaired and you’ll possibly get a lot of interference so mark one wire of the patch cord adapter with some tape or similar and mark one terminal of your tuner the same way.

 

As I suspected, reception was improved significantly with the antenna connected and after tuning of the antenna to my favourite station had been completed.

 

So if reception was fair with the standard loop aerial for the Yamaha why did I even bother to test the CCrane Antenna? I wanted to see if I could get rid of a lot of interference which is present in the room with the Yamaha, I’m running a computer, network and associated devices here and the loop aerial for the Yamaha and all the other stuff just don’t get on.  By repositioning the CCrane antenna near the window I was able to reduce interference and noise on the AM band for all stations I tuned to.  This interference is generated by switchmode power supplies etc.

 

I tried repositioning the loop aerial however this didn’t work as well as the CCrane Antenna did, perhaps because the CCrane Antenna has a shielded cable between tuner and control box and from control box to antenna.

 

You can find out more about the CCrane Twin Coil Tuneable Antenna at CCrane’s Twin Coil Antenna Page

 

 

CCrane Twin Coil Tuneable Active Antenna

February 15, 2011

I finally got around to playing with this gadget so here are my findings.  I’d be interested to receive comments from other users of this antenna system on how they’ve found it.

 

The antenna was easy to set up and the procedure outlined in the manual was clear and to the point, I had studied the manual before the antenna system had even arrived thanks to the availability of the document on CCrane’s web site, further details will be given toward the end of this post.

 

The system consists of a number of components, some you will use whilst others you won’t and this is due to CCrane designing an antenna system to match all sorts of AM radio.

 

A patch cord links your radio to the control box, how your radio connects to the patch cord depends on what sort of radio you have and its antenna connections.  For example, the CCRane EP radio has spring loaded antenna terminals so you can use the adapter supplied with the patch cord, plug one end of the cord into the adapter socket and connect the 2 wires of the adapter to the antenna terminals of the radio, this is how you would connect most modern-day Hi-Fi AM tuners too!

 

For AM radios without antenna terminals or sockets you would use the ferrite stick coupler, plug the patch cord into the coupler and the other end into the control box, I’ll talk more about the coupler later.

 

Next you plug the twin coil antenna itself into the control box, the twin coil antenna is on a 5 feet long lead so it can be placed a fair distance away from the control box to improve AM reception.

 

Once all connections are made you decide upon your power source for the antenna system and here you have the choice of AC mains through a 9 volt AC power adapter or a 9 volt square battery which fits into the battery compartment on the bottom of the control box, once all connections are made and power is available the system can be turned on, this is done by rotating a small knob on the top of the control box, its like an old transistor volume knob, clicks when turned clockwise, unit is now on and the knob rotates allowing adjustment.

 

When the antenna system is turned on don’t be expecting to hear those far distant signals straight away, the antenna requires tuning and 2 knobs on the top of the controller allow for this.

 

First tune your radio to the desired station you wish to listen to, use the tuning dial on the radio to locate this or adjust the display to tune to the exact frequency.  Now rotate the outer knob on the controller, you’ll gradually hear the signal become stronger so rotate to the optimal point where signal is strongest.

 

Now use the knob in the middle to “Fine Tune”.

 

The first thing I noted when everything was tuned was the clear reception and very noticeable lack of background noise when compared to receiving the same signal with the built-in ferrite antenna of the radio so top marks for the Antenna system there, for my tests I’ve used a CCrane EP radio thus far and I plan to test some more receivers in the future, naturally I’ll be posting my results here.

 

So having directly connected the radio to the antenna system it was time to try the ferrite stick coupler.

 

Now this can be a little tricky and may take some time because you have to locate the coupler as near as is possible to your radios built-in antenna, this is usually mounted near the top of the radio, perhaps more to the rear.  Once you’ve placed the coupler as near as is possible to the radios antenna tune the system as described above and you’ll certainly start noticing a difference in the strength of the signal you’re receiving.

 

The problem with this method is that extra noise is introduced and you can easily overload your radio, that’s what happened when I coupled the CCrane EP this way.  Thankfully the CCrane EP radio has a built-in antenna tuner and that together with the tuning features of the Twin Coil Antenna system illiminated much of the overloading.

 

I’m very pleased with my purchase of this antenna system, tuning it at first took a little patience but once you get the hang of tuning then its second nature, if you can tune a radio then yo u can tune this antenna.

 

You can find out more about the CCrane Twin Coil Antenna system by visiting http://www.ccrane.com/antennas/am-antennas/twin-coil-ferrite-am-antenna.aspx