I was asked to evaluate two table top portable radios
that cover the standard AM broadcast band, in addition
to other frequencies. Usually my reviews of desktop
receivers for Passport to Worldband Radio encompass
both laboratory measurements and hands-on evaluations.
In this case, however, portable radios with loopstick
antennas do not lend themselves well to connections
to test equipment. What really matters to the listener
is how a radio performs on a desk, or on a picnic
table out in the woods. The CCRadioPlus and the Superadio could not be more different in their performance.
If what you want is basically a “boom box”
for a local station ten miles away, the Superadio's
larger woofer and additional tweeter provides a wider
range of fidelity. If, on the other hand, you want
to tune in stations at greater distances, especially
on the high end of the AM band, the CCRadioPlus is the
To start with, the Superadio uses an old fashioned
analog dial with very poor calibration. While doing
extensive listening from the low end to the high end
of the band, I found that I had to tune in a station
on the CCRadioPlus, and then “look for it”
on the Superadio, since I had little idea what frequency
the Superadio was tuned to. The CCRadioPlus provides a modern
digital readout, fine tunable in 1 kHz steps, plus
jog buttons for 10 kHz steps.
Tuning in weak signals on the low end of the broadcast
band showed the CCRadioPlus ahead by a nose, but the obvious
superiority was on the crowded high end of the band where
the Superadio often overloaded.
The Superadio tended to have spurious tweets and whistles where
the CCRadioPlus had none.
The Superadio offers two bandwidths, but this feature was found to be
basically useless. Unless one was listening to a station
virtually next door, the wide position often picked
up two stations at once. After a few attempts at using the optional
bandwidth on the Superadio, I gave up and left the radio on narrow.
The CCRadioPlus is more tailored to voice reception for news
and sports, rather than music, with a reasonable balance
between lows and highs from its single speaker element. While the
radio has tone controls, I tended to leave them at mid scale for best reception.
As with either the Superadio or the CCRadioPlus, one must rotate the
radio at times to get the best reception on weaker signals
due to the directivity of the built-in loop stick. You
can also hook up an additional wire antenna, should one
be inside a building with lots of metal, which would block
the signal. At my listening location in the Rocky Mountain
Foothills, I did not find the need for any additional antenna enhancement.
While one can instantly tune in a specific station on the
CCRadioPlus due to its digital readout, it is interesting
to note the Superadio has not only its crude analog dial, but
a logging scale. This was common in the 1940s and 50s on such
radios as the famous HRO line, which had no direct frequency
readout. Having to revert to such a scheme to return to
a station is a bit passé in 2006!
The Superadio has been around for a long time,
but compared to the CCRadioPlus for voice reception,
it has easily met its match. Both radios cover the
FM band, but additionally the CCRadioPlus offers reception
of the weather channels above the FM frequencies.
This can be particularly important if you are away
from shelter on a trip or camping. Five presets can
be programmed per band for you convenience.
The only area where I could wish for improvement in the CCRadioPlus was using the jog
buttons. One cannot push the “up” or “down” buttons
and hear the radio tune. Instead the radio stays muted until
a jog button is released, and the synthesizer locks. One
can scan tune, however, with the fine tuning knob, albeit
a bit slowly, in 1 kHz steps.
President, Sherwood Engineering Inc.
Sherwood Engineering is a respected radio engineering business in Denver, Colorado. This test was conducted in 2006 to help with some confusion between the CCRadioPlus and the Superadio. In 2009 the
CCRadio-2 was released with a bit better (2db) AM performance than previous models and the addition of the 2-meter Ham band.