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|N9EWO Review :
C.Crane "FM REFLECT"
Indoor FM Antenna
C.Crane's "FM REFLECT" Indoor FM Wall Antenna (it's outer box photo above). 100% Passive and Respectable. Made in China. (N9EWO Photo)
Improves FM Broadcast reception over the standard T-style dipole that
was included with older Stereo receivers. Passive design for excellent
signal to noise ratio. Design is much less affected by people
moving around in the room (a major issue with any indoor antenna). 8
foot 75 ohm coax feedline (no 300 ohm twin lead feeds lines used here).
Mounting ears and center section that have nail mounting holes
(required to use, see con). All white color. Includes a 75 to 300 ohm
transformer. Available from many US dealers usually at a lower cost (not just from C.Crane direct).
CON : Wall mounted antenna,
generally ugly and difficult to hide, must be mounted to something and
is not easy to deal with with it's thick elements. Stiff coax cable.
Pricey for what it is (at full price). Heat shrink piece over coax connector was not
done properly and made for difficult connection to receiver (one can
just carefully remove it with a pair of scissors). As it is with any
indoor antenna some experimentation may be required to locate the best
hot spot in the room (may require an extension of the coax cable). The weird whip portable antenna connection with the provided 75 to 300 ohm balun and alligator clip
did NOT provide any improvement in our testing (we say any host
receiver MUST have an actual antenna and ground connection, 75 or 300
Final Word : This 54 inch
"INDOOR" FM broadcast antenna was a winner in our tests. After trying
many indoor FM antenna's over the years, this one works and no fiddling
with some phasing control. We tested this in a horizontal configuration
(see photo below). Not that it will make the weak station jump to full
scale signals (it can't and doesn't). But when directly compared to a
dipole antenna that were included with older stereo receivers from
years past (not a folded dipole type), the C.Crane FM REFLECT was
definitely an improvement (on a some stations it was quite surprising).
Completely passive design, this is NOT another and undesirable active
antenna either (designs which we don't bother with anymore at all), so
NO added noise to the signal. We
found it worked equally well across the entre FM broadcast band (88 to
108 MHz). A bit ugly yes, but is still easier to hide over a even more
ugly pair of "Rabbit Ears".
c N9EWO, all rights reserved
"FM Reflect" is a bit on the unwieldy side and is less stiff than one
would hope for. We mounted the test sample on the top of 2 bulletin
boards with it's feedline coax neatly hidden in the space between them.
There are TINY mounting holes at each end and a couple in the middle,
but to use these will take a fairy long and thin nail etc. Being as
"thugly" as it is, it cannot be used without some mounting support
(must be wall mounted). In testing it would have been nice to have seen
the coax slightly longer than it's 8 feet (say 10 to 12). But is easily
lengthened (the shorter the better of course.) (N9EWO Photo)
Jay Allen explains the unique "FM Reflect" design (click on photo above for his review).
Craig Menning guest "micro review" on the Grundig / Eton "Field" Receiver (many thanks Craig)
Guest Review :
Grundig / Eton "Field" BT (Bluetooth) Receiver
It now has Bluetooth support with the new BT model. Appears
the speaker sound has radically changed over the old non-BT version. There has
been a change to the bass response through headphones. At "maximum"
Bass adjustment, the new version has much less low end. Similar, but not so
obvious results with the speaker.
Eton Field : Current readings in AM and FM, no signal, minimum
volume (in mA's)
With LED Backlight ON -
AM/on AM/off FM/on
As you can see the LED backlight adds 42 mA, something to be
avoided. The new radio seems to draw 14-16 mA more than the old one. Box
covering the speaker in the new BT version, precluding the conversion to a
longer AM antenna. Will update this as necessary as Craig learns more with his
On AM (MW) , the new Field and the old version are basically the
same. Some minor sensitivity differences could be seen on a few frequencies,
but not enough to say one radio was more sensitive than the other. On FM, for
the most part they were the same, but there were a few stations that came in
better on the old radio. On shortwave, using the whip both radios are the same,
for the most part. Around 15 MHz, the new BT version did slightly better. My
revised opinion, from a general shortwave standpoint is these radios are the
same. Naturally adding a wire antenna helps greatly.
Contrast on the new radio's display is better, I also
observe that backlight on the buttons is better. I wish the display could be
seen with the LEDS off (with any negative type LCD display this is not
possible…N9EWO). One comment common to both radios is the tuning is
terrible. The two speed tuning is annoying.
Another observation, on AM, the older version had birdies /
hets / whistles on four different frequencies. The new version only had one.
This is an improvement. I wonder if the new added shielding was a factor ? The
station had to be extremely weak, barely audible for these to be observed. With
stronger signals, they are not noticeable.
I did notice that, on the old version, the audio could get
louder. This could be due to the difference between a 4-inch speaker and a
sub-two inch speaker. Or, there could be other differences?
Conclusion: I wouldn’t get the new version expecting an
improvement in signal reception. Given that the old one likely has better
battery life, I’d say that is the better choice. Since both old and new would
allow adding the jack for alternate AM antennas, anyone wishing to do that
could go with either radio.