Mark’s rekindled interest in shortwave radio

Sony-ICF-2001D

Many thanks to SWLing Post reader, Mark Lane, who writes:

Hi Thomas,

I just wanted to thank you for a great website, I have been interested in SW since I was a boy and used to listen to my grandfather’s world radio. I cannot remember the make or model now but it was an amazing experience.

After all these years, at the age of 44, my interest perked again and I happened across your site.

Like a lot of people I was wondering “is there anything left to listen to on SW now we are truly in the ‘digital’ age”? After reading the content on your site and the blog I made up my mind, jumped onto eBay and after a number of failed attempts at winning any auctions I managed to bag a near mint Sony ICF 2001D [photo at top of page]!

I did get rather over excited and probably paid a bit too much for it, but too be honest I don’t care. I have already had a good couple of evenings trying to bag some far off stations and I am still trying to figure out all the buttons on the thing.

Then this past weekend, my daughter (15) asked about the radio and I showed her what I had been doing–she was hooked and kept asking me to try for some more stations. We spent the whole evening with the help of a couple of other websites trying to track down more distant stuff.

I have to say the 2001D is now my prize possession and my daughter was messaging her friends telling them all about the wonders of SW.

All I can say is keep up the good work and let’s hope SW does continue for as long as possible I will certainly be listening in until the airwaves go quiet, I trust that won’t happen for some considerable time.

Regards
Mark Lane
Worcester UK

Mark: thank you so much for sharing your message! It’s an honor to know that the SWLing Post played some part in your renewed interest in shortwave radio. The community here is simply amazing and I learn a lot myself from so many reader contributions.

Being a father of two daughters, I can say that there’s no better feeling than to know that a little radio listening time also translated into quality father and daughter time!

You just made my day!

What Would YOU Pay for a New, Sealed Box Sony ICF-2010?

Every radio enthusiast knows that the Sony ICF-2010/2001D was a desirable, high performing portable receiver throughout its long production history. Manufactured from 1985 through 2003, few receivers were as consistently high on DXers’ “must have” list as the ICF-2010.sony2010

These Sony portables still command high prices on the used market, but what would you pay for a brand new, still in the sealed factory carton ICF-2010? Well, someone just won the high bid on this new, unopened 2010 for the princely sum of $982.00 USD plus shipping:

http://www.ebay.com/itm/SONY-ICF-2010-RECEIVER-BRAND-NEW-STILL-IN-FACTORY-SEALED-BOX-/111948598883

What’s your opinion? Outrageous, foolhardy purchase or a savvy investment for the future? Please comment below with your thoughts.

Guy Atkins is a Sr. Graphic Designer for T-Mobile and lives near Seattle, Washington.  He’s a regular contributor to the SWLing Post.

Brittle ribbon cables: James cautions Sony ICF-2001D and ICF-2010 owners

Sony-ICF2010

Regarding the Sony ICF-2001D (or ICF-2010 in North America), SWLing Post contributor James Patterson writes:

I have a comment on the Sony ICF-2010. In New Zealand it is called the ICF-2001D, as labeled on it.

I bought the ICF 2001D at a sale. Brought it home and it seemed to perform almost perfectly on all bands. In fact I was very suprised on how well it worked. Audio was excellent, sensitivity was great, even the Air Band received very well. But I’m a very keen SSB DXer, meaning I monitor the Single Side Band [SSB] utility stations like HFAir, Marine, military, etc. so I needed to check the SSB in the radio.

[O]n official frequencies like 8.86700 HF AIR, it was well off, and came up readable around 8.86500, even with the tuning speed mode set to “slow”. So I then decided that with the age of the radio, over time it has drifted off zero beat, so I would need to re-align the BFO/SYNC coil.

I looked up on the internet at the signal board, and located the correct coil. Having the batteries out of the radio, I plugged in the DC power supply and retuned that coil and got the speech correct at 8.86700. I also checked the universal time signal on both USB and LSB and it was “Bang on”.

I was very pleased with myself, meaning I now had a Sony ICF-2001D working in perfect condition.

But just then the radio went dead. At this stage I still had the board lifted up, as I had just finished the realignment. I could not understand, after all my work, what had happened. So having a good look at the wires and the board, to my most disappointed dismay, I noticed one of two ribbon cables–Sony called it a “Flexible circuit board” had snapped right across and come apart.

There are two ribbon cables on the board. This was the short one. So,with the slightest lift of the board, this one snapped. I then felt the cable and noticed how frail it was with a piece just falling off. The ribbon cable as I call it, had become most fragile with age and probably heat from the sun(?) over the years the previous owner had it.

So all of a sudden I found I had a ICF-2001D no more. I looked at the other board, the CPU board underneath and noticed that ribbon cable was joined to the other ribbon cable side by side to become one cable, and spot soldered onto the board. Also on shifting the CPU board to view underneath it, the selective speed plastic slide switch snapped off.

Note broken ribbon cable and broken switch.

Note broken ribbon cable and broken switch.

Sony ICF 201D .Note broken ribbon cable and broken switch 001

[B]y now, I was in a state of complete disarray to say the least. Never was I going to have the ICF-2001D operational again.

So guys, be most careful if you ever need to do any repairs or realignment of that radio–remember the ribbon cables become very fragile and will just snap right across as mine did with the slightest lift of the board. I wish I had known this, and I would have taken the cable out of it’s socket first,then when finished, plugged it back in, and radio would still be working. But to realign it, the cable would need to be connected anyway. So I hope this does not happen to anyone else, especially if you don’t have spare parts, as I don’t have.

So Im keeping this one for parts now,and hopeing to replace it with either another 2001D or its older brother ICF 2001. I do have a small collection of vintage portable short wave radios; they all have SSB, and all work very well. Most have the varible BFO control knob and that seems to suit me better, rather than a radio with tuning steps and needing to perhaps realign it. I think the ICF-2001D is very similar to my ICF-SW7600G with only a few memories and no tuning knob. I think the older ICF-2001D would still be my radio of choice though.

Showing the slide switch that snapped off the CPU board when trying to bend it slightly to get access to the board.This pic shows a small hole where the plastic tip of the switch was.The switch is unsoldered off the board.

Showing the slide switch that snapped off the CPU board when trying to bend it slightly to get access to the board.This pic shows a small hole where the plastic tip of the switch was.The switch is unsoldered off the board.

Showing soldered open ends of the computer cable.

Showing soldered open ends of the computer cable.

In this photo I have tried to replace the ribbon cable with an old Computer ribbon cable,but that job failed because the board underneath has the ribbon cable spot soldered on.There are two ribbon cables both joined side by side to become one.So the idea of replaceing the broken ribbon cable would disturb the other having to cut it away from it.

In this photo I have tried to replace the ribbon cable with an old Computer ribbon cable,but that job failed because the board underneath has the ribbon cable spot soldered on.There are two ribbon cables both joined side by side to become one.So the idea of replaceing the broken ribbon cable would disturb the other having to cut it away from it.

Vlado’s thrift store find: A Sony ICF-2010

The Sony ICF-2010

Vlado’s Sony ICF-2010 (Click to enlarge)

While visiting my friend, Vlado, this weekend, he showed me his thrift store find: a Sony ICF-2010 in very good condition`. The ‘2010 is a well-known portable amongst serious DXers, and is highly sought-after. Since this radio has not been in production for many years, used models routinely sell for a price in excess of $200 US. Parts radios sell for $50 US or more.

We suspect that the previous owner thought it stopped working. You see, when Vlado plugged in the AC power adapter, nothing happened.

But take note: there is a quirk, at least with some ICF-2010s–they will not power up, even with the AC adapter plugged in, if you don’t have AA batteries installed. Indeed, two AA cells are required for either DC or 120 VAC operation. Once Vlad put AAs in, the radio came to life.

How much did  he pay for his Sony ICF-2010? Five dollars.

Paint me envious!