Tag Archives: Sony SRF-59

Val compares his Sony SRF-59 with the SRF-39FP

Sony-SRF-59-and-Sony-SRF-39FPMy buddy, Jeff MacMahon, over the Herculodge, forwarded the following message from his reader, Val:

[P]robably some people who are still interested in AM radio will be surprised to see pictures of the Sony SRF-59.

[The] Sony SRF-39FR is an excellent receiver made special for Federal Prison in US.

It is an incredibly sensitive and selective receiver able to pick up every AM frequency.

Somewhere on the Internet, I found a picture of the SRF-59 [which implied that it had the] same circuitry as the Sony SRF-39FR.

I bought SRF-59 from Source Electronic to compare two radios. I was so disappointed after testing the SRF-59.modern-sony-srf-59

It is absolutely a different receiver compared with the SRF-39FP. It doesn’t stay close for performance. I opened it (see photo above) and (surprise!) it was missing a few capacitors…What a shame….

Thanks for sharing this, Val.

My advice? Don’t throw the SRF-59 away yet, Val! While it isn’t quite on par with the SRF-39FP, it is still quite an amazing MW DX ultralight.

I would suggest that you check out Dave Richard’s blog where he details how to tweak the SRF-59 for top performace. Dave’s article includes excellent detail and great photos. Click here to view.

A few radio deals worth consideration

Sony-SRF-18This morning, I checked a few retailers for “Cyber Monday” deals and took notes along the way. Some of the best finds came from Blinq, a retailer I’ve purchased from a number of times.

Note that Blinq products are often open box, used or refurbished–please check the product description before purchasing. On the plus side, Blinq makes the return process hassle-free if you’re not happy with the purchase.

Important: Today only, use the coupon code SUPERCYBER and Blinq will take an additional 15% off the listed price at checkout.

  • Tecsun PL-390 DSP Digital AM/FM/LW Shortwave Radio with Dual Speakers: $55.09
  • Sony SRF-18 Portable AM/ FM Radio: $25.99
  • Sony SRF-59 with Over the Head Stereo Headphones & Passive Portable Speakers – Plus Sony Rechargeable Batteries with Recharger: $37.99
  • Sony SRF-S84 SRF-S84/S Portable AM/FM Walkman Radio $34.59
  • Sangean LB-100 Compact AM/FM Ultra Rugged Radio Receiver $73.69

There are many more radio listings on Blinq.com–use this search to help locate them. I also noted a number of Baofeng handheld transceivers and accessories.

After Peter’s assessment of the Sony SRF-18, I’m very tempted to purchase one.


The Sony SRF-59 package (above) is also very nice–especially since finding the recently discontinued ’59 for a good price is becoming more difficult.

Please comment if you note any other good radio deals today!  At time of posting, most radio retailers haven’t updated their sites since Black Friday.


Ron notes that “CountyComm has extended their ‘buy a GP5, get the 17 buck custom
carry case for free’ offer through today, November 30th.”

Bill’s simple Sony SRF-59 passive loop antenna modification


In reference to our previous posts about the Sony SRF-59 ultralight receiver, SWLing Post reader, Bill Mead, writes:

“As someone who doesn’t normally open the backs of radios, this is my mod on my ultralight. All it takes is a bit of electrical tape to hold the belt clip on the loop.”

That is, indeed, a brilliant and simple mod. The SRF-59 inductively couples to the loop antenna, so no soldering is needed; simply tape the belt clip to the loop, making sure the position is convenient for tuning the SRF-59 and the loop’s capacitor.

You can find passive loop antennas ranging from $19 to $50 US. The Grundig AN-200 and the Terk AM Advantage are two models currently on the market. Here are a few places you can check prices:

Grundig AN-200:

Terk AM Advantage:

Pocket DX: Finding the Sony SRF-59 and SRF-39FP


I have two of the Sony SRF series pocket AM/FM radios: the grey SRF-59 and the clear SRF-39FP.

The venerable SRF-59 has long been one of the least expensive, quality analog AM/FM receivers on the market. I originally purchased one new for $14.95 US including shipping. Here’s a short review I made of the ’59 several years ago.


The Sony SRF-39FP (click to enlarge)

The SRF-39FP–the model with the clear case–was specifically designed by Sony radio for the prison market.

A couple years ago, someone on eBay had a lot of Sony SRF-39FP units on sale–I jumped at the opportunity to buy one new-in-box for $20 US. The entire lot of SRF-39FPs sold in a matter of hours. Indeed, the ’39FPs were so popular, by the time I prepared a post for the SWLing Post, the seller had already sold out. (I’m kicking myself for not buying at least one extra–!)

While most ultralight radio enthusiasts would give the SRF-39FP a performance edge over the SRF-59, they’re essentially the same radio–especially if you tweak the SRF-59 like my buddy Dave Richards did.

Click to enlarge

The Sony SRF-59 (click to enlarge)

Several weeks ago, while Steve researched the reason he was hearing shortwave broadcasters on his SRF-59, he also discovered that the SRF-59 had been discontinued and selling in many places for three or four times the original price.

He found one vendor still selling the SRF-59 for $14.99 plus shipping. I placed an order with this vendor over a month ago, but still haven’t received the product because the vendor hasn’t taken delivery of the final batch of units from Sony. I’m in contact with this vendor and when/if the units are received in stock next week, I’ll post an update here on the SWLing Post (if interested, follow this tag).

If you’re in the market for a Sony SRF-59, here are a few places you may find one new or used:

(If you know of other good suppliers, please comment!)


The SRF-39FP has a clear housing which is meant to prevent prison inmates from using it to smuggle contraband.

If you would prefer the Sony SRF-39FP, the only source I know of is eBay. When one becomes available, it typically sells for $45-50 US.

Click here to search eBay.

To be clear: while the SRF-59 is an exceptional ultralight receiver, $45-50 US would certainly place it in a price class with other excellent ultralights.