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!

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14 thoughts on “Vlado’s thrift store find: A Sony ICF-2010

  1. mustapha Adamu Ladan

    Hi, please some one should help me, my Sony icf 100sw fell down since then the down frequency numbers and the pages numbers are not showing brightly again. please do help me. Mustapha Ladan from Nigeria

  2. Patrick Burke

    I hit the mother load this past weekend!

    I saw a listing for a Sony ICF-2010 on our local sell and swap Facebook site. It had been posted for 4 minutes, and was listed as “no batteries, no power cord” for $5. Needless to say I jumped on that and made arrangements to meet the seller at her home to pick it up.

    When I got there, she had me come in and the radio was sitting on a bench with my name on it. Next to it was a beautiful Zenith Trans-Oceanic Royal 7000. I asked her if she was selling it, and she said that she had just posted it online for $20. I snatched that up as well, and she would not accept an offer for more money.

    The best part is she truly understood that the radio’s were valuable, but she did not want to keep them after her husband had passed away. I told her she would never see them listed for sale as I had been looking to buy a Trans Oceanic for the last 30+ years. She was happy to see it go to someone who would appreciate it.

    When I got home I powered up both units. The Sony fired up just fine on battery power, and ran like a champ. I did have to do a complete tear down to clean out tar as her husband was a smoker. I would rate that as an 8 now that it is cleaned up.

    The Zenith powered up just fine, and other than needing some DeOxit, purrs like a kitten. I opened the back to see if there was any battery corrosion, and I believe he never installed batteries in it. All of the plastic battery tubes were in place, and the ear bud was still in plastic wrap attached to the back of the cover.

  3. Michael Black

    That’s hard to beat, but it seems like SW radios are becoming available.

    In the early nineties I started going to garage and rummage sales, and for almost 20 years didn’t see any SW receivers. Maybe I missed one of those cheap multiband portables, but nothing ever jumped out.

    Then in 2006, I saw a Grundig Satellite 500 at a rummage sale, no price, and I just gave them $40, about as much as I was willing to spend even if the radio probably was more valuable.

    Then 2 years later at a Rotary Club sale, I spotted another SW receiver, someone was holding it, but they put it down. It was a Grundig Satellite 700, I thought the price tag said $20, but it was really $2.00. It had some minor battery leakage that I had to clean up.

    Since then I’ve found a few older analog portables, one a Radio Shack DX-40 from the seventies, but the other two fairly generic portables with a couple of shortwave bands on it. I found a Sony 2001 (ie their first synthesized SW radio, before the 2010 and the synchronous detector) in a pile of garbage about 4 years ago, the case open and the boards hanging loose but I think it’s all there. It sits in a shoebox until I get around to giving it some time.

    Then a year ago, I found a Sony ICF SW1 at a garage sale for ten dollars, it needed adjustment since it tunes in 10KHz steps? and then has a bit of circuit that tunes it down 5KHz for every second SW channel and that was out of tune. A few blocks later that day, I got a Grundig Mini-300 for 2.00 at another sale. That ones so odd, a cheap SW receiver but some of the issue of cheap eliminated by an IC that adds a frequency counter. It’s about as bad as my Hallicrafters S-120A (the transistor one) I spent all my savings on in 1971, not that sensitive, overloads easily, but with the frequency counter I actually know what frequency I’m turned to.

    Once I started finding them, I felt an obligation to keep buying them (especially since after the first Grundig they were never more than ten dollars), because I figure if I don’t buy them, they’ll stop appearing. And I’m hoping for something “really” interesting, like a Radio Shack Astronaut 8 (not likely a good receiver, but I remember when that sort of portable was sold all over the place and I wanted one) or a Zenith Transoceanic.

    Of course, perhaps the winner was last August. On a day when I went out late because there weren’t many garage sales, I go down one street and two houses up I see a fifties vintage sw receiver, it’s facing me. I get closer, it’s a TMC GPR-90 from the late fifties, certainly no low end receiver. No price, but I expect it to be expensive. But since I’ve never seen a tube SW receiver at a garage sale (not even the cheap low end ones that sold in such large numbers) I ask the price, and they say “$20”. I say “are you sure, I’d expect $300 or 400?”. I wasn’t going to spend much on it, but I thought they should know. And they still only wanted $20, so I had to take it, no more garage sales that day and having to get it home on the bus. In checking for details, I found an ad for that area of town for the same receiver, so they (clearly they were clearing out the house after the parents died) must have tried selling it at a higher price with no success, but even then they’d wanted only a hundred. It at least needs a tube and it sits there waiting for it, but it wasn’t dirty and no rust, so I have an expectation that it’s in good shape. In specs, it’s relatively close to the Hammarlund SP-600 someone loaned me in 1972 because that S=120A was so horrible.

    So I suspect these are appearing as relatives are clearing them out or people who didn’t see themselves as hobbyists are clearing out radios they no longer want and thus are unaware of
    the markets where people actually interested in them would be looking. I had to be the only one to walk by that GPR-90 that day (it was early afternoon) who could appreciate it, I suspect if I’d skipped garage sales that day, it would have landed in the garbage. Those two Grundig Satellites were at rummage sales, so unless someone involved knew SW they were just average radios to price like any other.


    1. Lower

      This is a very old post, but thought I would add something which might be of value to other tube radio enthusiasts.
      The missing tube will probably be the rectifier (5U4, I believe) tube, and if one were to check the tube pins beneath the chassis, there will often be two diodes and a heavy resistor there, taking the place of the rectifier tube. This was done to reduce the power consumption by approximately 15 watts.
      Happy hunting. There really are some great finds still out there just waiting for a new home.


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