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.

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10 thoughts on “Pocket DX: Finding the Sony SRF-59 and SRF-39FP

  1. Richard C Robinson

    I have resently purchased a box of Sony SRF-39FP in an auction. And two other models all clear just differnt shapes. I will be selling them as soon as they are recieved.there looks to be at least 20 or more most of them being the Sony SRF-39FP. They all have only one battery. If you read this and want more info contact me at [email protected]. I will be starting the bids on these great radios at 70.00. Here is your chance to own one.

  2. Steve

    I like my SRF-59, but I like my SRF-39FP better. It’s easier to tune–seems the thumb-wheel is bigger with more open access, and has a lower noise floor on both bands, and the clear case is just too cool. Also the dial on my 59 is really badly calibrated, and my 39FP is spot on. Gary Debock has a calibration procedure for the 59 on his yahoo ultralight DX site. If I get a signal generator, I’ll try it.

    It may be unit to unit variability to blame, I don’t know. I’m in the process of getting one more of each.

  3. rtc

    Wonder if there will be no more Sony SRF-37’s,too?
    That would put Sony out of the Walkman business,
    the end of an era.

    There are still plenty of SRF-29’s and SRF-19’s on Ebay.
    They have a 3 volt p/s,better audio and comparable performance
    to the 39 and 59,with better build quality.


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