Francis loves the Sony ICF-SW11


Many thanks to SWLing Post reader, Francis, who left the following reply on our Battery Endurance Contest Results post:

Dear Thomas,

I have been using a Sony ICF-11 for 5-6 years now, still sold new at 50-70 euro. It’s analog and rather well featured: FM (stereo on earbuds), LW, AM, and 9 SW bands. It runs on 2 cheap AA batteries I get in low-cost supermarket, for sure not the best ones.


Using it at least one hour a day on the speaker, I have to change the batteries after 9-12 months. I am convinced a set of good Duracell or Energizer batteries would last some more months.

I am not a radio expert, but I am quite pleased with its audio performances, specially on LW (used most of the time ) and AM, where it is vastly superior to my Tecsun PL-660. SW looks OK for what I can say from listening quite occasionally these bands. I would be curious to see a serious review of this Sony to know how it compares with others, but I didn’t find any on the web so far (hint?). [Yes, Francis, hint taken!]

I am so pleased with this small radio that I recently bought a second one as a spare.
Thanks for your very interesting blog and reviews.

Thank you, Francis, for sharing your thoughts on the Sony ICF-SW11 and your photos as well!

It appears (US) has a few options for ordering a Sony ICF-SW11–click here to show search results. Prices vary between $50-$55; Amazon even has replacement telescopic whips available.

Of course, an eBay search will also uncover a number of SW11’s.

I searched the web, but couldn’t find many other retailers selling new ICF-SW11’s. It appears many of the ones on Amazon are imports from Japan.

At $50 shipped, it seems like a bargain to me, so I just pulled the trigger on one.

Spread the radio love

9 thoughts on “Francis loves the Sony ICF-SW11

  1. Istvan Mihalcz

    Generally is a good radio. Internally is very similar to Panasonic RF-B11 (which sounds better regarding the higher diameter of speaker, has 2 FM IF ceramic filters in serial connection, and has stereo indicator + mono/stereo switch) and Philips AE3405.
    I make some replacement and modifications, just to improve the sensibility and the quality of reception:
    – I used solid capacitors on power audio output (generally are designed for power line filtering), and the result is good: C61 100uF/6.3V and C66 470uF/6.3V both replaced with 470uF/6.3V OSCON (via headphone the sound is fantastic). The C60 470uF/6.3V was replaced also with 470uF/6.3V OSCON (power supply is just 3Vdc), and the C52 100uF/6.3 filtering capacitor of RF IC1 was also replaced with 270uF/6.3V OSCON.
    – All the rest of the electrolytics were replaced with the same value TA types. The ripple rejection capacitor C45 instead of 10uF/16V was replaced with 22uF/25V TA (in Philips AE3405 are used 47uF). Between pin 25 and 28 of CXA1238 (IC1) was inserted a 220kohms resistor – improving the AGC and the muting. The used FM IF ceramic filter (+-230kHz type) was replaced with Murata 150kHz low loss type (SFE10.7JA Murata). The R29 10 ohms resistor in the power line of RF IC was changed to 39uH/1.5ohms coil (power line of IC1).
    If someone needs a stereo indicator, easily can be made: connect one resistor of 330 ohms to pin 4 of CXA1238, and on the other end connect the cathode of a red LED, and the anode to the power supply (B+ 3V).

  2. Abhishek Raghuvanshi

    Thanks for the nice review Francis !
    Today I have ordered ICF SW11 from Amazon for 49.99 + 10$ for same day delivery.
    The model number there below in details says ICF SW11C but in the title it says ICF SW11.
    Here is the link.

    It looks exactly same as the pics posted by you, with the same print in front of the device.
    Will update the performance details here.

  3. Pingback: The Sony ICF-7600 analog receiver on eBay $49.99 shipped | The SWLing Post

  4. Ibrahim Umar Abdulkarim

    I am a 46-year young blind dx-er who have been listening to shortwave stations using many models of shortwave radios since 1981. In Nigeria, our markets are inundated with chinese made cheaper shortwave radios like the Kchino, Super Master, to mention just a few. Receivers like Sangean, Panasonic,sony, Grundig and/or JEC are prohibitively expensive to buy. I was opportuned to buying two Sony shortwave receivers: the ICF SW11 and the ICF SW7600GR. Let me restrict my comment on the ICF SW11.Even though it was made in China, I believe it was made to the quality of a typical japanese made equivalent. I like the compactness of the ICF SW11. The FM, AM and the SW bands are superb to listen to in the open or by the use of good quality Sony ear buds. The tuning knob of the ICF SW11 are softer when tuning to different stations unlike Kchibo and other brands. You can detect when the tuning knob has got to the end of tuning in a particular band. Its shortwave receptions are clear so much that no station interferes with another. A pair of Sony alkaline batteries can take up to a fortnight or three weeks before they are to be replaced. I must also extol the Sony Corporation for making the battery compartment cover not to be removable in order to protect batteries from slipping off their positions.I strongly recommend Sony ICF SW11 to anyone who would like to purchase an analog tuning shortwave receiver at the critical time where most shortwave stations go off air in support of internet broadcasting.

  5. ¾ Blind

    Thank you for the Amazon link. Earlier today the Amazon search showed the ICF SW11 as well as some replacement telescopic whips. Later in the day when I checked the link the radio was still there but the telescopic whips no longer showed up. I need a replacement whip for my Sony ICF 7601 which is my battery miser SW portable, runs forever on 4 AA batteries. The 7601 is analog tuned but appears to have an electronically controlled ON/OFF button. I could be listening to a strong local AM station wherein the radio still plays, but the batteries become so weak the ON/OFF button ceases to function, i.e., it will not turn off the radio. When this happens the only way to turn off the radio is plug in the AC adapter then turn it off, or simply remove a battery.

    The reason I need a replacement antenna is, the antenna became loose at the base and would not stay vertical. Attempts to tighten the small screw holding the antenna in place were in vain. I thought I could fix this by removing the antenna, then with a needle nose plier gently squeezing the two loops of the base together to provide a tighter fit. BAD MOVE!!! Apparently these antenna are made of soft material and is not very malleable. While applying pressure the base without warning crumbled. An Ebay search shows several replacement whips for Sony portables but none specifically for the ICF 7601. Does anyone know other models that use the same whip as the 7601?

  6. Anthony Lenzo

    I owned an Icom R71A receiver .I must have had a moment of temporary insanity and sold it I would like to buy another one
    Right now I am content to listen on the internet to a scanner radio apparently..I can hear Water
    police and fire BUT its not the dame ad when you hear it on the radio

  7. rtc

    Both the ICF SW-11 and its predecessor ICF SW-10 are good rigs.
    The SW-10 was built in Japan,the SW-11 in China (yes,some 11’s have
    QC issues).
    Both models share common parts except for the front panel and are
    the easiest sets around to get into;service info is free on the ‘net.
    However…they used the same type of (cheap) variable tuning cap
    that plaques the SRF-39,49 and 59 series…it will deteriorate and
    “pop” when you tune across the HF and MW bands.
    The only fix is to find another cap.
    Otherwise a nice set;if the SW bandspread is a little off it’s easy
    to reset per the service manual,too.
    Also,using the service manual info you can easily “pad” the
    trimmer cap on the variable so both will go up to 1700 khz
    on MW,with no effect on SW.

    1. Thomas Post author

      Thanks for the info, Ron!

      I noted that the SW11 is a single conversion receiver–not a big surprise at this price point–so I would expect a little overloading at times.

      Still, I bought this to see if reception is adequate for general SWLing and MW DXing. If battery longevity is good enough, I might employ a few with our work at Ears To Our World. Instead of using hand-cranked radios (which are getting harder to find in analog form) we’ve been known to deploy small AA solar battery chargers with a traditional set.

      I’ll check out the SW11 service manual.



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