Update 4: Sangean DT-160CL v Sony SRF-39FP


If you’ve been following the Sangean DT-160CL versus Sony SRF-39FP battery endurance test, I have some news to report: one of our competitors has finally thrown in the towel…!

Yesterday, while I was on the road for about 1.5 hours, the Sangean DT-160CL at last gave up the contest.

Since I was traveling at the time, I can’t say with absolute certainty what o’clock the DT-160 cried uncle––but roughly, we’re looking at 116 hours, 30 minutes of run time, give or take 30 minutes.

Sangean claims the DT-160 series will operate for 100 hours with two AA batteries. That claim is obviously pretty conservative.


Though I used CVS Max Alkaline batteries (a generic version of Duracell’s Quantum batteries)–an improvement on the standard alkaline battery–I set the volume higher than I believe Sangean or Sony would have set it for testing purposes. This should have drained the batteries faster. The radios were also tuned to a variety of stations: weak AM, strong AM, weak FM and strong FM.

In short: I’m very impressed with the DT-160.

A 116 hour play time from two AA cells on a digitally-tuned receiver is, well, pretty incredible.

Now that the endurance test is over for the DT-160CL, I’ll replace the batteries with a fresh set of CVS Max Alkaline cells and start testing the AM/FM receiver performance.

…And how about the Sony SRF-39FP?


My iPhone's stopwatch has been tracking progress since last Wednesday.

My iPhone’s stopwatch has been tracking progress since last Wednesday.

Even more amazingly, the Sony SRF-39FP is still going strong––!

I actually fell asleep last night listening to the SRF-39FP and woke up this morning with music still in my ears. What a champ!

So, how long has the Sony SRF-39FP now been operating on one AA battery?

At time of posting, this little Sony’s clocked one hundred thirty nine hours.

Though I’ve always known that the  SRF-39FP was a true battery miser–one of the reasons it’s been a choice radio in the prison system–I had no idea it could operate this long on one battery.

Of course, I’ll continue tracking the Sony SRF-39FP.

How much longer will the SRF-39FP last? Stay tuned to find out!

Follow this review thread by bookmarking the following tag: Sangean DT-160CL v Sony SRF-39FP.

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2 thoughts on “Update 4: Sangean DT-160CL v Sony SRF-39FP

  1. rtc

    Tom Servo just nailed the DT-160’s “problem” on AM:

    Does the DT-160 have soft muting? I.e., when signals drop below a certain level, the volume cuts way, way down?

    Yes, absolutely.
    I finally got around to having a little “DX session” with it and it’s very annoying.

    During the day, weak signals will just about mute completely. At night, there’s audio on every channel but unless it’s a strong local the volume is about 70% lower.

    As an extreme example, I was able to tune to a local (1220 WABF) which is extremely weak where I live, but audible. The Sangean actually put out ZERO audio while other radios were noisy but ‘there’. When I brought the Tecsun loop over, a loud and clean signal popped out of the nothingness.

    So, great for FM DX, terrible for AM DX because ya never know if something is there. Or risk turning the volume up to 30 and then blowing out an eardrum when you hit a strong signal.

  2. DanH

    Excellent battery performance from both radios! I’ll add that the battery power indicator on the DT-160 seems to be well calibrated.


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