The Sony ICF-M780SL: Peter catches some serious MW DX on Gran Canaria

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Peter Wilson, for sharing the following guest post and DXpedition report:

Sony ICF-M780SL MWDX on Gran Canaria

by Peter Wilson

Las Palmas, Gran Canaria, Spain

I have spent the last two months in Las Palmas, Gran Canaria adjacent to the Atlantic Ocean.
I travelled light and didn’t bring my radio/SDR collection with me.

A portable I saw in a local department store caught ny eye, and I ended up buying one from a local electronics retailer which had it on special at €55. It is a Sony ICF-M780SL which as turned out, is something rather special. It is a four band (LW, MW, SW,FM) DSP receiver, with an AM IF (LW, MW,SW) of 45 kHz and an FM IF of 128 kHz.

There’s too much hash in my apartment block to use it at home, but as I am a couple of streets away from the Ocean I intended to use it there.

Problem is there almost as much RF hash at the oceanside as at home. Also the Atlantic breakers crash loudly on the shore, and the wind can howl quite loudly. I did have some limited success and have included a couple of clips.

I discovered a better DX location at a small Plaza a short distance inland from the Ocean. There is an early morning peak for MW TA leading up to about 07:30 UTC (= local time)

The radio is used barefoot in each clip. There is some camera hash.

Here are the highlights:

USA Transatlantic

1500 WFED booming with ID 5736 km

Click here to view on YouTube.

790 WAXY with ESPN Radio ID 6369 km

Click here to view on YouTube.

1540 KXEL 6935 km

Click here to view on YouTube.

1530 WCKY 6373 km

Click here to view on YouTube.

770 WABC 5459 km

Click here to view on YouTube.

1520 WWKB

ESPN Radio with sports talk. 5841 km

Click here to view on YouTube.

Ocean front around dusk

1350 TWR Armenia 5377 km

Click here to view on YouTube.

1521 Duba Saudi Arabia 5004 km

Click here to view on YouTube.

1458 Lyca Radio, Brookmans Park UK 2914 km

Click here to view on YouTube.

The Sony ICF-M780SL is a great MW/LW/FM performer. SW propagation has been mediocre and suffers from the RF hash QRN, so difficult to test.

Amazing, Peter! It’s hard for me to believe the reception you had of WFED (Federal News Radio). I listen to that station every time I go through the DC/Baltimore area and I think your reception is just as good. A TA crossing of almost 5,000 km with armchair copy! Quite an accomplishment!

Thank you for sharing your Gran Canaria DX with us. I’m pretty impressed with the Sony ICF-M780SL as well.

Post Readers: make sure you check out Peter’s YouTube channel by clicking here.

Click here to search and click here to search eBay for the Sony ICF-M780SL.

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14 thoughts on “The Sony ICF-M780SL: Peter catches some serious MW DX on Gran Canaria

  1. Will

    This is an excellent all-round performer. It’s pretty much equal to my Sangean PR-D15 with respect to both sensitivity and selectivity. The two big downsides are the omission of the X-band and the lack of 1 kHz tuning steps, both of which are present on the PR-D15. Both the ICF M780SL and PR-D15 do not suffer MW overload/birdies when used with a small passive loop antenna; the PL-880 overloads quite badly at my location ~20 km from 2×50 kW outlets. I have yet to try the M780SL at the beach with my larger 70 cm loop, however, by induction, I don’t expect it will perform any better than the PR-D15/PL-880 (both are capable of TP reception from Australia).

    The FM performance on the M780SL is excellent and comparable with the Tecsun portables; the selectivity is even a hair better. The big test will be receiving Es signals from New Zealand 100 kHz away from semi-locals.

  2. Jason

    If people are looking at buying this radio:

    It’s amazon UK for 87 pounds

    It’s on Fruugo Australia for $129 AU

    Play The K has it with worldwide free deliver for $90 USD

  3. Alexdx

    Excellent receptions! I have the Sony icf 780sl and I can tell that it outperform on mediumwave, longwave and quite same fm, tecsun pl 880 which I also have.

      1. Alexdx

        Yes the Tecsun pl 880 have internal noise and lot of birdies on mediumwave with my radio at least, with the built in ferrite antenna it doesn’t work well.
        And on fm is also very good. In my location in Greece i can receive Italian fm stations almost all the time even when there is no good propagation. Distance around 300 km !
        I just followed you on youtube. I just want to ask you how do you change the 9 khz space to 10 khz on mediumwave?

        1. Peter Wilson

          Hello Alex.

          To change the MW step.
          Switch off the radio
          Hold down preset 1 and the band change button at the same time and wait until the new step is displayed, then release both buttons.

          To change back repeat the above.

          FM is also very good on the Sony.

          The Sony us very quiet on all bands



  4. 13dka

    So how does this radio compare to the MW giants? If it’s anywhere near the RF-2200 or at least the GE SR I might get over the Scandinavian design citations, the price sure helps too. If not I keep looking for a Panasonic. 🙂

    1. Peter Wilson

      Hello 13dka. I used to have a Panasonic 2200, I’ve never had GE super radio as I’m not North American.
      It would be interesting to compare the m780sl with the 2200.

    2. Joe

      The “Scandinavian design citations” are actually a plus as far as I’m concerned. Too bad this radio doesn’t seem to be available from a US retailer, with a US power supply.


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