I should be working, but instead I’m playing radio…

Ever had one of those days where you should be catching up on work, correspondence, and projects, but instead you find yourself outside, in front of a radio and just enjoying a long listening session?

Yeah, that’s me and that’s today.

How did it all happen?

Well, this morning I dropped an RF adapter behind a shelf and, in the process, picked up my Sony ICF-5500W that was standing in the way. It felt a little light because it had no batteries inside.

Next thing I know, I’m loading the ‘5500W with C cells and heading outside.

It’s a gorgeous day, so I thought it might not be a bad idea to energize the caps in this benchmark solid-state radio and check reception outdoors. Besides, it’s a perfect way to do my bit for Social DXing, right?

The ‘5500W was performing flawlessly, so the next thing I know I’ve passed a good hour band-scanning and doing a little daytime DXing.

The ‘500W is truly a remarkable mediumwave receiver and I love the fluid “tuning experience” of the analog dial.  The audio, of course, is brilliant and perhaps that’s why I can’t let go of it (nor the Panny RF-2200).

So am I the only one playing radio today instead of doing work–? Tell me it ain’t so!  Please comment!

Spread the radio love

23 thoughts on “I should be working, but instead I’m playing radio…

  1. Steve

    2nd email to you as a comment I forgot to add in the first email.
    I THINK I ran across a web site that had the schematic of the 5500w,but I am playing hell finding a PDF of the operators manual.My question for the manual is,…looking at the radio from the front,…on the left side,what jacks are these…AUX IN,…MPX OUT…and DC OUT. And,how does one switch to these ports if needed.
    Good to see Im not the only one to still have the good ol gal.

    1. David Bytheway

      I have searched for three days to find an ICF-5500W service manual or schematic. I see one on worthpoint that was on ebay at one time but no dice anywhere else.

      There are several sites that have the ICF-5500 M version manual that I have downloaded but those have SW bands instead of PSB.


      -david BTW

  2. Steve

    Ive got my Sont ICF5500w as well.It has gone thru hell.Beach sand in it.Dropped.Slammed in the door of a semi tractor and more.Yet,it works as well as it did when I bought it in 1972.Kinda curious what the collector value is on one of better than average shape.
    Have a great day.

  3. Sandy Pennington

    Hi! I just stumbled on your post. This evening, I found my father’s radio in the attic, dropped some batteries in, and viola – it worked. I googled the model, as I know nothing about radios, and found your fairly recent post.

    I think I’ll leave it playing in my garage when I’m working on projects. Such a treasure.

  4. John j kulidas

    That’s the Beauty of radios end of collecting old radios is that you can immerse yourself for a day in it’s magic And in the theater of the mind

  5. Mario

    Sounds like a well-spent day Thomas. Being grounded as we are here in NJ has its merits, kinda’ like the old days when folks did not rely on the car as much and generally stayed within the neighborhood for daily activities. Some of us will rediscover the minutiae of day-to-day living that we’ve long forgotten or abandoned as life’s pace has quickened.

    The appeal of 1970’s portable radios such as yours transcends time. Carrying straps, hefty size, “real” S-meters, analog tuning, large front-mounted speakers, sizable dry cell batteries, and the aura of age makes vintage radios the perfect companions for alfresco listening. Hopefully many of us will spend more quality time with our radios; I’ve rediscovered the beautiful musical programs on The Voice of Greece and Radio Romania this past week as an example.

    1. Thomas Post author

      You’re right, Mario! Looking at the silver lining, I think this also will give everyone an appreciation for making more food from scratch and not taking for granted the amazing selection of food we typically have. We’ve actually been cooking dishes we wouldn’t normally. We’ve also been shopping for elderly neighbors and family members when possible–at least, checking in with them before heading out.

      And RRI and VOG? Two of my favorites for regional music. Just added a VOG set to the archive, in fact: https://shortwavearchive.com/archive/voice-of-greece-march-21-2020


      1. Richard Langley

        Note that VOG and some other SW stations (Radio Exterior de España, as another example) have stopped airing their own programs and are now just relaying a national program. Might not hear the nice VOG interval signal for awhile.

  6. Phil Brennan

    Hello Thomas
    It’s Saturday here, but I did some work earlier from home as I am in the health sector and we are busy with C-19. I have been streaming 3RRR in Melbourne today which is a great community music station. No news! I have also been transmitting heartbeats on JS8-Call on 20 and 40m and reading up on possible homebrew projects. Soon I will fire my Afedri SDR for a tune through the MW band as the sun sets.
    73 for now
    Phil from Darwin

    1. Thomas Post author

      It seems Australia and Germany are “flattening the curve” better than most countries. Thanks for the work you do.
      It also sounds like you’re getting a healthy amount of radio without the news. 🙂 One must save one’s sanity!

      Best & 73,

  7. Andrew

    Well not exactly the same … but almost; went scavenging down the basement and opening some dusty boxes, I suppose I may even find tut an khamon down there … anyhow to my surprise, from one of those boxes emerged a 13.5V 6A stabilized power supply (weights a ton) and then …drum roll… an HyGain 2795dx CB rtx, I thought I sold them eons ago, but it wasn’t the case … anyhow, ran some coarse checks and then decided to power it on, and IT WORKS, so I decided to go on and restore it, that will keep me busy for some time

  8. Guy Atkins

    LOL… we must be on the same frequency, Thomas. I noticed your Twitter post notification about this article come across my phone, while I was tuning some weak stations on a newly-arrived EP PRO. My TeleCovidmute® work-from-home duties were at a standstill while I attended to this important DX task.

    BTW, third time on the EP PRO is a charm. You may recall my experience with constant audio popping/clicking on weak & medium signals (in sync with the flickering LED) while using the previous two EP PRO units. One of the two was from Amazon last year and the other was direct from C. Crane some months later. This 3rd EP PRO arrived from Amazon yesterday and seems to work as it should! Also, the audio “POP” at turn-on is *far* quieter than all of my previous EP PROs. It’s more like a soft click. C. Crane must be listening to user complaints (the initial turn-on pop never bothered me, but the constant popping when the LED flickered was a deal-killer)!

    Cheers, Guy

    1. Thomas Post author

      Great minds, Guy! 🙂

      And that’s brilliant news about the new EP Pro. Yeah, audio popping makes weak signal DXing incredibly fatiguing.

      I hope your TeleCovidmute (TM) went well the rest of the day!


  9. Mark

    Where I work, we are working an an AI information service for COVID-19, so no radio play at the moment.

    While I’m working, my main radio companion is BBC Radio 3 (Classical Music).

    To be honest, with so much COVID-19 on news bulletins from the main English language services on shortwave, I’m tuning into them less than usual.

    1. Thomas Post author

      Wow, sounds like you’re working on something that could be useful to everyone. And I totally get it about getting away from the Covid-19 news. Because…you know…sanity. 🙂



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