The radio belongs to the villain played by John Malkovich.
Thanks, Mark! Sharp eyes!
I’ve always thought the ICF-SW1S was one of the more amazing compact portables produced in the 1990s. True, it lacked SSB mode and only had 10 memories, but it was such a compact receiver for the day! Like many Sonys, it also had a dedicated line-out jack for off-air recordings. I wish more modern portables had one.
The line-out jack is one of the reasons I still regularly pack my ICF-SW100.
I do check eBay fairly regularly in hopes one will suddenly appear at a good price point–ones in good condition routinely sell anywhere from $250-350. I’m actually tempted to purchase a defective one and see if my buddy Vlado can fix it. It’s a risk, though, because if the repair requires anything other than resistors and capacitors, parts might not be available.
Post readers: Anyone own both the ICF-SW1S and the ICF-SW100? Which do you prefer and why?
Lifehacker believes the small bag used is the Maxpedition M-2 Waistpack. I like Maxpedition packs: they’re very durable, typically military grade, and reasonably affordable. But the M-2 is small–quite small.
This led me to thinking about über-portable shortwave radios I would carry in such a small pack for survival purposes. If I were a foreign operative, ideally, I’d want a shortwave radio that has SSB mode, in case my home country’s numbers station broadcast in SSB.
In reality, there are very few good radios that are so compact they could fit in the M-2 Waistpack.
A few that came to mind were the Tecsun PL-310ET or Tecsun PL-380, but the fit would be very tight, if at all; both radios are slightly wider and taller than the M2’s main pocket, which measures 5 x 3 x 1.5 inches. I then remembered the Kaito KA1102 that I owned a few years ago–a very portable radio, but it, too, would be too large at 143 x 88 x 28.50 mm.
But then, it hit me: there is one radio, which, though no longer on the market, would fit the bill (and the pocket)…
The Holy Grail of über-portable receivers: The Sony ICF-SW100
Then there are the lucky few, like my radio-listener buddy, The Professor. Remarkably, he tracked down (and knows I’ll never forgive him for it) an ICF-SW100 on Craig’s List for about $50! That was a steal.
Performance is superb for a radio this size. Not only does it have SSB mode, but selectable sideband sync detection.
One note of caution, should you be lucky enough to acquire one: the ribbon cable that connects the lower portion of the radio with the display (especially in the mark 1 production units) is known to fail. Fortunately, there are a number of videos (like this one) which walk you through replacement.
The ICF-SW100 predecessor, the ICF-SW1S (above), would easily fit in the M-2 Waistpack–it measures a mere 4.75 x 2.785 x 1 inches. Like its younger brother, it is highly sought after on the used radio market, and usually fetches $300+. The ICF-SW1S does not have a sync detector and lacks SSB mode. Still, as a broadcast receiver, it is truly superb for its size.
If you purchase a used ICF-SW1S, do ask the seller if all 6 original electrolytic capacitors have been replaced. If not, you may have to replace them in short order as the originals were known to fail. While not a repair for the faint of heart (as parts are quite small), there are several instructional sites and videos to help you. Alternatively, you can send your ICF-SW1S to Kiwa to be professionally re-capped.