Tag Archives: Sony ICF-SW7600GR

Guest Post: Rawad shares his radio story

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Rawad Hamwi, who shares the following guest post:


My Story With Radios

by Rawad Hamwi

My passion for the world of radios started 15 years ago when I “accidentally” got my hand on a vintage Sanyo U4SS radio/cassette player.

At that time, FM didn’t mean that much to me, and to make the long story short, it was anything but interesting! So let’s move on and discover that SW band.

I was totally shocked with the findings! Music of different genres, languages I heard for the first time ever, bizarre sounds, Morse broadcasts, etc.. However, the most chilling and exotic thing which caught my attention was that weird “presumably” number station, broadcasting an endless and never-ending loop of “Alpha, Bravo, Charlie”! I could never ever forget that! That SW “thing” was quite interesting, isn’t it?

Back in 2004, the shortwave band was HEAVILY crowded with so many stations from all over the globe, and the idea of being able to listen to all of that stuff without moving away from your couch was something interesting!

Over that period, I owned some portable shortwave receivers/antennas, starting with the Grundig G3, Tecsun PL-660, and last but not least, the trust-worthy Sony ICF-SW7600GR with Sony AN-LP1 active antenna and the Terk Advantage AM antenna, that’s just to name but a few.

And now, drum roll, please!! May I proudly present the legendary Zenith Solid State Trans-Oceanic Radio Receiver. That armored tank is far from anything portable in today’s terms! But still, its reputation can’t be questioned.

Zenith Transoceanic

 

Last Christmas (Dec – 2018), my uncle gave me his Sony ICF-7600D which was in a perfect cosmetic/working condition. It was sitting in his drawer for almost 20 years without being used! Operating that “piece of history” is satisfying!

Sony ICF-7600D

A year before, my grandparents gave me their “Made in Japan” Sony ICF-SW11. You may notice that screen protector over its display, it did a good job in disguising some fine scratches. This radio had been used occasionally, though it’s a solid performer.

Sony ICF-SW11

Whoa, lots of radios to choose from! A decision was made by giving the Grundig G3, Tecsun PL-660, and the Sony ICF-7600GR/AN-LP1+Terk Advantage a short break and keeping them in my hometown (Lebanon). Both the 7600D and SW11 will join me in Saudi Arabia for at least 6 months until I return back.

Here comes the turning point! Last month, there was a great deal on eBay. A decent Sony ICF-2010 with an above-average condition. I didn’t think twice before buying it, I wanted that radio a long time back and at last, at last, it’s here..sitting on my desk!

Sony ICF-SW2010 ICF-2010

To add some nostalgia to the scene, a brand-new vintage “Made in Japan” Seiko World Time Rate Exchanger was listed on eBay, and you can predict what happened next! It was a beautiful add-on.

It joined my vintage Casio DQ-580 alarm clock that was set to display UTC time

Unfortunately, Sony ICF-2010s had some issues with their front-end FET if they were hit by a strong static charge. The solution was by building a DIY protection circuit, based on a schematic available online.

The random wire antenna I use is connected to a 9:1 impedance transformer for the purpose of impedance matching, and to add more protection, a lightning arrester joined the setup. Furthermore, some folks said that winding the 50-ohm coaxial feed cable to a toroid could improve the reception, so..why don’t I give it a try?!

Finally, the BNC male plug coming out of my protection black box is coupled with a female BNC to male 3.5 mm mono adapter which goes towards radio’s external AM antenna socket.

Now, why don’t I utilize the FM band too? I have two in-car FM transmitters. The first one is connected to a satellite receiver to transmits its audio feed via a RCA to 3.5 mm stereo cable, and the second one is attached to a Chromecast Audio device.

-1-Turn on the transmitter
-2- Go to TuneIn
-3- Look after “Conyers Old Time Radio”
-4- Pipe that audio stream throughout Chromecast
-5- Set your radio’s sleep timer to 30 minutes and…I wish you a very good night!!


iCluster ($2.99 for iPhone and iPad) is a useful tool I regularly use when listening to amateur bands over shortwave DXWatch.com and DXMaps.com can be helpful too.

Google’s Play Store contains much more radio-related apps than Apple’s App Store. Below are my main drivers for decoding digital transmissions.

When it comes to rechargeables, my choice for AA size is Eneloop and Energizer for D size

Batteries and Recharger

The Internet contains enormous easy-accessible resources but having a hard copy isn’t a bad idea I guess!

That’s all folks, thanks for reading and if you think there are some rooms for improvements, sharing your ideas will be much appreciated.


Thank you for sharing this, Rawad!  You’ve amassed a fantastic collection of portable radio gear and all of it seems to be in excellent shape! I think it’s brilliant that you took the time to build antenna protection for your Sony portables–so many people don’t think of this and end up using an antenna that’s too long and static zaps their FET. 

Again, many thanks for sharing your story with us.

Post Readers: Rawad also made an attractive PDF of this story–you can download it here. Please contact me if you’d like to share your radio story!

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Sony could halt production of shortwave radios in February

Several SWLing Post readers have sent me a link to this item on BCL News (originally posted by Takahito Akabayashi via WOR) stating that Sony will cease production of all shortwave radios this month:

SONY Japan declared in January that they ended the production of ICF-SW35 shortwave receiver. They also declared in February that they end the sales of another shortwave receiver ICF-7600GR at their on-line store. Probably they will declare the end of its production soon.

ICF-SW35 has been on sale since 2000, ICF-7600GR since 2001. This means SONY will completely withdraw from the shortwave receiver market.

I have not been able to locate a statement from Sony regarding this, but I’m not at all surprised if it is true. Shortwave radios represent such a small niche market for Sony, I’m surprised they’ve continued producing them up to 2018. Indeed, to my knowledge, they haven’t updated their benchmark portable (the Sony ICF-SW7600GR) since they released it in 2001. That’s an incredibly long market life!

The ‘7600GR is still one of my favorite portables even though it lacks an encoder/tuning knob and isn’t as sensitive as the Tecsun PL-680, for example. I do love its sync detector and rock-solid AGC. Additionally, it’s one of the few portables on the market that has a proper line-out audio jack for recording and a variable attenuator.

Production of the ‘7600GR has been sporadic–a number of times, Sony gave retailers the impression the product line was dead only to release small batches of new units from time to time. Likely, they’ve been clearing out the final production run.

I predict the price of the ICF-SW7600GR will climb as they become a little more scarce.

Looking back, I wrote a post in September 2016 describing where to find new or open box units online. If you’re interested in the ‘7600GR, check out that post in our archives.

If anyone finds a release from Sony regarding this news, please comment with a link!

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A Case Logic case for the Sony ICF-SW7600GR

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Rawad Hamwi, who writes:

When I bought my Sony ICF-SW7600GR back in 2014, I was happy with the included case that came with it. However, signs of wear and tear started to be visible. This inner fabric lining was peeling off, since it was rubbing against the antenna both plastic bumps located at the back of the radio

So I decided to look for another way of protection, and I found what I was looking for on Amazon. The Case Logic PDVS-4 5-7-Inch In-CarDVD Player Case.

That case was large enough to fit my radio and it had a second pocket which I used to store the original case.

I am totally satisfied with that purchase and I highly recommend this item for every Sony ICF-SW7600GR owner. Unzip the case, connect your external antenna (if you want), turn on the radio, and you are ready to! And when you’re done, just vice versa the above steps!

Check out the Case Logic PDVS-4 on Amazon (affiliate link).

Thank you, Rawad.  In my experience, Case Logic products are very durable.  Thanks for sharing your tip!

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Looking under the hood: Sony ICF-SW7600GR internal shots

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Rawad Hamwi, who writes:

Hi Thomas

Recently I was looking over the internet for some high resolution images for an opened Sony ICF-SW7600GR, but could not find much.

So…I took the “risk” and I opened mine! The main purpose was to clean it from dust, since I am living in a quite dusty environment

I was amazed how easy the process was. It was like eating a piece of cake! Remove the 5 screws and viola! that’s it! You can definitely see the Japanese quality inside.

So, I would like to share with you some high resolution images and somebody may use them for reference too!

Click here to download a compressed file with all of the photos in high resolution (24 MB).

Thank you so much for sharing these, Rawad!  Excellent photos that will, no doubt, prove useful to those wishing to repair or modify the Sony ICF-SW7600GR.

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Anil’s hack: Using a smart phone battery bank to power portable receivers

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Anil Raj, who writes:

I wanted to share a small but useful hack with your readers.

I use a common garden variety smartphone “Powerbank” 10,000 mAH Li Ion pack to power my Sony 7600GR which is perfectly happy with the 5V which the pack supplies. [See photo above.] I see no reason why this won’t work with other radios which require a 6V supply.

As you can imagine, the setup typically lasts for many weeks of extended daily listening and recharges in a jiffy. However, one needs to sacrifice a USB cable by soldering a DC plug at the other end. Haven’t bought AA batteries in a long time…

Thank you, Anil! What a simple but useful hack. The best part is, battery packs/banks are  very inexpensive these days and, I for one, have a number of USB cables I could sacrifice for the job!

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Video: Shortwave shootout with the Tecsun S-8800

After enjoying an afternoon testing the Tecsun S-8800 on the Blue Ridge Parkway this past weekend, I decided to return to the parkway yesterday and test the S-8800’s shortwave performance.

I carved out about two hours of my afternoon and spent the entire time comparing the S-8800 to the Tecsun PL-880 and the Sony ICF-SW7600GR. I tested the radios on several shortwave bands and in both AM and SSB modes.

On Sunday, we discovered that mediumwave performance is lacking on the S-8800. Not so on shortwave! Check out this short video:

Click here to view on YouTube.

In my comparisons, the Tecsun S-8800 has consistently outperformed the PL-880 and Sony ICF-SW7600GR on the shortwave bands. The AGC is pretty stable and sounds much like that of the PL-880 when QSB (fading) is present. Sensitivity is better than the PL-880, though, so the S-8800 can dig those signals out of the noise a little better.

Note, too, I had to pick up both the PL-880 and ‘7600GR  in my hand to obtain the best performance–that additional grounding gave each a slight boost. Quite common for portables. The S-8800 didn’t require this.

After I returned home yesterday, it struck me that perhaps a longer telescopic whip gave the S-8800 an advantage. Turns out, it’s only three inches longer than the PL-880’s whip.

Next, I need to spend a little time with the S-8800 mapping out any birdies on HF–a tedious process. I hope to start on that today.

To follow updates on this yet-to-be-released receiver, follow the tag: Tecsun S-8800.

UPDATE: Click here to read our full Tecsun S-8800 review.

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Powering the Sony ICF-SW7600GR with USB rechargeable packs?

Many thanks to an SWLing Post reader who recently asked the following question:

Hi Thomas:

I rely on my SONY Shortwave in case of emergency, but it’s occurred to me that relying on the alkaline batteries inside to be fully charged and not corrode wouldn’t make sense.

I am thinking it would be great to be able to power the radio’s 6V 700ma off of the multiple USB rechargeable power sticks I have around the house.

What I need is a cable from the USB stick to the radio.

As a hobbyist project, any ideas for an existing cable or how to make such a cable with the appropriate power circuit?

Many thanks.

I know a power cord can be created as long as polarity and the coaxial plug match what the Sony requires. I’ve never used the Sony on a 5 VDC source–I assume it’s within tolerance and RX sensitivity wouldn’t be affected?

Post readers: If you’ve ever created or purchased a USB power cable for the Sony ICF-SW7600GR, please comment!

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