Tag Archives: Sony

Would a Sony ICF-SW07 outperform a modern DSP radio?

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, William, who asks:

Hello,

Firstly thank you for the blog – I have been reading occasionally for several years – it’s really interesting.

I live in the UK. I own (was given as a gift many years ago) a Sony ICF-SW07 and have been playing with it for the first time in the while.

I’m wondering if you remember it or ever used it, and if you can give me a rough idea if a new radio, such as the latest Tecsun, have considerably better sensitivity – for SW and MW – or not?

Many thanks.
William

Thank you for your question, William!

To my knowledge, I’ve only used a Sony ICF-SW07 once and it was from a hotel room at a radio convention, so not ideal for really gauging anything other than economics and superficial qualities. I do know that my friend held it in high regard.  My inclination would be to say that the ICF-SW07 should hold its own and potentially even outperform many modern (late-model) portable receivers.

I do know this, William: in good condition, that ‘SW07 will fetch top dollar. I’m not sure I’d ever let go of it!

Sony ICF-SW07 owner comments and feedback?

SWLing Post readers: If you own the ‘SW07 and would like to share your thoughts with William, please comment!

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The Sony FX-300 Jackal: A Holy Grail technological marvel of the late 70s

I’m a child of the 1970s and I’m glad I never knew about the Sony FX-300 “Jackal 300.” It would have been the ultimate unobtainable machine of my dreams…this, even despite the lack of shortwave.

I was browsing eBay yesterday when I saw one of these pop up in the search results.

Somehow, this radio made it past my RADAR. How? I’m guessing it’s because this model was primarily sold in Japan–?

The FX-300 sports:

  • A mini CRT television screen (to watch Voyagers!, Space 1999, G-Force, and Ultraman)
  • Precision analog tuning
  • Top-Mounted cassette player/recorder
  • AM/FM reception
  • Built-in speaker
  • Earphone/Mic external ports
  • And let’s face it: a killer design that smacks of the Apollo era 

Other than the Panny RF-2200, I’m not sure if a radio could possibly satisfy more of my design cravings.  Here are a few images I’ve unashamedly swiped from eBay:

What a Holy Grail machine, indeed! I love the tactile mechanical switches, analog dials, speaker grills, selection switches, and even (especially) the metal stand off bar at the top to protect those brilliant cassette controls.

I’m very curious if any SWLing Post readers have ever owned (or still own) a Sony FX-300. (Kei Niigata, I’ll be terribly disappointed if I learn you’ve never owned one!)

Please comment!

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Reunited with an old friend…

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Marwan Baayoun, who writes in response to our recent post about radio regrets:

For me, my biggest regret was when in November 2018 I sold my well-protected Sony ICF-SW77.

I bought it brand new over the phone from Universal Radio. My ICF-SW77 was my side kick and went with me everywhere. I remember working the second shift at a publishing company, I would always eat my lunch outside while listening to any international broadcasters I could catch like the BBC, Radio Havana Cuba, Deutsche Welle, or the VOA.

I remember how my co-workers reworded the saying “Life Without A Wife, Is Like A Kitchen Without A Knife” to “Life Without A Wife, Is Like Marwan Without His Shortwave Radio.”

When I got married, my best friend invited us to visit with his wife and children at their house in Upstate New York. He even bought one of the tickets as his way in helping me paying for the fares. I remember the night we arrived at his house me pulling my ICF-SW77 and tuning it to the BBC World Service because we all wanted to get the latest on a sad piece of news that was just breaking that made us, and almost everyone in North America and around the world, stare at TV sets hoping for the best. Then Tom Brokaw came on to announced something that we, and others who were listening to the BBC World Service, had already knew 15 minutes earlier: the sad news the Lady Dianna did not survive the car crash.

My friend was impressed with what shortwave radios could bring to the table.

In the last month I went on a binge and bought a used Realistic DX-440 (love this radio BTW, very nice), and all new XHDATA D-808, Tecsun PL-880, and Tecsun PL-680. I also bought but then returned a Sangean ATS-909X.

To close on a happy note, today I received an almost brand new Sony ICF-SW77 that I bought from a very kind gentleman on eBay–he was willing to accept my fifty dollars less than his asking price offer.

My happiness is beyond expression. I would have never thought I would be able to re-unite again with one of these radios in a condition that is identical to the one I sold. He kept it very well. I tried to find a scratch or a piece of dust on this radio but couldn’t. Not only that, it also came with it the original box, very well kept manual and “Catch the Waves” booklet, (I gave mine to the gentleman who bought my radio, so it was sweet that they were replaced with this purchase). My new ICF-SW77 seller just did not have the power adapter that came with this radio, which is fine with me. I can always find a third party power adapter to buy.

I feel so lucky I am once again an owner of one of these awesome radios.

What an amazing story, Marwan, and I’m so glad you’ve been reunited with an IC-SW77!

Radio love is a funny thing and hard to compare with any fondness one might have of other consumer electronics. For example, I’ve never lamented over the loss of a laptop, iPhone, or iPod–but, like you, I have indeed regretted parting with radios. I know many of you feel the same way.

To me, radios feel much more like companions who share the world with you–through travels and over the air.

I’m happy to hear you’ve got your companion back, Marwan!

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The Sony ICF-7600A continues to impress

I mentioned in a previous post that SWLing Post contributor, Ed Earps, recently gifted me his Sony ICF-7600A.

I’ve been having a field day with this radio!

Well, many field days, in fact. Early on, I packed the ‘7600A in my Red Oxx Hound EDC pack–it fits in the Hound’s interior pocket perfectly and is well-protected on all sides. The radio has pretty much lived in my car and truck since then, thus has gotten a lot of air time when I take short breaks throughout the day.

In November, I took the ‘7600A to Mount Mitchell (6,684 feet/2,037 meters above sea level) and to coastal South Carolina (sea level). It’s been a great radio companion and has given me an excuse to go “old school” and do a little analog band-scanning.

The ICF-7600A certainly has some strengths.

For one thing, although I’ve let this radio on for extended listening sessions, I’ve yet to deplete the eneloop rechargeable batteries (Amazon affiliate link) I originally installed in October. Obviously, this radio will run for days on batteries–a serious plus if DXing off-grid.

The ‘7600A is a fantastic portable for mediumwave DXing. Although it’s also a very sensitive and selective shortwave receiver–especially in this class and era of analog portable–I think mediumwave may be its strong suit.

On the negative side, some of the shortwave band selections are truncated and for some reason, it doesn’t have a back stand (quite an odd omission). Still, these are pretty minor cons.

Obviously, the pros outweigh the cons on this brilliant vintage portable that seems to have held up very well over the years.

To ensure its longevity–and as a precaution–I do think I’ll take it to Dr. Vlado to have all of the caps replaced soon.

My thoughts? If you ever stumble across an ICF-7600A at a hamfest or on eBay, I say grab it!

Post readers: Anyone else love the ICF-7600A? Did I miss any major pros or cons? Please comment!


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The Sony ICF-7600A at my “happy place”

Yesterday afternoon, the family and I spent some time at my happy place: Mount Mitchell State Park. This might be our last visit there until spring of 2020 since the Blue Ridge Parkway is often closed during the winter.

Yesterday was unseasonably warm at 48F (9C)–a shot of warm weather before an Arctic front moves in tonight dropping temps to about 10F (-12C) and, likely, dropping 1-3″ of snow as well.

The afternoon at Mount Mitchell gave me a little time to play radio, of course, and put my recently acquired Sony ICF-7600A on the air.

How did I acquire the Sony ICF-7600A? Via the generosity of SWLing Post reader, Ed Earps.

Ed reached out to me after I made the following comment in a recent post:

“The ICF-7600A is a cool analog portable and one I’ve thought about acquiring at some point.”

Ed contacted me immediately:

“Thomas, if you would still like to acquire a ICF-7600A, I have one I would give you. This would be in appreciation of all the work you do in writing the SWLing Post blog.”

A few days later, the ICF-7600A with original box and accessories arrived. Wow!

Thank you so much, Ed! Over the years, members of the SWLing Post community have been so kind and so generous, it makes a guy feel humbled and appreciated. Thank you!

The ICF-7600A fits perfectly in my Red Oxx Hound pack.

I’m loving the ICF-7600A.

There’s something so authentic about tuning a good analog portable. It’s hard for me to describe, but I can certainly say it always takes me back to my radio roots.

The ICF-7600A has a low noise floor and seems to be incredibly sensitive. I easily snagged several stations on 31 meters, but ended up enjoying music via All India Radio while brewing a little coffee with my alcohol stove (handmade by my buddy, Greg–thanks, Greg!).

Hey, when you’re a coffee snob, you brew where you are!

But I digress…

I’m especially impressed with the ICF-7600A’s mediumwave performance. I logged a number of benchmark daytime and greyline stations yesterday. I haven’t opened the ‘7600A, but I imagine it has a decent ferrite bar inside based on its overall performance on the AM broadcast band and its nulling capabilities.

Next time, I’ll bring the AN200 mag loop and couple it with the ‘7600A. I’m pretty sure that’ll make for a winning combo.

All-in-all, I couldn’t have asked for a better day: the weather was wonderful, the coffee freshly-brewed, and the gifted ICF-7600A was the perfect radio companion as our family soaked in the scenery after a hike to the summit.

I couldn’t ask for a better happy place!


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eBay: Julian spots an excellent condition Sony ICF-7600A complete with box

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Julian Stargardt, who writes:

I was just browsing through eBay when I stumbled on this listing that may interest some SWLing readers: An excellent condition SONY ICF-7600A.

The listing is for a Sony ICF 7600 [with box and accessories] – the original ICF 7600, a very different beast from the still in production ICF 7600GR.

Must be over 40 years old and looks like it’s just left the shop.

Click here to view on eBay (partner link supports the SWLing Post).

Thanks for the tip, Julian. For someone seeking a complete ICF-7600A in great shape, this would be a good choice. The price is a bit steep compared to other 7600A’s on the market, but few come with a box, earpiece, and packing. I notice that the seller is accepting offers (that’s the route I’d go!). The ICF-7600A is a cool analog portable and one I’ve thought about acquiring at some point.

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An external battery pack for the Sony ICF-SW35?

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Adam, who writes:

Hi Thomas I enjoy reading your blog and often when I put a question in Google yours is the first on the list so I wonder if you’d mind if I ask you a question about the Sony SW35.

I’m interested to try powering it from a power bank but I have no idea what DC plug to buy for it as I bought it second-hand without an adaptor.

I thought about taking a couple of wires out of the battery compartment but it wouldn’t look as nice so any help you could give me would be much appreciated.

Great question, Adam!

You can certainly find a DC plug that will work with the ICF-SW35. I believe this same plug was used with a number of Sony Walkman type players back in the day. You might be able to find one at the local charity/thrift shop in their power cord jumble.

DC plug coaxial portI do know that the coaxial type plug needs to have positive tip polarity (click here to read about this in the owner’s manual) and the radio requires 4.5 VDC . The OEM power adapter (Model AC-E45HG) provided 700 mAh, but I don’t know what the ‘SW35 actually requires (other than something equal to or less than 700 mAh).

One option would be to find a 12VDC to 4.5 VDC converter like the Sony DCC-E345 and plug it into a 12VDC source (there are a number of high capacity 12V battery packs on the market).

Of course, you could also build your own external source by purchasing an appropriately sized external battery holder. I would use a D cell holder (I assume one to hold 3 cells at 1.5VDC x 3 = 4.5 VDC) which would provide much better capacity than a AA cell holder. (Something like this.)

I haven’t been able to determine the +/- voltage tolerance of the ICF-SW35, so I would keep the supply voltage figure at or below 4.5 volts.

One crucial number I’m missing is the coaxial plug size. I can’t seem to find a spec for OEM Sony AC-E45HG. I hope a reader might be able to help us here.

Post readers: Can anyone confirm the DC plug size for the Sony ICF-SW35?  If you have any other advice or tips for Adam, please comment!

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