Tag Archives: Sony

Olivier is pleased with the Sony SRF-M95, shares internal photo

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Olivier Tkaczuk (F4BXV), who writes:

Hello, my name is Olivier TKACZUK 36 years F4BXV and I live in the north of France.

Just to present my last Sony SRF-M95 AM/MW bought on eBay for 13 euros.

[I regularly receive] Absolute Radio in England…and also Radio Nacional de España.

[H]ere is an internal photo:

Thank you for your website it gives me taste on the radio.73’s Olivier F4BXV

Many thanks, Olivier! I’ve always loved this über-compact AM/FM radios. They remind me of the small radios I used to sneak into school when I was a kid! Sounds like the SRF-M95 is a capable little receiver as well–thanks for sharing the photos.

Glad you’re enjoying the SWLing Post!

Click here to search eBay for the Sony SRF-M95.

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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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Rolf’s LED backlight mod for Sony ICF-SW35

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Rolf Snijder, who writes:

This is a simple LED backlight modification for the Sony ICF-SW35.

Simply add a 120K resistor and a bright LED:

Overview of resistor placement. (Click to enlarge)

Detail of Pin 10 (Click to enlarge)

Detail of resistor. (Click to enlarge)

Detail of Pin 10 (Click to enlarge)

Detail of LED placement–replacement of capacitor is not necessary. (Click to enlarge)

When you push the backlight switch, the light stays on.

When radio is turned off, the light goes off–then push light switch and backlight will stay on for 15 seconds or so.

Thanks for sharing this simple mod, Rolf!

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Sony ICF-6800W: Dan notes a possible record sales price on eBay

 Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Dan Robinson, who writes:

A couple of years ago I did a talk a the annual SWL Fest on the best radios of all time (in my opinion anyway). The SONY ICF-6800W was among them, for reasons I think are valid — high sensitivity and beautiful audio, the major ones. Now, one has sold for what could be a record price on eBay — more than $1300. This shows how much folks are willing to pay for 6800Ws that still have the original box….

Wow–to many the ICF-6800W is a “Holy Grail” receiver. Amazing that it has held its value so well. If memory serves, it’s not the easiest radio to work on, but is certainly serviceable.

Thanks for the info, Dan!

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From the Shortwave Archives: Radio RSA reviews the Sony ICF-2001

I’ve mentioned many times before what a joy it is to curate the Shortwave Radio Audio Archive (SRAA). Sometimes I’m sent recordings that evoke a flood of memories. SRAA contributor, Tom Laskowski, just submitted another such recording.

Tom included the following notes with his Radio RSA – Voice of South Africa recording:

Every Saturday night during the early 1980s [in South Bend, Indiana] I would regularly tune to 9580 kHz at 0200 to listen to Radio RSA (Channel Africa as it is now known) to hear DX Corner, their regular DX program.

This episode from March 14, 1982 was a look at a brand new hot radio, the Sony ICF-2001.

The audio isn’t great but should be listenable. I think this was recorded using my new Realistic DX-302. Enjoy:

Click here to download this recording as an MP3.

 Thank you, Tom! I think Radio RSA did an admirable job reviewing the ICF-2001!

Post Readers: You can listen to more archived shortwave recordings at the SRAA website, or by subscribing to the audio feed via iTunes. You can also listen to the archive on TuneIn radio.

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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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Brilliant hard-core DX with the USB-powered Bonito MegActive MA305 antenna

 

Hi there, you might remember my post from last month focussing on the Bonito MegActive MA305 E-field antenna, kindly supplied to me for testing, by Bonito themselves. That post was essentially a report on my experiences travelling to Crete with the MA305, navigating through security at London Gatwick and Heraklion airports (mostly with relative ease), but more importantly, how well it worked with the equally excellent Eton Satellit portable receiver. Whilst in Crete I managed to copy a number of personal firsts, including CRI on 7295 kHz, via their relay in Bamako, Mali, The Voice of Beibu Radio on 5050 kHz, Nanning, XSL ‘Slot Machine’ on 6251 kHz USB, Ichihara, Japan, S32 ‘The Squeaky Wheel’ on 3828 kHz and NHK World Radio Japan, 11910 kHz. I also copied RTM Wai/Limbang FM on 11665 kHz from Kajang, Myanmar Radio on 5985 kHz and AIR Bhopal on 4810 kHz, amongst others – all of which I would certainly consider to be difficult catches in Europe.

 The USB-powered MegActive MA305 is perfect for DXing on the move…

Despite excellent all-round results from the ultra-portable USB powered MA305, there was one signal I copied, which more than any other, demonstrated the DXing credentials of this antenna; Radio Tarma from Peru on 4775 kHz. With a TX power of 1 kW, this is a very difficult station to hear in Western Europe, even with a longwire. To catch this station in Crete, with a 22 cm antenna was incredible and it was at that point during my trip that I realised E-field antennas really can work superbly well for hard-core DXers on the move.

Upon my return to Oxford, I immediately started thinking about a DXpedition to the local woods I use for what I consider serious DXing. For obvious reasons, E-field antennas require an electrically quiet environment to ensure maximum SNR performance. In noisy environments, these types of antennas amplify the signal of interest and the background ‘electro-smog’, thus increasing signal levels but critically, not signal-to-noise. Fortunately, the Oxfordshire wood I have been using for a couple of years is only a 10 minute drive from my QTH as I sort of live in the countryside anyway and the QRM levels there are just about zero. Now, given that this was essentially an experiment to determine the best possible performance from the MA305, I decided to use my best portable radio. It was quite tempting to pack up the Elad FDM DUO which running on a home-brew battery pack has proven itself to be my best (pseudo) portable radio. However, this is supposed to be a real-world test and in this type of scenario, DXpeditions with the Bonito antenna are much more likely to be undertaken with a portable radio. For these reasons I decided to conduct the test with the venerable Sony ICF-2001D. Having proven to be a superb receiver over many, many dxpeditions (check out the evidence on my YouTube Channel Oxford Shortwave Log) and still regarded by DXers as one of the best ever portable radios – possibly the best – it was the obvious choice.

 My portable DXing kit comprising the Bonito MegActive MA305 antenna and the Sony ICF-2001D…a bit of a legend in DXing circles…

I ventured out in early June around 23:00 hrs BST (22:00 hrs UTC), parked the car on the edge of the wood and proceeded to set up my cheap camera tripod, slightly modified to accept a 2 metre-long stainless steel tube, into which a slightly thinner 1 metre tube was mounted, topped off with my partially disassembled ‘Selfie Stick’ – which made it back from Crete lol. The antenna was set up in less than 5 minutes and approximately 4 metres above the ground – much quicker and easier than de-spooling 100 metres of wire! With fresh batteries in the Sony and the MA305 powered up using the USB power brick supplied by Bonito, I was ready to start listening. Almost immediately I heard and recorded a personal first; Lao National Radio, Laos, signing on 6130 kHz, with an excellent signal. Hearing them in the UK was only made possible by the annual two week shut down of the PBS Xizang transmitter in Lhasa, Tibet, but hey, I’ll take it. A brilliant start to my listening session.

Over the next two hours I was amazed at what could be heard using this 22 cm amplified antenna. Bearing in mind I have spent many hours at the woods previously, listening via various 100 metre longwires and a 200 metre Beverage, my expectations were, I thought, realistic in that the MA305 coupled to the Sony would catch some very good DX. However, I did believe there might be an absence of at least some of the more exotic low power stations on the Tropical Band – afterall the MA305 is a very short antenna. Clearly I was wrong, because what transpired during the session surpassed anything I thought possible with this set-up. A list of reception videos follows below and further below, a selection of embedded videos. Some of the entries on this list simply stunned me at the time. Rádio Educação Rural for starters is such an incredibly difficult signal to hear in Europe, even with a very large antenna. Thus, to hear them on an ultra-compact set-up felt very special. Radio Mali is another station that is very difficult to catch with any modulation, except on a large antenna and yet there they were – at the first time of trying. Similarly, Rádio Nacional de Angola and Alcaravan Radio are exotics that at best deliver very weak audio – and most of the time no audio. Furthermore, the signals from Emisoras Pio XIIMyanmar Radio and Rádio Clube do Pará were verging on what I would call superb…I’d never heard anything like it previously except via 100 (or more) metres of wire.

 The ICF-2001D and MegActive MA305              Rádio Educação Rural transmitter site in Tefé, Brazil

So what’s next? Well it would certainly be an interesting experiment to compare the performance of the MegActive antenna with the Wellbrook ALA1530 active loop in a similar environment. I have used the Wellbrook on DXpeditions several times, with often excellent results, however, it’s not designed to be portable and if SNR performance could be demonstrated as similar between these two products, given a very favourable price delta, the Bonito antenna would add up to be a very compelling purchase decision. More on that to come. In the meantime, thank you very much for reading/watching/listening and I wish you all excellent DX.

Please click on the links below for the reception videos on the Oxford Shortwave Log YouTube channel.


Selected embedded reception videos from the list above:

Clint Gouveia is the author of this post and a regular contributor to the SWLing Post. Clint actively publishes videos of his shortwave radio excursions on his YouTube channel: Oxford Shortwave Log. Clint is based in Oxfordshire, England.

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