Manufactured by Sony, Tokyo.
A set with a „totally different“ design is the Sony AIR-7, a receiver covering the VHF aeronautical communications band with the „look“ of a walkie-talkie, released in 1985.
- AIR-7: AM 150 - 2194 kHz, VHF 76-108 MHz, AIR Band 108 - 136 MHz AM, VHF 144 - 174 MHz FM.
- AIR-8: AM 150 - 2194 kHz, VHF 76-108 MHz, AIR Band 108 - 137 MHz AM, VHF 144 - 174 MHz FM
- 90 x 180 x 50 mm, weight 0.5 kg
The Sony AIR-7 is a multi-band receiver covering the so called „Air band“. In addition to VHF and long / medium and shortwaves up to 2194 kHz, it covers the aeronautical communications band from 108 - 136 MHz (in the later version AIR-8 up to 137 MHz) in amplitude modulation and the VHF range 144 - 174 MHz in FM and as such can be regarded as a precursor or Sonys interpretation of a hand-held scanner.
It was distributed in four frequency variants due to the FTZ regulations in force in Germany at the time,
- Type 1: 4 bands, 150-2194 kHz (AM), 76-108 MHz (FM), 108-136 MHz (AIR band), 144-174 MHz (PSB = Public service band)
- Type 2: 4 bands, 150-2194 kHz (AM), 87.6-108 MHz (FM, European FM band), 108-136 MHz (Air band), 144-174 MHz (PSB = Public service band)
- Type 3: 3 bands, 150-2194 kHz (AM), 76-108 MHz (FM), 108-136 MHz (Air band), no PSB
- Type 4: 3 bands, 150-2194 kHz (AM), 87.6-108 MHz (FM, European FM band), 108-136 MHz (Air band), no PSB
The set has the appearance and dimensions of a walkie-talkie set, it measures 9 x 18 x 5 cm and weighs 500 g. A rubber helix antenna is attached to a BNC socket on top of the set.
The set is powered by four UM-3 batteries or by a centre-negative power supply unit.
On the top face of the unit is the main switch, which is a green button next to it are the volume and squelch rotary controls, both of which can be lowered by pushing them in. The mode switch selects AM (LW-SW), FM (VHF), AIR (for the aeronautical band) and PSB (Public Service Band, for the VHF range, which also covers the 2 m amateur band). In a second row, next to the BNC antenna connector, there is a jack for headphones and AM antenna.
At the top of the front panel is the LCD frequency display with markings for the ten memory channels, and at the bottom a red LED acting as tuning indicator.
The keypad underneath looks a little confusing at first:
The DIRECT key initiates direct frequency entry with the numeric keys, last press EXECUTE, the desired station sounds from the loudspeaker - or a „Try again“ indicates an input error. By pressing the ENTER key in the lower left corner and a numeric key, the current frequency is stored in the selected memory channel; by pressing the numeric key again, the stored station is recalled.
The keys + / - (SCAN) are used for manual tuning starting from the active frequency; the AIR-7 does not have a manual tuning knob.
Pressing the SCAN buttons (+ / -) for a longer time activates automatic scanning; pressing the buttons again stops the scan. The scanning threshold is set by adjusting the squelch knob. By pressing the memory scan button, the receiver jumps to the next memory channel, a longer button press makes it automatically scan through all stored frequencies. The receiver can also automatically listen to a priority channel during operation and has other options, there is not enough space to list all modes here.
The small loudspeaker is located at the bottom of the front panel, it carries the designation AIR BAND, so the AIR-7 can be distinguished from the ICF-PRO70 even at a distance.
The Sony AIR-7 is a special receiver for aviation enthusiasts and a niche product which was probably only sold in small numbers in Germany due to its frequency coverage. The manufacturing quality is very good, as is typical for Sony sets from that time, and makes it possible to get over the fact that modern small hand-held scanners offer considerably more memory channels and cover additional frequency ranges. To listen to radio traffic from the local airfield or just to listen to some FM while travelling, the AIR-7 is a great set.
Single conversion superhet.
The set is semi-conductor equipped.