Sony Portable Receivers
Manufacturer Sony Corporation, Tokyo
Over many years, Sony held a large market share with its sets. Sony set milestones again and again, like in the development of the Walkman & video camcorders, but also spoiled the shortwave listeners for years with a good number of receivers, from the miniaturised matchbox-sized sets up to the early heavy-weight tabletop receivers, but Sony never aimed at the market of commercial communication receivers nor at the amateur radio market.
The ICF-5900W with its double conversion technology, BFO and an acceptable dial accuracy, which was achieved with a crystal calibrator & a linear interpolation dial, enjoyed much popularity soon after its release in 1976, until 1978, when the legendary ICF-6800W became the most desired receiver of many shortwave listeners, especially in the even improved successor version with the orange lettering on the front panel. Equipped with a digital display and thanks to the combination of two switchable filter bandwidths and the preselector, it allowed excellent sensitivity with good large signal behaviour and enabled real DX reception. At the same time, the large-format CRF-320 with similar technology - but in a completely different price range - and the CRF-1 with dimensions similar to the tabletop receivers from Kenwood, Yaesu or Drake were launched, the last receiver was sold in Europe only in very small numbers.
A milestone was the ICF-2001, the first microprocessor-controlled shortwave receiver, which not only allowed digital frequency display but also frequency input via keys and it could store 6 frequencies! In terms of reception performance, this receiver was surpassed by many analogue receivers, but the breakthrough came with Sony's ICF-2001D. This portable receiver with its 100 Hz tuning steps, digital display and above all the synchronous detector with separately selectable sidebands is still considered to be the most powerful travel receiver by many enthousiasts. The successor ICF-SW77, which appeared later, was extended with alphanumeric memory functions and world time clock functions, but could not keep up to the 2001D in terms of intelligibility of weak signals.
The ICF-7600D was the first truly SSB-capable travel radio with digital display & memory functions and, after several further development steps, was being produced in the same format, with the same arrangement of controls & apart from the newly added synchronous detector, the same range of functions over many years.
However, Sony's type designation policy has always caused troubles, the radios carry different type designations in the USA, the combinations of 7600 & the letters D, A, W, G designate quite different radios with equally different performance.
In the nineties, Sony has focused on extremely miniaturised travel radios, hardly bigger than an audio cassette, even if the ICF-SW1000T still has an integrated cassette recorder, with sophisticated managed alphanumerically labelled memories & world time clock functions, which should further simplify shortwave listening, but still offered some affordable travel radios, which have acceptable shortwave performance without disappointments.
Station receiver from Sony
|CRF-150||ca. 1968||Double Conversion||VHF, LW, MW, 10 x SW (160 - 75, 60, 49, 41, 31, 25, 19, 16, 13, 11 m)||Analogue display, S-meter, two bandwidths|
|CRF-160||approx. 1969/70||Double Conversion||VHF, LW, MW, 10 x SW bands||analogue display|
|CRF-220||approx. 1967||Double Conversion||VHF (88 - 108 MHz), LW, MW, 19 x SW (1.6 - 29.8 MHz)||linear analogue display|
|CRF-230||1968||Double Conversion||2 x VHF (64 - 108 MHz), LW, MW, 19 x SW (1.6 - 29.8 MHz)||linear analogue display|
|CRF-5080||1972||Single Conversion||VHF, LW, MW, 5 x SW (1.6-26 MHz)||analogue display|
|CRF-5090||1972||Single Conversion||VHF, LW, MW, 5 x SW (1.6-26 MHz)||Analogue display|
|ICF-5500M||1974||Single Conversion||VHF, MW, 2 x SW (1.6-4.5 and 4.5-12 MHz)||Analogue display|
|ICF-5800L||1973||Single Conversion||VHF, MW, LW, 2 x SW (1.6-4.5 and 4.5-12 MHz)||Analogue display|
|ICF-5900W||1976||Single Conversion||VHF, MW, 2 x SW (3.9-10 and 11.6-28 MHz)||Analogue display with calibration marker|
|ICF-6500W (L)||1982||Double Conversion||VHF, LW, MW, SW (3.9-26.1 MHz)||Digital display|
|ICF-6700W||1978||Double Conversion||VHF, MW, SW 1-30 MHz||digital display 1 kHz, two bandwidths|
|ICF-6700L||1978||Double Conversion||VHF, LW, MW, SW 1-30 MHz||Digital display 1 kHz, two bandwidths|
|ICF-6800W||1978||Double Conversion||VHF, MW, SW 1-30 MHz||digital display 1 kHz, two bandwidths|
|ICF-6800WA, orange||1980||Double Conversion||VHF, MW, SW 1-30 MHz||Digital display 1 kHz, 2 bandwidths, successor version with improved front end|
|CRF-320||1978||Double Conversion||VHF, LW, MW, SW 1,6-30 MHz||Digital display 1 kHz, mechanical. timer|
|CRF-320A||198x||Double Conversion||VHF, LW, MW, SW 1.6-30 MHz||Digital display 1 kHz, digital clock|
|CRF-1||1978||Double Conversion||AM 10 kHz - 30 MHz||Digital display 1 kHz, AM, SSB, 2 bandwidths, preselector|
|CRF-V21||1989||Double Conversion||VHF, AM 9 kHz - 30 MHz||Digital display, 350 memories, HF/NF spectrum analysis, RTTY/FAX decoder, printer, clock|
Sony World receivers with integrated cassette recorder
|CF-950S||1976||Receiver based on the ICF-5900 with mono cassette recorder|
|WA-5000||1984||Single Conversion||VHF, MW, 5 x SW (49 - 16 mb)||mono cassette recorder|
|WA-8000||1986||Double Conversion||VHF, MW, 7 x SW (49 - 13 mb)||stereo cassette recorder|
|WA-6000||1987||Single Conversion||VHF, MW, 5 x SW (49 - 16 mb)||mono cassette recorder|
|WA-8800||1987||Double Conversion||VHF, MW, 8 x SW (49 - 13 mb)||stereo cassette recorder|
|ICF-SW1000T||1995||Double Conversion||VHF, AM 150 kHz - 30 MHz||30 memory, stereo cassette recorder (similar to ICF-SW7600G)|
|CFS-50IL||1988||Single Conversion & double stereo cassette recorder in „ghetto blaster“ format||UKW, LW, MW, SW 5.9-17.8 MHz||Digital display 5kHz, 20 memories|
Special receivers from Sony
|TR-8460||1972||Single Conversion||AIR band||Analogue aeronautical receiver|
|TFM-8600W||1978?||Single Conversion||LW, MW, VHF, AIR band||Analogue aeronautical receiver|
|ICF-8650W||1980?||Single Conversion||MW, VHF, AIR band||aeronautical receiver with digital display|