überarbeitet am 30.10.2010
In 1991, Sony added another "World Band Receiver" to their range of different
travel shortwave radios, the ICF-SW55 filled the gap between the "big" ICF-2001D
or ICF-SW77 and the "small" receivers of the ICF-7600D series, as far as reception
performance as well as dimensions and weight are concerned.
The ICF-SW55 has a unique design with a large frequency and world time clock
display, many different pushbuttons, a thumbwheel tuning knob and no front facing
speaker, it is rather a big slot, where the sound of the internal speaker leaves
, I.F. 55,845 MHz, 455 kHz
Digital display, 1 kHz,
Fine tuning in 100 Hz steps
AM, USB/LSB, FM (VHF)
Selectivity -6 dB/ -60 dB
Attenuator DX / Local, 125 memories in 25 pages, clock, timer, FM Stereo via headphones
The Sony ICF-SW55 is a shortwave receiver with a very futuristic design, or
a quite strange external appearence, I will let it over to You, what You think
about the form of the receiver cabinet, for me it looks like a Sony design
study for a game console from 20 years ago. The receiver is 19,4 x 12,7 x 3,9 cm wide and has
a fold out plastic stand at the back to bring it to a slightly tilted position for easier
The wealth of different features and functions is too complex to be completely dealt with, here.
The speaker is located in the inside of the cabinet and sound leaves the cabinet
through a rectangular slot (looks like a vent) at the top of the front panel.
Below it, You find the large liquid crystal display giving You informations
on the active frequency, time and status of several receiver functions. The
keys M1 - M5 give access to memories, but also act as menue - keys to access
special receiver functions.
The switch in the left upper corner of the receiver is used to switch on the radio,
it can be set to a mechanical lock position to prevent the radio being switched
on inadvertedly during transport in Your suitcase. The buttons next to it activate
sleep timer and alarm clock functions, the black round keys below are used to control
the different possibilities of the world time clock. When local time is set
and the actual location is selected with the "tuning" thumbwheel, You can
scroll through a list of different capitals in the world and find the local
time displayed, You can toggle between two time zones and set the radio to
summer daylight saving time by pressing one single button. Another button
will set the display to indicate, in which timezones, it is day or night,
this tool is useful to study propagation conditions.
The white keys below are used to organize memory contents: the total of 125 memories
is divided in 25 pages with 5 memories each. Use the MEMORY PAGE +/- keys
to navigate through the memory pages and the M1 - M5 keys to recall memory
content. One "memory page" gives access to timer functions and on/off times,
another "page" to special functions active in the AM band as reception mode
and i.f. filter bandwidth. The pushbuttons below the M1 - M5 keys give access
to the different reception modes and wavebands.
At the right of the display, You find the thumbwheel tuning knob,
small keys are used to lock the tuning mechanism and to switch between the
tuning steps 100 Hz and 1 kHz.
The numbered keys just below is used for direct frequency entry and for alphanumeric
tagging of the memory channels. To set the receiver to 6155 kHz, set the radio
to AM mode and press 6 - 1 - 5 - 5 - EXE, two up/down keys can be used to tune
the radio a little bit up or down.
On the display, You find at the top a world time map and display for local
time and difference to UTC world time. Below, You find the reception frequency
displayed with a resolution of 1 kHz, the indicator for the SW broadcast band in
meters and the LCD bar signal strength indicator.
The big alphanumeric display at the bottom showas You the labels of the memory
pages (for example VOA_WASH, LONDON or TROP-AFR for african tropical band channels),
the number of the memory page and a triangular indicator, which memories are
Like in most Sony shortwave radios, You won't find much technical information
in the user's guide. The ICF-SW55 is a double conversion receiver with a
high first intermediate frequency of 55,845 MHz and a standard second i.f. of 455 kHz;
in presence of very strong local signal levels, the dynamic range seems not
to be too strong, so that "ghost stations" and mirrors might appear on some
frequencies. It's indispensable to use a preselector or antenna tuner, when
You connect or long wire antenna. The ceramic filters are of medium quality,
the small 2,7 kHz filter is well suited for SSB and the wide filter can only
be used for free AM channels. For single sideband reception, You can choose
the sidebands, the small tuning steps are useable to listen to some maritime
and amateur radio communications, they are too wide to operate the receiver
properly in connection with a radioteletype converter.
The ICF-SW55 has no synchroneous detector integrated.
With four UM-3 batteries, the SW55 has an audio output of 400 mW, the batteries
last a mere seven hours.
The ICF-SW55 is a portable shortwave radio with a quite unique design, it has
some very useful features like the graphic world time clock and alphanumeric
memory tags, but also some weakness, as performance on the shortwave is converned,
on my eyes, the Sony ICF-2001D / ICF-2010 is the better receiver, this is
partly due to it's AM-Sync mode.
© Martin Bösch