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Sony Corporation, Tokyo

ICF - SW 77

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überarbeitet am 30.10.2010

The ICF-SW77 has been presented to the public in Germany at the occasion of the Ham Radio 1991, the set could be ordered after Sept. 1991, but when it turned out, that the receivers suffered from poor performance specially of the AM-Sync detector, it has been withdrawn. Sony started to sell the improved version in early 1992.
The receiver exists in four variants:
Version 1: AM 150 - 29'999 kHz, FM 76 - 108 MHz
Version 2 (for Germany, Austria, Scandinavia): AM 150 - 29'999 kHz, FM 87,5 - 108 MHz
Version 3 (for Saudi Arabia): AM 150 - 285 / 531 - 26'100 kHz, FM 87,5 - 108 MHz, no SSB mode!
Version 4 (for Italy): AM 150 - 285 / 531 - 1'602 / 3'850 - 26'100 kHz, FM 87,5 - 108 MHz

Double conversion superhet

Digital display, 100 Hz

AM, AM-Sync, LSB / USB, FM (VHF)

Selectivity -6 dB/ -60 dB

Sensitivity

162 frequency memories, alphanumeric labels, LCD bar graph signal strength indicator, clock, timer
Bedienungsanleitung Sony ICF SW-77 User's Manual Sony ICF SW-77

The Sony ICF-SW77 as a successor to the very popular ICF-2001D is a shortwave receiver with a quite futuristic design and has been Sony's flagship in the portable shortwave receiver range for a few years. The receiver is 27,6 x 17,3 x 4,7 cm wide and has a weight of 1,5 kg with the four UM-2 / baby cells inserted. A fold out plastic stand at the back to bring it to a slightly tilted position for easier operation.
The number of different features and functions is too complex to be completely dealt with, here. So You might have a look to the owners manual before You turn on the radio. The speaker is located at the left part of the front panel.
At the right, You find two large liquid crystal displays, the upper one is used for the clock functions, the one below for status of radio functions, frequencies and memories. The keys S1 - S5 give access to memories.

The round keys under the lid at the top face of the receiver are used to control the different possibilities of the world time clock, to set the local time and the difference to a second time zone and select, which of the times will be displayed. A mechanical sliding table will give You an idea about time in different timezones and where You can expect daylight and night, so You can get an idea about the propagation conditions.

The switch in the right 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 thee sleep timer, lock the keypad and set the radio to timed operation.
The black rectangular keys just below the frequency display are used to organize the memory contents: the total of 162 memories can be accessed from 20 pages, each with 5 station memories accessed by the S1 - S5 keys, each of which can be filled with up to ten frequencies. A alphanumeric label can be attached to each frequency memory, quite a large number is preprogrammed from factory but can be altered (in contrast to the ROM table on the Grundig Satellit 500).
Use the PAGE +/- keys to navigate through the memory pages. Two "memory pages" act as QUICK PAGES 1 and 2 to store Your favourite frequencies, another one as TIMER PAGE TP to store the frequencies and times for automated timer controlled reception.
You can store the operation time of a station individually on it's parallel frequencies and later, You can recall that station name from memory and the receiver tries to locate the best frequency active in the moment automatically.

AIn the right lower corner, You find the thumbwheel tuning knob, a small sliding switch is used to lock the tuning mechanism and a pushbutton to switch between the tuning steps 50 Hz and 1 kHz.
The numbered keys next to the AM and FM keys are used for direct frequency entry: To set the receiver to 6155 kHz, set the radio to AM mode and press 6 - 1 - 5 - 5 - EXE, use the main tuning knob to tune the radio a little bit up or down.
Use the leftmost round keys below the frequency display to select the wide or narrow bandwidth, the SSB button toggles between AM / USB / LSB/CW and the SYNC button between SYNC-U, SYNC-L (synchroneous detector locking on the carrier and playing the upper or lower sideband informations, only) an standard AM mode without SYNC.

At the receiver's right small face, You find the sliding volume control and two separate small rotary controls for bass and treble.
All connectors for earphones, a cassette recorder or an external center positive power supply are located at the left small face of the radio.

Like in most Sony shortwave radios, You won't find much technical information in the user's guide. The ICF-SW77 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 the FM mode, it acts as single conversion receiver with an i.f. of 10,7 MHz.
With four UM-2 batteries, the SW77 has an audio output of 400 mW, the batteries should last twelve hours for AM reception and 20 hours for FM reception.

The ICF-SW77 is the last "big" portable shortwave radio made by Sony, it has some very useful features, but is quite difficult to operate and to program with all transmission times on several parallel frequencies, all the alphanumeric tagging with the tuning knob. In contrast to the ICF-SW55, the SW77 supports only tags with six letters.
In some difficult reception conditions, it would be much easier to find one button for AM, une for USB, one for LSB, and one for the wide and the narrow bandwidth filter.
Some useful features to improve reception are lacking, a passband tuning, notch filter or even a manual R.F. gain control are absent - You come back from Your spaceship expectations and find, this is a consumer grade and not a semiprofessional radio.
But - sensitivity is very good and the selectivity of the i.f. filters seems to be slightly better then with the ICF-2001D: the ICF-SW77 is a very good shortwave receiver!

And the last bottom line: in case You get one, make sure all functions are working properly, Sony had some problems with ageing and leaking miniature capacitors in their lately designed receivers.

weitere Lektüre:
d: Sony ICF - SW 77, Joachim Salisch, Jürgen Bast & Uwe Bräutigam, kurier 9/1992
e: Sony ICF SW-77, R. Netherlands receiver test

© Martin Boesch 12.11.2010