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ICF - 2001D / ICF - 2010

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überarbeitet am 30.10.2010

The first microprocessor controlled travel shortwave radio ICF-2001 introduced by Sony in the year 1980 initiated a revolution in shortwave travel radio design. A high performance set had not anymore the size of a 6 - 10 kg suitcase with a carrying handle, but it came in a pocket book siced cabinet and looked like a giant pocket calculator. The ICF-2001 was the first shortwave travel radio featuring direct frequency keypad input together with several electronic memories and a liquid crystal frequency display.
The ICF-2001D (called ICF-2010 outside Europe) was the successor of this successful set and was improved in several ways to make nearly the perfect shortwave travel portable for many years. In the similar size cabinet, it was a completely redesigned shortwave receiver with very high sensitivity, good selectivity, a synchroneous detector for automated ECSS reception, a large number of memories, scanning functions, a clock with timer - an in some (non European) variants, it also covers the VHF Air Band.

Double conversion superhet

Digital display, 100 Hz

AM, AM-Sync, USB, LSB, FM (VHF), AM (Air Band)

Selectivity -6 dB/ -60 dB

Sensitivity
AM < 1uV, SSB < 0,5 uV

RF gain, attenuator,

32 memories, digital clock with timer

The Sony ICD-2001D (or ICF-2010 outside Europe) is a portable all wave receiver, it's dimensions are 29 x 16 x 5,5 cm and the weight 1,75 kg, similar to the weight of a decent german - english dictionnary. It can be powered from three UM-1 / mono cells or a external 4,5V (!) power supply. A special voltage converter adaptor has been sold to power the radio from a car battery.
A tiny green main power switch at the set's left small face prevents the radio to be switched on during the transport in the suitcase. Only when this switch is in the ON position, You can power up the ICF-2001D with the main switch in the left part of the front panel, just above the speaker grille. Otherwise or when the batteries are eshausted, You get an ERROR3 message to indicate, the radio has no sufficient power supply. A little pushbutton below the main switch is used to activate the power consuming display illumination for a few seconds.
The left liquid crystal display does indicate the actual clock time (or the timer activation or sleep timer settings), the slightly bigger right liquid crystal display the reception frequency with a resolution of 100 Hz, the reception mode and bandwidth filter setting. The signal strength indicator is a chain of very small red LEDs, another two tiny LEDs indicate whether the receiver has selected the upper or lower sideband in ECSS / AM Sync. mode.
The main tuning knob is located at the right small face of the receiver and is easy to operate. It can be used not only to tune the receiver, but also to change the clock time (just press the TIME SET pushbutton), a switch just below permits to select a fast or slow tuning speed or to LOCK manual tuning completely.
The tuning control is realised in form of a sliding control, another sliding control for the R.F. gain control and a tiny tone control switch is also located at the radio's right small face.

Many critics gave a negative statement about the many keys found on the ICF-2001D frontpanel. I try to give You a survey over the most important functions: Direct frequency entry is made very easy with the ICF-2001D: Just press 6 - 1 - 5 - 5 - Execute and there You are: Radio Austria from Vienna comes from You speaker, if You enter a frequency out of the frequency coverage of the set, You will find Yourself confronted with a ERROR1. The 32 keys in four rows are used to access the receiver's frequency memories, press the small black ENTER button and of the memory keys to store a frequency (with reception mode and IF bandwidth) in memory and the same memory key again to recall it. I like this arrangement to press one single knob to recall a frequency from the radio's memory: I have stored groups of interesting frequencies (stations from 90m, 60m tropical bands and "locals from Brazil" one one row each, so it's very comfortable to search through a range of interesting frequencies. Some people prefer having to key in frequency memory channel numbers to access the content... By pressing the blue coloured SHIFT key, You can access the shortwavebands marked in blue directly, four example by pressing SHIFT-c3, you arrive at the 25 m shortwave band. The three bright keys at the left are used to control the scan functions, the upper and lower edge frequencies are selected by pressing the blue SHIFT button together with the respective SCAN button.
The three white buttons AIR, FM and AM select the AM range (everything von 150 kHz - 30 MHz), the FM broadcast band and the VHF AIR band for ground-air and air-air communications in the VHF range. The German variant of the ICF-2001D comes without air band coverage due to frequency restrictions by the FTZ, make sure on which variant You place Your bids in online auctions.
At the right of the band selector keys, You fand the reception mode keys for the AM bands: You can select from AM, USB, LSB and AM-Sync. In the AM-Sync mode, the receiver operates in automatic ECSS mode, in poor propagation conditions, a receiver generated carrier signal is synchronized automatically with the faint carrier of the distant signal and You can select the upper or lower sideband by slightly detuning the receiver, so You can eliminate intference from an adjacent channel carrier.
At the left small face, You find the 3,5 mm jack for an external antenna (sometimes omitted in the German variant), the attenuator switch, the jacks for a cassette recorder, earphones and the external power supply and the main power switch as mentionned above.

In practical use, I'm still feeling quite enthousiastic about the performance of well aligned ICF-2001D, even when operaten from the telescopid antenna. The performance is even better with a 15 - 20 m long wire antenna connected via an antenna tuner - I found the FRT-7700 perfect for that kind of job, without the antenna tuner, the broadband signal from the long antenna gives You to high signal levels whicht might cause overloading and at least to much unnecessary noise. With my Sony ICF-2001D, a Yaesu FRT-7700 and a 20 m antenna in the low QRM situation of our cottage in the alps, I could receive stations difficult to hear at home with my high end receivers, from NBC in the tropical bands to LRA36 Radio Nacional Arcangel San Gabriel from the Antarctic.
The PRE-1 from the ADDX is said to operate perfectly together with the ICF-2001D, as well as the Grahn magnetic loop antenna. All these low signal level / low amplification antennas are the far better solution then Sony's own high amplification AN-1 active antenna which was sometimes sold together with the ICF-2001D.
The receiver front end FETs are said to blow in the presence of strong statics from a nearby thunderstorm on a long antenna, I have always unplugged my wire antenna and never had a problem; im american publications, there was the recommendation to go and by just a 10 pcs. pack of replacement transistors.
The selectivity of the WIDE AM filter is not good enough to separate two stations with 5 kHz channel spacing, use the NARROW AM filter for better results, or even better: use the AM-SYNC mode and select the sideband with less interference. The AM-SYNC mode found on the ICF-2001D is in my eyes one of the best found in a portable set ever, it locks quickly and the results are brilliant. So if You want to hear Radio Globo on 11805 and You have some interference from 11800 kHz, use the SYNC mode and tune to 11805,1 kHz, the receiver will lock after a very short noise and the USB LED will be lit, when You tune the set further down to 11804,9 kHz, is switches to LSB and the interfering carrier signal will be quite annoying. But this would be the way, when You encounter inference from an adjacent channel 5 kHz higher.
One slight problem is the minimal tuning step width of 100 kHz for the use with a CW or SSB converter, the ICF-SW77 has smaller tuning steps as a perfect remedy.
All the memory, bandscanning and clock/timer functions make the operation scheme very comfortable, the ICF-SW77 is even better with it's capability of alphanumeric memory channel labelling. But in contrast to many modern tabletop receivers, You can read the reception frequency and the time at the same moment without switching the display.
The only features lacking in comparison to compact tabletop receivers are passband tuning and a notch filter for further improvement of a poor quality shortwyve signal, but no one of Sony's radio built for the home market comes with these features.
The Sony ICF-2001D respectively its american variant ICF-2010 has been sold as new for a very long time, but now, even Universal Radio run out of stock. From my point of view, it even surpasses the later ICF-SW77 as far as sensitivity, intelligibility of poor signals and performance of the synchroneous detector are concerned. So some american hams recommended to buy a second '2010 to keep as a reserve receiver, in case Your favourite portable quits service. I have been lucky to find a second set on the used market, I have no intention to sell it...

weitere Lektüre:
d: Badewanne und Schuhkarton: Erfahrungen mit dem Sony ICF 2001 D und ICF SW-77, R.D.Wiedenmann, kurier 4/96
d: Sony ICF-2001D - teures Spielzeug oder ernstzunehmender Empfänger ? J.Bast, kurier 17/86
e: a Review of the Sony ICF-2010, Kent Willis, SPEEDX 2/90
e: ICF 2010 /2001D, R. Netherlands

© Martin Bösch