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Reviews Categories | Receivers: General Coverage | SONY ICF-2010 Help

Reviews Summary for SONY ICF-2010
SONY  ICF-2010 Reviews: 70 Average rating: 4.7/5 MSRP: $449.95
Description: SW/AM/FM/AIR Portable Communications Receiver
Product is in production.
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You can write your own review of the SONY ICF-2010.

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KQ4KK Rating: 5/5 Aug 18, 2011 09:40 Send this review to a friend
A Mistake  Time owned: more than 12 months
I bought one in 1986. I sold it in 2005. That was a big mistake. Nothing like it in this universe.
K6RAV Rating: 5/5 Aug 17, 2011 22:51 Send this review to a friend
Beloved Warhorse!  Time owned: more than 12 months
I bought my Sony ICF-2010 in 1989 or 1990, when I was doing a lot of shortwave listening and wanted a portable. It is a total workhorse: hook it up to a good antenna, and you can hear some amazing stuff. I caught a lot of great DX on it.

Over the years I have owned a lot of radios, but it's the best of the best, the one I would never consider selling. With all the years and the miles, it's still my favorite for listening. As for all those buttons, well, mostly I've ignored them; some crazy memory scheme that never made sense to me. The wonder of this radio is the sensitivity of the reception, and the reliability of it.

Love it!
W0TNM Rating: 3/5 Aug 8, 2011 06:26 Send this review to a friend
lots of problems  Time owned: more than 12 months
Bought one of these back in the 90's. I previously had owned a 2001 and it worked great till lightening ran in on it. Back to my story, ordered the 2010 from a discount place in NYC. Received it ok, and it played fine. A few days later I was listening to it and it lost all sensitivity except FM. I ended up having to send it to sony for repair. Weeks go by it finally arrives. It works on AM now but no SSB. Back to sony it goes for another few weeks. Anyways this goes on for 6 months. Finally, they called me and told me they were sending me a new one. This one worked correctly and lasted for years. These radios are selective, sensitive and stable. Work good with headphones. What I don't like is the extremely short battery life. Relative low audio output. I personally don't think it deserves all the praise that it got. I finally sold it and replaced it with a Drake SW8. Now thats a super rig..
LA2MOA Rating: 5/5 May 6, 2011 03:17 Send this review to a friend
Still the champion among portables!  Time owned: more than 12 months
I have two of these babies. One ICF-2001D and one ICF-2010. Regarding sensibility and overall performance, there is nothing, and I really mean nothing, that beats the ICF-2001D/2010! This is a communications receiver in a portable package. It's not just an excellent receiver for the average SWL, it's really a portable receiver for the serious DX:er on short- and mediumwave. I recommend installing the Kiwa audio upgrade and the Kiwa wide AM-filter replacement (Blue-dot filter). Furthermore, I recommend Steve Whitt's modification to prevent reciprocal mixing (Get a membership in the European MW-Cirkle, and take advantage of Steve's excellent papers about the 2001D). The final results are stunning. Sadly enough, Kiwa doesn't offer the narrow filter replacement anymore, but don't bother with trying to fit in anything that has a pinout that differs from the original narrow AM-filter. The stock narrow filter is good enough for AM-listening when you use the excellent sync-detector. The stock narrow filter is, however, a bit too wide for SSB or ECSS listening on AM, but since the radio only offers tuning in 100 Hz steps, SSB/ECSS listening is dificult anyway, so a narrow filter replacement, except the one that previously was offered by Kiwa, doesn't help much. Use ste stock filter in AM-Sync mode, the stock 4 kHz filter has good skirts, and you will be amazed by the performance in AM-Sync mode!

Another good thing is to install protection diodes in the external antenna jack. Use 1N4148's or 1N914's for this purpose.

If you ever have a chanse to lay your hands on a ICF-2001D/2010, grab it! You will not be dissapointed!
W7MHZ Rating: 5/5 Nov 29, 2010 02:30 Send this review to a friend
Best Portable Ever  Time owned: more than 12 months
I have owned 2 new and 1 used ICF-2010's over the years. Always a great and reliable receiver to Listen to. I like the air band but it would be nice to have a squelch on that... other than that not much to say except I should have never sold those... Now searching for one last Mint Condition ICF-2010 to buy and keep for ever.
Best DX to you. 73, Paul W7MHZ
KB8DNS Rating: 5/5 Apr 26, 2010 14:42 Send this review to a friend
Review of my second 2010  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
Bought this one from Ebay and the radio was listed as a "tech" special. Apparently the radio was dropped and the AA positive post was broken in a way the computer's power was interrupted. Easy fix and the radio looked like new inside! It is the newer surface mount and SOT type. Good clean up, reattached the keypad face, changed out the DIM led back light, added the diode static protection and replaced the missing antenna. For a price of around 80 dollars! It is a winner and a tad better than my original! Only my ICOM IC-746 is a better receiver...
WF7I Rating: 5/5 Feb 14, 2010 07:15 Send this review to a friend
Wonderful old portable  Time owned: more than 12 months
Bought mine in the late 1980s as a relatively new ham and used it as a station monitor. It has been a great resource and definitely comparable to many ham rigs. I didn't realize how sensitive the performance was and how handy the sync detector was until I started playing with the other portable receivers that were available. It was one of the best purchases I've made in radio.

Recently my unit has developed some signs of old age and the SSB functionality comes and goes. I was thinking of selling it or donating, but have decided to opt for looking into a repair, because I value the radio too much as a piece of history and a collectors item. I wish Sony would produce a worthy successor.
OE3SGU Rating: 5/5 Feb 4, 2010 05:47 Send this review to a friend
a real radio with real knobs  Time owned: more than 12 months
This radio is one of the pieces that will remain in the shack, it is a collectors item and a piece of radio history. I bought mine second hand some years ago and regret not buying one much earlier, when I did much more listening. Easy to use, superb reception and the synchrone detector works nice too. A radio that - even if old - newer radios have to compete with.
KC2TAU Rating: 5/5 Jan 15, 2010 22:08 Send this review to a friend
Does things it shouldn't do...  Time owned: 3 to 6 months

There is very much a reason why these radios still command the prices they do. They tend to do things that you don't expect them to do. This radio was far ahead of the industry when it came out and even today it really hasn't been matched. I have a feeling manufacturers would be unable to justify the per unit cost versus the expected market.

The unit itself is really built with a sense of quality. A fair amount of it is made of plastic but it isn't the sort of plastic you'll be afraid of going brittle on you. All of the buttons feel great and everything just has a great feel to it. You certainly won't get heaps of memory slots like you do get in today's newer portables but it doesn't lack much in terms of timer operation as well as a well engineered scan feature. The radio itself is really something else,technology certainly has advanced over the years but in terms of outright performance this Sony does not show it's age one bit. Overall sensitivity is fantastic though my example did come with a blown Q303 so I replaced it with an MPF102 however I felt sensitivity was not all it could be due to the fact that it was neck and neck with my Eton E5(a very good radio but the Sony should have edged it). I then sourced some 2SK152-2's and installed them and found that the sensitivity certainly had increased and now had little trouble besting the E5. It seems that the gain tolerance for the MPF 102's is quite wide and unless one can hand select them to fit the spec given by Sony they can be a bit of a hit and miss affair. With everything up and running the ability of this radio is staggering. I've compared it to my Icom 703 or Heathkit HW-101 which are connected to a 60ft random wire up about 30ft or so and it is usually within about an S unit of them which is simply fantastic. I can listen to DX on 80m at night with no trouble at all and using it to catch numbers stations or low power shortwave broadcasts is a true pleasure. I use it in conjunction with a homebrew loop made out of a milk crate for LW and at night I have no trouble receiving long wave broadcasts from all over Europe from my location in New York. In summary it really does things you would not expect a radio of it's size to do.

It plays well with outdoor antennas as well,at school I have a 50 or so odd foot random wire antenna at 25ft coming out from my 1st floor dorm and with the 2010 hooked up to it I have a lot of fun DX'ing transatlantic MW stations. It takes a lot to overload this radio and when it does occur the two step attenuator works well at reducing the signal level down to a level that the front end can work with. The RF gain slider is also very handy when trying to find the best signal to noise level. Overall tone quality is just fine thanks to the 3 selection tone switch and,like most say,the narrow filter is a bit muffled but it really does help cut down on adjacent signals. The wide filter I know a lot of people replace but when conditions are right so that you don't get any whistling from adjacent stations the wide filter's fidelity is really fantastic. I plan on keeping mine because if I really want to fiddle about with filter settings I'll just run the 2010 into something like a Timewave DSP.

The sync detector does a wonderful job at both cutting down QRM as well as helping with fade. I use the sync nearly all the time when doing LW and MW DX'ing as it definitely helps with reducing the noise floor as well as adjacent splatter. It also does a good job at digging signals out of the mud on shortwave when they're right on the noise level.

It does relatively well on 3 D cells,just don't spend long amounts of time with it playing on high volume through the speaker. The included AC adapter is noise free and works just fine. The only real pickle with this radio is servicing as it all comes apart and goes back together easily enough but there are a few things that you NEED to know when working on this radio.

1) The wires from the AM and LW loop stick are extremely fragile and will break if you put too much strain on them. They can be soldered back together but it is a fiddly job.

2) The ribbon cables that connect the main board to the keypad are a bit temperamental as they need to be seated all the way in their slot for proper operation. In addition the sliders that hold the ribbons into their slot are very delicate and must be treated with extreme care.

3) Soldering in a 2010 is tight quarters and the pads will lift with little encouragement if you put too much heat on it so use a low wattage iron and don't apply heat for too long to the pads.

4) Be careful when tightening down the main board,tighten down the screws to the point where either it begins to feel snug(tighten to snug and not to tight!)or when the board starts to bend,whichever comes first. If the board starts to flex then back off until it returns to being straight.

5)Move slowly when handling the main board as the small brown wire that is attached to the top of the board can easily break free.

6)If something won't move,do *not* force it as the plastic parts,although tough,are still plastic and can break if you try and force them.

7)Remember when you're putting everything back together to put the tone,RF gain and volume slides that are on the main board to their lowest position and then set the sliders that are on the plastic chassis to the same position. I cannot recall how many times I have put the radio back together and have had one of the sliders in the wrong place so the two switch surfaces were not mated up and thus would not move.

8)Perform the diode mod to save your Q303 and 302,it takes only a few minutes and with it you can use your external connection for AM without any fear of static discharge!

9)Tighten everything to snug,don't overdo it and always use small screwdrivers so that you stand even less of a chance of creating too much torque.

I hope these tips help,this radio is logically put together and thus everything is there in front of you but there are a few quirks about if that you should learn to save you some time in servicing it. Just be careful,work slowly and you'll be fine!

What do I think of this radio? It is a true friend to me and has served me well so far and I will never part with it. Even though I've only had it for about 6 months it feels like I've had it for years. It's been around for quite sometime having been manufactured around 1988 and with the way it is built I do not doubt it'll be around for many many years to come. It continues to surprise and amaze me with what it can do. If you're thinking about picking one up then do not hesitate,you'll have a radio for life!
WB5AGF Rating: 5/5 Aug 15, 2009 21:13 Send this review to a friend
excellent late 1980's portable SW receiver  Time owned: more than 12 months
The Sony ICF-2010 portable shortwave receiver is a late 1980s design that was so good that Sony had trouble discontinuing it.

It isn't a perfect receiver (those are what I used to dream about when going through the AES catalog) but it is very, very close when you add the requirement that it be portable.

Over the years I've read that some 2010s were prone to static induced blowing of the front end transistor and that others had trouble with an unstable coherent AM detector. Thankfully my receiver was OK in both respects (I take care when touching the whip antenna in low-humidity environments).

The 2010 is extremely stable, with the 1980s synthesizer 'chuffing' only a bit when the receiver is tuned (again I've read that some receivers show this to a greater degree than others). If you're going to be listening to a lot of SSB then be advised that the 2010's synthesizer tunes in 100 Hz steps so you'll find that you won't be able to tune some stations exactly as you'd like if you have a very critical ear; a station might be as much as 50 Hz off.

The front of the 2010 is covered with buttons and a lot of them are there because of the (in today's thinking) rudimentary memory channel technique that the Sony Engineers went with in the 1980s. Instead of having dozens (or hundreds) of memory channels, which can be called up with a 'recall' function associated with a 10 digit keypad, many of the buttons on the front of the 2010 are there to recall a single memory channel.

The 2010 has a feature that later top-of-the-line Sony portable shortwave receivers didn't have; it covers the 108 to 136 MHz AM aircraft band. I've listened to aircraft a fair amount and the 2010 works OK.

The 2010 also covers the Low Frequency band below 500 kHz; my success using it there has been very limited.

All things considered the Sony ICF-2010 is an excellent portable shortwave receiver and it is difficult to realize that the design is now over 20 years old.
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