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Reviews Categories | Receivers: General Coverage | Sony ICF-SW07 Help

Reviews Summary for Sony ICF-SW07
Sony ICF-SW07 Reviews: 8 Average rating: 4.8/5 MSRP: $579.00
Description: World Band Receiver with Pre-Programmed Replaceable EEPROM allowing tuning to major international broadcasters with one button push.
Product is in production.
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2E0SFX Rating: 5/5 Dec 23, 2010 15:11 Send this review to a friend
Fantastic Abroad  Time owned: 3 to 6 months
As of yet not got around to taking my Advanced Licence so can only listen into my fellow Hams whilst Abroad and this is my radio of choice other than the features like alarm clock stereo fm output the ssb resolve with the foldable active antenna is startlingly good and gives me great pleasure listening to my friends hunting DX or just Ragchewing back in Blighty and its so small that i use to take it to work and on the whip listen to a bit of inter G work. Marvellous Radio and at 200 quid 2nd hand well with every penny. Good DX.
N4OI Rating: 5/5 Jun 28, 2008 06:22 Send this review to a friend
Indispensable for Travel!  Time owned: more than 12 months
I frequently travel and the one item I am sure to bring (after my laptop and ID) is my Sony ICF-SW07! My wife and I were in Rome when the lights went out five years ago. I got up early and assumed it was a local problem -- then I listened to the BBC on my SW07 and instantly found the whole country was blacked out! (They blamed it on France.) I am also a ham and let the multiple soft CW notes (from the wide bandwidth) lull me to sleep. Of course, the speaker is marginal in a device this size, but some ear buds fix that. The batteries are inexpensive and last a long time so I never bother to pack the power supply, but the external powered loop antenna is great for those rooms where the whip does not work. So... if you travel and find one of these around --- I suggest you grab it. It is indispensable! 73 de Ken N4OI
AA7FV Rating: 4/5 Nov 12, 2005 08:23 Send this review to a friend
Good, with reservations  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I am pleased with the basic performance - the best I've experienced on any portable, and comparable to or better than many tabletop general coverage receivers.

There are some annoyances in operation.

1. The supplied external loop antenna has a control box that's nearly as big as, and nearly as heavy as, the radio itself. The loop antenna has a nice long cable to its control box, but the cable between the loop control box and the radio is only about 8 inches long. That means, for example, that if you want to sit back in an armchair and tune around, you have to put the control box in your lap as well as hold the radio. A large rubber band to hold the control box together with the radio would be helpful and probably avoid straining the short connecting cable. I can't imagine why they didn't provide a longer cable so you could leave the antenna control box on the table while you pick up the radio to tune it.
Still on the antenna control box; when the radio is powered from its external DC power supply, the control box isn't. The batteries in the control box will last 40 hours, which isn't too bad, but it's a pity the control box doesn't make use of the external DC power when it's available.

2. Tuning across a ham band is not convenient. In SSB mode, there are two tuning steps - 100 Hz and 1 kHz. The 100 Hz is fine for tuning in SSB stations; as you hold down the 100 Hz tuning button the tuning rate is just right for tuning in a station. However, if you want to scan across the band, the 100 Hz step size is too small and it takes too long. Unfortunately, when you push and hold down the 1 kHz button, the radio silently scans automatically until it finds a suitably strong station. This may be fine for the broadcast bands, but it's not what you want for the ham bands. While it's tuning, the radio is silenced. If you want to tune across a ham band to listen to what's there, you can only do it by pecking at the 1 kHz tuning button, 1 kHz at a time. (The 100 Hz step button works well, but is much too slow for tuning across the band.) If you try to tune several kHz a second with multiple pecks per second, if you do it too fast there's not time for the radio to unsilence itself between steps and you hear nothing. It's a pity you can't just hold down the 1 kHz tuning button without the radio being silenced and without automatic scan taking over.
I've found that the best way to tune quickly across a fairly empty ham band is to switch to AM mode, where the step size is 1 kHz/5 kHz. There's the same silencing problem with 5 kHz, but 5 kHz pecks will get you across the band fairly quickly. For all but the weakest signals you can easily detect the presence of a SSB or CW station, and then switch to SSB mode and tune in with the 100 Hz steps. You can also hold down the 1 kHz step and tune nearly as quickly, with the advantage that with 1 kHz steps in AM mode the radio doesn't silence itself between steps.
It's a pity to have to resort to this, though.

3. ROM. Three buttons on the radio, and part of the ROM storage, are reserved just for Deutsche Welle, Voice of America and BBC. I never listen to DW or VOA, and I wish it were possible to use those preprogrammed buttons for other stations. There is place on ROM for other stations, which you can specify when you order a ROM. However, it's inconvenient (too many key pushes - turn radio off, hold down "other" button while stepping an arrow key, then turn radio on) switching between the other stations to find the appropriate preprogrammed frequencies. If you happen to like DW and VOA, it's very nice being able to switch between the two with the single push of a button.
Another minor annoyance is the feature that the frequencies recalled from ROM depend on the time zone you have set. This is fine for "local" stations, but if you want listen to broadcast stations beamed at other regions, you have to mess with the local clock time setting to find them in the ROM. Not convenient.
It's also an annoyance that as supplied the ROM in the new radio is likely out of date (mine was), and you're expected to pay an additional $20 for an updated ROM. The radio should come with a voucher so that at least you can start with an up to date ROM.
In practice none of the above is so bad, since you can just ignore the ROM altogether and store your own frequencies in the "my station" memory areas - up to 120 memory locations.

4. The backlighting. It's nice, but there's no way to keep it on. It automatically dims after 30 seconds. If you're trying to scan around with the radio in dim light, you have to keep pushing the backlight button every 30 seconds.

SUMMARY: For a radio at this price, the above "features" are annoying. The basic engineering is very good, but I think the user interface was designed by someone who never uses a shortwave radio the way I do.
Am I glad I bought it? Yes, definitely. In spite of the annoyances it's a great radio, and I recommend it.
W1MW Rating: 5/5 Nov 4, 2005 09:01 Send this review to a friend
Get one while you can  Time owned: more than 12 months
I will not parrot the other reviews which are on target but will second the motion. This is an excellant little receiver for its size and intended pupose. It is not a replacement for a, larger, more capable radio. For its size the radio is a good performer. The included accessory active antenna is almost a must for SWL. The built-in whip is ok for local broadcast FM and some strong world band signals.

The ROM tuning is a nice feature. At least as of earlier this year updated ROM's were available at $20 from Sony in Japan. You can specify several custom stations to be included when they burn your chip. Be prepared to order an updated chip after you purchase the radio. The last radio production runs were at least two years ago and the ROM will be dated.

All the high end Sony world band receivers have been discontinued as they reduce or eliminate their presence in this market. There are still a handful available from US dealers and a few more from some UK/EU dealers. Pick one up now or you will be limited to the used market.
RADIOFRED Rating: 4/5 Aug 24, 2005 09:01 Send this review to a friend
Nice... but expensive  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
Thankfully, I got a SW07 cheap. It's a very nice radio with good performance but I'm not sure I would have been happy paying full price.

Using the whip, sw sensitivity is quite good but nothing special - equal to the SW100 but no better. The (bigger) 7600GR, for example, is more sensitive in comparison. The supplied active loop can make a big difference to sensitivity but sometimes can add too much noise. Overall, a worthwhile addition, though.

Sync' detector works well - equal to the SW100 but I can't honestly say any better. In general, I find sync' to be an excellent feature. SSB is something I don't really use but it seems fine.

In terms of build quality, the SW07 is nicely built, if a bit 'plasticky' feeling - good but not exceptional. The 7600GR seems more sturdy and durable, whilst the SW100 has a slightly higher quality feel (though the SW100 isn't the most durable radio around). LCD display is very good, with a nice, bright backlight.

Muting on the up/down tuning buttons is minimal with little noticeable delay. Sound quality is reasonable. I'm not too keen on the tone (the SW100 sounds a bit nicer to me) but it does go louder and have less hiss than the SW100. In real terms, both the SW07 and SW100 are pretty poor sounding but, all things considered, they are perfectly clear and good enough for the purpose.

In terms of memories, the SW07 with its unique updateable ROM really shines. Whether the SW07 is worth the new price will really come down to features like this and its small size.

In pure 'radio' terms, the SW07 seems overpriced but its a lovely little radio to carry around.
K3GO Rating: 5/5 May 21, 2005 07:42 Send this review to a friend
Excellent small SWL radio  Time owned: 6 to 12 months
The SW07 was the travel radio I have searched for a while.

The kit contains the radio, earb uds, complete manual, active loop antenna - LP2 that actually works! AC adapter *110VAC, and carrying case. The LP2 only works with the SW07 and requires two AA batteries as well. I seem to get well over 40 plus hours out of a set of batteries out of both pieces and so I never bother with carrying the AC adapter. The adapter is as big as the radio and does work quite well. I simply use batteries as the battery life is excellent.

The alarm clock, Synch detection for AM, decent SSB and wide CW reception make the radio a keeper. The ROM presets are really handy. As I travel around the world when you update the local time, the ROM selects stations on the presets for your time zone. A cool feature. The time zone change also AUTOMATICALLY changes the AM radio step rate to 9kHz a handy feature. You have your own preset button two to stack your favorite list of stations. The alarm clock is two stage and very handy for world traveling. Everything on the radio is aimed at mobility. The Active antenna twists into a figure 8 and collapses into a very small diameter circle in its own travel bag where I place the pre-selector box and spare batteries. The LP2 antenna makes a big difference (especially in Europe) to null out hotel room noise and enhance weak signal reception. It surprised me that it works that well.

The presets operate on the direct key pad for AM (MW Band), FM (Stereo with headphones) 10 presets AM and FM, ROM presets (very handy). ROM presets can be set for hundreds and hundreds of stations ie, Radio Moscow, Australia, Netherlands, China, and on & on that can be added to your fourth preset button. Standard is Personal BBC DW - and select one from huge ROM list. Direct key entry is simple and will resolve to .1 KHz in SSB, (USB, LSB-CW, Synch) or 1 kHz AM and then Synchronous detection which works EXTREMELY well.

The SW07 dual conversion radio provides an excellent listening experience even with the little speaker but especially with the supplied ear buds. I use my traveling noise canceling headphones and a different set of ear phones. Headphone audio is quite good with a NEWS- Voice tone setting MONO and a Music setting expanded bass/treble and enables stereo on the FM band.

This radio replaced my old huge 2010 Sony which was an excellent radio but I used it on the night stand with headphones most of the time, so as not to bother the XYL when I listened and read in the evenings. I am impressed with the selectivity, adjacent image signal over load handling, and reception scanning. The scanning is a nice feature that when coupled with the RF front end variable attenuator you can quickly find programming in foreign countries when traveling. Thus, the scanning actually stops on programs not hotel television hash noises. The internal antennas and whip are usually all you need. The step tuning works smooth and with no pops or clicks. The backlight works fine in the dark to tune the radio but you have to know where the keys are as they are not back lighted.

This radio will be with me on every trip from now and is a definite A+ performer for what it is. An excellent travel SWL Radio alarm clock. You will be greatly surprised at its performance on the telescopic whip antenna or with the LP2. Very much the same as my 2010 performed.

Go look at one and you will buy it ! Its great. Best of luck 73 de K3GO, John.
WDM11A Rating: 5/5 Feb 1, 2005 13:29 Send this review to a friend
Excellent  Time owned: more than 12 months
Of all the SUB-compact portable wordband PLL receivers....I rate the Sony SW-07 as NUMBER 1!!! Easily outperforms the competition (the Sony SW100, Sony SW1S, etc.). Memory station labeling capability, sycnh. detector, periodically updated ROM frequency chip, etc. just to mention a few of it's incredible features (for size). Decent audio (superior to the SW100). Excellent sensitivity, especially on SW when used with the INCLUDED Sony amplified SW antenna (AN-LP2). Excellent materials and workmanship. Unique clamshell design. I rate this radio as the NUMBER ONE travel radio for the serious SW listener. It's super lightweight and compact and yet performs admirably where ever you might roam. A MUST for the serious SW listener who likes to travel "light" and yet desires to bring along a radio that will PERFORM when away from home. (Also a great radio to take to bed...fits nicely under your pillow, has all the "sleep" and "wake-up" timers, etc.) (Mike P - Satellit600)
KG4HUI Rating: 5/5 Dec 16, 2001 15:01 Send this review to a friend
A Very Useful Travel Portable  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
The SW07 package contains the radio itself in a vinyl case, a 120VAC/3V power supply, earbuds, the very detailed manual, and the active LP-2 antenna. This is the same basic antenna as the LP-1 except pre-selection is controlled by the radio rather than by the user.

For me, the SW07 is the the shortwave radio that travels with me. I had a very short list of requirements for a radio that could travel with me anywhere in the world. I wanted a very portable radio, one that would easily fit into my briefcase or carry-on. It should be able to use batteries commonly available; however, it must not be a high-current (battery hog) device. In addition, I also wanted a modicum of performance, so I decided that synchronous side band was a must. It would also be ideal if I did not need to carry a shortwave program guide. I also wanted the radio to double as a travel alarm clock.

Well, this little radio does the trick. It is extremely small and flat and weighs very little. This makes it extremely packable. This radio also allows me to travel without the need for a shortwave program guide. It has the channels for many international broadcasters stored in the replaceable EEPROM. By using the data in the EEPROM and the local clock (to tell the radio where it is in the world), it searches the available frequencies for the broadcaster of choice. There are three buttons dedicated to the BBC, DW, and VOA. The user can select the fourth broadcaster to be on the OTH button, and the choice may be changed at any time. In addition, the radio has 10 MW memories, 10 FM memories, and 80 SW memories.

For my use as a program listener, the radio is quite acceptable. I can always get BBC, Radio Netherlands, and Radio Australia without a hitch. In addition, the radio allows direct frequency entry for those times when I do have access to a shortwave program guide.

For a radio of this size, sound quality is acceptable. The sound is much better with the earbuds. The radio makes an excellent alarm clock and provides just what I need to fall asleep at night. The battery life is acceptable which is important because the AC adapter is only rated for 120VAC.

My only issue was the price since the MSRP is so high; however, some web shopping allowed me to get the radio, including shipping, for about 70% of MSRP.

In summary, I like the radio and am glad I purchased it.

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