Manufactured by Sony Corp., Tokyo.
As a smaller brother of the CRF-230, Sony launched a somewhat smaller portable receiver in the late 1960s, nine shortwave broadcast bands are covered, in addition to long- and mediumwave and a tropical bands range. In these 600 kHz wide shortwave ranges, the CRF-160 acts as a double conversion superheterodyne.
The Sony CRF-160 is a double conversion superhet in a quite bulky cabinet. The radio with its dimensions of 34 x 27.5 x 14.4 cm set has a weight of 7 kg. It can be operated from 110 or 220 V mains power or with 6 large UM-1 mono cells.
The front panel of the Sony CRF-160 consists of three parts: the speaker grille at the top, the dials and tuning knobs in the middle and all the controls in a bottom part.
The main switch is located at the bottom row of controls at the left, next to the headphone jack. Next to it you find the RF gain control, the outside ring of the double control operates the BFO, followed by the volume and tone controls and the switch to select one of the two IF bandwidths. The range selector buttons are reminiscent of the pushbuttons of domestic radios from the fifties; the SW2-SW10 button activates the turret tuner with the spread shortwave ranges.
The wavebands covered are the FM broadcast band 87.5-108 MHz; MW 530-1605 kHz; LW 150-400 kHz; SW1 1.6-4.5 MHz and the double conversion ranges SW2 4.7-5.3 MHz; SW3 5.8-6.4 MHz; SW4 7.0-7.6 MHz; SW5 9.5-10.1 MHz; SW6 11.6-12.2 MHz; SW7 15.0-15.6 MHz, SW8 17.5-18.1 MHz; SW9 21.4-22.0 MHz; SW10 25.5-26.1 MHz. Out-of-band frequencies in the shortwave range are not covered.
In the middle front panel part are the pilot light for mains operation and a small rotary knob to calibrate the shortwave band dials, below the S-meter are the switches for dial illumination and the AFC which is only effective in the FM broadcast band.
The shortwave band selected with the turret tuner is displayed at the top of the middle dial window; within the 600 kHz segments, tuning is linear. After the dial is calibrated using a station transmitting on a known frequency, the calibration marks allow a frequency to be estimated with an accuracy of less than 25 kHz, the accuracy is not sufficient for a reliable frequency determination of stations in the 5 kHz channel spacing.
Below the spread shortwave ranges are the dials for the tropical band range 120 - 75 m, the medium and longwaves, here the dial accuracy is poor to sufficient. The upper tuning knob is used for tuning in the AM ranges, the lower tuning knob for the FM broadcast band. The large rotary switch for operating the turret tuner is located on the right face of the set. Similar to switch in old Grundig „Satellit“ radios, it gives a good „switching feeling“, although some effort is required.
The operation is not a challenge: switch the radio on, select the spread shortwave ranges with the SW2-SW10 key, select the desired band with the turret tuner, tune to the frequency, adjust the volume - done. At my first tests in the 60 m band, RN Bata and R. Burkina came in immediately. First I had to switch on my big Telefunken receiver to be sure I was not listening to a mirror signal and the transmission was really coming from Africa…
Single conversion from LW up to SW1, double conversion SW2 - SW10, analogue dial.
The set is equipped with semiconductors.
The CRF-160 was probably developed by Sony in the late sixties. Two variants can be distinguished: