Sony ICF-5500M, "Captain 55"
Manufactured by Sony Corp., Tokyo.
In the 1970s, Sony launched a series of travel receivers in portrait format, the Captain 55 and the somewhat larger Captain 77 were both single conversion sets, the ICF-5900W had a similar format, but as a double conversion superhet it had a completely different operating concept.
There are also counterparts to the „Captain“ series sets among the receivers from Panasonic and other Far Eastern brands.
The set was sold in two variants:
- ICF-5500M UK: IF 468 kHz
- ICF-5500M AEP: IF 455 kHz
it is based on a similar Japanese set:
- ICF-5500: Japanese variant covering MW, SW 3.9-12 MHz and FM 76 - 90 MHz, on FM low power transmitter.
- 180 x 210 x 65 mm, weight 1.5 kg
Sets like the ICF-5500 / Captain 55, with its somewhat military design, influenced the appearance of travel receivers in the 1970s.
With its dimensions of 18 x 21 x 6.5 cm, the Captain 55 is still a quite large travel receiver compared to todays standards.
The controls are arranged in an unusual way typical for early Sony sets. In the left upper corner of the front panel above the large speaker grill, a slider control for the volume control, two knobs for bass and treble and two switches for loudness and dial illumination are located.
The film dial is moved vertically behind the pointer, the tuning knob is located on the right face of the radio. Below the frequency dial the analogue S-meter is located; to the left, you find a small window for the remaining time of the mechanical sleep timer.
On the top face of the receiver, the retractable telescopic antenna pops out at the push of a button. Next to it, you find the main switch, the knob for the 60 min. sleep timer and two more toggle switches to set the instrument as S-meter or battery indicator and as AFC and DX/LOCAL switch.
On the right face, below the tuning knob, there is the rotary band switch and a compartment for the earphone.
On the left face, the connectors for a mains adapter headphones, tape output, line in jacks are located. On the back of the unit are screw terminals for the external antenna and earth connection.
Due to its size, the Captain 55 is not necessarily suitable for air travel, but it is a good sounding set for holidays, in the workshop or around the house. It does allow shortwave reception, but it is only sufficient to receive the major international shortwave services, there is no BFO for CW reception.
Single conversion superhet in analogue technology.
The set is equipped with semiconductors.