Manufactured by Sony, Tokyo.
In 1993 Sony released a small format analogue travel radio in a series of other sets. The ICF-SW15 is not the most ambitious receiver but is an example of the performance that can be achieved from a carefully designed analogue portable.
- 160 x 95 x 33 mm, weight 0.4 kg
The Sony ICF-SW15, with dimensions of 160 x 95 x 33 mm and a weight of 400 g, fits in any pocket. The design of a portable world band radio, with the speaker located on the left side of the front panel and the vertical bandspread dials on the right side, has probably been copied many times… After all, Sony can state that it it was the inventor of the design, the ancestors have been the ICF-4900 or the ICF-7600.
Three UM-3 / AA batteries are required to power the set.
The left half of the front is taken up by the loudspeaker. Most of the right half of the front panel is taken by the vertical band spread dials for the 49, 41, 31, 25, 19, 16 and 13 m shortwave bands. In the slit-shaped dial on the far right, you can see the pointer for medium and ultra-short wave.
The band selectors for FM, MW and SW are located below the frequency dials. Pressing one of the band range selector button turns the receiver on, a small red dot identifies the active range. The desired shortwave band is selected with the slide switch; a small yellow marker in the window below the frequency dial, which is only visible at second glance, indicates the active shortwave band. Pressing the turquoise-green OFF button switches the ICF-SW15 off, the LOCK slide switch on the right above the VHF button blocks all controls and prevents the ICF-SW15 from being switched on accidentally in your luggage… The small red TUNE LED, which is typical for this receiver category, serves as a rudimentary field strength indicator.
The volume control, the tone control switch as well as the headphones and the power socket have been moved to the left face of the unit. The tuning knob on the right face gives a backlash-free tuning, the dial marks on short wave are 100 kHz apart.
The operation of the small Sony set is completely uncomplicated: the set was designed for customers who appreciate a set that is easy to operate. It is switched on with the range keys, for example with SW, the slide switch in position 1 activates the 49 m band, search for a station and set the volume to the optimum level. With the analogue receiver, a station must be identified by the language and the programme. The station identification is usually transmitted before the news, or you might hear an old-fashioned interval signal.
The set cannot receive radio amateurs or telegraphy / radio teletype services because it cannot demodulate SSB signals, off-band frequencies cannot be tuned. I personally prefer sets with PLL synthesiser and digital frequency display, i.e. a set from the family of the ICF-7600D or ICF-SW7600G, especially since their dimensions are similar. In terms of performance, the ICF-SW15 stands out from the many similar sets with analogue dials - in contrast to many Chinese sets even the Grundig sets of the latest generation manufactured in the Far East, the Sony set is a real performing shortwave receiver.
Double conversion, analogue technology
The set is equipped with semiconductors.