Sony ICF-SW20

Manufactured by Sony, Tokyo.

The ICF-SW20, released in 1989, is an analogue miniature receiver, it has almost the dimensions of an ICF-SW1 (or the Panasonic RF-9L).

Sony ICF-SW20

Technical data

Power supply


  • 117 x 73 x 28 mm, weight 0.2 kg



Sony's ICF-SW20 is very similar to the ICF-SW15, but it is even smaller: with its 115 x 73 x 28 mm it has the dimensions of a cigarette packet and weighs only 200g; the front panel is similar to that of the ICF-SW15.

Two UM-3 / AA batteries are needed to power the unit.

The left half of the front is taken up by the speaker. Most of the right half of the front panel is taken up 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.

At the bottom right are the band keys for SW, MW and FM. Pressing the band key turns the receiver on, a small red dot marks the active range. The desired shortwave band is selected with the slide switch on the top face of the unit; a dot-shaped yellow mark in the window above the frequency scales, which is only visible at second glance, indicates the active shortwave band. Pressing the turquoise OFF button switches the ICF-SW20 off, the HOLD slide switch blocks the band buttons and prevents the ICF-SW20 from being switched on unintentionally in your luggage… A small red TUNE LED serves as a rudimentary field strength indicator.

The volume control and the tone control switch are located on the left face of the unit. The tuning knob on the right face is backlash-free, the frequency marks are found every other 100 kHz.

In terms of operation, the small Sony is completely uncomplicated: the set was constructed for customers who appreciate easy operation. The set is switched on with one of the range keys, for example with SW, the slide switch activates in position 1 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 programme, the station identification transmitted before the news, or by the old fashionned interval signal.

The set cannot receive radio amateurs or telegraphy / radio teletype SSB transmissions, several off-band frequencies cannot be tuned. The ICF-SW20 competes with the ICF-SW1, which has very similar dimensions. As a PLL synthesiser receiver with many keys, its appearance like a pocket calculator will deter many users - and they will be very happy with the ICF-SW20…

As performance is concerned, the ICF-SW20 stands out from many similar sets with analogue dials - unlike many Chinese sets from the coffee shop, the Sony is a real shortwave radio.

Technical principle

Double duperhet, analogue technology


The set is equipped with semiconductors.

Technical documentation


Further information

en/icf-sw20.txt · Zuletzt geändert: 2021/04/22 15:22 von mb