Manufactured by Sony Corporation, Tokyo.
Some receivers are simply rare, so sometimes you can bid on an little known set at an online auction and find an absolute bargain.
The Sony TFM-8600W was probably built in the late seventies, the receiver covers the FM broadcast band, medium wave, longwave for receiving radio beacons and the aeronautical radio band.
- 250 x 70 x 170 mm, weight 0.5 kg
The Sony TFM-8600W has the shape of a small travel radio. The carrying handle can be folded to the front to operate the set in a tilted position. The set measures 25 x 7 x 17 cm (in horizontal operation position, w x h x d) and has a weight of about 500 g. The receiver is powered 4 UM-2 batteries. It also has a connector for an external power supply (originally, it was a Sony AC-70W).
At the top left of the front panel are the rotary controls for volume and tone, below them a push button for dial illumination, when its ring is turned the battery voltage is indicated, to the right of it the main switch.
The largest part of the front panel is taken up by the S-meter and the frequency dial. As found in the ICF-5900W and the CF-950S cassette recorder, the TFM-8600W has a film dial that is moved vertically behind a pointer line when the set is tuned.
To the right is the tuning knob, next to it a knurled knob for setting the RF gain or, in FM mode, the squelch treshold; the level is indicated in a small window. To the right of the tuning knob, the band range is also displayed in a small window, it is set with a rotary switch on the right face of the set. A small switch activates the automatic frequency correction AFC, which is also only active in FM mode.
The telescopic antenna is located on the top of the set. Small jacks are used to connect earphones or a tape recorder, and right next to them an external 6V power supply can be connected. At the rear side, there are three screw terminals for connecting an AM / FM antenna and earth.
After the first familiarisation, the TFM-8600W is easy to operate. In the FM and MW positions of the band switch, which is located on the right face of the unit, the receiver can be tuned normally in the mediumwave or FM broadcast band.
In the AIR position, the set receives the amplitude modulated aeronautical communications transmissions operating in the VHF range on frequencies slightly above the FM broadcast band. Signals can be picked up coming from aircraft and also from nearby airports. Since these transmissions usually are brief, the squelch control can be used to suppress the tiring hiss during transmission pauses: On a known aeronautical radio channel, the squelch control is turned up carefully until the background hiss disappears. As soon as the transmitter is active, the message becomes audible.
In the BEACON position, the radio is set to receive aeronautical long-wave beacons, which are used for aircraft navigation. Due to the directional ferrite antenna, the direction of the long-wave beacon can be located. The signal is tuned to, then the RF gain is set to a medium S-meter deflection using the DF Level (direction finding level) control. If the ferrite antenna or the longitudinal axis of the receiver points in direction of the beacon, the signal reaches a minimum. By turning the TFM-8600W, the direction can be „zeroed out“ while observing the S-meter. The fact that European long-wave broadcasting stations can also be received in the BEACON range is not of importance anymore, as most of them ceased operation; in the receivers's area of origin as well as in the USA, the long-wave frequency range was mainly used for radio navigation.
The TFM-8600W as a special receiver for aviation enthusiasts was already a niche product at the time of its development. I could imagine that especially aircraft enthusiasts (who spot aircraft at the end of the runway in Zurich - Kloten end check for exotic registrations) would like to follow the flight with a classic set. In contrast to the common wideband or scanner receivers or the Sony ICF-2001D in the international version with aeronautical radio band coverage, the Sony TFM-8600W certainly leaves a special impression.
Single conversion superhet, analogue technology.
The set is equipped with semiconductors.