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Sony Corporation, Tokyo

Air Band Receiver AIR-7 / AIR-8

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überarbeitet am 1.11.2010

A receiver with a "completely different" design is the Sony AIR-7, a compact receiver covering the air band, it comes in the "look" of a walkie talkie.

AIR-7: AM 150 - 2194 kHz, VHF FM 76-108 MHz, AIR Band 108 - 136 MHz AM, VHF 144 - 174 MHz FM

AIR-8: AM 150 - 2194 kHz, VHF FM 76-108 MHz, AIR Band 108 - 137 MHz AM, VHF 144 - 174 MHz FM


Digital display, 1 kHz AM, 10 kHz VHF

AM 150 - 2194 kHz, VHF FM 76-108 MHz, AIR Band 108 - 136 MHz AM, VHF 144 - 174 MHz FM

AM 150 - 2194 kHz, VHF FM 76-108 MHz, AIR Band 108 - 137 MHz AM, VHF 144 - 174 MHz FM

Selectivity -6 dB/ -60 dB


Scanning modes, squelch, 9 memories

The Sony portable Air Band receiver AIR-7 appeared in 1985, it covers not only the VHF Air band for ground - air / air - air communication but also the FM broadcast band, long- and mediumwaves and a small part of the shortwave spectrum up to 2194 kHz.
The Air band coverage is 108 - 136 MHz in AM (the later Version AIR-8 has a coverage up to 137 MHz), the set covers also the VHF band 144 - 174 MHz in FM, the 2 m ham band, the American weather alert band and some police / fire dept. traffic channels - the receiver can be considered as Sony's idea about a handheld scanning receiver.

The shape of the receiver is similar gto the one of a walkie talkie, the dimensions of the AIR-7 / AIR-8 are 9 x 18 x 5 cm and the weight 500 g. A rubber coated flexible antenna is connected to the BNC antenna jack at the top face of the receiver.
The radio is powered from four UM-3 batteries or a center-negative external power supply.

On the upper face of the AIR-7, You find a green pushbutton, it's the main power switch of the receiver. The small volume and squelch control next to it can be depressed. With the modes switch, the modes AM (LW-SW), FM (VHF broadcast band), AIR (for the AM Air band) and PSB (for the VHF band, covering the 2 m amateur radio band).
Behind these controls, You find the BNC antenna connector and the jacks for headphones and an external AM antenna.

On the upper part of the frontpanel, You find the LCD panel for the frequency display and the memory channel information and in the left lower corner a tiny red tuning LED.
The keypad just below looks a bit crowded:
The pushbutton DIRECT is used to initiate direct frequency entry with the keypad, ater You press the execute button, You should hear the desired station in the speaker. If Your frequency entry is out of the frequency limits of the radio, You will be prompted "Try again".
With a keystroke on ENTER in the left lower corner and a numbered key, the actual frequency is stored on the selected memory channel, when You press the numbered key again, the memory content is recalled.
The pushbuttons + / - (SCAN) are used to tune the receiver manually starting from the actual frequency, the AIR-7 does not have a normal tuning knob.
When You depress the key SCAN (+ / -), an automatic scanning mode is activated, the receiver will stop immediately, when You press the button again. The squelch control position will define the treshold to stop scanning.
When You press the button MEMORY SCAN, the receiver jumps to the next frequency stored in memory, when the button is depressed for a longer time, the receiver starts scanning the memory contents for activity.
The AIR-7 has the capability to monitor a priority channel continuously and other scanning options, have a look at the user's manual for further information.

The tiny speaker is located at the bottom of the front, it carries the designation AIR BAND, so an AIR-7 receiver can be recognized from poor resolution online auction imaged from the similar shaped but technically completely different PRO-70 / 80 receivers.

The Sony AIR-7 is a special receiver for Air Band coverage and will be of interest to those who like to monitor the air traffic of the nearby airport or need the airport weather informations. Because of the frequency coverage - in Germany it has been illegal even to have a radio in Your possession that offered some frequency coverage other then the standard broadcast bands - the numbers of sets sold in Germany probably has been very small, so the radio is not easy to find in Western Europe.
As with other Sony radios from that years, production quality has been very good - so this might be an argument, when You compare prices of modern handheld scanning receivers with hundreds of memory channels and extensive frequency coverage to the vintage Sony set. The AIR-7 is a very nice set to monitor the traffic from Your local airport or even to listen to some music in the FM band during Your holidays.

© Martin Bösch 27. Sept. 2010