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ICF - PRO80 Air Band Scanner Receiver

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überarbeitet am 30.10.2010

In a very similar "walkie talkie" like cabinet as the AIR-7, Sony presented in the year 1987 the scanning receivers ICF-PRO70 / 80. The ICF-PRO70 did exist in a variant meering the frequency restrictions of most Western European telecommunications administrations, the PRO-80 covering the VHF band never got admitted by the German FTZ.

ICF-PRO80 : 150 kHz - 108 MHz as well as 115,15 - 223 MHz with the VHF frequency converter connected.

Double conversion

Digital frequency display, 5 kHz AM, 50 kHz VHF

150 kHz - 108 MHz and 115,15 - 223 MHz with frequency converter

Selectivity -6 dB/ -60 dB

Sensitivity

Different scanning modes, squelch, 40 memories

The Sony ICF-PRO80 is a handheld scanning receiver covering the VHF range 115 - 223 MHz with the matching VHF converter plugged to the antenna socket. With this, it can be used to monitor Air Band traffic from Your local airport and the 2 m ham band.

The receiver has a similar shape as a walkie talkie, it has the same dimensions as the AIR-7 with 9 x 18 x 5 cm and has a weight of 560 g, add another 120 grams for the converter. Instead of the flexible rubber covered antenna, it comes with a much longer telescopic antenna, the base element of which is covered with yellow plastic. The antenna is plugged into a BNC antenna socket at the top face of the radio.
The radio is powered from four UM-3 batteries, a special Sony accumulator, a specially designed "Car Adaptor" cable or a center - negative external power supply.

At the radio's top face, You find the green coloured pushbutton acting as main switch in the left corner, next to it the volume and squelch control. When the volume control is depressed, it acts as tone limiter, the squelch is in automatic mode, when the squelch button is depressed. With the outside ring of the rotary control at the right, You can selecrt one of the four memory pages with 10 memories each, the inner part acts as fine tuning for the AM andspecially CW / SSB modes. In a back row, You find the antenna BNC connector and the jacks for earphones and tape recorder.

In the upper part of the front panel, You find the liquid crystal display for the frequency display, mode / scanning display and management of the memory channels, in the lower left corner a small red tuning LED.
It is difficult to get a good overview over the keypad if You do not know the radio very well:
The button DIRECT precedes direct keypad frequency entry with the numbered keys, if it's completed with EXECUTE, You will hear the station on the respective frequency or get a "Try again" message in case You have entered a frequency not covered by the receiver.
By pressing the ENTER button in the left lower corner, followed by a numbered key, You enter the active frequency in the receivers memory channel, by pressing the same number key again, the station's frequency is recalled from memory. According to the position of the PAGE selector, You can write the memories in the corresponding memory page (1 - 0 to 9 / 2 - 0 to 9 / etc.), the receiver has a total of fourty memory channels.
The pushbuttons + / - (SCAN) are used to manual tuning the radio starting from the frequency active in the moment. The ICF-PRO80 has no conventional tuning knob.
When the SCAN button (+ / -) is depressed a bit longer, the radio starts automatic scanning, when the button is pressed again, scanning will stop immediately. The stop treshold is depending from the setting of the squelch button. The yellow second function key and the corresponding numbered key let You determine whether You want the receiver to stop scanning at the next signal above squelch treshold (SCAN 1), to continue scanning after a time of two seconds (SCAN 2) or to continue scanning after the carrier of the station is gone off the air (SCAN 3).
To scan a certain frequency range, set the start frequencyy by pressing FUNCTION / DIRECT and the end frequency by pressing FUNCTION / EXECUTE; use the command FUNCTION + 0 to activate the scan mode and start scanning by pressing the SCAN button.
When You press the MEMORY SCAN button, the receiver jumps to the next frequency in memory, when You press the key longer, the receiver starts scanning all available memories. You can even add several memory pages to be scanned after each other by using the key PROGRAM.
While the receiver is active, a priority channel can be monitored continuously, for this tune to the desired frequency and press PRIORITY + memory number simultaneously, the priority frequency is checked for activity every three seconds.

Use the FUNCTION key followed by a corresponding numbered key 4, 5, 7, 8 , 9 to select the reception mode: the receiver has two AM bandwidths and FM-wide (FM broadcast stations) and FM-narrow (utility communications), but only the variant 3 of the ICF-PRO70 is equipped with the NBFM mode. When in SSB/CW mode, the FINE control can be used to adjust the CW beat note or to fine tune the SSB signal for optimal readibility. In the modes AM-W and AM-N, these fine tuning option has to be activated by pressing FUNCTION + 6. In the mediumwave range, the channel selector in the battery compartment should be in the correct position 9 / 10 kHz, 9 kHz is used for the European channel grid and 10 kHz in the Americas.

The VHF frequency converter FRQ-80 is plugged on to the BNC antenna connector. The tiny switch in the battery compartment sould be set to the SHIFT position, after You have installed the converter, You see a symbol [S] on the display. After pressing PROGRAM + DIRECT, this symbol will start flashing, now enter the converter frequency 1 - 1 - 5 - 0 - 0 - 0, press EXECUTE and the correct reception frequency is shown on the radio's display.
With the converter installed, the radio can be tuned as usual. But for direct frequency entry, You alsways have to enter six digits, so You have to enter all following zeros. All memory and scanning operations are available as in standard operation mode.
The converter comes with a - 30 dB attenuator and a R.F. filter for the frequency ranges 115-174 and 174-223 MHz, when in scanning mode, the frequenz 174 MHz should no be trespassed as reception might be impaired according to the filter setting in one or another frequency range.

The little speaker is located at the bottom section of the frontpanel, there is a writing HI SCAN, so You can make the difference to a AIR-7 in an online auction even from a poor image.

The Sony PRO-80 is a AM bands / VHF scanning receiver, due to it's extended frequency coverage, it has not been sold too often in Germany. It might be of good use to monitor the Air Band traffic or the 2 m amateur radio band, but as there are today many handheld scanning receivers with much wider frequency coverage, more memories and alphanumeric memory labelling - the ICF-PRO80 will remain a collector's piece. But it's nice to own a scanning receiver made by Sony...

© Martin Bösch 27. Sept. 2010