Sony Corporation, Tokyo
ICF - SW 800
überarbeitet am 30.10.2010
In 1989, Sony brought a shortwave travel radio with a quite unique operation
scheme: It was the time when receivers like the Grundig Satellit 500 or the
Sony ICF-SW55/77 featured an alphanumeric display to indicate the station's name
instead of only it's transmitting frequency - to help the technically unexperienced
user to tune in to his favourite shortwave stations. All these alphanumeric indicators
had to be programmed (manually, then You have to do the job which will mean, You need
quite some experience - or by factory, which means, You cannot alter the fixed
The Sony ICF-SW800 comes with a dark grey plastic cabinet with rounded edges, some people might find the external appearence stylish, in some other's eyes, the set just looks like a cheap radio for kitchen or camping use. At least, the receiver does definitely not look like a high tech world band radio.
The dimensions of the receiver are 19 x 11,5 x 4,5 cm and it's weight is around 300 gm.
The ICF-SW800 is powered from three UM-3 / AA batteries or an external center - negative
power supply. On the rear face, it has a fold-out plastic stand and can operated in
a slightly tilted position. The telescopic antenna cannot be hiddein inside the cabinet,
but it's fully rotable, there is no provision of an external antenna connector.
The speaker is located at the left half of the front panel. The main switch has
a mechanical lock to prevent inadvertend switching on of the radio during transports.
It has a OFF, STANDBY (receiver acts as an alarm clock) and ON position.
At the right small face You find the slot for the memory cards, an EJECT pushbutton and a thumbwheel volume control. The memory cards not in use can be stored in a compartment at the back of the receiver.
The operation scheme of the ICF-SW800 is uncomplicated: Set the sliding switch in the
right upper corner to "on". Insert the card "Deutsche Welle" and touch the fields DW 1 to DW 8
to recall frequencies typically used by Radio Deutsche Welle. When You press key 6, the display
should read "6075 kHz CARD PRESET2" and You should hear the signal coming from Cologn in
the speaker (at least this one is still active in 2010, most of the other preprogrammed
freqencies are not).
The clock card is used to enter the local time or the alarm clock time, just press the TIME key followed by HOUR + or - and MINUTE + or -.
The ICF-SW800 is not a real champion on the bands: sensitivity and selectivity is
fair, You cannot evade interference from an adjacent channel by just tuning the
radio 1 or 2 kHz low, there are no selectable i.f. filters and the set has no BFO to
receive CW or single sideband transmissions.
© Martin Bösch 22. Aug. 2004 / transl. 13.11.2010