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Thread: Small Portable Radio's?

  1. #151
    Flashaholic* kwkarth's Avatar
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    Default Re: Small Portable Radio's?

    Quote Originally Posted by StarHalo View Post
    You just have to look to those places that still value a simple and powerful pocket radio, and the best example would be Japan. Commuters need radios that work under varying conditions, and since Sony is a local company, there's plenty of pressure for an excellent high-quality product. The result is an entire lineup of portable radios that they only sell there; they're quite a lot smaller than what we consider a pocket radio, some feature metal bodies, a few feature an electronic voice that tells you where you are on the dial when switching stations so you don't even have to look down, etc.

    Only a few of these show up in specialty stores that resell Japan-only electronics from time to time, and of those, the most reknown is the SRF-T615, a remarkably small all-digital pocket radio. Despite being 2.1 x 3.5 x 0.5 inches in size, it features a speaker, full stereo out headphone jack, clock with timers/alarms, noise reduction function, and seven memory positions, each with it's own button just like on a car radio. Plus all the controls are on the very top of the radio, so when you put it in your pocket, everything is right there in view/reach.

    The catch of course is the price; it's a full-quality radio crammed into a very tiny form factor, so at $150, you'd better really appreciate radio. I snapped up one of these not long after they were made available and can say much like we flashaholics have the One True EDC, this has been my one true pocket radio, performing right on par with my much larger 7600GR shortwave radio and various car radios. There just isn't anything available in America that really compares. Retail page with pic and stats here: http://www.audiocubes2.com/category/...ket_Radio.html , and here are the aforementioned awesome radios together:

    Awesome radio! Audiocubes is a good company to do business with too, although they're not cheap.
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  2. #152
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    Default Re: Small Portable Radio's?

    Wow, the GE SRIII is finished? There is nothing that will fill that hole.

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    Default Re: Small Portable Radio's?

    Quote Originally Posted by Sub_Umbra View Post
    Wow, the GE SRIII is finished? There is nothing that will fill that hole.
    It was merely renamed the RCA Superadio III, and is still available through a few retailers. While the III is a classic, it still has its share of drawbacks: it has excellent AM DX (distance listening) ability on uncrowded stations, but there is only a wide/narrow switch to assist in picking out crowded parts of the dial. The speaker is excellent for music, but also reproduces high-pitched interference and squeals/heterodynes well too. The analog tuner is usually not calibrated very well, and the overall build quality of the unit is just adequate. Six D batteries mean awesome battery life, but a whole lot of extra weight (not a surprise for a radio nearly the size of an attache.)

    As for alternatives, the ever-present CCRadio is usually reported as being on par reception-wise, with notably better build quality (excluding long-term survival of the display in the old model), but the voice-tuned speaker doesn't do music as well as the SRIII; it's now available in version "2", which early reports note has even better reception than the old model. There's also the Eton S350DL, which is a little closer in form factor to the SRIII, and is probably its closest modern analog, but falls just slightly short in the reception and sound categories.

    It should be noted that if you're interested in DXing specifically, and not just listening to the usual local/powerful stations, the big ferrite antenna alone can only do so much - trying to tune a weak station that's being drowned out by a strong station next to it on the dial means you're left with an indecipherable mess. The aforementioned Sony 7600GR features Synchronous Detection, which can selectively block out the signal above or below your position on the dial; you tune to the mowed-over weak station, turn on Sync, and the strong signal vanishes entirely, leaving the weak station wide out in the open on its own, legible and clear. The Sony on its own isn't as sensitive as the GE/Eton/CC, but you can receive a greater total number of stations on the Sony thanks to the Sync pulling out previously overwhelmed signals.

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    Default Re: Small Portable Radio's?

    Quote Originally Posted by Sub_Umbra View Post
    Wow, the GE SRIII is finished? There is nothing that will fill that hole.
    RCA bought Thompson Electronics from GE, so now the Superadio is made by RCA. I don't have one, but I've read reports that the QC is even worse than it was when GE owned them. Essentially it's the same radio, and if you get a good one, it's just as good. But apparently it's a crap shoot.

    If you've got one, search for and download the service manual and do an alignment - it'll really help. It helped my Superadio III a great deal. I also did the scale fix and it helped a lot too. I couldn't get it to be perfect, but it's a lot better than before. It's a shame I beat it up so much by using it because I think it's more sensitive and selective than all of my other Superadios and Superadio boomboxes. If I could only find the service manuals for them....

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    Default Re: Small Portable Radio's?

    Quote Originally Posted by StarHalo View Post
    ....The aforementioned Sony 7600GR features Synchronous Detection, which can selectively block out the signal above or below your position on the dial; you tune to the mowed-over weak station, turn on Sync, and the strong signal vanishes entirely, leaving the weak station wide out in the open on its own, legible and clear. The Sony on its own isn't as sensitive as the GE/Eton/CC, but you can receive a greater total number of stations on the Sony thanks to the Sync pulling out previously overwhelmed signals.
    If you want to have some DXing fun get a communications receiver and then choose the sideband opposite the strong station which is basically what synchronus detection does automagically. On my TS450SAT I try to use the widest filters possible so the audio is it's best, but when it's bad I select the SSB filters on both the 8.83MHz and 455kHz IFs and I can't even hear the adjacent strong station unless it's splattering. Even then I can shift the IF frequency, tune off frequency a couple of Hz, or enable AIP and really kill the interference. Audio DSP can sometimes clean that up too, but I prefer to use the receiver's features first before resorting to DSP to clean up the signal. IMHO DSP is kind of like using a sledgehammer to drive finish nails. It takes the finesse out of DXing.

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    Default Re: Small Portable Radio's?

    I find that my stock SRIIIs will occasionally reach out for DX neither of my CCradios can quite catch.

    Also, I just like the SRIIIs, warts and all. Such long runtime and so cheap. Cheap enough to use in places where I wouldn't bring a CCradio. It's a great radio at a great price that you don't have to worry about as much as a more expensive radio. That's what I meant.
    Last edited by Sub_Umbra; 10-21-2009 at 10:48 PM.

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    Default Re: Small Portable Radio's?

    Quote Originally Posted by Radiophile View Post
    If you want to have some DXing fun get a communications receiver
    Oh I'd love a serious rackmount or tabletop, but I've never seen one at a costs-less-than-a-PC price..

    Quote Originally Posted by Sub_Umbra View Post
    I find that my stock SRIIIs will occasionally reach out for DX neither of my CCradios can quite catch.

    Also, I just like the SRIIIs, warts and all. Such long runtime and so cheap.
    Reports on SRIII vs CC are about 50% each saying one performs better than the other, hence my generalization. And I agree entirely about the bang-for-buck of the SRIII, it's a lot like the Maglite in that sense..

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    Default Re: Small Portable Radio's?

    Quote Originally Posted by StarHalo View Post
    Oh I'd love a serious rackmount or tabletop, but I've never seen one at a costs-less-than-a-PC price..
    True, they are expensive. If you watch eBay you can get a decent radio for $150 or less - a Radio Shack DX302. They aren't a high end communications receiver, but they are triple conversion with selectable filters and a tuneable pre-selector which really helps with adjacent channel interference. Getting one that's in good alignment is an issue as it seems they were sold out of alignment, but the service manual is available on the internet and it's an easy radio to work on. You can probably find a local Ham who can align it for you if there isn't a radio shop nearby that actually does benchwork. There are web pages dedicated to the DX302 and offer many performance modifications that enhance operation. It's sort of the 80s version of the DX394 in that regard - which by the way is also a great receiver especially when it's modified for better performance.


    Quote Originally Posted by StarHalo View Post
    Reports on SRIII vs CC are about 50% each saying one performs better than the other, hence my generalization. And I agree entirely about the bang-for-buck of the SRIII, it's a lot like the Maglite in that sense..
    Very true! The alignment of the radios compared is probably the reason. A Superadio in good alignment is VERY hard to beat - especially the Superadio I or Superadio II. I tweaked my Superadio III and did a modification to make the narrow selection even narrower and now it beats all of my Superadios and Superadio boomboxes. Bruce Carter has web pages that really help with the Superadio III.

  9. #159
    Flashaholic* kwkarth's Avatar
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    Default Re: Small Portable Radio's?

    Quote Originally Posted by StarHalo View Post
    Oh I'd love a serious rackmount or tabletop, but I've never seen one at a costs-less-than-a-PC price..



    Reports on SRIII vs CC are about 50% each saying one performs better than the other, hence my generalization. And I agree entirely about the bang-for-buck of the SRIII, it's a lot like the Maglite in that sense..
    So, did you consider the 750? It's not an overly serious receiver, but it sports a rotatable ferrite antenna for MW, variable RF attenuation, I think it's dual conversion, but has good selectivity nonetheless. Descent audio, etc.

    Last edited by kwkarth; 10-22-2009 at 09:38 AM.
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    Default Re: Small Portable Radio's?

    Quote Originally Posted by Radiophile View Post
    If you watch eBay you can get a decent radio for $150 or less - a Radio Shack DX302.
    That's a really impressive unit, I hadn't heard of it before; it looks like a happy middle between the basic portable units and hardcore pro receivers, I'll definitely have to look into that one some more..

    Quote Originally Posted by kwkarth View Post
    So, did you consider the 750?
    Yeah, the Grundig is a good unit all around, but once you have sync (or other tuning tools for picking out overwhelmed stations, aside from a wide/narrow switch), you can't live without it.. I'd prefer Grundig's (Eton's) E1, which despite having to provide your own AM antenna, offers an excellent upper/lower/dual sync.

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    Default Re: Small Portable Radio's?

    Quote Originally Posted by StarHalo View Post
    That's a really impressive unit, I hadn't heard of it before; it looks like a happy middle between the basic portable units and hardcore pro receivers, I'll definitely have to look into that one some more..



    Yeah, the Grundig is a good unit all around, but once you have sync (or other tuning tools for picking out overwhelmed stations, aside from a wide/narrow switch), you can't live without it.. I'd prefer Grundig's (Eton's) E1, which despite having to provide your own AM antenna, offers an excellent upper/lower/dual sync.
    I have an E1-XM also and in a number of ways, I prefer using the 750. No question that sync detector is a more advanced way to go, but I have a Sony ICF-SW7600GR as well, and of the three, the 750 for every day use, is more fun and useful for MW DXing. You can pick them up @ HRO for $270.00
    Last edited by kwkarth; 10-22-2009 at 10:35 AM.
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  12. #162
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    Default Re: Small Portable Radio's?

    Quote Originally Posted by StarHalo View Post
    ...Reports on SRIII vs CC are about 50% each saying one performs better than the other, hence my generalization...
    This is interesting. I agree with the 50% figure but it doesn't carry as much weight with me in the comparison of the two radios. Let me explain...

    There are great digital radios (CC being one of them) and they have become very popular and I think that they have been kind of a shot in the arm for radio.

    The counter intuitive part is that they are popular because they have made it so very much easier for novices to go exactly where they want to be on the radio dial. They may take these radios out of the box, plug them in and DX right from the get-go. Of course this is not the case with an analog tuner.

    The usually skewed readout and rebound make it much more difficult and time consuming for anyone of any degree of experience and DXing skill to chase DX with any analog rig. Additionally, some kind of knowledge of the adjacent stations may often be required to find the rare treats with an analog radio.

    No so with PLL. Punch in where you want to go and you go there -- period.

    I don't have a problem with that -- heck, I've got a CC on right now. My point may be partially understood by just reviewing parts of this long, old thread. There are posts by some folks who may not have much experience with radio who ask for advice on good radios. IMO people with limited experience with analog radios are generally far better served in an emergency by a digital set. (The exception perhaps being someone facing extreme price constraints)

    My point is that if a novice buys an SRIII and a CC and compares them 'side by each' he generally won't have the expertise on his end to coax the full performance out of even a stock SRI, II or III that will come close to what he can get out of the CC right out of the box. It is for this reason that I question the real meaning of most review numbers in analog VS digital comparisons.

    Meaning no offense to anyone it is also true that in general, the younger you are the less experience you are likely have not only with analog tuning but also with broadcast radio in general, since the Internet and other factors have it generally trending downwards for the last few decades. With coots my age it's a bit different. My first DXing (both BCB and SWLing) was with an old Halicrafters on the kitchen table and everything I touched for decades after that was analog.

    My current modus oporendi for BCB DX is pretty casual. If I want to hear something on the fringe I punch it up in the CC. That nearly always works. If I get a signal in the right place with the CC but it's too weak to listen to I fire up an SRIII. In that type of case I find that I may often hear enough improvement that it becomes listenable. In those cases I also find the CC very useful for nailing down the freqs of stronger signals near the target which makes it easier to get in the ballpark with the SRIII. Those two radios are great when used together.
    Last edited by Sub_Umbra; 10-22-2009 at 11:36 AM.

  13. #163
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    Default Re: Small Portable Radio's?

    Quote Originally Posted by kwkarth View Post
    I have an E1-XM also and in a number of ways, I prefer using the 750.
    The 750's interface is obviously superior to all the radios listed, making it the clear choice for day-to-day listening, I just wish it had the capabilities of the E1; the big-gun internals should be in the big-gun case..

    Quote Originally Posted by Sub_Umbra View Post
    IMO people with limited experience with analog radios are generally far better served in an emergency by a digital set.
    That's interesting, I've always viewed it the opposite - a layman is better served with a digital set for everyday listening and an analog for emergencies; the dial-it-in simplicity of the digital tuner is great for just picking out the strongest or already-known signals for casual listening, but the added battery drain of the PLL and display circuitry means it's not ideal for an emergency situation (plus the fact that the majority of people wouldn't know what specific station to tune to in an emergency). Whereas the analog tuner takes some browsing to find the relevant stations, but the minimal trickle of energy needed to run it means marathon battery life regardless of the cell configuration.

    My above-photoed Sonys will each do a reasonable ~40 hours on a fresh set of NiMHs; I also own a $12 Coby made-in-wherever shortwave pocket radio, and while it doesn't hold any surprises in reception capability, it can easily do 100+ hours on a pair of AAs. For a non-radio person who just needs to stumble across a local AM station and remain there for a long period of time, without a large store of batteries, the $12 unit has a sound advantage. And don't forget the Sony analog emergency radio way back on page 2 of this thread, two C cells netting over 350 hours..

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    Default Re: Small Portable Radio's?

    StarHalo,

    Your points, as always, are well thought out. I guess I was thinking that if the emergency event covers a large enough area a quality digital in the hands of a novice would make it easier for him to get news.

    I've probably mentioned this before but in New Orleans on the morning after Katrina went through I went from one end of the AM band to the other and there was not one local station broadcasting. It was like a bad disaster flic. For the first few days all of our news came from adjcent markets with marginal reception.

    I'm afraid that many non-radio types might not realize what their analog radios are capable of under those circumstances and just quickly give up. Most wouldn't even know enough to try again after dark.

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    Default Re: Small Portable Radio's?

    Well, I was playing around with some of my radios about 1/2 hour ago, checking out 810, 650, 910, and 560, all AM. I live in Woodland CA about 70 miles or so from San Francisco. There is always some static going on in my house, TV, refrigerator, etc, and I was noticing that 560AM from SF was coming in poorly, with heavy background static. I tried out my RS 398 with RadioLab mod upgrades, Sony 7600G, and my CCRado plus, aligned awhile back. All three were not able to null the heavy static, and get much audible sound from 560AM. Then.... I pulled out my little Sony SRF-59, connected to a RS small speaker, and guess what? I was able to null about 95% of the static and get some clear sound from 560. Amazing little radio, the SRF-59. Would like to have that radio with digital tuning.

    Bill

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    Default Re: Small Portable Radio's?

    Quote Originally Posted by Sub_Umbra View Post
    I've probably mentioned this before but in New Orleans on the morning after Katrina went through I went from one end of the AM band to the other and there was not one local station broadcasting.
    I remember tuning in to WWL a couple of days afterwards, when they were doing 24/7 news, mostly taking calls since even then the national media was completely oblivious to how serious the situation was; I was getting the impression very quickly that things weren't going very well, it seemed more than coincidence that pretty much every caller had very bad news.. That event still stands out in my mind how important a radio can be in a real emergency situation..

    Quote Originally Posted by Sub_Umbra View Post
    I'm afraid that many non-radio types might not realize what their analog radios are capable of under those circumstances and just quickly give up. Most wouldn't even know enough to try again after dark.
    Very true, most people would probably be just as lost with either the analog or digital; it's a shame that the radio is viewed as obsolete when it comes to anything other than providing pop music in the car..

    Quote Originally Posted by Bullzeyebill View Post
    There is always some static going on in my house, TV, refrigerator, etc, and I was noticing that 560AM from SF was coming in poorly, with heavy background static.
    Different radios can be sensitive to different interference, sometimes there's one particular source of RF in your house that one particular radio catches that others won't. Your 7600G has an attenuator switch specifically for these situations; if there's some nearby noise that only it can hear, switch the attenuator on and that can remove it completely (this is one of the big advantages the newer GR has over the G, the GR has a variable knob for the attenuator so you can dial it in very precisely.)

    Quote Originally Posted by Bullzeyebill View Post
    Amazing little radio, the SRF-59. Would like to have that radio with digital tuning.
    The SRF-59 is the "secret weapon" of non-Japan Sony portables, and is considered to be the best of the sub-$50 radios in the US. I've heard comparisons drawn to the aforementioned/pictured SRF-T615, which is the digital version of the same format. If you enjoy radio enough, the $150 price tag is worth it..

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    Default Re: Small Portable Radio's?

    You guys are evil. I'll be making a trip to Fry's this weekend.

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    Default Re: Small Portable Radio's?

    Got my Sony SRF-59 at K-Mart, about $15.00.

    Bill

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    Default Re: Small Portable Radio's?

    Looks like Fry's is blowing out their C. Crane stock.

    http://www.frys.com/search?search_ty...x=0&submit.y=0

    Catch is they won't ship... and the stores around me are sold out.

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    Default Re: Small Portable Radio's?

    Those are good prices. About $100.00 saving on the CC radio's. One of the features does not work anymore, TV. These radio's are really worth buying at that price.

    Bill

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    Default Re: Small Portable Radio's?

    Quote Originally Posted by ryball View Post
    Looks like Fry's is blowing out their C. Crane stock.

    http://www.frys.com/search?search_ty...x=0&submit.y=0
    WOW, only $40 for the Twin Coil - I paid $90 for mine and it was on sale. If anyone has a Fry's near them and is curious at all about AM antennas, this is as good as deals get. Or if you'd like to resell for profit..

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    Default Re: Small Portable Radio's?

    Quote Originally Posted by ryball View Post
    Looks like Fry's is blowing out their C. Crane stock.

    http://www.frys.com/search?search_ty...x=0&submit.y=0

    Catch is they won't ship... and the stores around me are sold out.
    The stock listed is all obsolete stock. There's probably nothing wrong with it, but it all is obsolete.
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    Default Re: Small Portable Radio's?

    Yeah, I saw that it was the plus instead of the II, but is there a new twin coil? I have a email out to some friends in the Bay Area to pick one up for me, regardless.

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    Default Re: Small Portable Radio's?

    Quote Originally Posted by ryball View Post
    Yeah, I saw that it was the plus instead of the II, but is there a new twin coil? I have a email out to some friends in the Bay Area to pick one up for me, regardless.
    The twin coil is built in to the CCR+II. That's a great deal they have on the twin coil.
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  25. #175

    Default Re: Small Portable Radio's?

    Quote Originally Posted by StarHalo View Post
    I apologize for not giving a specific suggestion for a particular radio, but between a new baby and a new house, I'm not afforded a lot of time to do product comparisons; I do think it's a pretty important topic though, and after a rare moment to do some intensive investigating, I can definitively say there's a winner:

    The Sony ICF-B05W



    Standing a just over 7 inches tall, it features an AM/FM/Weather band analog tuner, a hand-crank generator that will power the AM band for one hour for one minute of cranking, an LED light with a high and low setting, a water resistant case, and best of all: it's powered by *two C cells* for a total AM runtime of 355 HOURS.

    In my five-day power outage ordeal, I found that I left the radio on pretty much nonstop in the waking hours, not just for news but to provide entertainment and generally keep up morale. This radio, if used for 16 hours a day will last *over 22 days* on a single pair of batteries, and even then you still have the option to crank.

    It looks like the Sony engineers have really put their heads together to make a serious emergency radio, and this one definitely deserves some looking into.
    I just found this on clearance at Toys-R-Us of all places. Bigger than it looks in the pic. It's 7"H x 4"W x 2.5"D
    Last edited by ryball; 11-05-2009 at 01:54 PM.

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    Default Re: Small Portable Radio's?

    Quote Originally Posted by ryball View Post
    I just found this on clearance at Toys-R-Us of all places. Bigger than it looks in the pic. It's 7"H x 4"W x 2.5"D
    What was the clearance price?

    Bill

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    Default Re: Small Portable Radio's?

    It was $29.

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    Default Re: Small Portable Radio's?

    And here I sit with my venerable Sony 2001D (Sony 2010) which I purchased while I was in Japan and brought back with me in 1988 (21 years ago). And it's been on my nightstand and used every night since I bought it. Sometimes I would leave it on for days at a time. The front-end transistor is the original and it's as sensitive as the day I bought it. The white keypad keys have turned yellow though. I know the controls so well that I can use them in the dark and without looking at the radio, just by feel. I love the sync on that radio as well. It was a sad day when Sony stopped making it, mostly because they couldn't purchase the parts for it anymore.

    Short of a couple of other receivers that I own (RS DX150A, ICOM 756ProIII), that radio is one of the best that I have owned and has been through a lot.

    If it ever dies, I don't know what I would replace it with...

  29. #179
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    Default Re: Small Portable Radio's?

    Quote Originally Posted by Closet_Flashaholic View Post
    And here I sit with my venerable Sony 2001D (Sony 2010) which I purchased while I was in Japan and brought back with me in 1988 (21 years ago). And it's been on my nightstand and used every night since I bought it. Sometimes I would leave it on for days at a time. The front-end transistor is the original and it's as sensitive as the day I bought it. The white keypad keys have turned yellow though. I know the controls so well that I can use them in the dark and without looking at the radio, just by feel. I love the sync on that radio as well. It was a sad day when Sony stopped making it, mostly because they couldn't purchase the parts for it anymore.

    Short of a couple of other receivers that I own (RS DX150A, ICOM 756ProIII), that radio is one of the best that I have owned and has been through a lot.

    If it ever dies, I don't know what I would replace it with...
    Certainly, the Sony 2010 was a classic, one of the best ever. For a replacement only the Eton E1 comes to mind, and the UI will drive you crazy!
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  30. #180
    Flashaholic* Sub_Umbra's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2004
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    la bonne vie en Amérique
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    4,751

    Default Re: Small Portable Radio's?

    I still have a 2010 that I put a KIWA filter kit into back in the early 90s. I made a 'play through' vinyl cover for it that has kept it in pretty good shape. My wife still uses it.

    It replaced my old Sony 2001 which I lugged around the world in a hard case...

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