Re: My review on Sony ICF-SW22

Neil Goldstein

I have the older version of this radio sitting on my desk at work.  I wrote about it one Father's Day recently over at

Great review by the way!  Thanks!

--Neil W2NDG 

--- In ultralightdx@..., <ultralightdx@...> wrote:

I would like to review on a tiny but "expensive for today" Sony ICF-SW22.

I first bought one in 2005, when I was a high school student. Since then, I have purchased several of them and I still have two of them. In South Korea, the SW22 has been long available in import markets in that country, thanks to geographical proximity to Japan. In 2007, its price downed to $95 due to the depreciation of Japanese Yen. Now, on eBay, the SW22 is about $140.

1. Size: It is a size of a cassette tape! The smallest Sony SW radio you can buy.

2. Durability: Due to efforts to minimise the size, the SW22 is, unfortunately, less durable for being made in Japan. After a use of a long time, the plastic cabinet began to become somewhat "mushy feeling" because the cabinet is flimsy and the aerial connecting is venerable to break. So you should use it with (a little) care.

3. Sensitivity & Noise floor:
SW - a little less sensitive than bigger Sony SW radios like the SW11, SW40, and the SW7600GR. But the sensitivity is decent for casual SW listening. In order to improve the sensitivity, Low noise floor.

MW - highly sensitive. Good for MW DXing. Low noise floor.

FM - decent for casual listening, but as in many Sony radios, I doubt this radio will be good for FM DXing. Relatively less interfering signals in the background.

4. Selectivity on MW/SW:
Its selectivity is high so it can deter adjacent interference than many other analogue-tuned SW radios. But the advantage becomes a disadvantage when it comes to sound quality. In fact, sound fidelity and selectivity are in a reverse relationship.

5. Stability
Thanks to crystal oscillators and the dual conversion design, the tuning is highly stable. No or a very very tiny drifts.

6. Speaker
I have some discontent over the sound quality of the built-in speaker. The speaker diameter is 40mm. There are some slight distortions. Sony could have improved it by using a 36mm speaker, which is adopted to TCM cassette recorder series and whose sound is more mellow.

7. Power consumption
As with many analogue-tuned radios, it consumes less battery power than PLL radios.

8. Other drawbacks
- lack of FM Stereo
- lack of either the 75 metre band (Japanese tourist and International model) or the 41 metre band (Japanese domestic model: now the SW23).
- lack of 15600-15800kHz in the 19 metre band
- due to lead-free (circa mid-2005), the quality of the variable resistor got down.

9. Conclusion
Until the early 2000s, if you want a tiny, analogue SW radio, this radio would be a nice choice. But today, 2013, this choice is quite costly in price. Even with under $100, you can buy a SW radio with better performance and more functions. However, if you stick to made-in-Japan Sony SW radios, you can buy it for a collection. That might be okay.

Join to automatically receive all group messages.