Monday, March 31, 2008

Oh cheap Sony!

Wow, a Sony pocket FM/AM radio, these days?

Yes, the Sony ICF-S10MK2.

--from the Sears Basics store, for $9.99
--a little under 3" by 5" by 1"
--mono speaker, earphone jack
--2 aa batteries, 40 hour estimate (yay! yay!)
--fit and finish are very good.

Trying it out:

--it was hifi/mono into headphones, 1 ear (aaah, shucks) I needed a mono->stereo plug to stay sane.
..very nice sound once that was done. Even the
bass was good.
Volume jumps too fast: headphones w/a volume
control are a good accesory.

--tuning, with fingernail-rolling: not bad! backlash
--sensitivity: super, like the little walkman am/fm units
--selectivity: basically good, but hammered by strong-channel

What to do?
---pushing the whip antenna down helped the overload,
at cost to weak campus stations
---HOWEVER: the whip, extended the other way from the
headphone cord, makes a wickedly directional antenna.
On a table or desk, I can pick apart the band and
quash the spurs quite well.
SO, FM, overall: good, with swamping, but with
easy tweaking, super.


The tuning mechanicals were very good (if you roll
your fingernail), as with the FM section.

The sensitivity was great, almost exceptional.
A tad better than the little walkman units,
which are great for their size.

The selectivity: well, this is something clever.
They have a wide-IF sound for fidelity,
but this unit was actually able to slice 1010 WNDS
from NYC away from local monster 1030 WBZ.
Very cool: a mid-width selectivity that works!

Overall, I'd say this is a great pocket radio and
a high performer, way past $10 worth.
And a mono/stereo adaptor still makes the deal great.

What I would fix if I were Sony:
---stereo headphone out would be sooo sweet,
like the little Grundigs.
---the jumpy volume is likely because they anticipate
old crappy earphones: please guys...don't do that!

How about a compromise? Just make the jack
mono that lights both sides of headphones
(w/o an adaptor), and nudge the output resistor
up a bit.

Still, a fantastic unit for $10. And the speaker and
batt-life are good enough to sell this at hardware
stores for the repairman set.

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