Survivalism & Self Sufficiency Topics > The Gear and Tool Review Board

Sony ICF-S10MK2 AM/FM Radio


Alan Georges:
Pro: Good reception.  Easy to use.  You won’t find a better radio at this price.

Con: Twitchy tuning.

This is a good, basic AM/FM broadcast band radio receiver that comes at a very reasonable price, and not one thing more.  The “and not one thing more” part can be taken as either a plus or minus, depending on intended use.  The controls are simple on/off/volume, frequency tuning, AM/FM switch.  There is a headphone jack.  (Stereo?  Who cares.)  Extend the whip antenna to pick up FM, or receive AM on the internal loopstick.  It is that easy.  Takes 2 AA batts, seems to have a reasonably long life on them.  Oh, and it’ll fit into a shirt pocket, albeit barely.

About performance… it’s pretty good.  For FM, it picks up all of the easy local stations without any trouble, which is all you can ask of FM with its line-of-sight behavior.  On the AM band, it’ll get the job done.  Working nighttime skywave, it wasn’t as good as a Tecsun PL-660, was on par with a Tecsun PL-380, and decidedly better than a Kaito 321.  That is high praise for a $13 radio!  I’m guessing that Sony put some thought, effort, and money into a decent internal AM antenna, and the results show.

Of course at this price, you can’t expect many features.  No memories, no scan, no sync detector, no bandwidth selection, no shortwave bands, and most especially no keypad.  Can’t fault Sony for skipping any of those on a $13 radio.  The analog tuning is fast, maybe too fast.  It’s downright twitchy, making it hard to pick out a particular weak station you may be after.  Fast and easy to pick out the big local stations though.  That brings me to the prep-specific subject of keypad frequency entry.

For prepping, I’m of the opinion that nighttime AM skywave signals are an important part of getting the news in any post-disaster scenario.  This goes back to the lack of news around here for a month after Katrina.  Plenty of local “get water here, get food over there” on some jury-rigged FM stations, but no word of what was going on in the rest of America.  Pulling in news from 500 miles away during the evenings would’ve been both a help and a morale boost.  Now, this little Sony radio will get the job done, but between the overly-quick tuning and directionality of the internal AM antenna, finding and dialing in weak distant signals is kind of iffy.  Keypad entry of the frequency of the specific station you’re trying to pull in makes the process much easier.  You’ll still have some radio-pointing to do, but having the frequency nailed down means one less thing to fool with.  For that reason, an analog dial AM radio like this Sony is fine for a backup, but if you’re looking for a good primary nighttime skywave news-fetcher, shop up the price scale and get something with keypad entry.  Thus endith the lecture on AM DXing.  ::)  Back to the review.

The bottom line is that this is a really great radio for $13.  It is so simple to use that you could hand it off to an unprepared neighbor without explanation, and it’ll receive anything you have the patience to tune on that twitchy dial.  For local, strong, easy-to-tune stations this is all you really need.  For serious nighttime skywave, it’s a challenge to use, but even there it will get you something.  At this price, this is way more radio than I was expecting.

You didn't mention the LED tuning indicator or the built in NULL direction finder use on AM. :tinfoily: 

GREAT REVIEW as a "HOME" radio ,it does fall short...but pocket carry trumps a suitcase radio when you gotta' move fast.
Few will ever know the value of a pocket AM radio for direction finding when lost in the woods,even boats used the null effect of the AM antenna to get basic direction in days past.

I have gotten about 80 hours of run time(turn on ,left on) on two AA ENELOOP rechargeable (2000 Mah) cells running AM talk radio station to keep my dog company and that seems pretty good,though she has become somewhat of a "ditto-head"

It keeps her company and eliminates many bumps in the night so she and I both sleep better ...yea,she sleeps on the bed....

This radio is no longer being manufactured. 

However, a company named Vondior sells something similar, although with better performance in my opinion.  For $10 there's a AM/FM model that I haven't tried but the $20 model with additional Weather Band works very well, put two Energizer Ultimate AA cells in it and throw it in a go bag and it's going to be good for 20 years.


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