Sony ICF-7600GR versus Yaesu VR-500 versus... ?

Status
Not open for further replies.
Joined
Jun 5, 2004
Messages
1,224
Location
PNW
Looking to get into shortwave listening and would like something portable that can do SSB and is not a complete battery hog.

If you had to choose a beginner unit, would you pick the Sony ICF-7600GR, Yaesu VR-500, or something else entirely? For some reason the VR-500 appeals to me (already have a Uniden BR330T, have had an Icom R-5 in the past), but I'm sure the Sony will have better performance out of the box. Unfortunately, the reviews I've read seem to show the VR-500 has anemic speaker volume. But the shirt-pocket size is pretty nice. The Sony reviews indicate weaker speaker audio, too.

Looking to keep this below $200 and am not planning on hooking up any external antennae at this time. Small enough to take traveling is a definite plus, as is running on AA batteries.

Decisions, decisions... any and all suggestions & tips appreciated. Thanks!
 

SCPD

QRT
Joined
Feb 24, 2001
Messages
65,126
Location
Virginia
Well, first off, you pretty much answered your own question. If you're looking to do "shortwave" only then the VR-500 is not the answer.

The design of wideband receivers really limit their sensitivity. Frankly, they're a waste of money (if your goal is SW.)

Per your requirements about cost and not wanting to put up an external antenna, then you're pretty much looking at the Sony 7600GR. It's exactly what I would call an intermediate model as it does have SSB support.

As far as battery life, that's one nice benefit about the Sony. It can run on a pair of AA batteries for what seem like forever.

One thing you didn't say is what you wanted to listen to. If it's just SW broadcast stations, then the Sony will be just fine. Those stations pump out serious power (250,000 watts on average) and still can't be received by everyone. Local HAM stations should be okay to pick up. Utility stations (military, ship/shore, aircraft) may be a bit tougher, depending on location. A simple external antenna can greatly enhance your listening pleasure with weaker signals.

Let me know if you have any questions about the Sony. I own one and it's a pretty good SW radio for the money.

FYI, I purchased mine from Amazon. They seem to have a good supply of them and the price is good at $140.
 
Last edited:

rigreference

Member
Joined
Mar 16, 2009
Messages
15
The 2 radios you're looking at seem quite different to me. For pure HF performance I think you'd be better of with the Sony. The small VR-500 sized receivers are often more geared towards VHF/UHF performance, with HF put on more for show.

For reference, here are the specs of both radios side-by-side:
Compare Sony ICF-7600GR vs Yaesu VR-500

Good luck with your choice!
 
Joined
Jun 5, 2004
Messages
1,224
Location
PNW
Thanks guys... I guess I am looking to monitor both broadcast and utility stations.

How is the selectivity / sensitivity of the Sony? I live in an area loaded with transmitters -- especially FM broadcast. Thanks for pointing out Amazon; if I go with the Sony I have been eyeballing their low price there.

I'm torn because the VR-500 sounds like a good do-it-all receiver, and maybe better for traveling, but the Sony will no doubt smoke it on SW reception.

Any idea on battery life for either unit using eneloop NiMHs? Thanks!
 

jmp883

Member
Joined
Jan 7, 2005
Messages
590
Location
Northern NJ
I have a VR-500 and it is a good radio but not for SW, at least not here in the NY metro area. When on the supplied rubber duck it's only good for local VHF/UHF. Attached to my outdoor antenna longwire antenna it overloads. Battery life is respectable. I can use either the supplied battery pack or 2 AA 's. I use Energizer Lithium AA's and they just last forever. Maybe in your location the Yaesu would do much better but from what I've read about that Sony it seems to be the better radio for you.

Good luck!
 

CLynch7

Member
Joined
Apr 13, 2009
Messages
181
Location
North GA
You might look into the Grundig G5. On par with the Sony, plus a tuning knob for easy band scanning. Adjustable filters, better speaker audio.
 

SCPD

QRT
Joined
Feb 24, 2001
Messages
65,126
Location
Virginia
How is the selectivity / sensitivity of the Sony?
It's above average for a portable. But you have to realize that *any* portable SW radio is not designed to withstand overloading. It really depends on your location and you won't know until you try it out.
 

SCPD

QRT
Joined
Feb 24, 2001
Messages
65,126
Location
Virginia
I'm torn because the VR-500 sounds like a good do-it-all receiver...
Granted, I do not own this radio, but I'd be highly suspect of its SW reception.

If you're looking for a *quality* wide-band receiver, then you'd have to look at the AOR 8200Mk3 or Icom R20 at roughly $500. These are designed to handle SW as well as VHF/UHF frequencies. That being said, I would still put them just a fraction higher than the SW portable (Sony) in terms of reception/sensitivity.
 
Last edited:

SCPD

QRT
Joined
Feb 24, 2001
Messages
65,126
Location
Virginia
Any idea on battery life for either unit using eneloop NiMHs? Thanks!
Should be fine. As I said, the Sony 7600 can run for a long time on just (4) AA batteries. I'm guessing at least 20-30 hours of continuous use.

The VR-500 would probably run for about 10-15 hours.
 
Last edited:

SCPD

QRT
Joined
Feb 24, 2001
Messages
65,126
Location
Virginia
I just wanted to mention that in terms of portability, the Sony 7600gr is quite small. It's just barely larger than a paperback book. It's 7" x 5" x 1.5 ... and it comes with a nice case.

Check out YouTube for some decent videos on the Sony. This will give you an idea of what to expect:

YouTube - sony 7600gr
 
Joined
Jun 5, 2004
Messages
1,224
Location
PNW
Well, went and did it... ordered up the Sony 7600GR from Amazon. Pretty good deal! Can't want to get my feet wet in shortwave, thanks for all the help and tips!
 

whiskeytango

Member
Joined
Sep 7, 2009
Messages
320
Location
sacramento ca/reno nv
ive had the yaesu for a couple weeks now...great for the aforementioned uhf/vhf with local fire etc. i had planned on getting the aor8200 once i master all the jargon and stuff that goes with sw. but the yaesu is incredibly portable, smaller than george castanza's wallet
 

eorange

Secret Agent Man
Joined
Aug 20, 2003
Messages
2,169
Location
Cleveland, OH
I'm torn because the VR-500 sounds like a good do-it-all receiver, and maybe better for traveling, but the Sony will no doubt smoke it on SW reception.
A little after the fact, but I'll throw my opinion in anyway, since I've owned both radios for quite a while:

The above quote is pretty accurate. Although, the VR-500 is not such a terrible receiver as everyone makes it out to be. Once you know its limitations, then it's not a bad SW receiver. Couple that with the VR-500's portability and tons of features, and it's one of the best on-the-go radios you'll find.

Also, I have never once used rechargeables in my VR-500 - alkalines last forever in that radio.

The memory management on the Sony is a little cumbersome (compared to the VR-500). The Sony does really well on MW Dx and on SW in general. The Sync on AM seems to work well; somewhat questionable on SSB. Audio is quite a step up from the VR-500.

Both are great radios and you won't regret the Sony.
 

SCPD

QRT
Joined
Feb 24, 2001
Messages
65,126
Location
Virginia
SSB is pretty good on the Sony but like with any portable, a good external antenna improves the signal quality (and lowers the noise floor.)
 
Joined
Jun 5, 2004
Messages
1,224
Location
PNW
Well, the brown truck of joy showed up today with the new Sony. First impressions... threw some batteries in and was up and running in no time. Even managed to snag a few comms. relating to the major earthquake in Haiti (14265 kHz SATERN net). Also picked up what I think were some ALE transmissions. USCG was a little too weak to receive. The radio is easy enough to tune, but jeez, just to set the clock I had to RTFM. Very happy it is made in Japan instead of China, too.

I was also secretly hoping this would be a good receiver for AM broadcast reception and my hopes paid off. Living in RF hell, it's usually hard to pick up more than one or two local AM stations. The 7600GR has been pulling in all sorts of stations, and in the middle of the day, no less.

Thanks again for the help and I'm off to learn some more... :D
 
Status
Not open for further replies.
Top