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Fine super-portable am/fm weatherband radio
on May 15, 2008
Comments for prospective buyers:
1) PLL (Phase locked loop) digitally synthesized, am/fm/weatherband radio with very low noise, i.e., very good sensitivity as well as good selectivity (the ability to distinguish between adjacent frequency, interfering signals).
2) This radio can only be manually tunned by pressing the + (forward/up) or - (back/down) frequency tuning button. It will even advance semi-automatically if you hold the button down and you will hear the stations as the radio sweeps through the frequencies so you know how/where to locate stations (unlike Sangean pocket radios which mute during automatic scan and seek functions). Thus, there is no fully automatic, press and scan or even a seek function, but I have found this manual tuning capability totally adequate because of the simplicity of the five preset tuning buttons for each band (with 2 sets of five presets on the fm band). It is quite silly that Sony didn't take the time right now to also add 5 more presets on a second set of am bands just as they did on fm on the SRF-M37V for example which has 25 presets available and not 20 presets as on this newest model. This is especially because the am reception on this radio is quite exceptional in addition to all of its other very nice features.
3) It is as good as the Sangean pocket radios that I have recently tried as well (including the famous DT-200VX). It remains to be seen if the new (June 2008) Sangean DT-400W (with NOAA weather coverage and broadcast alerts) will compete with the Sony SFR-37W.
4) It has a one year limited warranty and clearly not just 90 days as listed on numerous websites, including Amazon.com. This time limit is clearly listed on the instructions with the radio (the included Sony warranty certificate comes attached to the radio instructions).
5) I get excellent reception here in the mountains of New Mexico for a super-portable am/fm/weatherband radio receiver with 20 presets (5 on am/10 on fm and 5 for weather) that lasts 30-54 hours on one AAA battery. Weatherband signals are weak by the nature of the short range, low power NOAA transmitters and you must turn up the volume to adequately hear them and then adjust it back down for most am/fm stations especially.
6) All presets are very intuitive and extremely easy to use (a one button press system) as well as very easy to set. They are also easy to change as needed, especially if you travel a lot. Also, as long as you change the battery within 3 minutes of removing it, no presets will be lost (fortunately changing the battery is a snap).
7) The SRF-M37W is as extremely durable and well made and should last a very long time. In fact, my son's SRF-37V (its immediate predecessor) was extensively chewed 3 years ago by his young puppy (whose name is his gal Friday since he first got her on a Friday) and it still works quite well! Also, the battery cover is normally hinged to the radio so that it can't be lost (unless excessive force is used when it is opened and in this case it is designed not to break, but instead to simply pop out, but can easily be reinstalled as shown in the Sony manual). It also comes with a belt clip that nicely and firmly attaches to the radio for convenience. It also has a lock switch to keep all settings unchanged (except for the volume control) with an LCD screen indicator for the locked position as well as a battery level indicator, etc.
8) When using it inside a building go as close to the windows/doors as you can to get the very best reception. Radio waves do not penetrate very thick structures well so the best reception should generally be found outdoors for hiking, jogging, just plain walking, etc.
9) As others have stated you probably will want a better set of earphones to fully enjoy listening on all bands, but the supplied pair is certainly adequate for most purposes. In addition, however, I have found that if you use a set of headphones with a longer cord (such as the ~1 m cord on the Sony MDR-Q22LP clip-on earphones), substantially improved fm reception results since the cord acts as the fm antenna on these radios.
10) For those like me who will use this device near a computer, some degree of RF (radio frequency) interference (static on both the am and fm bands) can be expected. The RF interference is substantially reduced the further you move away from the computer or if you hold the radio in your hand or if you can extend the headphone cord fully.
This Sony is my personal update for an old analog Sony radio (the SRF-19W am/fm stereo radio Walkman) from the late 1980's that is still working (also with no speaker and with a DX RF (radio frequency) gain switch even way back then)!