The unit houses a little printed circuit board with two integrated circuit chips. One is a self-contained complete AM / FM tuner and the second is the audio amplifier to drive the headphones. Due to its concise nature, its single AA battery lasts for over 100 hours. The SRF-59's performance is comparable to other radios costing hundreds of dollars. Sony's ultraweight Walkman has been compared favorably to legendary units such as the GE Superadio, The Sony ICF-2010 and the Sangean CC Radio. If you are looking for the ultimate receiver to hear distant ball games or talk shows, this is it.
Seasoned DXers, the skilled sophisticated listeners who often homebrew their own equipment, have devised several modifications for the radio itself along with ideas to augment its circuitry with powerful outdoor antennas. Even as a stock unit, right out of its plastic bubble packaging, SRF-59 owners have heard AM radio stations all the way across the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans from places like Japan and Saudi Arabia. The SRF-59 truly has enormous ears.
After using Sony's miracle for several years, only a few criticisms can be made. The headphones are only average quality. Tuning the Walkman is a little fussy. The knob provided to adjust what station you are listening to is pretty tiny even for petite thumbs. With ferocious abuse, you can wear out the radio. After about a year of pounding during train commutes, and walking across Manhattan, I had to buy a new one because I wore out the tuning capacitor. The SRF-59 is worth the price of admission. I used to listen to WWKB in Buffalo, New York, on AM radio, while sitting in an electronic noise nightmare (a steel Metro-North commuter train) on my way to New York City. WWKB was 300 miles away!
Whenever you need a little casual entertainment, the SRF-59 can't be beat. Leave one in your purse or coat pocket or in your attache case. The SRF-59 is low maintenance. You don't need to download to it. It almost never needs a battery. You can hear amazing things nearly everywhere you go. It weighs so little, you'll have to feel into your pocket just to know it's there. For in-depth information, take a look at two radio hobbyist web sites: www.dxer.ca and www.fixup.net/tips/srf49/srf49.htm. As a dyed-in-the-wool radio listener, I couldn't recommend a purchase more highly! At this incredibly low price, you can't miss!