Here's a re-post from a couple of years ago:
I purchased the ICF=5500W about two months ago for about $80 on eBay. Unlike its big brother, the ICF-5900, the 5500 does not have SW, which is not a problem for me, a non-SW listener. Smaller than the 5900 and featuring a smaller speaker and AM/FM/PSB bands, the radio begs to be tested, reception-wise, with the 5900. It holds up rather well. I'd be splitting hairs to say that my 5900 gets better AM. At times I thought that was the case, but usually AM seems rather equal. FM is also the same.
My 5500 arrived with an accurate tuning dial while my $200 5900 has a dial that is a .70 increment off. Also every now and then the 5900 speaker sounds distorted on talk radio, but usually this is not the case. I don't know why once in a great while the 5900 speaker sounds "tired." The smaller 5500 does not show any signs of "fatigue" even though it doesn't deliver as a big a sound. However, considering its pleasantly small size--8 inches tall, 6.5 inches across, and 2 inches deep--it produces more than adequate sound. There's nothing tinny about the 5500.
My only quibble with the 5500's design is the volume control, a horizontal slide ruler. There may be slight oxidization
On the AM scale between 0 and 10, I'd give the 5500 a 9 or 10. I can angle it to get rid of the birdy noise on 710 and most of the chuggling noise on 830 at night.
On the FM scale, the 5500 definitely gets a 10. It grabs all weak FM stations with ease and can hold its own against the 5900 and one of today's strong performers, the Eton/Grundig S350DL.
To give you an idea of how impressive FM is on the 5500, consider that the very weak Indie Rock 103.1 requires lots of antenna play until you can find the sweet spot with my Eton Sound 100, my Sangean WR-2, my Sangean PR-D5, and my Boston Acoustics Horizon Solo and Duo. Now get ready for this: The 5500 pulls in 103.1 with the antenna completely down. Try doing this with a modern radio. One of the things I've learned from buying such vintage radios as the 5500, the 5900, and the Panasonic RF-888 is that today's radios are depressingly bad--cheap build quality, light plastic materials.
To give you an idea of the build quality of these radios, consider that on eBay a Panasonic RF-5000 is for sale with the original receipt, a staggering $290 and it sold in 1969. In today's money, that radio would cost over $600. Today's radio buyers for the most part wouldn't pay for that kind of quality. Hence we are stuck with junk in today's radio market. I apologize, for I have digressed. Back to the 5500:
Considering the rich audio, the small footprint, the handsome manly military design, the stunning AM/FM reception and the excellent value of the 5500, it is highly recommended and deserves to be placed under the category of Apex Performer.