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Reviews Categories | Receivers: General Coverage | Drake SPR-4 Help


Reviews Summary for Drake SPR-4
Drake SPR-4 Reviews: 6 Average rating: 4.8/5 MSRP: $699
Description: General Coverage Communications Receiver. Drake's first all solid state receiver.
Product is not in production.
More info: http://
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W8AAZ Rating: 5/5 Apr 11, 2012 21:28 Send this review to a friend
Was tops in it's time  Time owned: more than 12 months
Got one of these that was a clean nice looking set on ebay, but had issues. Sent it to WA8SAJ to make it work great. Mine was barebones except for the desireable calibrator option. Get that. The noise blanker is not so nearly important. If you don't need the blanker, you can flip it on ebay for $$$. Has excellent audio on AM and SSB. SSB tuning is touchier than on current radios(typical for pre-digital)CW is nice thru the narrow CW filter, too. When working right, like after Jeff goes through it, it is very sensitive. No fancy bells and whistles that you will get from newer radios, and SSB selectivity is not outstanding on real close QRM, but on a station without close QRM, it just sounds great. Would be nice paired with a vintage AM ham transmitter. Or a backup rec. or just SWL radio. A vintage rig that spares you the weak tube and heat and excessive drift issues and decent dial calibration versus those old sliderule tuning rigs. Hot enough to use a random wire antenna indoors, unless you have too much RFI in the house. There are plans for the LF loop antenna online, as originals are really overpriced, usually. Easy to make one. Get the matching MS-4 speaker, it has nice "tone". And is matching, of course. I bought additional xtals for ham bands. Those can be had without too much trouble, newly made or from ebay sellers.
 
N3WAK Rating: 5/5 Sep 8, 2010 10:32 Send this review to a friend
Great Receiver!  Time owned: more than 12 months
I am extremely fortunate to have an SPR-4 in excellent shape, with the calibrator and the noise blanker. After locating it on ePay, I sent it to Ron Baker, WB4HFN.com, for alignment and servicing. As always, Ron did a fabulous job...and I've been enjoying the radio for more than a year now. It lacks the bells and whistles of newer radios, but it's a Drake and has excellent sensitivity, and the audio's FB through an external MS-4 speaker.

Although outfitting it with extra crystals is expensive, it's wonderful to have a Drake. I regularly listen to shortwave broadcasts with it, and it does a fine job listening to utility stations--e.g., aircraft weather broadcasts, military, and the like. I've purchased extra crystals through International Crystal Mfg, in Oklahoma, and I recommend them. www.icmfg.com

The radio covers 150 khz to 30 mhz in a number of 500 khz segments (plus about 50 khz of overtravel on each end of the dial), and whatever ranges you buy crystals for. The stock ranges cover all of the most popular SW broadcasting bands, to include 41 meters and the 40 meter ham band.

It would be nice to have various switchable bandwidths for AM, especially, but the radio has only a 4.8 khz AM bandwidth. This, though, is a very minor complaint. The radio receives SSB, CW, and AM. I consider the calibrator to be a highly-desireable option. If you can't find one, there are two work-arounds. You can simply calibrate the dial (for free!) by first tuning in a broadcaster on a known frequency, and adjusting the VFO dial. Or, you can buy and build an aftermarket calibrator, such as the one from theheathkitshop.com. The VFO dial is very accurate, and reads down to one khz.

This is a great radio, and exactly what any Drake enthusiast--or any admirer of outstanding vintage radios--needs in his or her shack. Now, just bring back "The Happy Station Show" from Radio Nederland, and other wonderful shortwave offerings of yore.

73, Tony N3WAK
 
N4UE Rating: 5/5 Feb 16, 2009 18:42 Send this review to a friend
As good as I've heard!  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I have a small Drake collection. I had been wanting an SPR-4 ever since I became interested in Drakes about 10 years ago. I have been watching ePay (er, eBay) and the prices for a 'good' example are quite stiff.I put out some "WTB" specifying a "nice one". I got quite a few replies.
However, I bought one from a Drake collector 'up North'. This radio looks like the day it left Drake's plant in Ohio. It came with the original Manual and the radio is a VERY high serial #.
It has 23 xtals, the Cal, and the Noise Blanker.

It's performance is as good as the other reviews state. Very sensitive, selective and stable as a rock. I cranked it up to 10.000 MHz and there was WWV EXACTLY on frequency.

Although I also love my pair of R-4Bs, it's cool to turn on the SPR-4 and it's instantly on. Quite simple to operate, similar to a Yaesu FRG-7.

One thing that I didn't even think about until I started playing with it..... because it covers the spectrun in 500 KHz bites, even with a full set of xtals, you only have 11.5 MHz available.
I guess the next project will be a 'clone' of the Drake freq syn. I believe there was one in QST last year.....

have fun, you only go around once...

ron
N4UE
 
VE3ES Rating: 5/5 Dec 31, 2007 22:31 Send this review to a friend
Great vintage receiver!  Time owned: more than 12 months
One of the legendary radios to come out of the Drake factory in Ohio. Very nice product back in the early 70s when it was new and even 30+ years later.
 
KA8DLL Rating: 5/5 Sep 17, 2006 07:37 Send this review to a friend
very nice radio  Time owned: more than 12 months
Great everday radio. Very accurate dial. No drift after a short warm up. 3 filters included. Noise blanker works. Small size, light weight, metal case, excellent workmanship. Downside has preselector tuning which is a pain on the broadcast band. Still can get service on it.
 
KA2SHU Rating: 4/5 Apr 24, 2002 23:39 Send this review to a friend
A Good Analog Radio  Time owned: 6 to 12 months
I bought a Drake SPR-4 with the matching speaker on e-bay. It is a solid state receiver. When I received it, the sensitivity was poor. After a careful IF allignment, the sensitivity increased dramatically. It is a very well built radio. The S-Meter is large and easily readble along with the analog dial that can read true to 1 Kc. If you a band hopper, you may not like this set. Each different band requires a pre-selector peaking adjustment. Each tuning range is 500 Khz. The radio can take up to 23 ranges of such bandspreads depending upon the crystals supplied or added. Once carefully tuned to a specific frequency, this radio is hot as a pistol! The radios bandwith is preset by the mode of reception and cannot be changed. So is the AGC. These are a few features I do not like. The radio is certainly good enough for SSB reception as it is quite stable (100Hz.) The tuning dial and S-meter are beautifully lit. The audio is fairly good and pleasing to listen to. The way this radio is built, I think you can keep it going for a lifetime. It certainly is a worthy addition to a collector who enjoys potent radios.
 


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