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Reviews Categories | Receivers: Vintage amateur | Drake R-4B Help

Reviews Summary for Drake R-4B
Drake R-4B Reviews: 30 Average rating: 4.9/5 MSRP: $475.00
Description: Amateur hybrid reciever. Also covers ten, 500 Khz portions of the HF spectrum
Product is not in production.
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KA4DPO Rating: 5/5 Oct 31, 2017 10:16 Send this review to a friend
Smooth as butter  Time owned: more than 12 months
I have owned my B-Line since 1985 and it has always been one of my favorite rigs. The R4B was one of the cleanest analog designs ever and the addition of the pre-selector made it one of the cleanest sounding receivers ever. There are no crystal filters in the R4B, it is a dual conversion design with the second IF at 50 KHZ. Extremely high Q selectable IF filter coupled with the pass band tuning makes selectivity amazingly good for a radio of that day and age. Because it does not use crystal filters in the IF the recovered audio is as smooth as butter, you can listen to it all day long and it just sounds great.
At the time these were made Drake and Collins were the top of the line, I preferred Drake and had several models including a TR4CW. The PTO is rock solid after warm up and is as stable as any Collins rig from the same time.

I have had this receiver for 32 years now and it is still as nice as the day I got it. It's hard to believe Drake R4B is about 52 years old but they are still a pleasure to operate and are one of the finest examples of vacuum tube era analog radio.
Are they as good as modern radios? No way, even the cheapest solid state DSP rig today will blow it out of the water in terms of selectivity but it will never sound anywhere near as good.
W7WQ Rating: 5/5 Oct 12, 2013 09:53 Send this review to a friend
Superb  Time owned: more than 12 months
As a former commercial radio operator back when such things existed, I have had the good fortune to use many, many fine receivers. The R4B will rival any of them. Period. Stock out of the box. An all time classic that will be around for the next hundred years or so.
KA5KMS Rating: 5/5 Sep 19, 2012 22:28 Send this review to a friend
Great CW Rcvr  Time owned: more than 12 months
If you are a CW enthusiast, you can't do much better than the R-4B. It's ability to filter in weak CW signals thru QRM rivals DSP rigs. Drake got this one right for CW reception.
K3MEJ Rating: 5/5 Apr 16, 2011 16:36 Send this review to a friend
WOW!  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I just bought a Drake R-4B and MS-4 speaker off of Craigslist. Itís in perfect condition and has 10 optional crystals installed. All I can say about this receiverís frequency stability and audio quality is WOW! I have bought and sold countless receivers over my long life, but this one blew me away. If you ever get a chance to buy one grab it.
WB0RXL Rating: 5/5 Feb 25, 2011 15:52 Send this review to a friend
Fantastic Audio  Time owned: more than 12 months
Back in the 1970's I had experienced the excellent audio from a Drake receiver at another ham's QTH, but when I finally earned my license in 1976, money dictated I go the Heathkit SB-102 route. That transceiver served me well through the years. Later I upgraded to various models of Icom and a Yaesu 747. Two years ago my wife suggested I should buy a radio "for her" knowing full well that I would be the primary user. (Grin) As I checked some units on E-Bay I wondered if the Drake twins had really sounded as great as I remembered. After some research I decided to buy a set formerly owned by K2LWR. After opening the box and setting up the receiver I decided YES - the Drake R-4B receiver has a unique quality that makes you think "wow!" I still use the Yaesu for digital work and an Icom for for mobile. But when I want to sit down and give my ears a treat, I choose the Drake R-4B.
KD7UAK Rating: 5/5 Sep 17, 2010 15:57 Send this review to a friend
Superb receiver!  Time owned: more than 12 months
I've owned two R-4Bs for more than 6 years, and never cease to be amazed by their performance. I use one as a daily monitoring receiver next to my kitchen table, equipped with several extra crystals to cover the SW broadcast bands. The other R-4B is part of a complete 4B twin setup that was my first ham station and now serves as a backup (a TR7 is my primary station). There's not much I can add to all the accolades already posted, except to say they are all true. The R-4B is one of the all-time greatest receivers ever made.
WA7UHR Rating: 5/5 Jul 18, 2010 10:39 Send this review to a friend
Great Receiver  Time owned: more than 12 months
Dollar for Dollar, still one of the all time great receivers out there. No shack should be without one.
K9FON Rating: 5/5 Jun 11, 2010 15:55 Send this review to a friend
wonderful!  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
One of the best receivers made. I got mine with a T4X which needs some TLC but i have been using the R4B in transceive wih my TR4 and it works FB. The receiver in the R4B is miles better than the receiver end in my TR4. Overall, im a Drake lover and the R4B will stay in the shack.
W4ET Rating: 5/5 Mar 5, 2010 06:39 Send this review to a friend
Great Receiver  Time owned: more than 12 months
I have owned three R4B's and all of them worked well after a good cleaning and going over.

These are great receivers and I like to listen to the R4B as much as I like to listen to my 756pro. I also own a Drake R4A and the two receivers are a lot alike. If anything, the R4A might have better audio than the R4B. The R4B is very stable (after warm up). Unlike the R4B, the R4A continues to drift a little no matter how long it is on.

If you are interested in vintage equipment, you can't go wrong with either one of these receivers if you can find one in good condition.

73 - Ron - W4ET
N4UE Rating: 5/5 Oct 27, 2009 15:49 Send this review to a friend
Another R-4B added  Time owned: more than 12 months
I was one of the first 'reviewers' of these fine old radios. Since that first review, I have added 2 more R-4Bs, a SPR-4, and a nice R-2C. I suppose I should be jaded by now, about the GREAT performance of the Drake receivers, but I'm constantly amazed.
Recently a friend offered me my third R-4B. I hesitated, because I need another like another hole in the head, but the price was too cheap to pass on. To my surprise, the radio was near 'perfect'. It even has the inspection tag still on the power cord. The chassis was 'dusty' and only had 2 of the smallest possible spots of corrosion. All tubes were good, and the alignment was almost perfect.
Right now, it's tuned to the CW portion of 20 Meters and in the ".4" KHz position. Almost no background noise and the CW signals just 'jump' out at you. Like ALL my radios, I have a small muffin fan blowing into the radio (no holes mod). I can leave a Drake (or other) radio on for 8 hours and the covers are JUST above room ambient.......
Everyone should own a nice example of these radios. They are wonderful.
I also just acquired all the Sherwood boards for my R-4C. It will be interesting to see how the two match up... I have always considered the R-4C as a 'cost reduced R-4B'....
We will see..... Have fun!!!!

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