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


Reviews Summary for Drake R-4B
Drake R-4B Reviews: 29 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.
More info: http://
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W0OGH Rating: 5/5 Jun 8, 2008 10:36 Send this review to a friend
One of my favorites  Time owned: more than 12 months
I bought an R-4B, my first SSb capable receiver back in the early 70's. Man on man did i love it. In the Mid 70's i bought a T-4XB. During the 1974-1980 time frame i used them on CW and RTTY. That receiver could do more things with an rtty signal on crowded bands than anything else around. Why i sold the pair, i guess it was to upgrade but i've not found a replacement for it. I have an R-4C which i really don't care for. It's loaded with filters and extra xtals, gimme another "B".
 
W8ZNX Rating: 5/5 Apr 8, 2008 10:39 Send this review to a friend
Bob made a winner  Time owned: more than 12 months
i have owned many receivers over the years
from RME-69, to Collins S line
and modern rice box radios

don't care for the backwards tuning
the noise blanker does not do much
and i don't like how it looks

but
it is one of the best dam receivers
ive ever used

plug in the cans
close my eyes
tune around the bottom of 80 cw
and
i forget how ugly it looks

a R-4B will be sitting
front and center my desk
till the final SK estate sale

mac
dit dit







 
K4ELO Rating: 5/5 Dec 5, 2007 21:12 Send this review to a friend
Can't beat the sound  Time owned: more than 12 months
For me a receiver is judged by performance, sound, usability, and looks. The R4B stands out in all categories.

I got my first R4B back in about 1972 along with a T4XB, an MS4 and an L4B. That setup is the one rig I wish I had never sold. After a long qrt of about 30 years I got back on the air. Fortunately, I found a set of the Drake 4B twins on eBay for $500, including a D-104. A little restoration later, and wow, I had my twins back.

Now I have an Orion II and have compared receivers many times. I can honestly tell you that I have never heard a signal on the Orion that I could not also copy easily on the R4B, regardless of the signal strength or qrm.

I wouldn't give up my Orion, but I have noticed two interesting differences. First, the Drake has a nicer sound on cw. It's just like the difference between a tube guitar amp and a solid state one, they sound different, and the tube amp just sounds richer and fuller. Second, the cw signals seem to have less background noise on the Drake.

For dxing, I use the Orion for it's flexibility, but for other cw work, it's the R4B.

Makes a wonderful backup rig and keeps the shack warm in the winter!

 
N2DTS Rating: 5/5 Nov 17, 2007 19:38 Send this review to a friend
good stuff!  Time owned: more than 12 months
For its day, and even now, a very good receiver for CW and SSB, maybe a bit narrow for good hifi AM. Very good filters though, good audio, nice controls, small package, and you can repair it if you have to.
Compaired to other older receivers, its a bit unusual in that a close strong signal out of the passband does not show up in the audio, if the other signal is clean. This is what you want, but its a bit hard to get used to after using some other old (and new) radios. In most receivers, you get a hint something is there, not with the R4b.
For its size and price, its likely the best old tube receiver for CW and SSB, at least in my book.


 
K8WV Rating: 5/5 Jun 12, 2007 19:44 Send this review to a friend
Everyone should own one!  Time owned: more than 12 months
I've owned my R4B for about 2 years, but hadn't used it much until my main transceiver decided to go on vacation (without me). While waiting for its return I fired up my R4B/T4XB pair. Wow! What a nice, solid station they are. The T4XB transmitted audio, with a D104, is great. No QSK, but CW is very smooth. The R4B is sensitive and, with an old Timewave DSP9, also very, very selective. R4B audio has to be heard to be believed. It's clean. It's full, It has depth. It is, in a word, wonderful. I simply don't get tired listening.

Support is readily available from a dedicated group of users, and service, too, is available from experienced and interested techs. No fear.

Given that you can pick up a clean used (user) Drake pair for cheap, these are a great deal!

The R4(any)/T4X(any) have a lot of knobs, too. I like that!

K8WV
 
K9JM Rating: 5/5 Apr 1, 2007 10:53 Send this review to a friend
Classic  Time owned: more than 12 months
Bought new while in high school working for a Drake Distributor and I won't sell it until I reach room temperature. There are better receivers out there for DX and contests, but for normal operation, it is hard to beat. Great sounding receiver for CW and SSB. Forty years and it works like new and has never failed.
 
N6NKN Rating: 5/5 Dec 21, 2006 12:05 Send this review to a friend
I Got Mine  Time owned: 6 to 12 months
I got mine on E-bay, and a spare set of tubes to boot. Great SSB receiver, and I'll never give it up. Now if I can just find extra crystals, I'll be in heaven.
 
AA5TE Rating: 5/5 Oct 20, 2006 09:58 Send this review to a friend
Best receiver ever  Time owned: more than 12 months
Definitely the best receiver I've ever had, wish I had never sold it.

I used it with a T4XB, that was an awesome pair of rigs, great for ragchewing, CW and DXing with.

As others have said, it outperforms numerous "new" rigs with DSP and pre-amps.
 
WA9CWX Rating: 5/5 Feb 7, 2006 10:59 Send this review to a friend
Best audio, easiest listening !  Time owned: more than 12 months
I owned and used as my primary station, the B twins in the early 70s and into the early 80s. I later regretted selling them, but then bought the C line, then the R7 / TR7. Went to the Yaesu FT-ONE, then FT-1000D. For SWL-ing went through the 515, 525, 535, and finally 545. Used each for several years. Recently however, I decided to re-aquire a Drake B and compare it with my other radios.

1: The audio capture on the Drake OUTPERFORMED the 545, even with DSP and ECCS.
It WAY outperformed the FT 1000D.

2: The sensetivity was almost identical in the Drake to the other two, except SLIGHTLY lower on ten meters. (no lab testing, but copy ability on very weak beacons was used for comparison).

3: The BIGGEST difference was in the fatigue factor, the listening on the Drake is pure magic, the sound is as natural and full as ANY I have EVER heard, and outperforms ANY receiver I have ever had. And that is quite a few over my 44 years as a Ham.

For CW ragchewing, I would say this is by FAR my favorite receiver, it sounded great on SSB, but I do not normally work that mode, so have not commented on it.
 
HB9FBJ Rating: 5/5 Jul 24, 2004 17:55 Send this review to a friend
Outstanding  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
The R4B has about the best received audio I have ever heard on a rig. Love the preselector, the selectivity is awesome. The receiver is very quiet, pleasing to the ear and handles strong signals very well.
 
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