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

Reviews Summary for Drake R-4C
Drake R-4C Reviews: 14 Average rating: 4.6/5 MSRP: $500.00
Description: Vintage Drake HF receiver for 1.6 to 30 Mhz
Product is not in production.
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WR4Q Rating: 5/5 Nov 1, 2003 17:27 Send this review to a friend
Still the BEST  Time owned: more than 12 months
Its hard to find straight forward designs that
are easy to maintain that work 160 meters and the WARC bands that will transceive. My R4-C is loaded with Sherwood Mods. Still perhaps champ?
KD2E Rating: 5/5 Sep 25, 2003 22:00 Send this review to a friend
Awesome  Time owned: more than 12 months
I've had mine for about 10 years now. An 'S' line came and went, but the C line stays. It is in a whole league of its own, light years above the Collins.
I would not think of wrecking it with all those dopey mods. Mine works great, box stock. No hum, no drift, no microphonics....just flawless. It does not have digital filtering that can be screwed down to 50hz, but that tube sound at 250hz, with the passband is an unbeatable combination. And Drake had a noise blanker that after 30 years...Icom STILL can't beat!
K6ZL Rating: 2/5 Aug 21, 2003 02:28 Send this review to a friend
In stock form, a not so good receiver  Time owned: 3 to 6 months
When fully modified, with GOOD filters, this receiver is a wonder to behold. In stock form, not so good, especially the later versions with the "9 pin first mixer". Drake found a great place to mount the pass regulator transistor, right under the vfo assembly. Subjected to constant heat, R4C's never stop drifting. You're constantly "touching" them up. Beware the later units in stock form, collectors are paying premium for them. You'll spend as much as you pay for the radio for the mods, the extra filters, the noise blanker, etc. R4B's on the other hand, are cool as is!
N4UE Rating: 5/5 Aug 28, 2002 07:29 Send this review to a friend
Still 'competition' grade  Time owned: more than 12 months
OK, here's another '5'. I guess that if one were to compare this great old receiver to a Racal, or other multi-thousand dollar radio, it could be rated <5. Maybe.
As I have mentioned in the R-4B review, I just love the sound, stability, and feel of these classic radios. At one time I had several, some were in ugly condition, some were museum quality. All worked very, very well. I sold them all but since retirement, I wanted another for the Drake station. I have a very nice TR-4C / RV-4C combination and will use the R-4C as a 'supplimental' receiver. I am anxious to try this combination.
I was able to find a C that had 125, 250, and 500 Hz filters with it. I also have a 1500 filter for it. The only negative (?) is the fact that Drake stopped the LC IF filtering used in the B. Also, Drake stopped using copper plated chassis in the C. I wish that Drake would have put some type of clearcoating on both of these chassis after manufacturing was complete. Although this would have added a small cost, it sure would have made it easier for us fussy types. While it doesn't have the mechanical build quality of an R-390 (wow!), these military radios were not a couple of hundred $, either.
(see my review of the R-1051B)
There are some excellent articles on these fine radios on the HaManuals CD-ROM. The Drake website also has some excellent links. Of particular interest are the modifications mentioned by Sherwood Engineering. Some common problems in this fine receiver include:
audio hum
voltage regulation
Gee, you say, if the radio has these 'problems' how can you rate it a 5?
Easy, I have never even heard any of these problems on the radios I have owned and while I may perform the mods some day, I like the radio 'as-is'.
Sherwood lists the MDS, etc in chart form. As you will see, it is still an excellent design. Also, like the Bs I have owned, they have never needed any repair. Even the PS caps are still good.

One little trick I do to ALL my radios, is to add a small muffin fan inside. I use a 24 VDC model powered by a 12 VDC wall wart. All the fan does is move the air around. Drakes do run hot (but were designed to do so).....I even make 'kits' to install fans into the tranceivers, there really run hot! Excessive heat is rough on components, especially OLD components.

Finding a nice R-4C is easy, enjoying it is even easier. It is an excellent receiver that would be difficult to equal today.....


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