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Reviews Categories | Receivers: Vintage amateur | Drake R 2C Help


Reviews Summary for Drake R 2C
Drake R 2C Reviews: 8 Average rating: 4.9/5 MSRP: $229.00
Description: Ham band only receiver. 80 to 10 Meters with 500kHz coverage on 10 Meters. Modes are SSB/AM/CW with selectivity of 400Hz, 2.4kHz & 4.8kHz.
Product is not in production.
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AI9K Rating: 5/5 Jan 14, 2013 19:22 Send this review to a friend
Wonderful RX  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
A WONDERFUL receiver!!

I found a gem on eBay - just a bit dusty inside and very small copper plate steel chassis blemishes. The front panel and the case are in superlative condition.

I remember hearing a 2B in 1970 or so and was so impressed that I remember it to this day. The 2C sounds the same to my ear as the cw smoothly flows out of the speaker just as I remember on that day in high school listening to the 2B.

After running about 15 hours, a 1000uF 15 v cap spewed forth causing much upset to the new owner. Flooding the affected area on the chassis and 2 circuit boards with a lot of alcohol (70/30 and no moisturizers) and scrubbing with a toothbrush seemed to take care of things. After two weeks, no corrosion shows on the chassis and the circuit boards are functioning correctly. Lucky I was there when the cap loudly snapped allowing immediate clean up. Re-cap is done - some were difficult to change without a lot of risky disassembly but I won't have to worry about electrolyte again.

The sound quality is wonderful. SSB is clear and CW is just musical. Both are easy to tune. The number of kc's per dial revolution is large compared to today's receivers.

The 4.8 kc selectivity is a bit tight on AM but copy is still quite good. The selectivity at 2.4kc and 400 cycles is fine. The resultant shape factor of a few tank circuits isn't what crystal or DSP filtering can do but may be what adds to the smooth sound the radio produces. Signals off frequency can make the s-meter pump a bit. My K3 does dig through the QRM and ignores QRN better - no surprise there.

Stability is good but no voltage regulation allows things to drift when the space heater turns on during cold winter evenings - no real distraction though.

Sensitivity measured on this radio is essentially as good as my K3 (MDS = -137dBm @ 14.1mc). It seems the tubes and alignment are good.

The K3 leaves it in the dust in many other receiver performance categories I'm sure - except for one - listening pleasure!

It has been on every day I have owned it so far. All my fancy digital synthesized up-converted DSP-IF-strip ADC DAC PLL DDS creations are silent for now - the sound of analog is all that I hear.

Exceptional performance from a late 60's receiver gives the 2C a 5.
 
KD7RDZI2 Rating: 5/5 Mar 14, 2010 17:48 Send this review to a friend
Tool  Time owned: more than 12 months
That's fantastic! Best radios, such as the K2, K3 and apparently the new FT-5000 opted for a down conversion, with the first IF below 10Mhz! I still remember those advertising that praised the new technology 30 or more years ago or so... the up-conversion! Ten year before that, it was the time when tubes were replaced by twisted transistors.

The Drake 2-C employs a down-conversion architecture. It is a hybrid receiver. Tubes are used up to demodulation while solid state transistors are used for demodulation and audio stages. Fortunately, only tubes are used up to the last IF stage while transistors are just after that.

The preselector is fantastic, it's not a tuner, itís a sharp passband filter. The mixers and IF amplifiers are all tubes, while the LO is a stable crystal oscillator (ok there is one transistor in the LO). Up to the last IF stage the receiver is fantastic, demodulation and audio are decent but do not excel, so I decided not to use the stages after the last IF at 50Khz.

Drake engineers opted for a 50Khz IF probably because they wanted to make sharp LC filters (the Drake 2-C comes with 3 filters: 4.8 2.4 and 0.5Khz). This choice is very much a fortunate one! In fact this allows to transform this radio into an SDR at almost no cost, and almost plug and play. I discovered that my laptop has a wideband soundcard and can be used to listen up to 96Khz!!!! The Drake 2-C has 4 holes in the rear panel of the chassis close to the LC filters, I put an RCA connector in one of these holes and connected this RCA to the point 4 of T8 through a piece of RG174. To isolate the receiver and the laptop I used a 1:2 Mini-Circuit TX 2033 transformer. I inserted the jack into the line-in and run Winradio! In Winradio I selected the sample rate of the soundcard to 192000, which allows to listen up to 96000Hz, that is 96Khz. Amazingly this simple mod worked first time. The signal from the Drake was a bit too loud so I decided to use a 1Kohm volume pot, before the sound card and adjust the input level (in practice this is a voltage divider) and have about -120dbm of noise floor in the waterfall of Winradio and about Ė73dbm for a S9 signal. Then I set the receiver to AM mode and AGC OFF to demodulate SSB, CW and AM with Winradio. The AGC is made by Winradio. Winradio does the demodulation, IF-DSP continuous filtering, and Noise Reduction. I was surprised by the sensitivity, selectivity and the CLEAR AUDIO of this radio.

I made another mod to make the Drake 2-C a general coverage receiver from 3 to 30Khz and beyond (I added converters to expand to the coverage to 160m, MW, LW, VHF and UHF). The preselector can tune from 3 to 30Mhz. Without using expensive optional crystals I could tune continuously from 3 to 30Mhz feeding the receiver with an external oscillator controlled by a PC! I used several DDS that worked first time very well. The QRP2000 USB-Controlled Synthesizer also works very well after that the output is amplified by about 10-15db. In all cases I used a small Mini-Circuits impedance-isolating transformer (50:450) between the external oscillator and the external crystal socket.

Basically what this OLD TUBE radio becomes after this modification is a general coverage TUBE SDR!! As new best radios have reverted back to downconversion architecture, I expect tubes to be back to high-end receivers sooner or later!

Of course there are a number of receivers that have an IF below 96Khz and a similar mod can be done. Most Drake receivers have a 50Khz IF stage and a similar mod could be probably done quite easily.

Overall, the 2-C was already well designed, but after these mods I think I found Nirvana.
 
KD7RDZI2 Rating: 5/5 Mar 14, 2010 08:06 Send this review to a friend
Tool  Time owned: more than 12 months
That's fantastic! Best radios, such as the K2, K3 and apparently the new FT-5000 opted for a down conversion, with the first IF below 10Mhz!
I still remember those advertising that praised the new technology 30 or more years ago or so... the up-conversion! Ten year before that, it was the time when tubes were replaced by twisted transistors.

The Drake 2-C is hybrid; tubes are used up to demodulation and solid state transistors are used for demodulation and audio stages. Fortunately, up to the last IF stage there are only tubes in the receiver while transistors are just after that.

The preselector is fantastic, it's not a tuner, and itís a sharp passband filter. The mixers and IF amplifiers are all tubes, while the LO is a very stable crystal oscillator (ok there is one transistor in the LO). Up to the last IF stage the receiver is fantastic, after that it is decent but does not excels, so I decided not to use the stages after the last IF at 50Khz.

Drake engineers decided for a 50Khz last IF probably because they wanted to make sharp filters (the Drake 2-C comes with 3 filters: 4.8 2.4 and 0.5Khz). This choice is very much a fortunate one!
In fact this allows you to transform this radio in a SDR at almost no cost, and almost plug and play.
In my case in fact I discovered that my laptop has a wideband soundcard and can be used to listen up to 96Khz!!!!
The Drake 2-C has 4 holes in the back, I put an RCA connector in one of these holes and connected this RCA to the point 4 of T8 through a piece of RG174. To isolate the receiver and the laptop I used a 1:2 Mini-Circuit TX 2033 transformer. I inserted the jack to the line-in and run Winradio!
In Winradio I selected the sample rate of the soundcard to 192000, which allows to listen up to 96000Hz, that is 96Khz. Amazing it worked first time. The signal from the Drake was a bit too much so I decided to use a 10Khz volume pot, before the sound card and adjust the input (in practice a voltage divider) and have about -120db of noise floor in the waterfall.
Then set the receiver to AM mode and AGC OFF and demodulate SSB and CW with Winradio, you will be surprised by the sensitivity, selectivity and the CLEAR AUDIO of this radio.

Another mod I did is to make this receiver a wideband receiver from 3 to 30Khz and beyond that.
In fact the preselector can tune from 3 to 30Mhz if crystals are provided. Well without using crystals I could tune continuously from 3 to 30Mhz the receiver feeding the receiver with an external oscillator controlled by a PC! I used several DDS that worked first time very well. The QRP2000 USB-Controlled Synthesizer also works very well after that the output is amplified by about 14db. In all cases I used a small impedance-isolating transformer (50:450) between the external oscillator and the external crystal socket.

Basically what this OLD TUBE radio becomes after this modification is a TUBE SDR software defined radio!! As new best radios have reverted back to downconversion architecture, I expect that maybe in the next decades will revert back to tubes!

Overall, the radio was already well designed, but after these mods I think I found Nirvana.
 
N4UE Rating: 5/5 Apr 1, 2009 13:49 Send this review to a friend
VERY nice little radio, watch out for the S-Meter!!  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I recently bought a Drake R 2-C from eBay.
The good:
The front panel was excellent and the covers just needed a wash and re-spray. The dial was also unharmed, except the 'red' lettering (0 to .500) for some bands was faded, so I made some new numbers with a Brother P-Touch. The knobs were original. It worked very nice indeed.
The bad:
DO NOT EVER take the S-Meter out of the radio unless it's dead! As I was disassembling the radio for a cleaning, I was disconnecting the solder lugs where they connect to the meter. OH-OH, the threaded shaft turned. I thought "Gee, I hope the wires to the movement didn't turn". Yep, they did. I don't know who the $%^& designed this meter but it's terrible! One of the wires from the movement to the inside solder lug (which also turned), broke. Taking the rear cover off of the meter, allows it to completely disassemble itself! I have been inside many meters, but none as lousy as this one. I have 'mechanic' sized hands. These wires make a human hair look like a tugboat line!!!
Anyway, thanks to some superglue and a jewlers loupe, I was able to get the wire fixed. I superglued the brass screws inside the meter so they cannot turn when replacing the outside solder lugs....
Next time, I'm going to UNSOLDER the wire at the external lugs and leave the nuts alone.....
I would be embaressed to say how long I 'tinkered' with that meter.......
The metal rings around the face of the knobs were horribly rusted and pitted. I was able to make replacements using some aluminum and my lathe. They look better than the knobs on my 2-NT.
The chassis is the worse looking Drake copper chassis I have ever seen. NOTHING would help it, so I washed it and left it alone.
Looking under this hybreed, you will see a LOT of parts. This radio must have been expensive for Drake to build, even back then.
The radio does not use a PTO like most of their other radios, just a good, ole cap. It's performance is excellent and the PBT has very sharp skirts. The preselector works great.
I aligned it today, but one thing I forgot to tweak is the s-meter sensitivity, so it's pretty scotch, but the audio is just excellent.

Have fun, and if you decide to disassemble the s-meter, you have been warned....

Have fun!!

ron
N4UE
 
K7UA Rating: 5/5 Jun 5, 2007 12:47 Send this review to a friend
A classic  Time owned: 3 to 6 months
I was scratching my boat anchor itch with restoration projects last winter. I picked up a 2C and a 2NT on Ebay to play with. This RX is a real winner for its time. Sensitive, quite stable, 1 khz readout, and good filters. It was way ahead of it's time. Most 1960 era receivers weighted 50 pounds. This thing is tiny and will beat almost all of the true "boat anchors." I'm having lots of fun with my Drake "2" twins. K7UA
 
KD7RDZI2 Rating: 5/5 May 22, 2006 19:22 Send this review to a friend
IT GOES FULL COVERAGE, IF-DSP with DRM!!!  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I bought a vintage Drake 2-C, fixed few things and aligned it. Well, having a R8 I was not extremely impressed at first. This receiver is hybrid, tubes are used up to demodulation and solid state transistors are used for demodulation. It sounds pretty much like the Drake R8, the if filters are both at 50Khz and LC type and spaced similarly. It is a triple conversion with preselector. Well I prefer the double conversion and the front-end design of the R8, which I consider a better set.

HOWEVER I MODIFIED IT VERY EASILY TO DRAMATICALLY IMPROVE ITS PERFORMANCE AND GET UNSURPASSED PERFORMANCE.
1) First it is not a general coverage receiver but the preselector can tune from 3 to 30Mhz if crystals are provided. Well without using crystals I could tune continuosly from 3 to 19Mhz the receiver feeding the reciver with an external DDS oscillator controlled by a PC! I used the DDS60 available at
http://www.amqrp.org/kits/dds60/index.html and a small impedance tranformer (50:400) between the DDS output and the external crystal socket. Not too bad for about 40USD!!! Moreover I used the DDS to align the receiver!!!

2) The 2nd IF is at 455Khz. Well I connected to the socket for the Noise blanker a third solid state mixer to convert it to 12Khz and connect it to the sound car of a pentium 4.
In a small shielded box I placed a Crystal mixer fo=462 KHz use for IF exact 450 kHz which I bought at http://www.sat-schneider.de/DRM/DRM.htm for other receivers.
Before the mixer I placed in series two wide Murata filters F-450K-P2 which match well the mixer and provide excellent analog filtering to the third external mixer.

3) I connected the mixer to the soundblaster of the laptop and used the DREAM software downloaded at http://www.sat-schneider.de/DRM/DRM.htm.

Well, performance is outstanding. I could get a very clean sound, perfect DSP filtering at IF, IF noise reduction, Digital AGC and DRM and even FM reception.

Basically what this OLD TUBE radio becomes after this modification is a TUBE SDR software defined radio!! Only the stages up to the second conversion are used in the receiver. The external mixer connects the Drake to the computer. Demodulation and audio is made by the computer.

The last but not the least, no hole was drilled in the receiver and it can be used as before the mod without any change. Just Full Coverage, IF-DSP FILTERING and CLEAN DIGITAL DEMODULATION have been added!!!
 
KC8JX Rating: 4/5 Jan 1, 2004 19:37 Send this review to a friend
A very good receiver  Time owned: more than 12 months
The Drake 2C is in my opinion a very good receiver and one that complements my station. I operate it often with its companion Drake 2NT transmitter on 80 and 40 meter CW. This is a triple conversion receiver with less than .5 mv sensitivity and with selectivity of three passbands: .4 kc, 2.4 kc and 4.8 kc. This radio may not have sharp crystal lattice filters; however, it receives CW, SSB or AM signals with very excellent audio quality. A typical performance factor of older radios is stability. Iím amazed at how stable all my Drake equipment isÖeven after all these years; certainly a testament to quality design and workmanship. When used with the accessory 2AC calibrator, 2NB noise blanker and the indispensable 2CQ speaker/Q-multiplier and notch filter, this radio may indeed have outperformed many receivers of higher price tags in the late 60ís. In tandem with my 2NT transmitter, this Drake combination is only exceeded by my R4B/T4XB.

All this being said, the radio functionally does not have as many operator convenient options as its prior Ďbrotherí the Drake 2B. The one negative to this receiver is itís accessory frequency coverage. There is a slide switch on the left hand side of the chassis which one selects ďAUXĒ and then an appropriate crystal can be plugged into a crystal holder on the outside of the chassis. The Drake 2B has them internally (out of the way).

In all other ways this receiver certainly a keeper. More details can be found at: http://www.dproducts.be/DRAKE_MUSEUM/2-c1.htm
 
N8FVJ Rating: 5/5 Mar 21, 2003 09:20 Send this review to a friend
Solid Tube Type Receiver  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
After performing a minor repair, I was suprised on the triple conversion receivers performance. Frequency drift is minimal at warmup & basically non-existant a few minutes later. The triple conversion design removes images on 10 meters to the tune of 60dB down. Frequency readout is still accurate after all these years using a PTO design. The front panel includes selectivity ranges of 400Hz, 2.4kHz & 4.8kHz. Although the selectivity does not have the sharp crystal lattice filter type skirts, I find the selectvity quite effective. The audio quality is excellent and is of solid-state design. For the money, the Drake R-2 series must be one of the best vintage receiver bargains available including the earlier R2A & R2B receivers. The R-4 series are also hot performers, however the earlier R2A & R2B have a 'slide-rule' type dial for that older vintage look. This compact design is favorable for smaller radio shacks as well.
 


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