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Reviews Categories | Receivers: General Coverage | Drake R8 HF Receiver Help

Reviews Summary for Drake R8 HF Receiver
Drake R8 HF Receiver Reviews: 16 Average rating: 4.7/5 MSRP: $980 - 999
Description: All mode shortwave receiver
Product is not in production.
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KD7RDZI2 Rating: 5/5 Nov 18, 2016 13:06 Send this review to a friend
Long Term Treasury Radio!!!  Time owned: more than 12 months
Time owned: more than 20 years!!!! Bought it used but nearly new with the latest serial number, operating since 1996 without any problem. Have also VHF converter which is a very nice allmode add-on (for 70cm I found that an ukrainian transverter 432 to 28 Mhz made by UT5JCW does a good job for RX). The service manual is a nice interesting book that explains how good the radio is made. I never actually needed it as I had no issue so far! I still have it connected with a Pentium 100 running its very nice DOS program!!! It also has a PTT to be used with a TX. I agree with others about SSB, never heard other radios that sound as good as this one.

Here below my previous review in 2005
This rig has virtually everything necessary to have a good listening.

I could not overload, the rig, if not in rare cases even using wideband receiving antennas such as MTA by RF-Systems, DX1 by RF-System and a 20 meters long T2FD by Barker and Williamson put in clear on the roof.

Listening with SSB is pure pleasure.. you can shape the sound tuning the passband.. filters are good.. the unit is rather reliable as it has been operating since 1996 without any problem..

It has 4 antenna inputs.. 3 for HF (one of which is 450 ohm) and one for the 6 and 2 meters converters.. I am adding external hamtronic UHF to VHF converter for the 70 cm and a KEPS converter to vhf for the 2400 Mhz..

you can do virtually everything with this radio..
N4OI Rating: 5/5 Nov 17, 2016 15:21 Send this review to a friend
Still the Best, Jerry, THE BEST!  Time owned: more than 12 months
After seven years since my last review, my 23 year-old R8 is still the best for hi-fi listening to SSB, AM and utilities... Beats my K3, FT-920, Hammarlund and anything else. Note that I am talking about comfortable listening, not digging DX out of the QRM or copying CW over S9 QRN on 40 meters (K3 is go-to for that). But for tuning around the HF spectrum, nothing comes close... just sayin'

W2FKN Rating: 5/5 Sep 20, 2016 11:27 Send this review to a friend
25 Years and Great  Time owned: more than 12 months
Purchased in 1991 direct from RL Drake. Still running quite well with no complaints!
DXTUNER Rating: 5/5 Sep 27, 2012 21:19 Send this review to a friend
Another comparison to the Icom IC-R75  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
My R-8 with the VHF converter installed cost more money, used, than my Icom IC-R75 did brand new. Was it worth it? Without a doubt, yes. Is it better at Dx'ing than the IC-R75? Well that's almost impossible to answer - they are completely different radios. Its like the difference between a spinning fishing reel and a spin-casting reel. Both catch the same kind of fish, but each feels entirely different and the method of use isn't exactly the same. The R-8 is more of a knob twiddling radio, relying on certain adjustments by the user. In the end it gets the same excellent results that the IC-R75 does. What I like most about the R-8 is:

- An excellent bank of stock filters, none of which are insanely wide - 6, 4, 2.3, 1.8 and 0.5 kHz. The choice comes in handy.
- The passband adjustment knob is highly effective. There are cases where it makes the difference between hearing a weak utility signal, clearly, and not hearing it at all. Drake nailed it on this part.
- The audio is superb. I wish the IC-R75 sounded like this.

My only complaint is the construction. A radio of this caliper should be inside better material. Otherwise I highly recommend the R-8. Clearly its a unit that Drake put a lot of care into planning.
AD4C2006 Rating: 5/5 Nov 8, 2011 20:31 Send this review to a friend
Excellent receiver  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
For years I have been reading and hearing only good comments from friends and also from the net about this radio but one thing is what you read and a different one is what you hear in it.
I had the luck to find one on for a decent price that look like brand new and works great.
In spite what other reviewers say,for me its a pretty front panel with big numbers on the display easy to see from any where on the room.
Well it arrived,open the original box,feels very lite,then conect a 40M half wave dipole and first impression was WOW !! band is full of stations from Europe,all of them very strong with an excellent audio quality on SSB even with the BW filter set to 2.3 Khz,great selectivity for a LC bandpass filters and not been xtal filters as today modern receivers and transceivers use,audio quality is super and best of all its very stable,since the first minutes of warming,the tuned station did not move a hertz,after one hour use,it drifted just 10 Hz,the stability in freq is compared with higher price modern radios.I do have at my home two high end radios,the TT O2 and the Elecraft K3 and this radio is very close in performance than these two transceivers I own.
For two nights of use I am very impressive with this R8 that will make a good bed companion.
Only one dislike,why Drake did make a dual 24 hours clock instead of one for 12 hours and another for 24 hours.That don't make sense to me but other than that this radio is a keeper.
EI4GMB Rating: 5/5 Nov 3, 2010 16:23 Send this review to a friend
Drake R8 Series Comparisons  Time owned: more than 12 months
I have been in touch with RL Drakes tech.dept over the years and in that time I've managed to get some interesting information about comparisons of all the models in the R8 series.The first notable difference between the original R8 and it's european counterpart the R8E is in frequency coverage. The R8E's coverage starts at 150khz as opposed to 100khz on the american R8 version. When comparing the R8(E) to the later R8A the latter was said to have a slight edge DX-wise but only marginally so. However, the audio was said to be better on the R8(E) than either the R8A or R8B. The tuning wheel, the optical encoder and the less busier facade of the R8(E) were also said to be better.
Although there were big improvements in the R8B, more incrementally so in the case of the R8A the men from Drake said that given the choice they would choose the R8(E) above the 2 other models because as they said there was very little spurious on the original R8(E) and that most of the money went into it making it a very well built and well made radio. So there you have some interesting information gathered over the years from conversations with the RL Drake technical department.
KG8LB Rating: 5/5 Mar 17, 2009 03:43 Send this review to a friend
One of the very best  Time owned: more than 12 months
After looking at some of the very sorry receivers here that some how rated a 5 and having owned an R8 as well as 3 R8A Drakes I am giving this one a 5. For those who whine about the syncro detector I would have to say compared to the Asian offerings the syncro detector in the R8 is at least as good and likely better than most of them. Ergonomics are more a matter of operator adaptability. This is NOT a hard receiver to master or operate. It is a great performer all around. The build quality is excellent. Unlike my premium priced JRC NRD545, Drake still supports their product. JRC abandoned the people who bought the top end products they offer. The warranty agent was unable to service the JRC 10 months after purchase. The Drake has had no issues 10 YEARS after purchase and IF it had Drake is there!
WI0H Rating: 3/5 Aug 11, 2008 10:30 Send this review to a friend
A Decent Radio, but Not What it Could have Been  Time owned: more than 12 months
I've owned this receiver for about eight years now, and for the majority of that time it was my main radio. With the right antenna, it is a decent performer that will serve you well. As said before though, the ergonomics are pretty bad. Nothing on this radio is intuitive. The construction quality is also pretty lacking. The Drake-designed mega portable Satellit 700 has better feeling controls than the R8, which feel flimsy and second rate. The bottom line though is that, with the right antenna, this radio will do a decent job. Not fantastic, but not bad either. Just a good performer.

3.5 stars.
SIERRAHOTEL Rating: 4/5 Mar 20, 2007 23:06 Send this review to a friend
Overrated  Time owned: 6 to 12 months
I bought my R8 from a friend who needed cash for a new PC. I have to say the basic radio performance was fine, but the ergonomics drove me nuts. Compared to a JRC receiver, the Drake's control layout, and feel is a joke. It's a decent enough receiver though, and if you can get used to the control layout, you will like it. Just don't play with any JRC receiver, they have ergonomics figured out, and switching back and forth showed just how bad the Drake's controls are. The R7's were even worse, but the R7 was a much better looking radio, IMO.

The case just screams "CHEAP", as does the display. The display is the worst looking one I can remember seeing in a very long time. The radio seems to be very warm, even when it's been turned off.

I sold it after about 8 months or so, and made money on it.
K3GI Rating: 5/5 Mar 17, 2007 18:43 Send this review to a friend
Great Receiver  Time owned: more than 12 months
Bought mine used in 1998 from the original owner. It has the VHF board installed. It's operated faithfully ever since I bought it. Never a problem whatsoever and still going strong. It has some ergonomic issues as noted in Passport, but the electronic side of it is excellent. It's definitely a keeper.
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