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Reviews Categories | Transceivers: HF Amateur (inc. HF+6M+VHF+UHF models) | Drake TR 4 and other radios in this line Help

Reviews Summary for Drake TR 4 and other radios in this line
Drake TR 4 and other radios in this line Reviews: 30 Average rating: 4.6/5 MSRP: $600
Description: Tube Type HF Trasceiver
Product is not in production.
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You can write your own review of the Drake TR 4 and other radios in this line.

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ZS1ZC Rating: 4/5 Jul 19, 2016 12:12 Send this review to a friend
A Work of Classic Engineering  Time owned: more than 12 months
The TR-4C was my first Drake experience and will always have a place in my ham radio heart. Itís that beauty that appears from out of nowhere that you heard so much about but never met. Iíd heard for over thirty years about the engineering in the Drake range but never so much as touched one, so I took the plunge and made an offer on one when it came up on a local swopshop accompanied by an RV-4C external VFO/speaker. The technology is old, but beautifully implemented, I could not fault the opinions Iíd heard. If you're the kind of operator that appreciates "real radios" then you'll love this one.

I have other more modern rigs on the bench, but somehow every few weeks I just want to play with the TR-4C. It's solid and easy to use. There's no way this rig touches modern kit on performance, though, but it's good enough for low-demand use, even local contests. The real pleasure is in caring for what is really an icon in ham radio history. If you can get a TR-4CW or the RIT version, so much the better.

Every now and again I do an A/B test between this and my TS830S and there are times when I can't tell them apart in terms of resolving a weak signal, so the sensitivity is pretty good.

There were one or two problems, though, the audio transformer was dead and I didnít have a replacement, so a cellphone charger transformer has been standing in ever since Ė the audio isnít as bright as it should be, but Iíve got used to it by now. Then there were little funnies like loss in reception resulting from the front end fuse being too loose in its holder (never saw that one coming!). The real effort was in getting the tuning mechanism sorted out, aligned and new blue filter material behind the dials, but in the end we have a beautiful example of American transceiver engineering on the bench. What a pleasure to operate - and it's true, people do actually compliment "that Drake audio"! I thought it was a myth, but early on I got unsolicited reports that bear it out.

Like most of this era's equipment, it's easy to service. And it has some really good design (for the time) like the permeability-tuned VFO ("PTO"). At the same time the inverted 20m frequency scale is reminiscent of wartime ingenuity and adds a sort of nostalgia factor. When you use the TR-4C you'll experience a wide range of Drake engineering when you consider the design thinking that had to go into getting the mechanicals right in addition to the vacuum tube and semiconductor (PTO) technology of the time.

If you can understand people's love for cars from the fifties and sixties then you'll understand how so many feel about the TR4 series.
WX1MAN Rating: 5/5 Jan 13, 2016 06:51 Send this review to a friend
Excellent  Time owned: more than 12 months
My station consists of a TR4 CW with RIT, RV-4C VFO, MN-2000 Matching Network and L4-B Amp. People typically ask if I'm running outboard processing or other outboard devices. It's all stock. all Drake. Receive is phenominal and the 175 watts + out of the TR-4 CW is nice when I do not run the amp.
N0TES Rating: 5/5 Mar 23, 2015 05:11 Send this review to a friend
TR4-CW since 1979  Time owned: more than 12 months
The way rigs ought to be made. As a life long CW operator, I find my rig provides endless years of enjoyment. Not one issue since 1979 when I acquired this rig has been experienced. Fun thing about amateur radios are that airwaves haven't changed. I must say, this classic delivers quality performace every time!
IT9AHH Rating: 5/5 Nov 14, 2012 10:26 Send this review to a friend
tr4c, lots of real fun!!  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
The tr4c is friendly,fun,powerful,smart,always ready
to be adjusted for best performance,and also young.
You must not be tampered with but must be kept original,often has to be clean inside and out,and must be aligned according to the owner's manual.Only
in this way you will always have a nice radio,always ready to go on air.Do not ever sell it.
AC4HR Rating: 5/5 Aug 8, 2012 04:36 Send this review to a friend
DRAKE TR4C Still a great transceiver.  Time owned: more than 12 months
I have been a ham since 1961. Like many hams i have always tried to have a unit with the latest advances. But as I first grew up in ham radio I fell in love with 6 meters. How does that matter to Drake? A Drake R4B and 6 meter receiving converter were the heart of my station. Fast forward to 2010. I had a chance to buy a Drake TR4C. And am I ever glad that I did, I bought the unit and immediately sent it to one of the Drake Gurus in Ohio. Once I got it back, I got a restart into ham radio. I have not had this much fun in years. I love the old tube radios and to me the Drake radios were the best buy on the market. I use my TR4C every day. My 746PRO has been relegated to use on 6 and 2 meters, and backup duty on HF. If you have a chance to procure a Drake unit. Jump on it and relive ham history.
KC2VDM Rating: 5/5 Mar 12, 2012 19:07 Send this review to a friend
Great rig, even with today's standards.  Time owned: 0 to 3 months

I got this radio from a friend of mine who worked for the State Police. This was their backup rig. When I got it, all it needed was a cleanup, a little figiting with the relay, and a new MIC connector. After all that, it worked flawlessly. My first contact on this rig was Wisconsin. On a random wire. Barefoot. The second was a Ham in Texas.

Overall a great rig. If one is offered for sale, GET IT! It won't disappoint you. These are still going strong after about 35 years!
N4UE Rating: 5/5 Dec 27, 2010 15:57 Send this review to a friend
Can't beat a Drake!  Time owned: more than 12 months
I thought I had placed a review here for this fine radio, but I was mistaken.
I have been a ham for 50 years and have owned them all. I still have a large boatanchor receiver collection and about 20+ Icoms. However, when I picked up my first Drake 15 years ago, I was stunned by how well they functioned. I have had many TR-4(any) and TR-3s go through here, and I finally found a 'keeper' TR-4Cw. It is playing in the background right now listening to 40M CW. What a sweet sound through the RV-4C speaker. The remote VFO is a VERY handy accessory, IMHO.
I add a small muffin fan to all my tube-type radios and have NEVER had a failure of any type. I started the fan deal after putting my arm on my TR-6 after having it on all day. OUCH!! 19 tubes in the TR-6 makes some major heat. For their age, Drake used quality caps and other than replacing the electrolytics for preventive measures, they are ROCK solid.
I also have three R-4Bs and a R-4C (heavily moded), but the receiver in the TR-4 sounds sooo good.
Let's keep these national treasures working for another 40 years!!!

Happy New Year to ALL!!!!!!!

WD9FUM Rating: 5/5 Mar 6, 2010 11:46 Send this review to a friend
Still Have Mine  Time owned: more than 12 months
When I upgraded to General, another ham told me to get a TR4. I took his advice and have never regretted it. Whoever designed it using sweep tube finals was a genius - I could load up a wet noodle. The TR4 is a keeper!
K9FON Rating: 5/5 Mar 1, 2010 09:17 Send this review to a friend
I cant get away from them!  Time owned: more than 12 months
Ive owned several HF rigs over the past few years and i have had some GREAT HF rigs and then ive had some that were DOGS(Ten tec Corsair) but for some reason i always seem to end up with a Drake Tr-4. I am on my third TR-4 and as always I love it. I like the Tr-4 just as much as I like the Yaesu FT 101 series and the atlas 210 210X rigs. They just work and work WELL! Plus the 175 watts out doesnt hurt matters either.
W8YG Rating: 5/5 Feb 16, 2010 08:36 Send this review to a friend
Great Radio!!  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I would have to say that this radio has a truly great receiver it is very pleasant to listen to. I have gotten mixed audio reports with it. I am going to have to find a good microphone for it.
But as with most of the radios that have been in my shack I seem to be able to hear most stations and am able to work them.
But as we all know that having a good receiver does have it drawbacks when you are working a station that cant quite hear you but they are the dreaded S9 copy on my end. Oh my S9 is almost like cursing some hams out.LOL
I love this radio and I am sure that once I get used to it it will be even more of a joy to operate.
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