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Reviews Categories | Transceivers: HF Amateur HF+6M+VHF+UHF models - not QRP <5W | 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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N3WAK Rating: 5/5 Nov 24, 2009 12:50 Send this review to a friend
TR-4CW--Great Rig!  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I own a refurbished Drake TR-4CW that I got from Ron Baker, WB4HFN. This is a fantastic rig! I bought it for nostalgic and practical reasons, as I had simpler and older Drake equipment as a novice three decades ago, and I needed a radio.

The rig is beautiful! There's a comfortable, warming glow from the tubes, dial, and meter, which is nowhere to be found on "modern" rigs. Sure, my Icom is effortless to operate, and has plenty of bells and whistles. But its LCD screen is cold and utilitarian, and it doesn't welcome me like the old TR-4CW does.

Ham radio was a part of my youth, and it's great fun to again have lots of dials to turn. Too, I love the smell of warm vacuum tubes in the morning. If you want to savor, enjoy, and linger over a vintage Port, the TR-4CW is for you, especially on a cold, wintery night. However, if you want simply to chug down a few tasteless, cheap beers, you might want to look elsewhere.

With a TR-4CW, you can put out a big signal, have great audio, buy American, and scratch the nostalgia itch all at the same time!

There are only two caveats that come to mind. First, the rig only covers 80, 40, 20, 15, and 10 meters. If you want to operate on 30, 17, and 12 meters, you should consider the Drake twins and not a TR-4CW. Second, you can't just ship it back to the factory if it goes on the fritz. Fortunately, if you aren't a technical expert, there is a very talented pool of Drake enthusiasts, and several ham techs who specialize in Drake repairs, to help you out. You can find a lot of helpful information on
VE3PTC Rating: 5/5 Oct 13, 2008 18:12 Send this review to a friend
what a blast !  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
i have always liked the older radio gear, mainly ts 520, ft 102 etc, for the outstanding audio both on tx and rx. originally living in the uk, i really never saw too many drake radio's, for sale, and so recently, i picked up a tr4 with the pwr supply/speaker combo for a very modest price. i switched it on, and tuned across 75m. the audio quality was just outstanding, and the selectivity first rate. i marvelled at this radio, as it was built some 36/37 years ago, and it can still hold its own with the other modern stuff in my shack!
i have sent it away for an alignment, and i'm going to install the pwr supply upgrade kit, then i'm going to have some fun with this radio!!
i have to say, i'm very impressed with this radio, the quality of build, and its performance. i only wish i had "discovered" drake equipment earlier!
regards, de bob. ve3ptc/gm0ley
LU5DDX Rating: 4/5 Jun 16, 2008 12:56 Send this review to a friend
hermoso !!!  Time owned: more than 12 months
the equipment is very good. but weak nb optional and the lamp that activates ppt. little sensitivity in high bands, superb sound in 80 and 40 meters, greetings Jorge
AC5XP Rating: 5/5 Jun 4, 2008 11:32 Send this review to a friend
Absolutely fantastic  Time owned: more than 12 months
"Rich ops buy Collins smart ops buy Drake" - but real ops collect both. Yes, I own both. Some years ago I got a hold on a mint TR-4 and would not trade it for anything any more. This radio is truly fantastic in both performance as well as construction. Actually, I like it more than the KWM-2A, the latter by itself already a very good radio. However, all things being equal, I think Drake did a better job than Collins in bringing a radio to the market that was a more justified value for the money, while actually having a better performing receiver. The Collins only wins for its general-coverage concept and the 6146 tubes instead of the sweep tubes.
If you see a Drake TR-4(x) offered for sale in good condition, buy it. Drake is still undervalued in the collectors community, that could change though. But I won't sell you mine!
73s, Loek "Luke d'Hont, AC5XP
W8ZNX Rating: 5/5 Apr 29, 2008 11:16 Send this review to a friend
rich ops buy Collins smart ops buy Drake  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
Hello Radio

finaly have a TR-4CWrit
first i rebuilt the power supply
then put a few hours in to the xceiver

simply love this radio
runs rings around other tube hf xceivers

in over 40 years ive owned a ton
of 60s/70s tube type ssb xceivers

from KWM-2 to Hallicrafters SR-150s
from Swan 500 to National NCX-5
and Heathkit HW- rigs

sure its not as pretty as a KWM-2A
but it sure runs rings around one

you can not call a rig great
unless it works well on fone and cw

most SSB xceivers are simply horrid on cw
the KWM-2 is unuseable on cw

the TR-4CWrit is a joy to use on cw

sure its not a modern
" state of the art rig "

modern radios have no magic
no soul, no mystery,

if you have any trouble shooting skils
you can fix it

if you can't fix it
there are people that have spent a lifetime
fixing Drake gear
that can fix it for you

many years ago
when i was a young squirt op
a old timer took me aside
and told me

" rich ops buy Collins, smart ops buy Drake "

he was right

yours truly
K6YE Rating: 5/5 Jan 17, 2008 07:27 Send this review to a friend
GREAT RADIO  Time owned: more than 12 months
I bought a TR4C/RV4C/MS4/AC4 in 1985 at the TRW swapfest in Torrance, California. At the time my primary radio was a Kenwood TS-430S and I wanted a backup. The Drake put out twice as much on CW and had great punch on SSB. Bottom line is I did not need an amplifier to work them (remember most radios at the time were 100 watts nominal output).

Time passed and the Drake was in boxes after some house moves. I have gotten rid of most of my surplus gear but the Drake is still here. I am looking for a variac to bring things up and put this baby back on the air.

The great thing about the TR4C is that one can work on it (my old eyes and arthiritis can sometimes be a hinderance with solid state and smt).

If you can find one at a good price, buy the bad boy. You will not be sorry.

Semper Fi,

Tommy - K6YE
K4SPS Rating: 5/5 Jan 3, 2008 20:38 Send this review to a friend
Long live tube radios!  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I bought my TR4C and AC-4 power supply off of E-bay from another ham for a reasonable $325. It is a high serial number (41XXX) and is in beautiful shape and performs like the day it was made in 1976. Don't know the age of the PA tubes, but they put out +180 watts with ease into my antenna tuner's meter. For all practical purposes, I don't have to run my linear for this Drake transceiver to be heard on the 75 meter nets. It has proven much more stable than my later manufactured Drake TR7. The true joy of this old tube radio is the audio. It is superb! It is warm and melodic, unlike my modern digital rigs. I have added a Timewave 9+ DSP filter and a Sony stereo speaker and the sound approaches true high fidelity SSB. Maybe what I like most is the dial indicator for the band's frequency. Like old watches with hands, it is easier to read the frequencies and scan the bands to instantly know where you are. Great old tube radio; it has been a lot of fun and I highly recommended one! 73's for 2008, K4SPS P.S. All the replacement tubes are readily available at reasonable cost off of Ebay. These magnificent Drakes will be oscillating Enoch's "ether" for the next hundred years and probably more.
KC9KTI Rating: 4/5 Oct 7, 2007 03:51 Send this review to a friend
TR-4C Great Rig!  Time owned: 6 to 12 months
I bought the TR-4C off of Ebay a few months back, the receiver is great and overall I like it and wouldn't hesitate to buy another one!
N6BIZ Rating: 5/5 Aug 12, 2007 03:14 Send this review to a friend
smooth  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
i bought this on e bay, seller was right; nearly perfect. very small amount of drift during warmup. NONE after warmup. funny thing, the receiver is as good as my pro2 the rx is quiet and for a 2.1 kc bandwith on ssb, well im astonished at the full range of audio and its clarity. on xmit i get excellent audio reports with a d104 mic .been a ham for 41 years always wanted one AND i want another one hi hi 73
N6NKN Rating: 5/5 Mar 28, 2007 18:58 Send this review to a friend
Who Needs Bells And Whistles?  Time owned: more than 12 months
Having the TR-4C, the matching power supply / speaker, and the MN-4 matching network (tuner),I have a super vintage SSB station. It has no bells and whistles, and doesn't need any. The receive audio is excellent, the signals jump out of the noise floor even on 75m. Transmitted audio has been described as "vintage sidband", and with 250 watts PEP on tap, it can hold its own with most of the "modern" rigs. The styling is outstanding as with all Drake equipment. With a spare set of tubes, the radio will probably outlast its owner.
I use it every day, and it never fails to impress.

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