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Reviews Categories | Receivers: Vintage amateur | Drake 2B Receiver Help

Reviews Summary for Drake 2B Receiver
Drake 2B Receiver Reviews: 34 Average rating: 4.9/5 MSRP: $$279
Description: The DRAKE 2-B is an extremely versatile communication receiver designed to bring you top performance in reception of all modes of amateur transmission in a compact package. It is a triple conversion super heterodyne receiver employing crystal controlled high frequency oscillators, a highly stable variable oscillator tuning the same range on all bands, and for selectivity a steep-sided L-C filter at the 50 Kc I.F.
Product is not in production.
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VA7AA Rating: 5/5 Jun 6, 2013 11:48 Send this review to a friend
Nice Radio  Time owned: more than 12 months
The Drake 2B is a really nice little radio. Back in the 70's these were all the rage and for good reason, but back then a poor teenager could never afford my first rig was an old Hallicrafters S-85 and a DX40...not the best combo for sure. Got this receiver on a good buy, and it even came complete with matching speaker, Q multiplier/notch filter. Won't look back... because this one's gotta be a keeper. This little radio likely equaled or even outperformed most of the heavy metal mil-spec Collins rigs that could easy cost the taxpayer 5X the price....and weighed 5x as much. If you get a decent one...don't ever let it go.
MI3LVZ Rating: 5/5 Feb 12, 2013 08:12 Send this review to a friend
Bloody hell!!!  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
What an astounding little receiver. Lovely warm audio, super stable on frequency, silky smooth VFO, passband is a gem, cracking period looks and like all real radios..IT GLOWS IN THE DARK!
Typical Drake quality..superb.
W8KZW Rating: 5/5 Oct 31, 2012 15:03 Send this review to a friend
Stellar  Time owned: 6 to 12 months
I traded my HQ-170A for a 2B and haven't looked back yet. It's simply a great receiver for SSB and CW ... haven't used it on AM so I can't comment.

My friend ran a 2B and Globe HG-303 in Pleasant Valley, NY as a teenager. I coveted his station as I was running a homebrew 6DQ6 and Hallicrafters S-107! My Elmer ran a 2B with his Heathkit Marauder. Some 45 years later, I paired a 2B with my own Marauder and its one of my favorite operating positions.

It hears as well as anything else I have used, and the passband tune, coupled with the switchable LC filters, performs flawlessly.

Over engineered? Hardly. If it wasn't worth the money, Drake wouldn't have sold the hundreds or thousands that they did, and it wouldn't be in such high demand today.

This is simply a marvelous little ham band receiver that, if you enjoy using vintage gear, you should have in your shack.
N6YW Rating: 5/5 Oct 23, 2012 22:28 Send this review to a friend
Excellent, stable & FUN!  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I have owned many of the most coveted receivers ever made and my current collection reflects what is considered top shelf in every respect. I now own another but it compares on a level I never thought possible. Simplicity combined with a well thought out design that works very well. This is the RL Drake 2B, and I finally bought one today after years of wondering what all of the fuss was about. I now know! What a gem of a receiver and it has it all in one small, tube enriched friendly package that promises to give hours of enjoyment. The selectivity, stability and great audio is an absolute gas and I don't need to do a side by side with my Racal, Collins or Icom rigs to know this. Why bother? It is what it is and what it does it does very well. Pleasing on the eyes as well as ears, and today was easy on my wallet. $80 bucks and I drove it home, hooked it up to an antenna and listened to the 75 meter Vintage Sideband Roundtable on 3895 khz. It was a blast and it stayed right on frequency while others were chasing each others tails. I cannot wait to find the matching pieces so I can assemble it as it's own operating position here in my shack. I hope everyone gets a chance to get a hold of one. You will not be disappointed unless it's in need of service, which is easy and the tubes are cheap. What more could you ask for?
73 de Billy N6YW
N0XE Rating: 5/5 Feb 8, 2011 08:40 Send this review to a friend
Not for AM  Time owned: more than 12 months
Love this radio!!! but not on AM, too narrow, other then that hard to beat! 73 Jim N0XE
KG8LB Rating: 5/5 Feb 8, 2011 04:11 Send this review to a friend
Not for "collectors"  Time owned: more than 12 months
Drake had a way with receivers and this one is a pure winner. This little box can run circles around most of the more highly sought "collector" type receivers. The receiver flat out performs in all areas . Passband tuning, a well programmed AGC circuit and the ability to work well in AM, CW as well as SSB without additional tin can filters.
If you only want to impress other collectors by bagging an over-priced SX-115 or 75-A4 , pass on this one. If you want to be truly impressed , pick up on one !
VE3HG Rating: 5/5 Dec 15, 2010 07:37 Send this review to a friend
Fabulous receiver  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
Was in the midst of a swap when I spotted the Drake 2-B sitting on a shelf so I asked if it was for sale. It was. And we negotiated a good deal (some semi-pro camera equipment for a QRP autotuner, a 100-watt all-band amp and the Drake 2-B).

Turns out the ham was the original owner and the 2-B is in mint, brand-new condition and even came with the manual and the original registration card.

Didn't work when I plugged it in so removed all the tubes, sprayed the sockets and controls and...guess what? It works...really, really well on 80 to 10 meters (used it to monitor a bit of the ARRL 10-meter contest). See photos at

Now I'm looking for the matching 2BQ Multiplier and calibrator. (ve3hg at
N4UE Rating: 5/5 Oct 15, 2010 17:02 Send this review to a friend
Fantastic little radio!  Time owned: 3 to 6 months
I have been watching the reviews of the 2B with great interest. I have a nice collection of Drakes, but was curious about the 2B having such a stellar rep. I just KNEW someone would come along and belittle the radio just 'because'.
I have three R-4Bs, a Sherwood R-4C, a 2-C / 2-CQ combo and a bunch of other Drakes. I wanted to see what all the hype was about. I have 50+ receivers here, all restored by me and these make a great 'baseline'.
Since this radio was made in abundance, there are always a lot of them for sale. Here, QRZ, eBay, etc. I finally found a nice 2B / 2BQ combo, for an excellent price. The radio was a 9.5 and works perfectly. The seller removed each tube, and wrapped them in foam. The crystals were removed and taped to a stiff piece of plastic. It has the xtal calibrator and the seller included a Torrestronics digital display and the emitter follower amp to interface it to the 2B. He also included 2 extra complete tube sets. All good!! The only thing I have done so far was to replace the 6X4 with a pair of diodes.
The reason I mention all this, is simply to reply to K7LN's claim that the radio was "over engineered". Actually, as Tom (W8JI) mentioned, the engineering was done quite nicely. In addition, both the 2B and 2C were both considered "minimal component count" radios. Take a look inside either and then compare those chassis to an R-4B or R-4C. Quite a shock! There's a LOT of air under the 2B and 2C.

In a strange kinda way, it reminds me of my FRG-7. This is another fantastic receiver and quite a shock wnen you see how few parts are in it.

Anyway, back to the 2B. Mine is sitting next to one of my aligned R-4Bs and doing an A=B switching of the same antenna, reveals virtually NO difference in signal quality, in spite of the fact the Passband widths are different. Both have that GREAT Drake audio!
In spite of the component count, this little radio is excellent. I just wish I would have bought one sooner!

GOOD job, R.L.!!!!

W2XS Rating: 5/5 Oct 14, 2010 08:36 Send this review to a friend
Great Performance  Time owned: more than 12 months
Back in the early 60’s, when the 2B was introduced, most people were using separate, un-matched xmtrs and rcvrs. The age of the transceiver had not yet arrived. At the same time, the switch from AM to SSB was accelerating. The 1A, 2A, and 2B were designed to provide cost-effective SSB/CW and AM reception with excellent performance. The 2B added sharper CW selectivity to the already mentioned excellent passband tuning.

I had a Ranger II and Drake 2B setup. It was absolutely wonderful for QSK CW with a Johnson TR switch. The Drake’s AVC was so good that I could monitor my own signal while transmitting. I once did a side-by-side comparison of the 2B against a 75A4 and ended up keeping the 2B.

I still have a 1961 issue of 73 magazine with the review of the Drake 2B. It was a very good review and concluded that the 2B was one of the finest and most stable receivers on the market at that time.

Drake tried to keep costs down with clever engineering and the re-use of circuits on multiple bands. One result of this was that some bands tuned from left-to-right, and others from right-to-left. The performance was so good, however, that this little “annoyance” was no big deal.

My 2B was traded in for an R-4A which I still have. The R-4A (vintage 1965) covers more bands, has a linear PTO that tunes in the same direction on all bands, has a built-in calibrator, noise blanker, and notch-filter (aka Q-multiplier) which were not options, matches the T-4X, and still works FB for general use like rag chewing. It even has a 5 kHz wide "roofing" filter! But I still get tempted when I see a 2B for sale.


John W2XS
W8JI Rating: 5/5 Oct 14, 2010 03:00 Send this review to a friend
Great engineering  Time owned: more than 12 months
Prior to the Drake 1 and 2 series radios, Hams were either stuck with spending big bucks for a Collins or suffering the drift and calibration problems of other receivers of that era. Very few receivers, except the SX117 and a couple other exceptions, used the crystal controlled mixing scheme to improve calibration and stability.

The 2B followed the 1A in passband tuning, a great feature that appeared in all Drakes (but was the downfall of the Drake R4C because of a poor choice of 2nd mixer injection frequency.

My Drake 2B is one of the better receivers I have of that era. Comparable to the SX117, it is a performance classic and was state-of-the-art for amateur gear at that time.
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