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Reviews Categories | Receivers: General Coverage | Drake R8B Help

Reviews Summary for Drake R8B
Drake R8B Reviews: 22 Average rating: 4.6/5 MSRP: $1379.00
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AB7Q Rating: 5/5 Jun 30, 2013 23:56 Send this review to a friend
The Best AM Broadcast Receiver  Time owned: more than 12 months
There are better SSB and CW radios, and the Drake does a good job in those modes. That said, the Drake R8B is simply the best AM broadcast receiver at it's price point. The selectable SSB AM synchronous detection is the deciding factor. That, in combination with the passband tuning and adequate selectable filters, make it unsurpassed for AM listening. Yes, it would be nice if it had the ability to receive wider than 6khz, but when it comes to dragging a station ID out of the noise, you won't find a better radio. I have owned the R8, R8A, and MANY ham transceivers including the Elecraft K3 (with AM sync), Kenwood 950sdx, Icom 746pro, JRC NRD 525. I currently own the Kenwood TS590, Drake TR7, and Hammarlund HQ 180A. I continue in my attempt to justify selling the R8B by testing it against everything in the shack.I can't find a radio that will outperform the R8B on AM. If you love SWL,or BCB MW DX, the Drake R8B is the best in the business.
KJ4SLP Rating: 5/5 Feb 27, 2010 13:29 Send this review to a friend
Definitely deserves 5 stars  Time owned: more than 12 months
This little receiver is a gem. I'll stack it beside most mid-level and even some top-level transceivers for the quality and sensitivity of its ears. The AM sync is top is the notch. The passband tuning is effective, though folks used to newer receivers will feel that it lacks flexibility. Open the case and you'll find excellent build quality. And the reliability of Drake products is legendary.

Another reviewer noted that he had to press the buttons several times before they responded. I can say that in >5 years of use that has never happened to me, even once.

He's on target about the tuning knob, for which Drake should be ashamed. However, all it takes to improve it is some lead split shot and a dab of epoxy.

For the record, I take exception to marking down a piece of equipment because you don't like the tuning knob. Stick to the performance and reliability, which in the case of the R8B are superb for the price.
KC5LVW Rating: 5/5 Mar 7, 2005 04:03 Send this review to a friend
I Love It!  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
O.K., I do love it but i toyed with giving it a 4 or a 5 rating but I'm optimistic and here's why. First the good points:
1. No menus to deal with
2. Large display with Alphanumeric (easy too)
3. 1000 memories BUT split into groups of 10 and have ability to scan as many "lists" as you want and still locout individual freqs on any list to boot.
4. Dual clocks with timer ops
5. Mulitple audio outputs.
6. Mute for TX interfacing.
7. Direct freq entry
8. AM synchronus tuning availability
9. Good selection of bandwidth filters.
10. Scanning modes, e.g., pause, 5 sec, seek & stop
11. speed sensitive VFO
12. easy computer interface
13. multiple antenaa / type hookups
14. easy tap changer for different AC voltages.
15. easy DC hookup (use of springloaded terminals for other antennas & DC)
16. Overall RX sensitivity.

Things they could have done better:
1. More attenuation / pre-amp, 10dB is just not enough.
2. VFO knob is cheesy.
3. Audio output does not go completly to zero.
4. 6KHz for AM is fine but there are times where a 9KHz or maybe a 12KHz would be nice.
5. Would've liked a scope output but probaby not doable with 50KHz IF.
6. Line Level output is too hot, needs a little reduction.
7. Need indication that the I.F. shift is active or not at center ( for us forgetful fish).
8. Need indents for those knobs that have centers.
10. A nice bell-n-whistle would have been adjustable scan speed.

With all that being said, I do love this RX. it may be a bit hot (3uV) in the AM broadcast band for some but if it's out there, you'll hear it. Nice LARGE internal speaker and the tone control is nice although seperate Bass/treble would've been better. I got mine with the VHF add-on installed and that is a great option, definetely recommend that option. 440MHz would've been icing on the cake but 6M & 108-174MHz is very doable. I'm running mine against a IC-756Pro3, FT-847 & a set of Drake C-line twins and either equals or outperforms all. I replaced the IC-R8500 with it & never looked back. No menus to remember and I can use it as the RX for my T-4XC. BTw, hats off to the folks at Drake. Ordered on a Wed morning, it was on my doorstep Fri morning with personalized eMails along the way giving me the staus of my order every step of the way. Kudos to R.L. Drake Co. Well done guys!
KC7NYI Rating: 5/5 Oct 27, 2004 13:32 Send this review to a friend
outstanding  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
Side by side: DRAKE8B with a KENWOOD2000,ICOM 756PRO 11 and a DRAKE 8,the 8B shines.Leaves the rest in the dust. I wanted one for years now I have on,it is a keeper. If you are thinking,do not.

KD7KIA Rating: 5/5 Feb 29, 2004 19:55 Send this review to a friend
Fantastic receiver  Time owned: 6 to 12 months
I can't say enough good things about this receiver. Every thing about it screams quality. If I had to say anything con about it is that the NB doesn't seem to make a whole lot of difference if it is on or off. Other than that it is easy to use and a real pleasure to listen to. No listening fatigue here. If you get the chance to buy one, either new or used, do it.
WP4LDG Rating: 3/5 Dec 20, 2003 16:53 Send this review to a friend
R8B Pro and Con  Time owned: 3 to 6 months
Good all-round performance for listening to world band programs. Pro: 1-sync det 2-good sound [with an external speaker] 3-No attenuator in the MW band 4-1,000 memories presets 5-five well chosen bandwidths Con: 1-Background hiss and birdies[not like the AOR 7030+ exceptional quiet circuit] 2-cheap mechanical [not optical] encoder with high failure rate 4-With the unit on or turn off the internal power supply circuit and transformer keep generating a lot of heat my [an some experts] recomendation is to use a external power supply with it] 5-not ultra precise 1hz increments tunning steps [ good for SSB hams and "utility" signals reception] like the NRD 545,Icom R-75 ect.. 6-No DSP included, like the NRD-545,Icom R-75 ect Yes this is a nice receiver [easy to use and good sound] for program listening and some dxing but definitely not the "get everything right" receiver.
KD5VC Rating: 5/5 Dec 16, 2003 12:23 Send this review to a friend
Excellent Shortwave and AM Broadcast Receiver  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I have an IC-756PROII and a Racal 6790 GM3 sitting on the table along with the R-8B. The synch detector in the R-8B works extremely well, much better than the detectors in the other equipment. The sound on AM or SW broadcast stations is much superior. I also have a HRO-50R-1 and HRO-5RA1, and it is superior to those old workhorses too. The zero beat readout takes a little time to get accustomed to, but Drake always had one or two idiosyncracies. I have owned SPR-4, TR-7, R-9000, IC-781, FT-1000D and others, can't run side by side reports, but I don't remember a better receiver as far as sound or intelligibility compared to the R-8B on either AM or SSB. I was a little surprised at the 50 khz transformer filters, but the SPR-4 taught me that they can be respectable. For digging out a weak CW signal or RTTY/PSK I will use the Icom, but I find that the Drake gets turned on every time I sit down.
N3FWE Rating: 5/5 Jun 3, 2003 11:37 Send this review to a friend
Its a keeper  Time owned: more than 12 months
I have owned my Drake R8B for 3 years now and it was my first desktop general coverage receiver. I previously used a Sony 2010 and couldn't believe the difference in listening to the utility stations and broadcast stations. Sensitivity, Selectivity, and audio is top notch. The unit has a standard serial port which comes in handy for tuning the radio with 3rd party database programs.

The one thing I didn't like is the tuning knob. Very light weight. I removed it and put in some clay in the hollow of the knob to weight it down. Also I wish the display would show the frequency and text display at the same time.

The only problem with the rig is when I first purchased it. My unit had a few birdies which cause some problems. Drake checked it out and it was a grounding problem with the display. Since them it has been trouble free and its one radio I will keep.
G0UUT Rating: 1/5 Oct 29, 2002 14:03 Send this review to a friend
very poor radio  Time owned: more than 12 months
i have to say that i im using big antenna
22 element logperiodic i have the r8b for some time ,and did test it with some premium receiver .
now the radio is ok forAM mode but for hf band
it is so bad that in the end i sold it . the audio was not that great at all on ssb cw was so and so . now the drake service ,i have to say that it mey be very good in the state [USA]
BUT IN EUROPE is not so great at all, well no wonder drake didnt last so long .
if you like very good receiver go for icom r9000
or jrc nrd545 best receiver best audio
. drake i have to say sorry but you not as well
as you use to be .

N1LF Rating: 5/5 Sep 2, 2002 08:13 Send this review to a friend
The Cream of the Crop for MW DX  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
The Drake R8B has a reputation for being the
"King" of receivers for AM broadcast band DXing,
and after owning mine for a few weeks, I'd
certainly have to agree.

The BCB has special challenges that can really
tax a receiver. The need to be able to hear
a weak station only a few kilohertz away
from your local 50KW monster for instance. Most
of the top of the line Japanese receivers
simply can't handle this challenge. The Drake

The passband tuning control also is a boon
when trying to seperate multiple stations
on the same frequency. Despite technical
standards, often the station you desire is
just a few hz off frequency and by shifting the
IF passband, it's possible to greatly reduce
the signal level of other stations on the
frequency to "zero" in on the one you want.

This radio is also a top notch performer on
160 Meters, often hearing DX that my Icom
746 misses.

I've owned the Icom R71A, Icom R75, and the
Kenwood R-5000 receivers, and this one beats
them all. It's not cheap, but then the
best things in life rarely are.

If you're serious about 160 Meters or AM BCB
DXing, my advice is simple:

B U Y A D R A K E R 8 B!
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