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Reviews Categories | Transceivers: HF Amateur HF+6M+VHF+UHF models - not QRP <5W | Drake TR-7A Help

Reviews Summary for Drake TR-7A
Drake TR-7A Reviews: 4 Average rating: 4.8/5 MSRP: $1699.00
Description: Great radio
Product is not in production.
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Z21BB Rating: 5/5 Oct 27, 2008 08:47 Send this review to a friend
Wonderful beyond words  Time owned: more than 12 months
I really love my TR7-A. Got it second-hand some 11 years ago and have been using it ever since as my main station.
The receiver is simply extraordinary, and very pleasant to the ear. With the right filters, CW operation is a particularly wonderful experience, especially once you master the combined use of the right filter and the PBT and RIT controls. This may take a little time if, as it was my case, you have never had the PBT thing before, but it is an entirely new dimension once you are there. The versatility of the pass-band tuning in this rig is in my view one of its best features.
For quite a few years I gave my TR-7A a very hard life indeed, and used it every day under extreme dust, humidity and temperature conditions, when working in Angola. Under those conditions, my rig endured hours and hours of pile-up, and never gave me a single problem. I fully subscribe other people’s comments that these radios are built like a tank.
Just before coming back to my home QTH in Spain, after 6 years in Angola, I accidentally killed my beloved TR7-A by directly injecting in it power from another radio. Nothing particularly catastrophic (fried PIN diodes, mainly), but I decided to have it professionally repaired, aligned and cosmetically restored to perfection. I paid top dollar for all that, but my TR-7A looks now brand-new and works even better than before, which I would have thought impossible. I grew so fond of it that I started getting other 7-line accessories and filters, and built around it my base station in EA-land, which now comprises the L7, RV75, R7-A, a 7075 microphone and some stuff in the line. I have tried many other radios alongside my TR7-A, including several good and modern Icom, Yaesu and Kenwood, but never found anything in which these radios were better than mine. Similar, at best, and indeed with many new features I don’t feel I need anyway, so I am not tempted to change, but quite on the contrary.
I am still working in Africa, but somehow I grew worried of loosing or damaging my beloved “new” TR7-A again, so it stays at my station in EA for whenever I am on leave and can enjoy it. I am using here something I am quite happy with, but far worse and cheaper ("expendable", in a way). I miss my TR-7A every day…
Oh, one last thing. When using the Drake I am receiving compliments on my transmitted audio more often than not. Many people, when I explain I am using a TR7-A, say “ah, that explains it all” :-)
HA5WF Rating: 5/5 Feb 20, 2008 16:44 Send this review to a friend
reliable professional rig  Time owned: 6 to 12 months
Beforre my present TR-7A I have owned TR-7 line. I didn't like the sticky paint of the cover and always wanted a rig "like new".
I sold my TR-7 line and always regret about that.
Last year I have suddenly acquired TR-7A which meets my all requirements on outlook.
I tested it in professional laboratory using up-to-date techniques with following results.
1. Sensitivity is tipical 1,18 mkV or better at all bands
2. IP3 is +20 dBm
3. Dinamic range is 104 dB
4. No distortions at full output power, which is 140 W at all bands.
Clear transmitting and receiving audio. Very good xtal filters 300 Hz, 500 Hz and 6 kHz.
Spread receiving with AUX-7. Efficient NB.
Robust construction. Easy for maintenance.
All the components are availanle on the market.
I do not regret money I have spent for it.
Good rig for everyday use and contesting.
I can tell, it overperforms the nowadays rigs.
I use RT-7A along with MN-2700. and Electrovoice 638 mic.
Lots of TR-7A's were built and used for professional use with other appearance (TR-4310).
All of them served excellent.
These rigs have now affordable price.
I have realized that can't miss my TR-7A.
GI0ZGB Rating: 4/5 Nov 11, 2004 08:28 Send this review to a friend
Tough Old Bird  Time owned: more than 12 months
I bought a Drake TR7A and L7 about eleven years ago, it's been boxed up and placed in storage this past nine years. Compared to the TS-930S I found it to be a bit hard of hearing especially on twelve and ten metres where the 930 clearly outperformed it on weak signal reception, the poor recipocral mixing didn't help matters.
The filtering and TRX audio was superb, producing a different tonal quality compared to most any rig, the dedicated speech processor very effective at punching through heavy QRM. Output was 100W PEP, I've seen posts where some op's state 180W but I'm inclined to think that may be a customised figure, certainly not out of the box. The TR7A was built to last, and with no serious abuse will outlast several owners, it's a classic collectable rig, and despite its shortcomings is still very popular and much sought after by enthusiastic followers the world over. It's a rig that has spoken for itself all down the years, much more eloquently than I could ever do.
AC5XP Rating: 5/5 Jan 28, 2002 13:31 Send this review to a friend
Great radio  Time owned: more than 12 months
I had a TR-7A some years ago, bought it in mint condition from a dealer. I wanted to know what all the fuss was about with Drake. I must say, I was not disappointed. This radio probably had the best receiver performance of all my past owned radios, arguably even better than the FT-990 that I still own. Nothing can compress that TR7(A) receiver.
It sounded great too, and had an excellent low IMD RF power amplifier, very robust in build.
From a construction standpoint this radio is built like a battleship. Plug-in FR4 boards on a motherboard, all in their own shielded aluminum compartments. I love that alodined aluminum look; only US built radios have that. If Drake only had used teflon wiring, this radio would have been perfect in construction.
The "A" set it apart from the standard TR7 because the standard installed noise blanker, as well as two additional filters that were already installed. (500 Hz CW and 6 kHzAM I think it was) The noise blanker worked quite well I remember.
The synthesizer was actually done quite smart: As the fully digital synthesizers of those days were bad in phase noise, Drake decided to combine the best of both worlds: A PLL for the coarse steps (band switching combined with multiple 500 kHz steps within a band), and a traditional permeability tuned VFO for the fine tuning (within a 500 kHz band). This resulted in excellent synthesizer phase noise behavior which made this radio superior to its competiters of the day and still measures up well against todays radios in terms of receiver performance.
There were drawbacks using this concept: the initial stability suffered of course the same warmup drift that all PTO tuned radios have, and one still had to do manual bandswitching.
Drake also sold a digital synthesized stand-alone VFO to overcome the stability problem ( I think ith was the FV75 or something which I also owned) but this VfO I believe not to be great due to its primitive design (fine steps were done through a D/A concerter which pulls away a reference crystal)
I eventually sold my TR7A because after a while one wants something new, and it did not really reach collector status in the Ham community like Collins did. But that day might still come because this radio is truly one of the real American classics, both in terms of performance as well as construction.
I rated this radio a 5 , (where I did NOT do this for the KWM-380!) mostly because it still can compete with what is on the market today.

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