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Reviews Categories | Transceivers: HF Amateur (inc. HF+6M+VHF models) | Drake TR-7 Help


Reviews Summary for Drake TR-7
Drake TR-7 Reviews: 39 Average rating: 4.6/5 MSRP: $1495.00 (new 1980)
Description: A solid state Drake, that is solid!
Product is not in production.
More info: http://www.dproducts.be/drake_museum/
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AA7LV Rating: 5/5 May 7, 2014 19:18 Send this review to a friend
A Ham Classic  Time owned: more than 12 months
Owned a TR7 R7 L7 station tenh years ago
I sold it for an Elecraft K3/10 kit.
But the Drake Tr7 station is my favorite
Transceiver Receiver and Linear for the price of the loaded K3/100.
So I just bought another TR7
 
WA7DUY Rating: 4/5 Oct 5, 2012 21:39 Send this review to a friend
An excellent solid rig  Time owned: more than 12 months
I bought my TR7 new in the late 70's. I got one of the first off the line (#762) and still have it. It is and was a very well built American radio. It had no bells and whistles by todays standards. I bought it to use on Mars frequencies. The stability was second to none. I kept hearing that was not the norm but mine was super stable. It has one of the best receivers that I have ever owned and was very easy to use. The replacement displays were a problem to find replacements but now Willi Raas sells an excellent set. The rig is easy to work on. The one drawback was the use of the Molex pins and headers. Often the repair is to pull the boards out and push them back in to remove oxidation from the pins. I now also own a second TR7 and I still think it is a fantastic radio and very underpriced for what it does.
 
WD9CMD Rating: 5/5 Jun 28, 2010 13:54 Send this review to a friend
Hard to beat a TR7  Time owned: more than 12 months
A wonderfull American Made Radio !

Currently have my TR7 alongside a new TT Omni VII and a pristing TR4C on the shelf above both. I must say as for operating convenience, and chasing DX, the Omni VII is the first rig on line. However, last weekend, during field day, I did some experimenting. Well, just purely as a receiver, that old TR7 still works very well indeed. Interestingly, the TR4C hears most anything the TR7 hears.

I do enjoy the receive audio more on the TR4C than any of the rest, and the TR7 is nearly as good. Not saying the Omni VII is not a fine radio,....its among the very best, and I feel very fortunate to own one. But lets not forget its a new rig versus a TR7 thats over 30 years old and older yet for the TR4C.

As for maintenance, either the TR4C or the TR7 needs some TLC, either by you, or from a list of excellent technicians. Yes the TR7 takes some effort to operate, and no DSP, but its a pleasure to use, a pleasure to listen to, and a pleasure for others to hear you.

These are great for a new ham, a collector, or someone who appreciates a rock solid american made product of days gone by. If you want the latest bells and whisles, or are into contesting, then of course, you should look to the new rigs only. Sorry,....no PC control or computer logging with a TR7. Just a pencil and a old fashioned log book.

If you find one in good condition, it just may be a lifetime keeper!
Good luck !
 
NU0C Rating: 5/5 Jun 28, 2010 12:26 Send this review to a friend
It's about the receiver!  Time owned: more than 12 months

Or maybe I should say, "it's about time" I wrote this review. I've owned my TR-7 for over 20 years, and it was hardly a pristine specimen when I bought it. But a little TLC and routine maintenance keeps it my go-to rig for when I want to HEAR stuff.

Sure, it's got stellar transmit audio. Yeah, it can do 180 watts or more output (but keep it down to spec, Drake set them to 150 watts maximum for good reasons). It's harder to screw up a transmitter than it is a receiver.

My radio and I just completed yet another guest appearance at our club Field Day, running 20 fone on a 4-element monoband Yagi. Over 1000 Qs on 20 for a 3A operation, not too bad. I am consistently pleased with the ability of this radio to pull out signals on a crowded band with lots of other RF in the area, while the tiny "modern" import radios struggle. If you say "the antenna makes a difference", YES! It does indeed: the Yagi pulls in MORE signals for the radio to deal with than a vertical or dipole. Anyone who has pointed at California or the Northeast when the band is wide open knows this. Aside from all that, the AGC and RX audio is pleasant to listen to and not fatiguing. The hottest receiver in the world with the best IP3, etc., still sucks pond water if it gives you a headache or hurts your ears. The TR-7 does not get in the way of the signal. This radio is only edged out by my vintage R-4C in that respect.

No support? Not repairable? Bah! There are several skilled radio techs out there on the internet who service these radios, and more support from knowledgeable gurus is available in various internet forums (for FREE!) than you can get from any of the current manufacturers. I fix radios on the side for fun, and I would much rather work on one of these than something "modern". Not that I am afraid to work on modern radios, I deal with the technology every day at my "day job", but the TR-7 is truly easy to repair and maintain. And they will still be running long after the radio-du-jour is in the trash heap due to an unobtanium CPU or LCD display having died.

Would I buy another? In a heartbeat. In fact, I have, only to resell it to another ham who appreciates it as much as I do. Coupled with the R-7/A receiver, it makes a versatile contesting setup that only top of the line modern rigs can match. The downside is that it probably would put you in the SO2R class. Life is full of sacrifices...

In summary, despite what the competition comes up with in whizzbang do-everything radios, I still say that they will have to pry my TR-7 from my cold, dead hands. Featurism is a Trojan Horse.
 
K4SPS Rating: 5/5 Feb 23, 2010 11:19 Send this review to a friend
My Friend Flicka  Time owned: more than 12 months
After several decades of major VFO flicker on my TR7's digital display (from minor table jolts and from necessary microphone movement) - I decided to do something about it.

It was so bad, that it would jump off frequency during transmissions - quite embarrassing.

On Sunday afternoon 3:00 EST on 7.237 MHz - I contacted the Drake net for some help and ideas.

These guys are great and they explained how to fix this obvious electrical problem. They said it was a faulty ground connection in or around the VFO section.

I removed the 5 Molex connectors from the mother board. I removed/unplugged the fat gray wire and the skinny blue/white wire. I removed one fastening screw. I then removed the mother board with a homemade board puller. I worked around from the back to the front. It came out easily towards the rear.

I next soldered the required ground braid to the PTO arm as per Drake threads. Mine was an early unit from 1979 and this hadn't been done at the factory.

I carefully sanded all the prongs for the above mentioned 5 Molex connectors. I then lightly coated them with Radio Shack mineral oil/contact cleaner and reassembled everything.

One hours worth of work, totally fixed this old TR7. It is rock solid on the LED display! After initial warm-up drift of 15 minutes, the digital display never varies any at all. It is SOLID!

Fix your TR7. It was easier than I could believe. 73's K4SPS

 
K4SPS Rating: 5/5 Feb 5, 2010 19:30 Send this review to a friend
Crank It Up!  Time owned: more than 12 months
I always wondered why my old TR7 would only output 100 watts on the watt meter. It has 250 watt input according to the specs. So with a little research this week I discovered that there is an ALC pot on the bottom of the chassis. When this is rotated clockwise, the power output immediately jumped to 180 watts output.

Obviously these solid-state transceivers are 'de-tuned' from the factory to limit flat-topping. All that has to be done to circumvent this is to turn the mic gain back to the 10:30 position as that is where I got the best audio signal reports!

This old rig is superb. Like so many others have indicated, this is the radio that I use the most. Bought it new in 1980 and I have enjoyed this wise purchase immensely. P. S. You can download the service manual for free at mods.dk-manuals, and do not have to purchase one from E-Bay.) 73's K4SPS
 
MI3LVZ Rating: 5/5 Sep 30, 2009 10:50 Send this review to a friend
Something different..  Time owned: more than 12 months
I have owned my mint TR7 for just over a year now and i am totally delighted with it. Transmit audio is just superb with my Shure 444 and the receiver is also excellent. I have a shack load of the usual Japanese black boxes but my hand always wanders towards the Drakes VFO. If you are longing for something a little bit different then you wont go wrong with the Drake. Still plenty around in the second hand market and prices arnt too bad.
 
K5YY Rating: 5/5 Jan 26, 2009 19:11 Send this review to a friend
Excellent and inexpensive  Time owned: more than 12 months
I have 3 TR7 lines with various accessories including the MS7 speakers, MN7 and MN2700 tuners, the SP75 speech processor and the RV7 VFO plus the 7077 mikes and matching PS7 supplies. Yes, the accessories take up some space compared to the "inboard" tuners and speech processor and keyer of the newer solid state rigs out there today. But, somehow the Drake setups are so FUN to operate. I also have two later model R7 matching receivers and they are as good as ANY of my other stand alone receivers like the Racal, R9000 and JRC 545D. Check the Product Reviews of eHam. The R7 hears better than most receivers and cables up to transceive with the TR7. The TR7 passband tuning is beautiful to tune and the NB is very effective. The TR7 is fairly easy to work on and parts are available. One simple cut on a board will allow general transmit in case you are into WARC and 60m bands. You can find nice TR7/PS7 combos for under $500 and few go for more than $650 unless the NB and/or a couple of optional filters are included.The accessories are getting hard to find in nice shape. The only negative issue I have with the Drake items is the "sticky" cabinet paint job on early serial numbers. Most all require a paint "redo"..For that reason you may see various shades of flat black and dark or charcoal gray when you buy a used one. Go for performance and don't worry about a slight paint difference on the 30 year old TR7 line. Buy one as a spare rig and start having fun ragchewing or chasing DX while you enjoy the no frills look!
 
WB6MYL Rating: 5/5 Jan 26, 2009 11:02 Send this review to a friend
One of the family!  Time owned: more than 12 months
Everyone should be able to share an opinion about their experience with a particular piece of equipment and every brand and model have varying degrees of issues (especially vintage gear); that being said, a certain passion is stirred when a negative commment is made about Drake equipment and the TR-7 in particular; this is my second review, stirred by the "POS" comment by a previous post; My TR-7 is rack-mounted (thank you Novexcomm) just above the R-390 and below my Harris 590 (both great rigs, in their own right); I love and appreciate my Icom 7800, but I find myself using the TR-7 more and more for rag-chewing (more than both my B and C lines, which I also love); great audio (very toooooobey, surprising for a solid state rig)and that pass band tuning is wonderful! Again, IMHO, don't get TR-7 owners started!!
 
W4FSS Rating: 5/5 Jan 26, 2009 07:17 Send this review to a friend
Panzer Tank  Time owned: more than 12 months
Ok here it goes...I have owned several modern state of the art ham rigs, Including a kenwood ts-2000 and the Icom IC-765. For me...after the newness wears off and you tire of the cute little bells and whistles (trust me you will and you will have to buy a new high dollar bells and whistles machine to feed the addiction) what are you left with. A very expensive investment that doesn't really do all that more than most rigs built 30 years ago unless you are in a lab testing environment. I was lucky enough to acquire the TR-7 cheap from a nice old elmer who collects and restores them. Bottom line...it does EVERYTHING i need it to do...its solid state...it has a COOL vintage look ...its the DeLorean of ham radio...just has that period look to me...admittedly i am not into the hobby as much as i once was....but whenever i want to make a contact or just tune around and listen to shortwave (south american salsa music lol) I just turn on the trusty TR-7...value and capability for the money are unmatched...to get close u have to spend 3 times what they are going for...no frills...no bells and whistles...looks cool....does what I ask...and can take a beating....built like a panzer tank....
 
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