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


Reviews Summary for Drake TR-7
Drake TR-7 Reviews: 40 Average rating: 4.7/5 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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KA7OEI Rating: 4/5 Jan 12, 2006 15:23 Send this review to a friend
Built like a tank...  Time owned: more than 12 months
When I got this radio back in 1984, I wanted to get a radio for which I would be able to get electronic parts 20 years later. I still can. It's a bit beat up, having been hauled all over the place, but it still works very well.

As far as the receiver goes, it is about the best of any receiver that I have used, particularly in terms of dynamic range, etc: Some complain about lack of sensitivity - especially on 10 and 15 meters - but as long as you can hear atmospheric noise when you connect the antenna, you are already hearing all that there is to hear - and with the TR-7, you can.

The noise blanker is, by far, the best of any that I have used: When the Russian woodpecker was around, it would take a 40-over pulse down to nothing - or at least down so that your were being QRM'ed by the backscatter instead. It still does a great job on the random noise pulse or light dimmer noise, and it works without "fuzzing" up signals or causing intermod to nearly the extent that other noise blankers do.

The only problem that I have had is with the Driver/PA stages. Once in a great while, something would break into oscillation and then take out a PA transistor: Eventually, I traced it down to an intermittent driver transistor and solved the problem for good.

The internal VFO isn't quite as stable as I'd like (a common complaint) owing to the heating caused by the lamps and the PA, but I usually use the remote VFO anyway or, more recently, a homebrew DDS VFO.

The PS-7 power supply is grossly overbuilt - and the only problem that I've had with it was the failure of the main filter capacitors (after 20+ years, that's not unexpected...) I also have the SP-75 AF/RF speech processor: As with any processor one can go overboard with it, one can apply 6-10 dB of compression to add some punch without it being obvious to anyone listening that there is any processing inline.
 
SWL377 Rating: 5/5 Jul 13, 2005 12:36 Send this review to a friend
OUTSTANDING xcvr  Time owned: more than 12 months
My review comes from a different perspective, commercial fishing. Yes, I know the TR 7 isnt FCC type accepted, but it was widely installed by the fishing fleet in the late 70s. It was a fraction of the price of type accepted gear and was actually more useful since it gave genl cvg continuously tuneble xcv, not channelized. The commercial fishing TR 7s had the board trace cut that made it genl coverage and then also had the lights changed to 28 VDC lights so that they glowed dimly on 12 VDC. No other mods other than a smearing of silicone grease over the contacts of all boards to prevent corrosion. They were outstanding performers, the receive performance especially. They were used on HF SSB mostly, but some comms were made with AME on the old 2-3 MHZ marine band. Even though AM on marine MF HF voice comms was outlawed, many AM sets were still used for medium range comms. The Drakes were usually paired with the incomparable JW Miller AT 2500 auto coupler. A GREAT pair. The only downside to the TR 7 in marine use was the inability to work duplex freqs for HF public coastal station phone comms. One guy, at sea for weeks and desperate to talk to his girlfriend, tried a bootleg comm with a phone station at Pt Reyes CA on HF, telling the station op that he had radio troubles and asking him to tolerate delays in the comm. He then tried to manually tune between the two freqs asking his girflriend to wait a while between the end of her sentence and the beginning of his reply. The station op could see what was going on and refused to permit the call to continue citing "frequency control problems." The TR 7s were very reliable in the worst imaginable conditions. Salt laden air, high humidity, filthy hands all over the front panel, etc. Few failures were experienced. Some boats still have them to use the rcvr to pull in very weak HF SSB sigs. The boats I saw TR 7s on stayed off the ham bands and the military HF freqs. They had notes next to the sets setting out bands to stay off of. They had Ferrels book called Clandestine Frequency List and used it and other info to avoid interloping on bands that would bring down FCC or ham heat. The TR 7 was very stable and the freq readout was accurate. Few who heard them had any idea that they were not true approved marine radios. The TR 7 also saved some lives when used for long distance Mayday traffic. One boat used the TR 7 to contact a USMC HC 130 tanker aircraft near El Toro CA to relay a very very weak Mayday heard from a burning fishing boat between Hawaii and Midway Islands. As I recall that was on 11176.0 USB or thereabouts. No USCG station could be directly reached on assigned marine freqs so the versatile TR 7 just came up on an active mil acft freq and asked for a relay. The Herc's radio op was very surprised but he was sharp and did get through to the USCG through a phone patch with his base. The crew on the distressed boat were rescued thanks in large part to the Drake TR 7 which was the ONLY set which heard the original Mayday.
 
HB9DDS Rating: 5/5 Mar 31, 2005 13:01 Send this review to a friend
Great, rock solid Rig  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I just bought (again, the 3rd time ;-)) a TR-7 (S/N: 1143) in an outstanding condition. And it is real a very good Transceiver, also today. I can compare with a TS-870/2000. A very quiet RX, not nervous, no digital sounding, good filter, good audio (RX+TX). I have connected a external DSP filter (NRF-7) and it covers the very most needs for me (autom. notch etc). I can recommend every person such a rock solid transceiver but have a closer look to the rig, especially inside. For me, it is importand that the rig is in original condition. Otherwise I wouldn't buy it. I've bought also a TR-7A (S/N: 11034) in the same condition.
 
KS4HY Rating: 4/5 Feb 21, 2005 08:26 Send this review to a friend
Reliable, but lacks sensitivity on 10 meters  Time owned: more than 12 months
I'll keep this short and sweet. I have owned my Drake TR-7 since 1986, and I have used it heavily. On the positive side the TR-7 receiver is very selective, and stable after a 10 minute warm up period. The transmitter sounds nice with a Shure 444d. The rig is very reliable, and has provided years of good service.
On the negative side the ALC is too aggressive and needs to be relaxed. I was only seeing 25 to 30 watts out on sideband until I relaxed the ALC. The receiver lacks sensitivity on 10 meters when compared to other rigs of similar vintage. The noise blanker is not very good. I have the second generation noise blanker with the jumper in place of the crystal found on the later NB-7a. I have a $200.00 Realistic TRC-451 sideband CB radio made in 1984 and the CB's noise blanker can eliminate electrical noise that the Drake TR-7 can barely touch. The Realistic sideband CB receive is also quiter and more sensitive, but not as selective as the TR-7.
A good rig over all, but not recommended for pulling out the weak signals on 10 meters in an environment with high man made electrical noise.
 
WA2JJH Rating: 5/5 Jan 19, 2004 10:02 Send this review to a friend
An old state of the art rig  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
Got mine on ebay. I did many modifications on the net. WARC piece of cake. RX-40khz easy. No AUX-7 board needed!

I like rigs that do high level mixing (no rf amp before mixer) Modern rigs have the option AIP, however this kills sensitivity!

However the TR-7 has great sens. On a wavetek 3000B, I got .45uv. This seems not as good as todays rigs of .18-.25uv.

However the new rigs generate so much synth junk, the Drake comes out ahead in RX.

Used a TODD-750 60AMP swithing supply on the rig.
It weighs 5lbs. The Drake supply is to heavy!

Power outputs-160M-200W! 80-20 160W. 15M-130W
10M-100W

The PBT is OK. I like the twin PBT on my ts-850 better.

However the construction looks like mil. spec!

I do not know why people have complained about stability problems. Warm up for 10 minutes is A-OK
with mine.

The RX audio is better than most rigs today. Some have said the TR-7 sounds almost tube like in audio. I guess if you do all the mods, maybe so.
TX audio is nice too. There are external RF speech
procs on the market for about $60.

I have no noise blanker in the rig. I could care less. The dual noise blankers on my TS-850 do not seem to make that much of a difference. Yes I know, you can mod the NB on the TS-850.

Again much can be said for no RX RF amp. Less junk to amplify. Some of that junk is noise. So that is why not having the NB does not bother me!

I always wanted this rig. Something is to be
said about made in the U.S.A. Perhaps this rig will not become a collectors rig. I could care less!

 
W6YNS Rating: 4/5 Sep 22, 2003 15:21 Send this review to a friend
good radio  Time owned: more than 12 months
The radio has excellent stability and great audio. The radio came with all the optional filters and a fan. The complaint I have is the display for what frequency being used will go out and the display will fluctuate with the readout meaning constant retuning of frequencies. The radio is 25 years old and still going strong.
 
WB5OAU Rating: 5/5 Jun 27, 2003 20:10 Send this review to a friend
Great rig, quiet RX  Time owned: more than 12 months
I've owned my tr7 for a couple years now. It's my "go to" rig. With two CW filters (an aftermarket 400hz and a drake 500hz) it's a fine cw rig, with one of the quietest receivers I've ever used.

Someone else complained about complicated band change. I dont get it. Turn one knob to select band. That's hard???!!

PBT works great and makes a nice QRP rig too, if the mood strikes you. Yes the power supply is heavy...it's a 30amp linear supply, and there's real metal in it, but it's no heavier than any other quality 30amp linear supply!!!

Get one and enjoy... it's a great rig and my favorite Drake station to run (I have 6 other Drake tube stations in line to choose from)..

73 John K5MO
 
WA7H Rating: 5/5 Feb 23, 2003 09:50 Send this review to a friend
Part of the Family  Time owned: more than 12 months
I have two TR7s and the matching tuners, power supplies, microphones, speakers and phone patch. I love them! I bought my first one in 1979 when I upgraded to General Class and my second one used in the 80's. I have many of the mods in them and use them extensively on MARS. I was going to sell them and upgrade my station to all new "modern" equipment, but didn't and I'm glad. I did buy all new "modern" equipment but now use the Drakes as my standard of excellence. If the new rigs can't hear or be heard as good as my Drakes they're out of here. I have two new computer controlled rigs and I like playing with computers and it's pretty neat, but then I look over at my Drakes...they're impressive and what I think a radio station should look like. I'm fortunate and have lots of room for my station and my computer network and a pretty impresive set-up so I plan on keeping the Drakes and continue to use them on a daily basis, afterall they are part of the family.
 
G3OKA Rating: 5/5 Oct 30, 2002 07:55 Send this review to a friend
Old but great!  Time owned: 3 to 6 months
My 25 yr old TR7 came with PS7, RV7, MS7, 1.8kHz and 500Hz filters for a giveaway price. It had a couple of little niggle faults that were easily cleared. Condition like new!
On all bands it delivers its full 100watts (plus plus on 80/40), the cw is smooth and there is loads of gain so on ssb the mic control is only quarter open. Rcvr as good as my TS850 and maybe even better on 40, the PBT is fantastic.
OK it takes a while to settle from cold, give it half an hour and its rock steady. The SWR protection is critical, perhaps a bit too sensitive and an ATU is necessary.
There is loads of documentation on line.
For the same price as the 500Hz 2nd IF Filter in my TS850 the entire Drake TR7 line up was a steal. If you find one for a similar price grab it, you will not be unhappy! It will knock spots off the "economy" modern rigs.
John
 
WB6MYL Rating: 5/5 Sep 13, 2002 00:53 Send this review to a friend
One of the family  Time owned: 3 to 6 months
I will never part with this rig; as stated by another reviewer, despite a lot of modern equipment including a 1000D, I keep going back to the Drake for daily operation; that Drake audio is so toooooobey (surprising for an early solid state rig) the "no-tune" feature is impressive and I was pleasantly surprised that it had flat SWR all across 40M with such a feature. I wish Bob and his gang would have put a preselector on it as he did the "twins" but the PBT is very nice (not quite as nice as my B line PBT and do not know why). Power supply is just as big as the rig but can be mounted behind or under the desk; the receiver is just a bit noisy (compared with the Collins or even the 1000D) but the audio makes up for it. Can anyone tell me where I can buy paint for the "sticky" covers or direct me to a reflector site? thank you for reading. Phil.
 
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