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Reviews Categories | Receivers: General Coverage | Lafayette BCR-101 Help


Reviews Summary for Lafayette BCR-101
Lafayette BCR-101 Reviews: 1 Average rating: 3.0/5 MSRP: $299 when new
Description: LF / HF General Coverage receiver
Product is not in production.
More info: http://
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You can write your own review of the Lafayette BCR-101.

N4UE Rating: 3/5 Oct 16, 2009 11:23 Send this review to a friend
Love / Hate relationship  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
Hi. Please be aware there is another review of this radio, but it is listed as "BCR 101". The "-" was left out.
Anyway.... I have a lot of Lafayette and Allied receivers. I had been wanting a BCR-101 ever since I spotted one in Osterman's book "Shortwave Receivers Past and Present".
Fred called it an "interesting" radio. It is that. I found a nice example on good ole' ePay, er eBay. It only took a couple of hours to return it to near NIB condition.
I must temper this review with the fact it has not yet received it's alignment. I have a Manual coming.
However, I KNOW an alignment will NOT fix some of it's negative attributes.

Positives:
- Sharp looking little radio
- Extremely sensitive
- Great coverage from .17 to 30 MHz (with gap from .4 to .53 MHz)
- Front firing speaker
- 500 and 50 KHz markers built in
- A Noise Blanker that works (more in a minute)
- Excellent AM and SSB audio
- Construction appears excellent (except for Main Tuning)

Negatives:
- Unusual dial cord arrangement/execution causes HUGE amounts of backlash (Main Tuning only)
- Noise Blanker has unusual effect on received signal strength
- A bandspread that I STILL can't figger out!

Allow me elaborate on the above Negatives, in case you are contemplating getting one of these radios:

1. Dial cord execution... after making it's way around the usual collection of pullys, the Main Tuning cord/mechanism terminates at the Main VFO cap. This is probably the WORST mechanical design I have ever seen in a radio! And I've seen a LOT! The cap itself is very nice looking and mounted quite nicely. Unfortunately, Lafayette put a small split gear / reduction mechanism on the front of the cap. What makes it bad, is that the shaft exiting this small mechanism, is about 4" long and has NO support. Just the dial cord tension pulls that shaft to the left about 1/2". When rotating the Main Tuning back and forth, this shaft loads, unloads, wobbles and you expect something to break. Fortunately, there is a fix for 'most' of the problem. I have a small machine shop, so I made a support bracket out of Delrin. This pulls the shaft back to the right, so now there is no deflection. Being Delrin, it has low friction and does not impede the shaft rotation. Using both an existing screw hole and butting part of the bearing against a convient stop, ensures NO possible movement.
This is a terrible design, and it looks like someone either rushed the radio into production, or the Mechanical Engineer was out sick when this part of the radio was designed.
If this was a 'common' radio, I would make up a batch of these bearings......

2. Noise Blanker.... Turning the Blanker on, actually improves reception. Unfortunatly, at low settings, it causes the S-Meter to go to 30db/S9 and to cause severe intermod, and hiss.

3. Bandspread....... The band spread is marked 0-500 amd 500-0 KHz. Since I don't yet have the Manual, I played around with it.
It appears that you start by placing the dial CCW at 0. However....as you turn it more CW, the sensitivity drops off, but that's corrected with the "Tracking" control. What's UNUSUAL, is that you tune the Main tuning BELOW the target freq, and dial the Band spread from 0 up. I understand it's adding to the Main Tuning, but every other radio I have ever used, you tune ABOVE the desired freq and tune down. I have tried the opposite method, and the radio is very deaf at the other end of the Band Spread, regardless where the Main Tuning or Tracking is set.

Confused? Welcome to my world. Yes, it's easy to learn, BUT if you use a different radio for a while and go back to the BCR, ya gotta start learning again. PHHHHEEEWWW!

Yes, this is an interesting (and cheap) radio, but my FRG-7 is an order of maginitude easier to use.
Enjoy and have FUN!!

ron
N4UE
 


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