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Reviews Categories | Amplifiers: RF Power - HF & HF+6M | Drake L-7 Help

Reviews Summary for Drake L-7
Drake L-7 Reviews: 21 Average rating: 5.0/5 MSRP: $1090.00 in 1981
Description: 160 thru 15 (10 optional) 2KW PEP Pair 3-500Z Tuned input 100 watt drive - 110 or 220 V
Product is not in production.
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W8NIC Rating: 5/5 Dec 17, 2017 16:33 Send this review to a friend
WAY BETTER THAN MOST!!!  Time owned: more than 12 months
I've had a few amps, Alpha, Ameritron, Heathkit, etc.... and the Drake L7 is my favorite. Looks good, 1k with ease, very quiet and very affordable. I've bought and sold amps but this one I'm keeping, even if it see's very little use.
DB2MJ Rating: 5/5 Oct 27, 2016 12:40 Send this review to a friend
Great tube amp  Time owned: 6 to 12 months
My first contact to ham radio was a university club station in 1980. They had a big tower with a 5ele triband Yagi, a Kenwood TS820 and a Drake L7. I had no licence at this time and had serious problems learning CW, so it was SWLing or nothing for me.

Fast forward some 30 years. I got my licence (without CW), bought a classic Kenwood TS830 (wonder why?) and started having fun on the RF bands. Then I got a IC 7300 (I still love my TS830, but the 7300 is another world...) and a real antenna. The one thing missing was a little more power. Then a fellow ham announced that he was selling his beloved L7 and I had to get it... I spend some time to get it up-to-date (PS soft start, grounded grids, new electrolytics, diodes and bleeder Rs, a real bias circuit and a low voltage keyer for the IC7300). The first start with full voltage was a interesting experience, but all went well. Tuned the thing with the Kenwood SM220 station scope, went on air with a lot more power than before and got excellent reports (and a few new DXCC entities) from the beginning. Several QSO partners with waterfall displays on their rigs gave me excellent reports about splattering (none) and the clear audio. I just love the old battleship.

Yes, it takes some seconds to look into a table, preset bandswitch, LOAD and PLATE and tune it up with low power first. OTOH, I have no fear that some ALC overshot will kill expensive power semiconductors... these Eimac 3-500Z are used far below their capabilities and have a lot of margin for error. It takes some kind of madness to buy 35 years old ham equipment, spend months to restore it to better than new functionality and go on air with grandpas technology... but I love it. Call me crazy if you like ;-)
DK6VB Rating: 5/5 Dec 2, 2015 05:50 Send this review to a friend
A real workhorse.  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
After my Icom PW-1 has failed, I got this one - and Im satisfied. Works fine with 2 Eimac Tubes and has no problems with SWR of 2:1 - so I need no additional tuner.
What could be better? I miss a built-in antenna switch for 2 or 3 Antennas.
S57CW Rating: 5/5 Mar 29, 2009 08:23 Send this review to a friend
good value  Time owned: 3 to 6 months
I acquired it used(no wonder :-) it is 30 years + old). Very quiet, smooth tunning, handle 2:1 SWR without problems, WARC bands, like mil specs, realy durable, separate power supplay can be puth away and main unit nicely at hands. Good value for money and if you get hands on unit which was not heavilly modified and was taken care for you will get 1kw+ for reasonable price.

Those into homebrew bussines can get lots of extra power from pair of 3-500Zs by building new power supplay. Would preffer ACOM 1000, but got this for half of the price. My still has original EIMAC tubes...
W6RTW Rating: 5/5 Sep 10, 2007 21:36 Send this review to a friend
Strong Solid Performer  Time owned: more than 12 months
I have been using my L7 for years and it continues to be a strong, solid performer. The 3-500 pair is a great set of tubes and the design of the amplifier is classic and hard to improve upon. I have installed a couple mods that I feel are helpful. The power supply upgrade kit from Mike, WB8VGE is a worthy product. It provides everything you would probably need to do for a supply of this age. The second mod is installing the high speed relay kit offered by Rick, AG6K. I have found this essential for using this amp during CW QSK operation. This amplifier is in use during high power contest SO2R operation with my Icom 756 Pro III as the run side of the shack. It has never failed me and I have not always been nice to it. If you can find one, grab it. They seem to be difficult to find. Probably, like me, hams just don't want to part with it. Purchasing a pair of 3-500s won't require mortgaging your house either! This amp is a keeper.
73, Bob W6RTW
G0MJK Rating: 5/5 Jul 28, 2007 04:39 Send this review to a friend
Great design and build  Time owned: more than 12 months
I have been using this amp with both a Drake TR7 and my Kenwood TS950SDX. It works just great and is so quiet after my Kenwood TL922. This is so easy to tune,even the WARC bands, and I bought it as part of a complete Drake TR7 station from a US ham who couldn't operate any more. One thing I would advise is to bring the PSU up to date with the kit which you can buy from the Heathkit shop which replaces all the old bleed resistors and caps. Now expensive to buy - they never were cheap - but worth every penny.
K4DTC Rating: 5/5 May 7, 2007 18:42 Send this review to a friend
Strong, silent type  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I just bought a mint L7. It is very nicely styled, an the RF deck is very light. I powered it up, I could bearly tell it was on. The case is solid (so not much tube glow) and the fan was ultra quiet. It has 3-500ZG tubes in it, so there is almost no warm up. After tuning it up, I got extra nice signal reports. After trying some pile ups barefoot, I turned on the amp, and almost always got throught the first try. This is a very nice amp, but they don't come cheap.
AD3G Rating: 5/5 Nov 3, 2004 21:18 Send this review to a friend
NICE AMP  Time owned: more than 12 months
Works great,even on WARC bands,runs quiet & cool.Has "modern" styling,even though it's 25+ yrs old,so it doesn't look out of place sitting next to a newer rig. Get one if you can find one,you won't be sorry.
K5YY Rating: 5/5 Nov 3, 2004 18:27 Send this review to a friend
Smooth amp  Time owned: more than 12 months
Only problem with this L7 which I picked up from original owner in excellent condition is that the HV metering is off by about 500 volts. There is a voltage adjustment pot for the meter but it is behind one of the tubes and I do not feel like going in and working on it! hi It is the smoothest to tune 3-500Z amp I have had, much easier than the L4B, and the looks are great. Does not run hot and has super quite relay system. Get one for a backup if nothing else, IF you can find one used.. San K5YY
KZ1X Rating: 5/5 Jul 19, 2004 00:15 Send this review to a friend
Alas...  Time owned: more than 12 months
I wish I hadn't sold mine.

I added vacuum relays, a speed up circuit, a power supply cooling modification, a optoisolated keying circuit, and a filament voltage control. Talk about a SWEET amplifier!!Then, I lost big $$$ in the stock market crash. Bye-bye to the smell of warm glass on a winter morning...

My advice: get one, and keep it.

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