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Reviews Categories | Receivers: Vintage amateur | Drake R-4C Help

Reviews Summary for Drake R-4C
Drake R-4C Reviews: 14 Average rating: 4.6/5 MSRP: $500.00
Description: Vintage Drake HF receiver for 1.6 to 30 Mhz
Product is not in production.
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K4YRK Rating: 5/5 Nov 24, 2010 06:57 Send this review to a friend
A great old work horse of a receiver  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I just purchased a Drake R-4C off eBay that has the Sherwood mod and power supply mod also. I had one before that was stock without the Sherwood mod and can say the Sherwood mods make a big improvement in this old girl.

I find it to be be a hot receiver with low noise floor. I am compairing it to my Ten Tec Orion 2 on receive on weak DX signals on 80M and the Drake holds up well to the Orion.
KO7I Rating: 5/5 Nov 7, 2010 22:13 Send this review to a friend
Contest Worthy  Time owned: 6 to 12 months
As the dust settles from the ARRL SS CW Contest this past weekend, I figured I would add these words regarding a R-4C with a full compliment of Sherwood Engineering Mods. With a 500 Hz filter selected there were times when I detected a station responding to my CQ SS but down in the noise, switching to the 250 Hz CW filter would bring the station out of the noise and into the clear. Strong adjacent signals? Not a problem unless they were in the middle of my passband. The 600Hz roofing filter is a must have.
Is it worth the effort and investment to have the Sherwood Eng mod's installed? IMHO YES - without a doubt. Given that for a modest investment in a late model R-4C that can be purchased for $250 or less, the performance enhancement pays off in dB dollars.
One word regarding the T-4XC, there is no such thing as a "fast band change" with a tube type transmitter. Being reminded of these band change tune-ups and the time lost, I am beginning to look into dusting off a 100W solid state rig.

73, Don KO7i
W8JI Rating: 2/5 Oct 4, 2010 15:30 Send this review to a friend
Stock, no good  Time owned: more than 12 months
Although I use and have collected Drakes, I'm going to be bluntly honest about this. Without the transceive using the T4XC, and without mods to the receiver or 160, I'd much rather have Drake 2B.

I bought my first R4C back when they were new, and the receiver was nearly useless in any type of crowded condition. Not only did it have gross mixing of signals, it had a terrible AGC.

I talked to Drake at length about the receiver, and the silly idea of using 50 kHz injection into the second mixer. I changed the mixer around with my own idea and bought a 500 Hz Sherwood roofing filter, and then the receiver was passable. I finally took the SSB filters out of a lightning damaged T4XC and used a three way relay system to pick USB, LSB, or the 500 Hz roofer.

There is too much group delay through filters for good AGC on CW using narrow filters, so the AGC is not curable on CW.

The good points are the PTO and the filters. The PTO is excellent, the filters are great, and that made the R4C a good platform to gut and rebuild.

I went through various versions until I finally made one totally solid state through the signal path with diode double balanced mixers. To correct the AGC, I reduced front end gain and never applied AGC ahead of the roofing filter. I used low noise IF amps and very quiet mixers, and that allowed me to build a good AGC system.

The only reason I don't give the R4C's a 1 or 0 is because they can be helped. The early SN units with the MOSFET second mixer actually are a 0, at least for any serious operation.

KO7I Rating: 5/5 Oct 2, 2010 10:14 Send this review to a friend
The Good and the “only OK” of the Drake R-4C  Time owned: 6 to 12 months
In March 2010 I purchased a Drake C-Line, the T-4XC was your basic transmitter the only extra was a DX Engineering RF speech processor. The R-4C had all of the factory filters, plus the optional CW filters (1.5kHz, 500Hz, 250Hz filters). The receiver also has the Drake noise blanker. The sweet thing about the R-4C is that it has ALL of the Sherwood mod's including the CW & SSB roofing filters. These mod's do transform the receiver to a completely higher level and are worth the investment.

I have been working mainly 40 meters both SSB & CW. The Sherwood R-4C consistantly exceeds my expectations and I am becoming spoiled rotten, it beats most rice boxes hands down.

The only OK part of this receiver is the 2nd IF mixer, unfortunately this is not a mod offered by Sherwood and it is the final remaining weak point of the receiver. I am looking at gutting this part of my receiver and rebuilding it with a high dynamic range mixer and low noise ic IF amplifier.

In closing the early production R-4C's had a dual gate mosfet mixer and it was a poor design. The end of production run R-4C's attempted to correct this flaw and that is why they are so much more favorable.

73, Don KO7i
G4DJC Rating: 5/5 Sep 6, 2008 01:17 Send this review to a friend
great rx  Time owned: more than 12 months
I owned a R4C in the 70's & found it be a very reliable, great Rx.It wasn't modded at all, although I understand the Sherwood Filters mod was worthwhile for added selectivity. The "bluey" strip tended to go transparent due to the heat from the back light bulb, but apart from that & the occasional valve replacement. I had no problems at all. I don't know how they would fare against current rigs but I suspect, particularly on the LF bands, they would hold their own. 73, Dick. g4djc.
VE4MM Rating: 5/5 Jul 16, 2008 15:20 Send this review to a friend
Nice Vintage Receiver!  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
Just bought a new R4C off eBay for about $338.00

Works really well.

Sure enjoy the analog dial!


Michael Mark, BSc EE, P.Eng. Life Member ARRL
WW3QB Rating: 5/5 Apr 15, 2007 19:35 Send this review to a friend
Still Great After All These Years  Time owned: more than 12 months
I bought mine in 1978 as a teenager when I got my first job. I wish I was still in such great shape! Get at least the 500Hz filter for CW. Also the INRAD 1800 filter is a good idea. I did not do any of the Sherwood mods. Mine does not drift after warm up. Very sensitive. Also receives the WARC bands with extra crystals. No 60 meters. This is still a wonderful radio!
N4ARI Rating: 5/5 May 23, 2005 14:06 Send this review to a friend
Ready for the 21st century  Time owned: more than 12 months
My station consists of the Icom 746PRO and TT Orion, yet the addition of the R4C (and T4XC transmitter) rounded out my needs. 30 years after it was made, the R4C (with Sherwood mods) runs rings around the 746PRO. Except for weak signal or VERY crowded band conditions, the R4C it THE receiver OF CHOICE at my station. Drake made an amazing radio long ago that still rates as one of the best out there even today. It is my receiver of choice for ham and SWL even with the "modern" rigs at my disposal.
WA9CWX Rating: 5/5 Mar 4, 2005 15:45 Send this review to a friend
Great after all these years.  Time owned: more than 12 months
I have owned MANY Drake rigs, including three R4Cs. The stock ones with the CW narrow filter are quite nice. But my early R4C with the Sherwood filter, 250, 500 and 1500 filters and proper alignment is not surpassed by my Ft1000D's (3 with Narrow filters). If you do your OWN alignment, be careful, it can be deceptive, I have sent mine out for professional work. Even new out of Drake, SOME were not right. I have owned three R7s, full filters, etc. and the R4245 for ten years. My R4C is STILL my favorite, and outperforms them ALL on CW.
VE4AMN Rating: 5/5 Feb 23, 2005 21:21 Send this review to a friend
Sherwood mods A++  Time owned: more than 12 months
I have a Drake R-4c, with the Sherwood mods and narrow SSB filter. This combination challnges my FT-1000mp for sensitivity and selectively. There is nothing like a vintage set operating at peak performance. The Sherwood modes, especially the product detector, are very worthwhile. I am toying with installing the a new first if filter (INRAD or Sherwood), which it is rumoured will make this radio even better. This my best vintage set (and I have a bunch - TMC, Hammarlund SP-600, Hammarlund HQ-180a...)
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