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Reviews Categories | Receivers: Vintage amateur | Drake 2B Receiver Help

Reviews Summary for Drake 2B Receiver
Drake 2B Receiver Reviews: 38 Average rating: 4.9/5 MSRP: $$279
Description: The DRAKE 2-B is an extremely versatile communication receiver designed to bring you top performance in reception of all modes of amateur transmission in a compact package. It is a triple conversion super heterodyne receiver employing crystal controlled high frequency oscillators, a highly stable variable oscillator tuning the same range on all bands, and for selectivity a steep-sided L-C filter at the 50 Kc I.F.
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VE3HG Rating: 5/5 Dec 15, 2010 07:37 Send this review to a friend
Fabulous receiver  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
Was in the midst of a swap when I spotted the Drake 2-B sitting on a shelf so I asked if it was for sale. It was. And we negotiated a good deal (some semi-pro camera equipment for a QRP autotuner, a 100-watt all-band amp and the Drake 2-B).

Turns out the ham was the original owner and the 2-B is in mint, brand-new condition and even came with the manual and the original registration card.

Didn't work when I plugged it in so removed all the tubes, sprayed the sockets and controls and...guess what? It works...really, really well on 80 to 10 meters (used it to monitor a bit of the ARRL 10-meter contest). See photos at

Now I'm looking for the matching 2BQ Multiplier and calibrator. (ve3hg at
N4UE Rating: 5/5 Oct 15, 2010 17:02 Send this review to a friend
Fantastic little radio!  Time owned: 3 to 6 months
I have been watching the reviews of the 2B with great interest. I have a nice collection of Drakes, but was curious about the 2B having such a stellar rep. I just KNEW someone would come along and belittle the radio just 'because'.
I have three R-4Bs, a Sherwood R-4C, a 2-C / 2-CQ combo and a bunch of other Drakes. I wanted to see what all the hype was about. I have 50+ receivers here, all restored by me and these make a great 'baseline'.
Since this radio was made in abundance, there are always a lot of them for sale. Here, QRZ, eBay, etc. I finally found a nice 2B / 2BQ combo, for an excellent price. The radio was a 9.5 and works perfectly. The seller removed each tube, and wrapped them in foam. The crystals were removed and taped to a stiff piece of plastic. It has the xtal calibrator and the seller included a Torrestronics digital display and the emitter follower amp to interface it to the 2B. He also included 2 extra complete tube sets. All good!! The only thing I have done so far was to replace the 6X4 with a pair of diodes.
The reason I mention all this, is simply to reply to K7LN's claim that the radio was "over engineered". Actually, as Tom (W8JI) mentioned, the engineering was done quite nicely. In addition, both the 2B and 2C were both considered "minimal component count" radios. Take a look inside either and then compare those chassis to an R-4B or R-4C. Quite a shock! There's a LOT of air under the 2B and 2C.

In a strange kinda way, it reminds me of my FRG-7. This is another fantastic receiver and quite a shock wnen you see how few parts are in it.

Anyway, back to the 2B. Mine is sitting next to one of my aligned R-4Bs and doing an A=B switching of the same antenna, reveals virtually NO difference in signal quality, in spite of the fact the Passband widths are different. Both have that GREAT Drake audio!
In spite of the component count, this little radio is excellent. I just wish I would have bought one sooner!

GOOD job, R.L.!!!!

W2XS Rating: 5/5 Oct 14, 2010 08:36 Send this review to a friend
Great Performance  Time owned: more than 12 months
Back in the early 60’s, when the 2B was introduced, most people were using separate, un-matched xmtrs and rcvrs. The age of the transceiver had not yet arrived. At the same time, the switch from AM to SSB was accelerating. The 1A, 2A, and 2B were designed to provide cost-effective SSB/CW and AM reception with excellent performance. The 2B added sharper CW selectivity to the already mentioned excellent passband tuning.

I had a Ranger II and Drake 2B setup. It was absolutely wonderful for QSK CW with a Johnson TR switch. The Drake’s AVC was so good that I could monitor my own signal while transmitting. I once did a side-by-side comparison of the 2B against a 75A4 and ended up keeping the 2B.

I still have a 1961 issue of 73 magazine with the review of the Drake 2B. It was a very good review and concluded that the 2B was one of the finest and most stable receivers on the market at that time.

Drake tried to keep costs down with clever engineering and the re-use of circuits on multiple bands. One result of this was that some bands tuned from left-to-right, and others from right-to-left. The performance was so good, however, that this little “annoyance” was no big deal.

My 2B was traded in for an R-4A which I still have. The R-4A (vintage 1965) covers more bands, has a linear PTO that tunes in the same direction on all bands, has a built-in calibrator, noise blanker, and notch-filter (aka Q-multiplier) which were not options, matches the T-4X, and still works FB for general use like rag chewing. It even has a 5 kHz wide "roofing" filter! But I still get tempted when I see a 2B for sale.


John W2XS
W8JI Rating: 5/5 Oct 14, 2010 03:00 Send this review to a friend
Great engineering  Time owned: more than 12 months
Prior to the Drake 1 and 2 series radios, Hams were either stuck with spending big bucks for a Collins or suffering the drift and calibration problems of other receivers of that era. Very few receivers, except the SX117 and a couple other exceptions, used the crystal controlled mixing scheme to improve calibration and stability.

The 2B followed the 1A in passband tuning, a great feature that appeared in all Drakes (but was the downfall of the Drake R4C because of a poor choice of 2nd mixer injection frequency.

My Drake 2B is one of the better receivers I have of that era. Comparable to the SX117, it is a performance classic and was state-of-the-art for amateur gear at that time.
K7LN Rating: 3/5 Oct 13, 2010 17:04 Send this review to a friend
Over engineered  Time owned: 6 to 12 months
For several years, I wanted one of the Drake 2 series radios. A few times, I missed a good deal by waiting too long and having second thoughts. Finally, I picked up a 2B.

The heading on eHam says: "extremely versatile communication receiver designed to bring you top performance in reception of all modes of amateur transmission in a compact package." Well, I think Drake tried to make it too versatile. It's almost as if they were trying to make it a commercial model with all possible interconnections and band coverages.

I also feel that it was over engineered by the manor in which they built the RF and IF sections. Dual purpose coils mounted on a cheap looking bracket. With all the crystals it could use for coverage, why did they use a free running 455Kc mixer oscillator rather than a stable crystal? Plug in 100Kc calibrator, it should have been built-in for the price they wanted back then.

I have a few other rants, but I'll simply say that it seemed over engineered and built on a budget. Alignment can be rather critical. I did't feel that it was overly easy to use at first. However, it was a nice compact receiver that makes it very appealing, but I'm still sour on such a "classic" from the past.
KM4D Rating: 5/5 Aug 14, 2010 17:16 Send this review to a friend
Wonderful Receiver after Owning for 43 Years  Time owned: more than 12 months
Purchased in 1967 from Bob Wilson W3GHD - Engineer for Raytheon at that time and a top honor roll guy back in the 60's for $85.00 with the 2BQ. I was 14 years old then. Bob told me this was a great receiver. He was going to upgrade to a Collins 75S-3B and needed the cash to do so. Two weeks later he told me he wished he had it back... Anyway, SN 9207 has been with me since then and as Bob stated has been a great receiver. It has worked next to all kinds of transmitters/transceivers (as a second receiver)over the years, worked lots of DX on both CW and phone. Together we have worn out a few sets of tubes and a few capacitors and it just keeps on working as it has did when I first got it. A little polish and cleaning once a year has preserved it well. As far as performance goes, it is a real tough radio to beat. The selectivity on all modes with the 2BQ is excellent. I have compared it to SX-115's 75A-4's of the day and many others and I keep coming back to the mellow full sound and excellent selectivity of the 2B/2BQ on both CW and phone. In 1999 I added a Timewave DSP 50++.. The Timewave made it even sound better. Later added a ESP Digital frequency readout.. There is no doubt that I got my moneys worth with the many hours spent in front of the wonderful slide rule dial but even compared to the modern day radio's it is a joy to listen to and has the added bonus of glowing in the dark. If you can find one in good shape or can do some basics - soldering changing tubes etc...the 2B/2BQ is a easy radio to work on. I would highly recommend.
AD4U Rating: 5/5 Jun 17, 2010 12:11 Send this review to a friend
Great Receiver  Time owned: more than 12 months
I have two Drake 2B's (and a 2C), both with 2BQ speakers. After over 40 years of hamming I got bored and tired of all the new $10,000 rigs.

I have used my 2B's with my Drake 2NT (50 watts) with just one crystal for 7.022 MHz. I have worked 287 countries in the past several winters, all on 7.022. My antenna is a simple half wave dipole up about 50 feet.

This has put the fun back into ham radio for me.
KE4EZ Rating: 5/5 Jun 5, 2009 12:06 Send this review to a friend
FB Rig  Time owned: more than 12 months
A great Radio!
I use with a Johnson Navigator and TR switch. The Drake 2B/Q multiplier just works so well in QSK it handles the break-in just great.
I use 3-4 times a week on NTS Nets PAN TWN MSN.
I have the Henry Radio Mech Filter but don't think I'm going to install it. The rig just doesn't need any improvement in selectivity.
The 2B IF and Q Mult handles anything that I've run into. Its FB just stock. No problems with the 2B...
2B or Not 2B?...I'd say yes 2B.
K9EUI Rating: 4/5 Dec 9, 2007 09:46 Send this review to a friend
Great receiver!  Time owned: more than 12 months
I have owned two 2-B's over the years and they are superb receivers. I had an outboard switch box on one of them that had xtals to cover the entire HF range.

There are 2 disadvantages to the 2-B:
1) It would be nice to have a real noise blanker in it that worked for CW/SSB.
2) It would be nice if it covered 160 meters. There is a simple mod to change the "A" auxilliary band to cover 160 and I tried it but the sensitivity was way low, probably because of the Hi C to L ratio.

W6GF Rating: 5/5 Sep 26, 2007 20:50 Send this review to a friend
The standard for high performance in a simple package  Time owned: more than 12 months
I just had to write the review. I have a lot of ham gear. I have the latest and a lot of vintage equipment. In fact I have a dozen operating positions. But sitting just to my right at position #1 is a Drake 2B. If I can not hear it on the 2B, the signal is not there, and I turn everything off and read a book. I love my 2B.

George, W6GF
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