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Reviews For: Drake 2B Receiver

Category: Receivers: Amateur Radio

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Review Summary For : Drake 2B Receiver
Reviews: 41MSRP: $279
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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# last 180 days Avg. Rating last 180 days Total reviews Avg. overall rating
K5WLR Rating: 2023-02-04
Still a Sweet Old Receiver! Time Owned: more than 12 months.
Follow-up review... Still going strong all these years later. Replaced the Heath QF-1 with the Drake 2-AQ Q-Multiplier. What a wonderful combination. It will bring up a weak CW signal way up out of the mud... A real boatanchor keeper!
Review from 2005-07-28
Purchased this to replace an HR-10B. Runs circles around it. Had to replace the filter capacitors which cleared up a strange oscillation problem. A quick touchup on the tuning and it works quite well. Gives some modern rigs a run for the $$$. Paired it with a Heath QF-1 Q-multiplier for a FB boatanchor station.
W6BP Rating: 2023-02-04
A fine receiver, even 60 years later Time Owned: more than 12 months.
Like many Novices back in the 1960s, I couldn't afford much in the way of equipment. I used a receiver that was little more than a table radio with shortwave bands and a BFO, but it was enough to help me make contacts and get to General.

A couple of years ago, after hearing Soldersmoke's Bill Meara sing the 2B's praises one too many times, I decided to take a chance on one that appeared on eBay. Once I cleaned the tube socket pins and replaced a 20-meter crystal that probably died during shipment, the receiver came to life. Stable, sensitive, and benefitting from good bandwidth filtering, the 2B makes it easy to pick out CW or phone signals. Every time I turn it on and listen to CW, I have the same thought: this would have made a *dynamite* Novice receiver. And it's just plain fun to listen to.
G4GZG Rating: 2021-05-06
Fantastic for its era. Time Owned: 3 to 6 months.
I bought a Drake 2B in rather dirty condition a few weeks ago off Ebay. The seller made no pretence about the condition but it was evident that the radio lit up so all was not lost. When it arrived I found I had to restring the tuning and try and clean off the years of corrosion evident on top of the chassis. But not underneath. What became evident was tha the corrosion hadn't affected the receiver and all that was required was to swap out the 6BZ6 RF amp and 6U8 Oscillator and the radio sprang into life.

I'm now in the process of cleaning all the tube and crystal sockets but the 2B performs very well. In fact, putting it on my 6BTV vertical listening to S79KW made a friend remark that it was equal to his top of the range modern HF transceiver and TH6 beam.

I can see why this receiver was a winner for Drake and an all-time classic. The circuit is fairly minimalistic but does the job well and the quality of components is evident after nearly 60 years. None of the caps or resistors were out of spec and the alignment was spot on.

if you see one of these, buy it. They are really fun little radios with superb performance even after over half a century.
KE7KK Rating: 2021-02-10
Just Super Time Owned: more than 12 months.
As a high school ham in 65 the 2B was already a legend. "He's working DX stations cause he has a Drake 2B" was the normal comment at that time. Bought one in 80s and became a believer. "A 75A4 in a shoebox" . Don't complain about the cheap slide switches DeOxit5 does the job.
WA7AXT Rating: 2020-07-03
Great receiver! Time Owned: 0 to 3 months.
I was given this receiver a few weeks ago. I have since got it working. It still needs work (cap replacements) but from what I have seen (and heard) so far, this receiver gets 5 stars. Good sensitivity and selectivity (it came with the q mulitplier). For those who know how to use a q multiplier, they are great. This one is no exception. When I get this one fixed up, it will go in the line-up of my regularly used rigs.
W0EAJ Rating: 2016-05-02
First Rate Time Owned: more than 12 months.
Back in '62, stationed at Treasure Island (SFRAN), a fellow ham (K9IHG at the time - K4TO now) had a new 2B. I fell in "lust" with it and swore I'd have one someday.. well, I do. At the time, it OUTperformed the S1 series Collins we had, and I'm inclined to think it STILL will, including the S3s and up. I repaired a TR-4 for a fellow, and he gave me the 2b, which had been dropped, requiring some bodywork, but little else. I have discovered that DRAKE gear had frequent problems with oxidized tube-socket pin-jacks. A rotary file, made from a large paperclip, and some DeOxIT, takes care of the problem. just tonight, listening to W1AW cw practice on 20m, the 756 ProII could barely hear the sig, but the 2b had it nicely. Like the other chaps say - get one... keep one.
YS1RS Rating: 2015-12-14
If I just could have known better! Time Owned: 0 to 3 months.
I have a couple of old vacuum tube transmitters like the Heathkit AT-1 and a few homebrew ones too, like my Ameco AC-1 clone and more. I needed a good boat anchor receiver to match them. Sent a search over the Internet for "Best ham radio vacuum tube receivers" and one of the first links that came up was from eBay! Guess what, on top of the list was the Drake 2-B. eBay is not a ham radio authority at all but they sell a lot of ham radio equipment, more than anybody else ;-)
Anyway, I bought one nice 2-B+2-BQ and 2-AC Crystal calibrator. Man I am impressed! This receiver can go to finals with any Collins (I have a few), leave well behind any Heathkit (also have a couple) and more. Small size, unquestionable quality, efficient design, durable, stable, sensitive, can add additional bands, Tripple Conversion, Product detection for CW and SSB, Diode detection for AM, Passband filter for 3.6, 2.1 and .5 kHz. for CW. 455kHz IF that can be used as source for modern SDR applications as shown by YouTube user M0HBR, glow like a real radio. Just add the efficient Q Multiplier plus Crystal Calibrator (better grab one complete) and what else can you ask for?
If I just had found this information earlier I would have saved a lot of hard earned money. My receiver came original with no mods or updates and was working perfectly after 54 years, that says a lot.
If you come across one, listen to us an grab it! will never regret it. Is one of the most popular boat anchor receivers ever made and now I know why.

73 de Rob
K6CTW Rating: 2015-09-11
Superb & Easy To Repair Time Owned: more than 12 months.
I've had 2 Drake 2-B's in my ham career since 1967. Unfortunately I let my original one get away. I bought and have fully restored another and it is one of my favorite receivers. It has adequate selectivity for all but the most demanding contest work and superb audio!
EBay prices seem to be a bit high but I would recommend this to anyone as a great station receiver or even just a "band scanner" Adding a couple of SWL crystals has opened this radio up to much greater use. Paired up with the DX-60 and a homebrew DDS-VFO and a B&W TR switch, it is great for all my CW fun!

Is it the equivalent of my fully restored and Sherwood Mod'd R-4C? No, but it would be the last receiver I'd ever consider letting go of.
K5AX Rating: 2015-01-31
I have had 3 Drake 2Bs. Time Owned: more than 12 months.
I have owned 3 2B's since I've been a ham. The first 2 I sold because I was in the Navy and stationed overseas, when I left I sold the gear to other hams stationed with me because I thought I could always get another one, and they couldn't get one so easily. But my present 2B is a 9900 series receiver and still looks new. I have an SO2R set up with K3's but still always turn on my 2B for back-up or just because it is still a kick-ass receiver pushing 50 years old. I can hear whatever the K3 can hear and a lot of time with a less elaborate antenna. I just bought a 2NT which is going to be on-line soon. If you hear me on give me a buzz.
VA7AA Rating: 2013-06-06
Nice Radio Time Owned: more than 12 months.
The Drake 2B is a really nice little radio. Back in the 70's these were all the rage and for good reason, but back then a poor teenager could never afford my first rig was an old Hallicrafters S-85 and a DX40...not the best combo for sure. Got this receiver on a good buy, and it even came complete with matching speaker, Q multiplier/notch filter. Won't look back... because this one's gotta be a keeper. This little radio likely equaled or even outperformed most of the heavy metal mil-spec Collins rigs that could easy cost the taxpayer 5X the price....and weighed 5x as much. If you get a decent one...don't ever let it go.