Drake 4-Line: R-4, T-4 Reciter, L-4 Linear
Drake R-4B S meter

Drake 4-Line: R-4, T-4 Reciter, L-4 Linear

The Perfect 4 Line - by Jason Buchanan - N1SU


The Perfect 4 Line - R-4, T-4, L-4

The Perfect 4 Line

Ahh, a bunch of things of beauty! There's nothing quite like the smell of warm Drake radios running on a cold winter morning. The only thing like it is the smell of warm Drake radios running on a warm summer day.

Some call them Boatanchors because they are old, big and heavy. But that seems insulting given their rewarding operation.

Every once in while the Ameritron AL-811 sneaks in to pick up the Topband for operation on 160 meters but usually it's the chain of R-4 providing injection frequencies to the T-4 Reciter which excites the L-4 Linear for a comfortable 600 watts output on the low-voltage CW 1000 watts input PEP position.

The T-4 Reciter can sometimes show a shortcoming of the T-4X in that the T-4 Reciter does not have a VFO and consequently your ears need to be good at copying a 1KC CW sidetone - there's no independent tuning like RIT provides so what you have is what you have. The T-4 Reciter would make a nice SSB or AM transmitter counterpart to the R-4 but i'm quite content with the way it works. My T-4 Reciter is serial # 106 which makes it the 6th production unit built - it's nice and old. I love old tube radios.

The only thing I don't like about them is the scarcity of good tubes when replacements are needed. 6JB6 / 6JB6A and 6HS6 tubes that are in good shape are expensive because of an artificial response to supply and demand. There's plenty of them out there but there are plenty of rip-off artists waiting to exploit the needs of those of us using these older radios that need fresh tubes every 5-10 years.

But where else are you going to get an experience that excites the senses like these old radios: they are warm, you can smell them, they glow and their light twinkles when you use them - they're alive!



Drake 4-Line: R-4, T-4 Reciter, L-4 Linear - 28-Dec-05
(C) 2005 jsb@digistar.com

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