Drake R-4, R-4B, T-4 Reciter, T-4XB - tubes
Drake R-4B S meter

Drake R-4, R-4B, T-4 Reciter, T-4XB

Tubes, Tips and Trimmers - opinions by Jason Buchanan - N1SU

Recommendations for buying your first Drake radio

Based on my experiences, there are a couple paths to take with the decision to buy a Drake 2 or 4 line rig. Aside from age, the availability of good tubes is the key factor in having a good experience with these old rigs.

6EH5 vacuum tube - power pentode The main players are:

The key tubes involved: 6GX6 vacuum tube - sharp-cutoff pentode

Good tubes are the key

The best receiver is only as good as the tubes inside. If the tubes are weak, especially the 12BZ6 in the R-4 or 6HS6 in the R-4B, the radio will be flat and you'll be quickly annoyed at how deaf it is. As you can tell by reading above, it's a good idea to have 2 or 3 spares if you plan on using your radio a few hours every day.

Using hand-selected tubes will give you amazing performance from these old rigs. Even the old 2-C will hear the very faintest of signals just as well as a $10,000 modern receiver - the only thing the older rigs don't have is DSP but an external processor like the Timewave DSP-599zx Digital Noise Filter can easily make up for this. The Drake 2-BQ / 2-CQ Q Multiplier had to blow people's minds at the time - the 2BQ / 2CQ provided a notch or peak for a signal.

Drake R-4, R-4B, T-4 Reciter, T-4XB - tubes - 9-Jan-06
(C) 2006 jsb@digistar.com

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