R.L. Drake

Drake Mods - Experiences

Authored by VE3EFJ


    Date: 10-Feb-96 17:40 EST From: Garey (deleted) Subj: Drakemd3 File

    Wayne: I really enjoyed reading your Drake "Masterpiece" file. I became a convert in about 1961 when after being out of Ham Radio for a brief period I fell victim to a QST ad from (an amateur dealer) in Milwaukee for a Hammarlund HQ-170 at a "closeout" price. After about a week I got a letter from them saying that they were all out of 170's, but would be happy to sell me a "new 170A" for only a few more dollars!! My only excuse was that my last commercial receiver was an HQ-129X that served me well. Anyway, I fell for it.

    When it arrived, I set it up on the kitchen table in my apartment. The first night it never stopped drifting. I noticed that Hammarlund had arranged the vfo tube filament to be on "all the time," and so I left it plugged in and went off to work the next morning. When I came home from work, it was still drifting!! The thing is probably up past S-Band by now!! Anyway, I took it to my friendly local ham emporium and traded it for a 2-B. Smartest move I ever made.

    Since that time, I have owned the R-4, A, B, and C lines in approximate chronological order. I never owned a T-4 however. I have never owned a "bad" piece of Drake equipment. My first T-4X, which I drove Drake crazy for after it was first announced, had a serial number of 10102. I found three unsoldered connections in the carrier oscillator area, but once they were soldered, the tx worked for many years with no problem. When I talked to Drake's service department they said I couldn't have that serial number because they never shipped anything below 10200. So maybe they just got tired of me bugging them and sent me a prototype or preproduction model!!

    I used these rigs for RTTY autostart for years, 24 hour duty cycle with sometimes 30 minute key-down times. I always used a small "Sprite" fan bolted to the back of the TX cage and would get 3-4 years out of a set of 6JB6's. Sylvania only, of course.

    Anyway, now that I have worn out your eyes, I will say that of all the equipment I have owned, I always go back to the Drake. I currently have two C Lines with all Drake filters and NB installed. The only mods I have done were the Sherwood audio amp replacement with the LM-383. They were quite specific about the layout and bypassing of the chip, and I never had a problem with either one. I built the amp on a small (1.5" X 1.5") piece of copper flashing, and RTV'ed it to the shield divider behind the AF Gain control.

    Finally, (whew!,) I spent some time working part-time for a Ham equipment retailer in the 60's and spent many "working" hours comparing the S-Line and the C-Line trying to decide whether to abandon the Drakes for the Collins mystique.

    At that time the Manufacturers of ham gear would sell their wares to sales people for 50% of list price rather than the "normal" wholesale of 75% and that brought the Collins down into the "possible" range for the working man! I couldn't convince myself that the Collins was worth the price, and stayed with the Drake. Today the C-Line is on the operating desk and the S-Line is on the storage shelves with the "back-up" C-Line.

    I know that many (most) of us fail to recognize the work of people like you who take the time to chronicle this sort of information for the "ingrates" of today and tomorrow!! I am as guilty as most, and after wading through all this, (if you get this far!,) you will wish I had kept quiet!!

    Again, thanks and 73. Garey

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