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Drake R7


I had to search for the R7 for a long time. It is very hard to find one in Europe, especially in mint condition. But I made it at last - mostly by accident. A visitor of my website offered me his R-7 for comparing and testing purposes. Isn't this trustfulness? :-)
So I received it short time after. The colleague from Brunswick was so kind to sell it to me in the end after I had told him, how long I had been searching for such a R7. So much for the preliminary events of this unit.

My R7 is nearly full configured, only the AUX-7 board is missing. Five high quality quartz filters are built in: 6 - 2.3 - 1.8 - 0.5 - 0.3 kHz. The sought-after noise blanker board is built in, too. This was a requirement as I have grassland fences in my direct neighbourhood, which nearly negate any reception due to their current pulses.

The R7 has been built until the 80s. So no wonder it already counts to the oldtimers. The hardware at least. Reception quality of the R7 still can cope with newer devices. Large signal behaviour is very good. On 35m long wire the R7 plays excellently without overloading.

I compared it with its younger brother, the Drake R8B. Which is a great device with full configuration and a brilliant sound. In mostly every matter, the Drake R8B is better, but not much. The R7 sounds thready and it is no very nice listening. But therefore the understandability in borderline situations is slightly better due to the missing bass fullness.
In addition, it is less noisy than the R8B which guarantees the reception of weakest signals. The R7 therefore is predestinated for DX! The handling needs a little time to get used to. A keyboard for frequency input is missing. The frequency has first to be preselected within a band, then with push-buttons in 500kHz steps near the desired frequency before it is fine-tuned with the VFO knob. But this is the handling concept of this device. There you still got something to turn. I like that! Alltogether a device which really makes fun. Except for one little thing which absolutely does not fit in this machine: The disastrous frequency drift. After half an hour operation time its frequency drifts about 500Hz! This is quite a lot. But luckily there is a modern electric circuit called "DAFC" (digital automatic frequency control). This circuit is placed on a little board which is built in the R7. Only a few wires have to be soldered and finally the frequency is rock-solid. Drift then around 4 Hz! So you can live fine with the R7. A great device and in addition not to be found very often in Europe. In the U.S. it is sold for astronomic prices.
Here are some audio comparisons with the Drake R8B: Comparisons

written on 2012-07-07



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