Hello, I'm new here and relatively new to radio. Looking for help

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IIIQUAZIII

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Hi fellas. My name is Matt. I have played around with a few different CBs and have a Cobra and an Antron A99 I been playing with the last year or so. My grandpa is getting up there in years (90) and recently decided to give me his old Ham setup since he doesn't use it anymore. Its a Drake TR7 with a Drake MN2700 antenna tuner. I remember being like 5 years old sitting in his lap talking to his friends in Australia and New Zealand with this thing, so it's pretty cool he decided to give it to me now that I'm old enough to appreciate it. I took my license test years ago when I was in Technical school but failed due to the Morse code requirement. I've heard they removed that though, so I'd like to try to take it again, now that I have a radio. Even though I went to school for electronics/engineering like 15 years ago, I don't really remember much about electronics and radios in general. Like I said, my experience is pretty much limited to jerking around on the CB radio.

Anyways, I was playing around with this Drake last nite with my buddy on 10 meters just to test it out. I didn't want to stay on too long and get in trouble (no license yet) but wanted to test it out since grandpa hasn't used it in years. I cleaned out all the knobs with contact spray, and replaced a couple light bulbs but I seem to have some issues. The output power is low, around 20-30 watts and from what I'm reading it should be close to 100w. Also, I have an issue where if I hold the transmit down for a while, it will all the sudden start breaking up and sounding like a crappy staticy mess to my friend on the other end. Then if I let off and re-transmit it will sound fine again.

So, being as I don't really know what I'm doing, I'd like to find someone who can service this radio properly and bring it back up to like new specs. My buddy suggested I sell the whole setup and buy something new, but this sort of has sentimental value because I remember spending time with my grandpa on it when I was a kid, and he won't be around much longer. Plus vintage is cool.

My question is: Where can I go (or send this to) to have it fixed right? And what can I expect to spend?
 

kd2goe

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yes i helped test it with a frend "KC2MKH" when i was over his house it is indeed a nice radio. and was working well on 10 meters taking to my frend about 10 miles down..
but it is down on power..
 

IIIQUAZIII

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Well I fixed the problem with the crackling/breaking up. That was just the mic. I cleaned it all out and it stopped doing that.

I'm still down on power across all bands.
 

K7MEM

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I took my license test years ago when I was in Technical school but failed due to the Morse code requirement. I've heard they removed that though, so I'd like to try to take it again, now that I have a radio. Even though I went to school for electronics/engineering like 15 years ago, I don't really remember much about electronics and radios in general. Like I said, my experience is pretty much limited to jerking around on the CB radio.
Yes, in 2000 they reduced the morse code 20 and 13 WPM requirements to 5 WPM. Then, in 2007, they completely dropped the morse code requirements. In 2007, they also reduced the number of license classes to three, Technician, General, and Amateur Extra. Existing Novices and Advanced licensees can keep their licenses and renew them. Technician Plus licensees are now recognized simply as Technician.

There isn't a lot of radio and electronic theory in the Technician test. It is mostly about RF safety, operating bands, and general procedures. You can go to QRZ.com and take some practice tests for free, to see what it will be like. When you start testing on QRZ at 90% or better, consistently, it would be time to take the real test. As long as your at it, check out the General test. It's not that difficult and if you pass the Technician, you can take the General test immediately. For that matter, you can take all three, as long as you pass the Tech and the General. In 1999, I took the Tech and General in one session and then the Advanced and Extra in another session, six months later. Of course that included the 13 and 20 WPM code tests, but that all changed now. If you have some kind of radio/electronics background, none of the tests should be difficult.

Oh yea, get your buddies to upgrade too. I look up the calls mentioned in this thread and they are all still Technician. While a Technician license good, the other licenses give you so much more band access.

Anyways, I was playing around with this Drake last nite with my buddy on 10 meters just to test it out. I didn't want to stay on too long and get in trouble (no license yet) but wanted to test it out since grandpa hasn't used it in years. I cleaned out all the knobs with contact spray, and replaced a couple light bulbs but I seem to have some issues. The output power is low, around 20-30 watts and from what I'm reading it should be close to 100w. Also, I have an issue where if I hold the transmit down for a while, it will all the sudden start breaking up and sounding like a crappy staticy mess to my friend on the other end. Then if I let off and re-transmit it will sound fine again.

So, being as I don't really know what I'm doing, I'd like to find someone who can service this radio properly and bring it back up to like new specs. My buddy suggested I sell the whole setup and buy something new, but this sort of has sentimental value because I remember spending time with my grandpa on it when I was a kid, and he won't be around much longer. Plus vintage is cool.

My question is: Where can I go (or send this to) to have it fixed right? And what can I expect to spend?
Yes, vintage is cool, right up until it breaks. Then it is just a boat anchor. Generally, on the older tube rigs the output power on 10 Meters is a bit less than the other bands. It is usually around 80 Watts. However, 20-30 watts is too low. Possibly, all that is wrong is the need for new output/driver tubes. But new tubes can also mean a realignment of the output stages (neutralizing, etc.). If you don't know your way around a tube radio or have the necessary test equipment, it is probably not a good idea to do it yourself.

I run some boat anchors myself. I have a old Heathkit DX-40, a SB-101, HR-1680/HX-1681, HW-7, HW-8 and a few others. I don't think that any of my equipment is less than 30 years old. But I know how to keep them running.

Just firing it up for some short tests on 10 Meters does not tell the whole story. You may be able to find someone to repair it for you, but it will cost some time and money. Depending on how much work it needs, it may be a lot of time and money.

Like your buddy, I would recommend selling it. A TR7 in good physical condition can bring a lot of money, even if it not fully up and running. It could be enough money to finance a newer solid state rig with more capabilities.
 

teufler

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I believe the DrakeTR7 is a tube tranmitter so you will have to dip and load to set the power, then you have the tuner to match with what ever antenna you are using. Long wire, vertical, beam. The Drakes are hot receivers and were high dollar in the 70's. If you havn't loaded the transmitter the power wil be off, or indications will show the power is down. If you have a dummy load, it will display a 50 ohm load so the transmitter will load into that without the tuner. You should get full power indications. Then bring the drive down, go to the tuner and apply some power so you can use the tuner, eventually bring the power to full as the tuner has adjusted to the antenna.
 

K7MEM

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The radio has two 2sc2879 transistor in it...
Yes, you are correct. This already is a solid state rig. From looking around a bit, it seems that low output on 10 Meters is a common malady for the TR-7. Some owners tried a lot of different things to make it better, but only changing the output transistors had any real effect. But, changing the output transistors is not a guaranteed fix.

However, if you are not comfortable with what's involved in changing the output transistors, I still recommend selling it and getting something newer. One major error during the change and you are stuck with nice book end. And the sale price goes down for a unit that has been hacked. If you get a recent ICOM or Yeasu, you can still send it back to the factory for repair and updates.
 

IIIQUAZIII

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It was actually one of the first all solid state radios available, and THE first one made by Drake if I'm not mistaken.

I am going to take the whole setup over to my friends house next weekend, he has some other antenna's we can use to test the lower frequencies and verify the power output with a different watt meter.

I'd still like to have it gone thru though if anyone can recommend somewhere I can send it?

Thanks for the replies guys.
 

teufler

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Guess I was wrong, solid state not tubes. well what kind of power output do you indicate going to a 50 ohm dummy load? If you are getting a bad match or impedence with the antenna, a high swr, then the alc circuit will cut your power back, to protect the radio. Or perhaps the tuner has a 50 ohm load built in that you can switch to to check things out.
 

kd2goe

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Yeah quaz you need to do the tests in to a dummb load.. having it on the antenna that is not matched right will give you a low reading...
 

krokus

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With the sentimental value of the radio, I say keep it. Find a local amateur radio club, the help they can provide can be priceless. (On the equipment, on procedures, and on getting ready for the test.)

You might find someone that is familiar with the model of radio, and is willing to make sure things are right with it.

Sent via Tapatalk
 

IIIQUAZIII

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Well I have the dummy load. Its a MFJ-260B 300 watt dummy load by MFJ. Says 1-150 Mhz on it. I'm not educated to know more about it than that.
 

IIIQUAZIII

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Found a guy to fix my radio

So, some of you may have seen my introduction post w/attached question, here: http://forums.radioreference.com/am...w-here-relatively-new-radio-looking-help.html

I seem to have found a good Drake service guy thru the advice of some others here and at worldwide. Thanks. He seems to have a good reputation. He is Ron Baker at WB4HFN. I was perusing his webpage and he seems to have a really nice setup over there for repairs and tuning! I guess I'll see if this ol' TR7 can be saved.

Wish me luck.

I'm hoping the low power output on the TR7 can be fixed. Also having an issue with the transmission breaking up and sounding like a crackly mess interemittently about 5% of the time.

Anyone got any positive repair stories to tell on the old Drakes? I'm a total newbie.

-Matt
 
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