• Effective immediately we will be deleting, without notice, any negative threads or posts that deal with the use of encryption and streaming of scanner audio.

    We've noticed a huge increase in rants and negative posts that revolve around agencies going to encryption due to the broadcasting of scanner audio on the internet. It's now worn out and continues to be the same recycled rants. These rants hijack the threads and derail the conversation. They no longer have a place anywhere on this forum other than in the designated threads in the Rants forum in the Tavern.

    If you violate these guidelines your post will be deleted without notice and an infraction will be issued. We are not against discussion of this issue. You just need to do it in the right place. For example:
    https://forums.radioreference.com/rants/224104-official-thread-live-audio-feeds-scanners-wait-encryption.html

My new old Drake R8 Receiver

Joined
Sep 16, 2015
Messages
5
Location
Johnston City Illinois
#1
I have been reading a lot of reviews on the original Drake R8, and I thought I would post my review since I just got one about 4 months ago.

First off, let me say I really like the R8 radio. The ergonomics does not bother me at all since I have a few stations I like to listen to and I don't tune up and down for hours. I had my R8 serviced and fully restored to like new, so... here we go.

There is nothing bad I can say about my R8. I really like the silky smooth optical encoder and medal tuning knob. The syc detector locks and stays locked every time even on faint signals. I really like the large display, it gives me all the information I need. The AGC works wonderfully on mine, as well as the Passband and all other functions. The audio is suburb ( I have mine hooked up to 2 six inch speakers). Adjacent channel interference, selectivity is very very good. It is a quiet receiver as well, I can pull in stations just above the noise level. Sensitivity is outstanding!! The R8 is still a top notch classic performing radio after all these years.

There have been a lot of reviews over the years about the mode and bandwidth buttons, the construction and others. I feel that is the opinion of the person who is using it. It's performance under the cover that matters when you get down to it. The R8 does not disappoint in that area. Like I said, as for me, none of the ergonomics matters at all. I do use mine with the remote control that was offered at the time. It makes everything easy to tune from across the room.

My R8 is operationally solid. It works like brand new. It's almost in mint condition cosmetically as well. I used to own a R8A back in the late 90s, but had to sell it when I moved. Got a real good deal on my R8 and I don't feel like I downgraded at all. In fact, I prefer the R8 now that I have used one. If you can find a R8 in good working order, I would not hesitate to buy it. You won't be sorry.
 

ka3jjz

Wiki Admin Emeritus
Joined
Jul 22, 2002
Messages
21,681
Location
Bowie, Md.
#2
The Drake R8 series was the last set of HF receivers they ever released, and command very high prices on the used market. If you can find one, you're going to pay for it.

They are all very highly rated - even the R8A (which had some issues) was still considered a very fine receiver in its own right. Sadly, Drake is out of this market, and I don't even know if they still service them.

They are very selective, and the passband tuning is a joy (I owned an older R7A for many years, but I'm pretty sure they used basically the same circuit in these radios).

Mike
 

muskrat39

Member
Premium Subscriber
Joined
Jan 29, 2015
Messages
1,194
Location
north central Indiana
#3
R8 series was the last hf radios under the Drake name, but not the last radios made. That distinction belongs to the Grundig Satellite 800, which was actually designed and serviced by Drake, manufactured by Techsun, and labeled as Grundig. The R8 series was the last table top receiver designed and sold by Drake. It was very high rated and was a direct competitor to the Icon R71a, Kenwood 5000, and the NRD525. Congratulations on your R8. It should give you many years of enjoyment.
 

ka3jjz

Wiki Admin Emeritus
Joined
Jul 22, 2002
Messages
21,681
Location
Bowie, Md.
#4
Yeah I forgot about the Eton E1(XM) which was also serviced by Drake. I should amend that to say that the R8s were the last desktop radios... Mike
 

SCPD

Member
Joined
Feb 24, 2001
Messages
65,126
Location
Virginia
#5
Just be sure to unplug the R8 if you're not using it for a long period of time. It sucks AC even when powered off (in standby mode) hence why they came out with the R8A and R8B models.
 
Joined
Dec 19, 2002
Messages
610
Location
Spotsylvania County, Va
#6
I've had an R8A for a long time and it is indeed a joy to use. I've considered selling it but its hard to part with. It sits next to a nice SW-4A which puts out beautiful audio.
 
Joined
Sep 16, 2015
Messages
5
Location
Johnston City Illinois
#7
Oh yeah, I have read that it uses a lot of power even when off. I power mine with a External adjustable Power supply. Then, when I'm done, I shut the radio off then turn off my power supply. I have an external UTC world clock sitting on the desk, so I don't have a need to leave it powered on or in standby. Plus, using the external Power supply, the radio runs nice and cool hour after hour. The guy that serviced and restored mine, worked at Drake for 20+ years as a service tech. He said it is better to run with External power supply. The coolness helps with aging CAPS and circuits.
 
Joined
Sep 16, 2015
Messages
5
Location
Johnston City Illinois
#8
@KT4HX

I had the R8A from 1996 to early 1998. I really liked that radio and some of the features it had. But, things changed and I got stupid and sold it on a spur of the moment thing. For about 10 years I really didn't think about SWL that much. I would once and a while tune around on a small handheld multi band radio. I'm older now, and things have slowed down and I decided to setup a shack again. Well, I had to buy all the equipment again and start over. I was looking for a R8A on eBay, but none was available. I found 4 R8 radios and the one I ended up getting was in great shape, ( cosmetically and operationally ) and the price was just over $500 looked and worked like new.

After I received it, I decided to have it checked all out and have the alignment tweaked. In 24 years, it was just starting to get a CAPS leak but that was it. Now, it looks 98% mint, and works like factory new. It should last me a long time. I've tried so hard to remember if my R8A i had worked the same or if it was better ( performance wise) as my R8, and I just can't remember clear enough. But anyway, I feel I got a really good radio that I knew for a good price that should serve me well for a long time.

Oh, 3 weeks after I purchased my R8, a couple of R8As and one R8B came up for sale. But they wanted over $400 more for the R8A and $1,400 for the B model. That was and is out of my price range. Also, shortwave has changed so much since the mid 1990s, I didn't want to spend that much even if I could have.

I have been enjoying it again the last couple of years.
 

EricCottrell

Member
Database Admin
Joined
Nov 8, 2002
Messages
2,268
Location
Boston, Ma
#9
Hello,

There are several Drake R8 series owners in our local SWL club. I had a chance to fix a Drake R8 recently with a intermittent display backlight. The radio uses LEDs, but the problem turned out to be the connections to the off-board regulator as shown in this video. I used some DeoxIt spray to clean the connections. The white power resistor on the front panel board does get warm.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CB2ppBSFEiI

I also noticed the power button and other buttons did not work solidly. They are rubber membrane switches mounted on a PCB board. It was not too difficult to remove the front panel and take the switches apart to clean. I was able to get my friend's Drake R8 back working good again.

73 Eric
 
Joined
Jul 22, 2009
Messages
344
#10
I still have my Drake R8B. Its a big beast of a radio. Last US made radio?

My R8B is still with me I bought it (late 97) It was a big investment for me back then I was still quite poor but SW was my big hobby.

I remember living in an studio apartment with no furniture except the bed and a seat and the table with the R8B sitting on it and a wire antenna out the window :)

My dates probably thought I was a spy or something when they saw that getup lol.

Good times. Sad we have amazing SDR technology like the FDM-S2 (which outperforms my R8B) yet not much to listen to anymore.
 
Joined
Sep 16, 2015
Messages
5
Location
Johnston City Illinois
#11
My Drake R8 and SDR

Yes, I agree. I really love my Drake R8 and other tabletops. But, I have had an SDRplay RSP2pro SDR for about a year now. I use it with SDRuno. With my SDR, I can do so much more with a signal than I ever could with my tabletops. Almost unlimited filters, all kinds of tweaks and they add new features all the time with a software update. Plus, all the decoding and other functions you can do.

I still use my R8 and my other radios on a regular basis. Sometimes I just don't want to sit in front of a computer screen playing around with software.But I do find that I'm using my SDR just a little bit more these days. BUT, I personally feel that if you are a new or veteran shortwave listener, the best thing to do is have a good quality tabletop radio, a decent portable, and an SDR. That way you have all the bases covered. Plus, get the best antenna that you can afford and have the room for.

I started shortwave listening back in 1984 when I was 16. So, the tabletop radios are still a thing for me. I just like a physical radio. But, at the same time, I do realize we are moving forward in technology and SDR is the future of shortwave and other radio. So I'm not afraid to use it. But, being from the old school, the classic tabletops hold a special place for me. It is sad to see so many SW broadcasters leaving or have left the SW bands. Radio Australia was a big blow to me. I hate to think what SW will be like in 15-20 years.At least I have had 30+ good years of SW listening, and I will continue to do so for as long as I can.
 

ka3jjz

Wiki Admin Emeritus
Joined
Jul 22, 2002
Messages
21,681
Location
Bowie, Md.
#12
I still have my Drake R8B. Its a big beast of a radio. Last US made radio? <snip>
Nope, Palstar would likely hold that title. But they aren't as feature rich as a Drake - but they had a nearly bullet proof front end that was difficult to overload

Mike
 
Top