Friday, March 14, 2008

Drake 2-B

The Drake 2-B was the first 'good' receiver I had early on as a ham. Mine was purchased in about 1965 or so from Harrison Radio in Manhattan. I talked my dad into buying one because it seemed to have the nicest sound of any of the radios for SSB/CW except maybe the Collins and these were more expensive. Hearing Bill Meara talking about how good they were I decided to pick one off of eBay and relive some of the 60's again.
Got the 2-B and have it on the desk. It has some 'issues' but looks pretty good. Don't think it ever had a lot of use really. It's humming like crazy but I heard some signals on 40 and 80, the 20 M band is dead maybe the Xtal. The 100kc calibrator Xtal socket was loose and the xtal was rattling around inside radio but is now working.
I did some web reading on methods of 'reforming' the filter caps and it has gotten somewhat better but I am sure they will need to be replaced.
The Frequency 'main tuning' knob seemed frozen but the grease had hardened and now is fine. I also got the 2-BQ with it and have not tried it but it looks good.
Copper is excellent on the bottom and good to very good on the top.
There was some sheet metal damage to the upper left corner of the radio but not on the case.
The screws looks like they had not been touched (that hold the radio in the case) but it must have been out and fallen off the table at one point.
I think the 1st order will be to get the power supply filter caps replaced.
Am now getting about 2.9 V of AC on the terminals of the filter caps. When I 1st fired it up it was over 10V AC so the caps have 'come back' some but I don't think they will get a lot better.
I started it with 15 V then moved it up to 100V and now am letting it sit with 190V and all the tubes pulled except the rectifier.
Will run it a for a day or so and see if the AC continues to go down.
My current thinking is to buy new radial electrolytics and mount them under the original, taking the original totally out of the circuit. The can says 2 X 100 uf and 2 X 10 uf @ 250WV.
Sept 20 '08
Posted Pix of the Cap purchased from It fit perfectly and the 2.9 V of AC is now down to .01 on three of them and .8 on one terminal. N0JMY also includes a .1 electrylitic for the screen bypass of the audio amp tube. The price for this was reasonable and it keeps more of the originality of the old radio . I replaced the cap first with a 40W Weller SP40 iron. The Weller WLC 100 unit did not have enough mass to get the tab unsoldered from the chassis. Am listening to the radio on 40 M SSB and it sounds great! Next will try the 2BQ and will search for a new 20M crystal as it seems dead on that band.

Crystal update the 20M crystal was replaced with one of the  18 MHz crystals from building the Willamette20 I used a Digi Key part # X144-ND which is a HC-49 case designed for 20 pf of cap. The price is 40 cents, buy a couple and you can build a nice VFO for the Willamette 20 as well!  I soldered the leads to the base of the old crystal and plugged it back in.  It has been working fine on 20M ever since.  No realignment was needed other than using the normal xtal calibrator.  Many crystals are available in the SMD small cans and could probably be made to work for the low end of 10M but I have not tried this yet.  

Sunday, March 9, 2008


Yesterday built the WinKeyer Kit from K1EL. The project was pretty simple to solder together, the surface mount USB interface chip was already mounted on the double sided board. The other two IC's went into sockets and the whole kit went together and was tested in a couple of hours. It took Almost as long to get the drivers working in VISTA as it did to put it together. The new eMachine Celeron with Vista Home Basic has been very stable except when I have exceeded the memory limits. Twice though I have had a time getting new devices reognized even when manually installing the proper driver. It seems to take more than one restart and maybe more than one install of the driver to get everything lined up. This seemed to be the case with the WinKeyer too. Once it connected though it seems to work FB. The two programs I have been using this winter both support the WinKeyer; HRD/DM-780 and N1MM interfaces both seem to work well with the CAT interface running on COM 1 and WinKeyer on USB Comm 4. It's not like the old DOS days when you could use a simple one transistor interface off the Comm Port to key the radio. The WinKeyer does operate in a stand alone mode too and that may be handy for some of the QRP contests in the field. There is a battery holder for 3 'AAA' cells and a diode sensor to switch the power from either the batteries or USB power if available.

There are two sets of Keying and PTT ports on the back of the keyer so if you want to use it as a SO2R CW set up it seems like this is all set to go.

For more info visit