The Drake TR-7 and Icom 7300 changed Amateur Radio when they came out. I picked up a 40 year old Drake TR-7 from Missouri.HiBid.com and the Schulman Auction for ham radio equipment. It is in excellent condition and came with the Drake PS-7 power supply. In the auction description they said it put out 80 watts on CW, but I am getting over 130 watts showing on my newly acquired Bird wattmeter.
Drake TR-7 Things to Watch When Purchasing
Firstly, the serial number, because the higher the better. After about SN#10850 they started being the called the TR-7A. They came with a NB and a couple of other improvements. The TR-7A is prized more then the earlier productions. Don’t be fooled either. The front panel can say “TR7A”, but that doesn’t mean it is. It could be a new front panel. Go by the serial number. Mine is SN#10831 so I just missed being a TR-7A. I am not disappointed though.
Secondly, the rear panel in the very early models was one section and later on they divided it into three sections (see photo below). This made it easier to work on. If you see one with one section, you know it is a very early production.
Thirdly, the TR7 requires a Hi-Z (high impedance) type microphone, either dynamic, crystal or ceramic type microphone elements will work fine. For instance, the Drake 7077 microphone, Shure 444 and D-104 all work well with this radio.
How the Drake TR-7 and Icom 7300 Changed Amateur Radio
TR-7 – Considered the first commercially available solid state HF Amateur radio on the market. 100% solid state circuits. No tubes, no tuning required and a digital display! This solid state, continuous coverage, synthesized transceiver was a leap forward back in the day. Drake was setting the pace!
IC-7300 – Considered by many the first entry level SDR transceiver with knobs. Includes a touchscreen LCD and real time spectrum scope where we see activity on the band. The 7300 was a real game changer!
Both of these transceivers changed how we operate.
Were you around when the TR-7 debuted? What are your thoughts and which one made a bigger impact?
Have you any experience with the Drake TR-7? I’d love to hear about it.
If you have any questions, please ask them here. I prefer the comment section here or in YouTube over e-mail because your comments and questions will help others as well.