Drake TR-7 and Icom 7300 Changed Amateur Radio

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.

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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.

drake tr-7 in shack

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?

TR-7 Photos

Thank you

Have you any experience with the Drake TR-7? I’d love to hear about it.

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Sources:

Icom 7300 Product Brochure

Drake TR-7 Brochure

Drake TR-7 QST Review

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K0PIR

I'm an Amateur Radio enthusiast. I love the hobby and experimenting with radios, antennas and software. On my YouTube channel I upload videos on the Icom 7300 and Icom 7610 along with Ham radio software programs. I hope to inspire people to try new things in Amateur Radio.

18 Responses

  1. Frank Perdew says:

    I don’t consider the IC-7300 an entry level rig. Because performance is high level.
    Maybe because of price.

    Entry level: Yaesu FT-450D, Icom IC-718, ext.

    Frank WA3RSL

    • K0PIR says:

      Hi Frank,

      Nice to hear from you. Yep Icom considers it entry level because of price. I think is an advanced radio and a big step for new Hams. However, the new Hams I know learn it and enjoy it immensely.

      73,
      Rich, K0PIR

  2. Roger Thenot says:

    Purchased a TR-7 (serial number 830) and PS-7 power supply in 1978 from the first HRO store in Burlingame, CA (built on an old train stop platform). Sold to me by the owner W6RJ, Bob Ferrreo who later built the HRO dynasty. A wonderful transceiver which I used primarily on CW to work many countries and Hams. I’m looking at it right now sitting on a shelf in the shack.

    I recently purchased a IC-7300 and am still learning how to use this great radio. First QSO was with special station VK19AUS on CW in Australia. An excellent radio.

    73’s Roger (K6VIA)

  3. BIll KA8VIT says:

    I have a Drake TR7A for sale.
    July 1, 2019

    Drake TR-7A
    Drake PS7 Power Supply
    Amp Supply Company AT1200 Antenna Tuner

    For pictures see:
    http://ka8vit.com/drake

    73 – Bill KA8VIT

  4. Steve Gibson says:

    Wow! Small world. Drake wast a few blocks from my QTH. I have one I bought it in 1982 from the factory on Richard St. I picked it up from Bill Frost, WD8DFP. Mike Elliott, W8KRR, was in the MARA club so we had direct contact with the engineer of this great rig. Between Mike and Bill, you could learn anything you needed to know about the rig. We were spoiled to have Drake here in town. I used mine from 1982 until last year. My QRZ pic still shows it (I need to update the pic). I finally bought an Icom 7300 last year and put the TR7 in the closet. Both rigs are game changers and that is why I bought the 7300. It is an awesome radio. 73, Steve N8DNG

    • K0PIR says:

      Hi Steve,

      Thanks for coming by and thank you for commenting here. It is a fantastic radio and really holds up well. Of course the receiver is not quite as good as the newer radios, but I find it very enjoyable to use. It’s one radio that I can actually work on and I enjoyed that. I would never open up the 7610 and start soldering, hi hi!

      Thanks for sharing the information Steve and have a great day. Hope to hear you on the air and best 73!

      Rich, KC0PIR

  5. K0PIR says:

    Hi Terry,

    That must have been something to see at Dayton! Wow!

    I am more impressed as I use the TR-7. It is a classy rig and they don’t make them like that anymore. The power supply is a beast! It would probably survive a nuclear blast 😆

    Thank you so much for commenting and it’s great to hear. I’ll have a look at your QRZ page. Best wishes to you and yours.

    73,
    Rich, K0PIR

  6. Terry, W4ZQ says:

    Hi Rich,
    I saw the TR7 when it was first introduced at Dayton and knew that was what I had to have. I ordered the TR7, PS7, RV7, AUX7, and full filters on May 5, 1978 for $1,438 and received S/N 614, 3 months later. The TR7 was a great platform to modify and repair.

    In June 2016, I purchased the Icom 7300 and the TR7 was relegated to the shelf. The 7300 was such an amazing radio and easy to configure and use. I built this radio into my second generation Go-Box (as seen on my QRZ page) and use it regularly as my main station, on SSB, digital modes, and 6M FM.

    Both the TR7 and the 7300 were game changers for amateur radio.
    Thanks Rich for recognizing both of these fine radios.
    73

  7. K0PIR says:

    Hi Lou,

    Nice to hear from you again and yes it has the standard 2.3 kHz SSB filter. I will put in the Noble Radio NR-FL2.8 Wide SSB Filter when it comes in. I will probably add a CW filter too. It did have the NB in it.

    It has been opened up for all band transmit too.

    I am very happy with the PBT. It works great!

    Best 73!

  8. Lou, W0FK says:

    Looks very nice Rich. What accessories were in it, such as optional filters and a noise blanker?

  9. Ray N6HE says:

    I listened once to a friend’s new TR7 (in 1979?) – always said he cost me $1100 because the (loaded and with the RV-7) radio was a dream. Used it for 30 years. Still have it on the shelf. Ultimately got an Omni VII – still one of the most operator-friendly radios made.

    Bought one of the first 7300’s, too, for my “110-volt travel radio.” After playing with it to learn it, I never turned on the Omni VII again, and that’s saying a lot. Too much fun with the spectrum scope/waterfall. That hooked me on the SDR concept. Now have the (the ultimate SDR) Flex 6600 (only 1 knob!) as my home rig and still take the 7300 on trips.

    Ray N6HE

    • K0PIR says:

      Hi Ray,

      Nice to hear from you and thank you for commenting here.

      30 years is a long run! Someday maybe I’ll be able to pick up a Drake R7 to compliment this one. I think I could make room for it, hi hi!

      With the 7610 in the shack, my 7300 gets moved to the camper, but it serves an important role there. I would love to have a Flex, so maybe someday. I like their software from what I have seen.

      Best 73!

  10. Brad says:

    That TR-7 is beautiful.

    How I remember the days when I was young and buying a TR-7 was a dream never realized. The first rig I saw was a Hammarland 170. Once I saw the 170, I was hooked. It was another 14 years before I could afford to buy and build a Heathkit and got on the air. I am currently reconditioning a Hammarland 170 for nostalgia purposes.

    I think the largest impact the IC-7300 is that it killed the used market making it even more affordable to buy used rigs helping young and new hams.

    • K0PIR says:

      Hi Brad,

      Nice to hear from you and me too when I was a kid. The TR7 was a dream radio. The first amateur radio I ever saw was a pair of Drakes and I wanted to be a Ham after that, hi hi.

      Thanks for commenting here and your input.

      Best 73!

  11. W0FK says:

    Your TR7 looks very nice. What filters are in it, and does it have the noise blanket? TR7A’s have all filters and the NB standard.

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