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Drake "B Line" Restoration Advice Requested

Discussion in '"Boat Anchor" & Classic Equipment' started by K5FRH, May 7, 2021.

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  1. K5FRH

    K5FRH Ham Member QRZ Page

    Over time, I have accumulated a lot of Vintage Drake Gear. I would like to start my Drake Restoration Journey with my "B" Series. Most of the upgrade advice I see on the web focuses on upgrading the AC4 P/S...but I dont see much on what the transmitter and receiver need.
    Before I take the manuals and start walking thru the circuits, looking for defective electrolytics and taking voltage readings, I am wondering if anyone has advice on rebuilding these gems. I was hoping to find a "restoration guide" on the web, but dont see anything...

    I am seeking advice from those who have gone before and have experience restoring the classic Drake Twins.

    I was also hoping to find a complete parts list for the radio (guess I have been spoiled by Heathkit manuals). The User Manuals have a fold out schematic, but no parts list.

    Thanks, Rod, K5FRH
    WB5THT likes this.
  2. WA1GXC

    WA1GXC Ham Member QRZ Page

    Good taste, OM. Aesthetically, electronically, performance.

    Good resources for you; great overview of history, variant differences, recommendations. Smart guys, not Internet phony 'experts' :

    Google: "WB4HFN Drake"
    ---- "VE3EFJ Drake"

    There is no real parts list, and you are correct, many of the specialized components have little info notated on schematics--You need to
    pull out the failed part (hope it's not burned to a cinder) and figure out what it used to be when it worked.

    There is a 'Parts List' for several dozen components for purchase (back then) from R.L.Drake factory for each individual unit, mimeographed on yellow paper, but few technical specs on it, either.

    My initial recommendations:
    Every electrolytic needs to be replaced soon after you get things working.
    Transmitter P.A.--resistors for screen-dropping (68 ohm in most models) and cathode resistors (15 ohms) probably way-high and
    preventing full power
    Exception--many small low-voltage tantalum electrolytics in circuits. Replace if you're in-and-around the circuit area, but otherwise leave
    alone. When they fail, they blow-up and you won't need to do any investigative detective work.

    Receiver power supply--as above

    Check component values on P.S. voltage-dropping circuit boards inside units as well.

    I never bother with routine operation voltage readings unless I have an operational failure. Check resistors in high-heat areas, especially
    the screen and plate voltage-dropping resistors (R-4B and prior--audio tubes run hot)

    Any specific questions, come back here. Lots of Drake fans with their ideas.

    Last edited: May 7, 2021
    WB5THT and K5FRH like this.
  3. K8CCA

    K8CCA Ham Member QRZ Page

    I also replaced the .47uf tubular caps with modern film caps. I was not sure what they where made of if they had paper caps inside the plastic tubes. The replacements are smaller and rated at 650volts and cheap, so I figured why not. I got Hayseed hamfest for the multi section caps in my R4B, but I just mounted caps below the chassis on my TR4-C
    K5FRH likes this.
  4. KM1H

    KM1H Ham Member QRZ Page

    Use only a matched pair of 6JB6 TX tubes and not RCA. Tung Sol and Sylvania are excellent.
    Put a small square computer PS fan on top of the final cage as they were woefully under cooled by Drake....I ran a pair of C Lines for a decade or so.

    K5FRH likes this.
  5. W8CF

    W8CF Ham Member QRZ Page

  6. K5FRH

    K5FRH Ham Member QRZ Page

    That is GREAT....I will order the appropriate CD.
  7. W5RKL

    W5RKL Ham Member QRZ Page

    I purchased the "B" and "C" lines CDs a few years ago. They are excellent sources for part values, where the
    parts are located by part number with color pictures, but no schematic. The schematics are found in each model's
    user manual. The part lists contains the part ID, location, Figure label as it appears in the
    schematic, component value, and other information.

    Garey Barrell, K4OAH, passed away on February 18, 2018. I don't know who, if anyone, is handling those CDs or even if they
    are still available for download. Send an email to

    to inquire if the files can still be purchased for download. I would not send the money until you are sure they are still available.

    An example of file size are,
    "B" line pdf file size is "32.6Meg"
    "C" line pdf file size is "24.6meg".

    Mike W5RKL
    Last edited: May 9, 2021
  8. K5FRH

    K5FRH Ham Member QRZ Page

    Thanks, I had been made aware of the website, but was unaware that the creator had passed away. I will definitely check and make sure it is still active before sending money. If not, maybe the files will eventually enter public domain.
  9. W5RKL

    W5RKL Ham Member QRZ Page

    The pdf files have copyright data listed for 2004 - K4OAH at the bottom right of each page.

    I have the B and C lines plus the MN-2000 tuner. Great radios.

    I hope the files are still available.

    Mike W5RKL
  10. K5FRH

    K5FRH Ham Member QRZ Page

    I sent an email to : If anyone knows if someone has taken over the website and if it is still an active website, please let me know. Thank You.

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