Receiver Review: Drake R8B


Year Introduced: 1997 (4th Q)
Power: Mains, 12 VDC
Size: 334 x 134 x 330 mm
Weight: 5.9 kg
Price: US$1379
VHF converter US$249
Coverage: 100 kHz - 30 MHz, AM/USB/LSB/CW/RTTY/FM (VHF converter 35-55 and 108-174 MHz optional)

Value Rating star starstarstarstarstar

This review was compiled independently. The Medium Wave Circle and Radio Netherlands has no financial connection with R.L. Drake, the manufacturer of this receiver.

The R8B follows on the successful R8 introduced in 1991 and the R8A in 1995. There are a number of improvements in the R8B.

We have not yet tested the R8B. In summary, here are the improvements and enhancements within the R8B:

* In the AM mode, the synchronous detection is now sideband-selectable – a significant change.
* The number of alphanumeric memories has increased to 1000, up from 440 in the R8A.
* An improved third-order intercept point.
* Less audio distortion in the audio output section.

Otherwise, the R8B's external appearance and the tuning are similar to the R8A. Five filters (6.0, 4.0, 2.3, 1.8 and 0.5 kHz) are included, directly selectable mode and bandwidth by front-panel keys, are retained. All the functionality of the R8A has been retained.

In the R8B (as in the R8 and R8A), there is still no frequency readout compensation for the offset required to resolve data signals. For example, to receive a fax signal on 8080 kHz one must tune in the USB mode to 8078.1kHz.

More details on the Drake R8B may be found on Drake's Web site at

Special Note: A copy of the manufacture's manual for this receiver is included on Vol 51 of our archive CD's.

This review first appeared on the Radio Netherlands website.