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 Post subject: Re: Transistorized receivers
PostPosted: Nov Mon 13, 2017 4:20 pm 
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Martin,

Popular Electronics had a positive opinion about the SB-313 when it was reviewed as part of a two part article about shortwave receivers starting in November 1972 and available from the American Radio History website: http://www.americanradiohistory.com/Pop ... -Guide.htm

Like the earlier tube type shortwave SB-310 it is nearly identical to the company's ham band offering. It seems the solid state version of the venerable SB-3XX line never received the same love as the earlier tube type versions but they seem to play OK to me; I have the ham band SB-303 paired with a SB-401 along with all of the matching SB accessories (amp, scopes, frequency counter, etc.) and it makes a nice looking station.

The biggest drawback to the SB-313 now is there isn't a lot to listen to with the near death of Shortwave broadcasting but it does offer coverage of some ham bands so you have options beyond Radio China, Cuba, and the assorted radio preachers. Like the earlier SB-310 the stock AM filter for the SB-313 is wider than that of its corresponding ham band model. In the SB-313 the AM filter was stock but the SSB and CW filters were optional and it required at least the SSB filter to work in SSB/CW mode.

Somewhat comparable but a little less expensive than the Heathkit SB-303/313 siblings are the Allied/Radio Shack AX-190 and SX-190. These are a nice pair of solid state performers with a delightful tuning feel. Although made by Japanese firm GRE the smoothly operating VFO is very reminiscent of Trio (aka Kenwood) rigs of the time. The IF filtering isn't as sophisticated and doesn't perform as well as the Heathkit competitors but these receivers do have a Q multiplier which is very useful for improving CW selectivity.

Like the Heathkit SB-3XX series the AX-190 and SX-190 are ham/SW band only (respectively) receivers but a solid receiver for someone wanting a lightweight and nice performing receiver. These are the best ham and SW receivers ever offered by Allied/Radio Shack.

Rodger WQ9E


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 Post subject: Re: Transistorized receivers
PostPosted: Nov Tue 14, 2017 2:34 am 
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The Drake DSR-1 or DSR-2 might be of interest to you also.

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 Post subject: Re: Transistorized receivers
PostPosted: Nov Tue 14, 2017 2:56 am 
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Greg,

I agree with you about the DSR-2 and mine has been highly reliable. It has needed one tantalum cap in the 12 years that I have owned it. It is also one of the nicest looking receivers out there.

Unlike later receivers the DSR-2 seems to have been sold complete so generally it has a full set of filters and the very effective noise blanker is also built in.

The early DSR-1 can be problematic because the early production switches had failure prone contacts; Drake changed to gold plate contacts later in production so all of the DSR-2 have these switches along with late DSR-1 production.

If something does go wrong these receivers are fairly wide open and easy to work on. My DSR-1 had a defective divider chip in the synthesizer section that was easy to diagnose and replace but the previous owner tried to align away the problem and it took some time to get the alignment correct. Drake switches variable inductors in series in the ones of megahertz section of the VCO and it took three iterations through this set of adjustments to get everything working properly again.

Rodger WQ9E


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 Post subject: Re: Transistorized receivers
PostPosted: Nov Tue 14, 2017 4:12 am 
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That's a beautiful looking receiver, but these babies ain't cheap. A DSR-1 in non working condition sold on The Bay for $400 recently;
https://www.ebay.com/itm/Drake-DSR-1-CO ... 7675.l2557

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 Post subject: Re: Transistorized receivers
PostPosted: Nov Tue 14, 2017 6:23 am 
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Thanks Greg, that Drake DSR-2 is exactly the sort of thing I had in mind, and it's good to hear they are fairly reliable. Now I just need to find one at hopefully not too unreasonable price.

The Heathkit SB-313 also looks interesting, and I will keep an eye out for one of those as well.


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 Post subject: Re: Transistorized receivers
PostPosted: Nov Tue 14, 2017 1:34 pm 
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You can also keep an eye out for the MSR-2 (or a later production MSR-1) which might sell for a little less than the DSR-1. My DSR-2, working condition, great cosmetics and but working only in AM mode was $250; replacement of a shorted tantalum cap restored CW/SSB mode. I picked up my fully working and nice cosmetic MSR-2 for $300 and because these are rack mount units they probably sell for a little less.

But the MSR-2 has some advantages over the otherwise identical DSR-2:

1. It has a separate tunable front end for LF/VLF providing very good performance down to 10 khz.
2. It has a fine tuning knob that varies the frequency by plus/minus 200 hz for very nice fine tuning for CW/RTTY, also useful for SSB.
3. Because it was designed for shipboard use it has a built in front end protector rated to provide protection for up to 1,000 volts/20 amps peak.

Other than the form factor (which is the same as a DSR-1 or DSR-2 with a rack mount configuration) and the above differences the circuitry is identical between the MSR and DSR. My DSR-2 definitely looks nicer on a desktop but the VLF front end and fine tuning are nice features of the MSR-2.

Construction quality of both is excellent.

Rodger WQ9E


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 Post subject: Re: Transistorized receivers
PostPosted: Nov Tue 14, 2017 11:03 pm 
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How about an old favourite with interesting history - almost the first radio on the home market with the famous Wadley Loop principle - the Yaesu FRG7, also marketed by Sears and Sommerkamp....
Attachment:
yaesu-frg7-col.jpg
yaesu-frg7-col.jpg [ 22.05 KiB | Viewed 519 times ]

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 Post subject: Re: Transistorized receivers
PostPosted: Nov Wed 15, 2017 1:20 am 
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If mine is a typical example, you wouldn't go wrong with an FRG7. One of my favorite receivers.

best regards,
Sandy


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 Post subject: Re: Transistorized receivers
PostPosted: Nov Wed 15, 2017 3:21 am 
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Even an old boatanchor man like me enjoys the FRG-7 with all its knobs to twiddle.

Very stable, and it's light enough to be readily moved around. It even has a carrying handle and capability of operation from an internal battery pack, though I don't think mine's ever had batteries in it.

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 Post subject: Re: Transistorized receivers
PostPosted: Nov Wed 15, 2017 4:17 am 
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The Wadley Loop designer deserves major credit for coming up with such a practical scheme. The only drawback I have found to this design is the slight beat note you get from the 1 Mhz. standard/harmonic generator so you get your WWV with a little extra tone.

Although the cheap synthesizer on a chip design has killed the Wadley for many years it provided a low cost approach to crystal HFO stability without the expensive of a multitude of crystals.

Here are some of my solid state Wadley Loop receivers. The Barlow XCR-30 portable is particularly impressive with very good sensitivity and stability along with exceptional battery life.

Ham Radio Horizons July 1977 had a clearly written explanation of the basic principles, I uploaded a scan of it to Dropbox: https://www.dropbox.com/s/jzvc84n13nx9l ... n.pdf?dl=0

Rodger WQ9E


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Wadley loop family.JPG
Wadley loop family.JPG [ 172.64 KiB | Viewed 496 times ]
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 Post subject: Re: Transistorized receivers
PostPosted: Nov Wed 15, 2017 3:44 pm 
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I will also keep an eye out for a FRG-7 as well, and it seems they can be had for around $250 (much cheaper than most of the other receivers mentioned). I do already have a Barlow Wadley XCR-30, and it's one of my favorite radios, partially for the unique and easy way it lets you quickly scan through the "bands".
Rodger, what are the other sets in that photo (besides the FRG-7 and the XCR-30)?


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 Post subject: Re: Transistorized receivers
PostPosted: Nov Wed 15, 2017 4:05 pm 
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On the bottom row there is a DX-302 (Radio Shack) to the left and a FRG-7000 (Yaesu FRG-7) to the right. I think the original FRG-7 is a better radio and the Radio Shack DX-300 and 302 are fairly mediocre receivers (cheap construction, overload prone).

On the top row to the left is a Standard C-6500 and on the right is the same basic receiver but repackaged for Drake as the SSR-1. The Drake receiver is mentioned in the article I uploaded to DropBox. Both of these receivers work pretty well although I would give the FRG-7 credit as the best of the reasonable cost Wadley receivers and I like the styling of Standard's own branded receiver to the one they produced for Drake.

Although not solid state, the best of the Wadley loop receivers is the Racal tube type RA-17 or one of its variants. Beautiful performance with nice cosmetics. I recently acquired the matching VLF converter for mine.

Another very odd solid state Wadley loop receiver is the Kyoritsu RA-003B which is the most complex one I own and although it uses the Wadley principle it has separate band crystals which appear to do nothing except drive the internal frequency counter. This one was repaired with help from a Japanese friend who translated the manual for me and that allowed me to find a defective decoder IC. The RA-003B uses separate motors to tune the front end and variable first IF and these are controlled via the band switch knob and VFO so when the decoder IC failed the front end was no longer being tuned properly. The receiver works well but its styling isn't up to that of some of my other Wadley loop receivers however construction quality is excellent as is the quality of the included IF filters.


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Kyoritsu RA003B.jpg
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RA003B top view.jpg
RA003B top view.jpg [ 251.6 KiB | Viewed 459 times ]
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 Post subject: Re: Transistorized receivers
PostPosted: Nov Wed 15, 2017 5:56 pm 
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Yaesu FRG 7 is a great choice for a restoration- easy to find, plentiful, and many scrapped for replacement parts.

I have been looking for a Drake SPR-4 at a reasonable price for a long time. They do seem in high demand. The second one goes up for sale on everyone's favorite online auction site, it is sold. I do not think they are that "easy" to find, anywhere.

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 Post subject: Re: Transistorized receivers
PostPosted: Nov Wed 15, 2017 6:35 pm 
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Arthur,

When you are searching on the auction site you are probably better off with a search for Drake receivers since the SPR-4 doesn't always get listed by its model number. Drake also sold a fair number of RR-1 receivers if you don't mind the rack panel version which sometimes appears in a table top rack case. The RR-2 with a built in FS-4 would be even nicer but those seem to be quite rare.

Although it is a risk buying a non-working receiver it is fairly common to see "dead" SPR-4 receivers offered for sale and two common reasons for a non-working receiver is either a missing or poorly connected shorting plug in the mute jack or a missing or poorly connected NB or dummy plug in the noise blanker connector. The SPR-4 must have a shorted mute plug in place or it will remain in standby. If the rather expensive 5NB noise blanker was removed without installing a dummy jumper plug or if the blanker or dummy plug came loose during shipping the receiver will be dead because there is no connection from the front end and the first IF section.

If you don't mind a tube receiver AND if you can live without BCB reception the R-4B should be cheaper and easier to find. It is a better receiver than the SPR-4 with its very nice passband tuning capability and it will provide the same shortwave general coverage as the SPR-4 with the proper crystals, FS-4, or other external synthesizer. The earlier R-4 and R-4A performance is quite similar and I wouldn't pass one up if you would also be satisfied with a R-4B.

A fully equipped R-4C is very nice but the only standard filter is for SSB, two or three CW/RTTY filters can be fitted (three slots in later models); the first IF "roofing" filter coupled with some selectivity provided by the 50 Khz. final IF works pretty well for AM or a crystal filter can be fitted for better selectivity for AM. The noise blanker is also an option for the R-4C, just like it is for the SPR-4 and they use a similarly designed but non-compatible blanker. But the R-4C starts out pretty expensive compared to an earlier R-4 family member and gets very expensive once you add in the optional filters and noise blanker.

Rodger WQ9E


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 Post subject: Re: Transistorized receivers
PostPosted: Nov Wed 15, 2017 8:57 pm 
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I bought my XCR-30 from an op-shop - they said it didn't work. NZ$10, say US$8!
My FRG-7 was much more expensive - again I think the owner (who said he inherited it) didn't know how to use it - NZ$25!

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 Post subject: Re: Transistorized receivers
PostPosted: Nov Wed 15, 2017 9:18 pm 
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majoco wrote:
NZ$25!

So how much izzat in real money, Marty? :wink:

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 Post subject: Re: Transistorized receivers
PostPosted: Nov Sun 19, 2017 3:03 pm 
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fifties wrote:
That's a beautiful looking receiver, but these babies ain't cheap. A DSR-1 in non working condition sold on The Bay for $400 recently;
https://www.ebay.com/itm/Drake-DSR-1-CO ... 7675.l2557


I am the guilty party that bought this receiver. A couple filter caps in the PS had blown their seals and there was a shorted tantalum cap in the frequency counter board. Finally the tuning knob had taken a hit and the shaft was bent, and the bearing had lost its balls, since the shaft was just kind of drifting around. Dealing with the shaft and bearing was a pain, but the receiver works very well now.

I had one some years ago and sold it on eBay - cant remember what I got for it, but it was around $700 as I recall. Always missed it, I think this one is a keeper.

At this point I'll disagree with Rodger, with whom I have the highest respect as a receiver authority, on the 651S-1. I have a couple and really like them; I do not find the synthesizer particularly noisy since it has a relatively high loop time constant. The downside of this is that Collins included a mute circuit which cuts the audio when you tune around; this can be defeated with a cut on a PC board trace but then you get a "zzzzzizzz" when you tune quickly. The 651S-1 also is very difficult to repair; the extender boards are unobtainium as are the fleet of DTL flat pack ICs. Thankfully they are quite reliable and I have a number of spare cards for mine.


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 Post subject: Re: Transistorized receivers
PostPosted: Nov Sun 19, 2017 6:22 pm 
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John,

I trust your judgment about receivers so I need to go back into mine to see if there is an issue that needs correcting. Mine definitely has significant synthesizer noise and some annoying sounds as it is tuned but perhaps it isn't normal. I have a HF-380 (nearly identical to the KWM-380) and it has a noticeably noisy synthesizer so I wasn't surprised to find the earlier 651S-1 to have similar issues. I agree with you that given its design (fairly slow lockup, 100 hz steps) the 651S-1 shouldn't be overly noisy.

Rodger WQ9E


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 Post subject: Re: Transistorized receivers
PostPosted: Nov Sun 19, 2017 6:36 pm 
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Agree 100% on the HF-380/KWM-380, the synth in that one is terrible. I'm also not a fan of the RA-6790's synthesizer. However the 651S-1 (at least in both of mine) is fairly quiet, and no birdies or other weird stuff except the "zit" in each step from the unmuted audio.

There are a bazillion variations of the 651S-1 and some versions of some cards don't work in some radios. The service manual has it all laid out (the versions span 2 pages) but all of these variations add another layer of pain...


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 Post subject: Re: Transistorized receivers
PostPosted: Nov Wed 22, 2017 1:10 am 
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John, Rodger,

I managed to pick up a couple of fully optioned Collins 851S-1 receivers, what are your opinions on this receiver?

-Greg


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