Vintage Radio – The Drake 2C Receiver

I have been a big fan of Drake amateur radios for years, long before I could to actually own a Drake.  Over the years I have had serveral Drake radios and my favorite has been the Drake 2B receiver.  Well, there is another very good Drake receiver, the Drake 2C.  The 2C is a more modern version of the 2B, it has a different dial scheme, and the addition of some solid state electronics in 2C radio.

Well, I picked up a vintage Drake 2C at the Huntsville Hamfest this past August.  It seemed to be fairly complete and not in too bad a shape.  So I layed out some cash for the Drake and brought it home.

A bit of cleaning, some new tubes, and a tune up was all I figured it needed.   I was close….but there was  little detour in my plan.  I started by cleaning up the radio and it cleaned up pretty well.  I had been in a smokers shack, but the smoke residue was not to thick!  In checking out the radio, it seemed to be basically working but it had a “lazy” AGC which is a common problem on 2B receiver.  The second mixer develops secondary emissions on the grid and that loads down the very high impedance AGC line on the receiver.  I ordered a set of tubes, and a new crystal for the 10/15 meter slot.  Apparently the former owner wanted to be able to cover the 28.0 to 28.5 mhz portion of the 10 meter band.  So they changed the crystal.  That changed the 15 meter band to 21.5 to 22.0 mhz, making pretty well useless.  So I ordered a new 25 mhz “stock” crystal for 10/15 and can use the 24.5 mhz crystal in the “aux” socket to cover 28.0 to 28.5.  Problem solved.  A slight tweek up on the tuning and the receiver was working ok.

The new tubes arrived.  I plugged them in one evening and the AGC problem was gone, but the receiver was now numb as a post!  It could hardly hear any signals on 75 meters on a 75 meter dipole.  I put is on the generator and a -45 DBM signal was about S3 on the receiver!  Very poor sensitivity.  My initial thought was one of the new tubes was bad.  I started swapping back the original tubes one by one.  The first one I swapped, the 12BZ6 RF Amp brought the receiver to life!  Trying to figure out what was going on, I saw the stencil on the chassis indicated that tube was supposed to be a 6BZ6.  The kit of tubes and all the documentation with the radio indicated it was a 12BZ6.  I checked the filament voltage on the socket and sure enough it was 6 volts!

Looking on the internet I found some specs on the 2C that indicated Drake changed from a 12BZ6 to a 6BZ6 tube.  Oh well, even with the old tube in it, the 2C is working well!  Very hot receiver!

The only thing I don’t like about the 2C is no passband tuner!  WTH?  A Drake radio without a passband tuner!  What’s wrong with this picture!

So here is a little video, the 2C on SouthCARS, 40 meters, at about 11:00 AM in the morning.  The band is starting to go away now, but the Drake is crystal clear!



The Jewish Quarterback

The coach had put together the perfect team for the Chicago Bears. The only thing missing was a good quarterback He scouted and scouted but couldn’t find a quarterback who could give the Bears a shot at a Super Bowl win.

Then one night while watching the news he saw a war-zone scene in the West Bank. In one corner of the background, he spotted a young Israeli soldier with a truly incredible arm. He threw a hand grenade straight into a 15th story window 100 yards away.


He threw another hand grenade 75 yards away, right into a chimney.


Then he threw another at a passing car going 90 mph.


“I’ve got to get this guy!” the coach said to himself. “He has the perfect arm!”

So, he brings him to the States and teaches him the great game of football. And the Bears go on to win the Super Bowl.

The young man is hailed as a great hero of football, and when the coach asks him what he wants, all the young man wants is to call his mother.

“Mom” he says into the phone, “I just won the Super Bowl !”

“I don’t want to talk to you”, the old woman says. “You are not my son!”

“I don’t think you understand, Mom,” the young man pleads.

“I’ve won the greatest sporting event in the world. I’m here among thousands of my adoring fans.”

“No! Let me tell you!” his mother retorts. “At this very moment, there are gunshots all around us. The neighborhood is a pile of rubble. Your two brothers were beaten within an inch of their lives last week, and I have to keep your sister in the house so she doesn’t get raped!” The old lady pauses, and then tearfully says,……….”I’ll never forgive you for making us move to Chicago!”

Why we don’t want to elect a President by Popular Vote

A friend sent me a email the other day titled “Strange facts about the United States.” The very first strange fact was:

More people live in New York City than in 40 of the 50 states.

That got me thinking. Really? If that is true that would be the major reason for the existence of the Electoral College. Think about electing a POTUS strictly on popular vote. That would assure that NYC and the “Left Coast” would decide every Presidential election!

So I did some more checking and came up with the map below showing states with populations less then NYC. You can see there are a bunch of them. (Shown in red on the map)  That is pretty scary!  Give that some though, NYC deciding who is the next POTUS!  We saw an example of that in the 2016 Presidential Election where Hillary Clinton won the popular vote by winning New York and California.

Here are a few facts from the 2016 Presidential Election:

There are 3,141 counties in the United States.
Trump won 3,084 of them.
Clinton won 57.
There are 62 counties in New York State.
Trump won 46 of them.
Clinton won 16.
Clinton won the popular vote by approx. 2. million + votes.
In the 5 counties that encompass NYC, (Bronx, Brooklyn, Manhattan, Richmond & Queens) Clinton received well over 2 million more votes than Trump. (Clinton only won 4 of these counties, Trump won Richmond) Therefore, these 5 counties alone more than accounted for Clinton winning the popular vote of the entire country. These 5 counties comprise 319 square miles. The United States is comprised of 3, 797,000 square miles.

Quick Guide to WSJT-X on the Icom IC-7100

We had a great presentation today by Wendell, N4VLK,  on the digital mode FT-8 today at the CARS club meeting. I was asked if I have run FT-8 / WSJT-X on my IC-7100. Yep, I have, and it works quite well too. I know where are a number of guys in the club that have the IC-7100 so I thought I would share my setup information.  Here is a very quick guide on setting up WSJT-X on the Icom IC-7100.  I am assuming that you have already installed the Icom supplied USB CAT and USB Audio drivers.  If not, do install them before continuing with the WSJT-X installation.

First, download and install Dimension 4, an app to keep your clock synced to the NBS time source. This is very important to make sure your receive and transmit timing is correct, otherwise WSJT-X will not decode signals and other stations will not be able to decode your signal.  (you can click on the images below to see a larger view)

Website for Dimention 4

Installation is pretty straight forward, select a sever to sync with and click the Sync “Now button.”

Dim 4 Install screen

Once you have Dimension 4 installed, go to the website for WSJT-X and install the Windows version.

Download site for WSJT-X

You can use the defaults for the install.

Run the WSJT-X program and you should see two windows, the waterfall display window and the main window.  In the main window click “File” on the top menu and select Settings from the pull down.

On the General Settings tab, enter your Call and your Grid Square information

WSJT-X General Settings

Then on the Radio tab enter the info for you CAT port for the IC-7100.  Select the radio type, then the serial port, in my case it is Com 6, and select CAT for the PTT. Once these settings are complete you can click on the “Test CAT” button at the bottom right of the window.  If button turns Green your CAT is setup correctly.   You can also test the PTT function with the “Test PPT” button.

WSJT-X Radio Settings Tab

Then go to the Audio Tab and select the USB Microphone and Speakers for the audio interface.

WSJT-X Radio Tab Settings

A couple more settings and we are done!  Now go to the Reporting Tab and set the program to send data to PSKReporter website.

WSJT-X Reporting Setup

Close the Setup window and one final setting is to the “Mode” on the main menu bar of the WSJT-X main screen and set the mode to FT-8.  Can also run other modes with this program if you desire.

WSJT-X Mode Setting

Ok, you should be ready to operate at this point!  I suggest watching for a while to get a feel for what is going on with the program.  Also, reading the user guide will be a great help.

Have fun on FT-8!  If you have any questions that I can help you with email me at

73 and GL

This makes me laugh

This is something that you won’t see on the NBC Nightly News. A investigation by the GAO tried to buy illegal guns on the internet. Their results, other than some obviously illegal gun dealers on the Dark Web where no guns would be sold by dealers on the web when they knew the buyers were not allowed to purchase firearms.

Like I said, you won’t see this on the Nightly News!  Or on CNN.

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