Drake R-4C Receiver Project

Drake R-4C Receiver

The Drake R-4C kindly given to me by Douglas Dodd (GD3RFK)

This is one of those great little projects that fills in the days of those horrible ones.

This is another great little radio restoration project that I have been ever so kindly given by a particularly good friend of mine, Douglas (GD3RFK).

I really miss all my Drake kit but at least I know that they went to an incredibly good home to be looked after, so when I was offered this, I almost bit his hand off to get the chance to play with another Drake radio.

The reason this one being such a good little project for rainy days of boredom so to speak is that it ‘works’ already, the basics of the radio are all there, you switch it on, it receives brilliantly, and does what it states on the tin, the only let down is the cosmetics.

Drake R-4C Receiver
Drake R-4C Receiver before restoration has started.

I have mentioned, it is only when you take a slightly better look at this radio then you start to see a few things that need a little looking after, but basically it is just the outer case covers and what you can see that needs a little tender care.

The faceplate is basically perfect, and as that’s kind of the one hard item to get hold of, it then makes the rest of this restoration project a doddle.

Drake R-4C Top Panel looking as though it needs a great deal of care
Drake R-4C Top Panel looking as though it needs a great deal of care

The top cover the receiver is showing definite signs of age, just like all of us, that said, it will not be too difficult to rub this down with a good dual action sander with progressively finer grit sanding discs attached, once finished a good primer, base coat and topcoat should hopefully restore this to original factory condition.

That said I may just Bead Blast this instead that will possibly be better allowing me to then go down the route of a good 2 pack etch primer and then totally respray, just a thought, but either way a simple task, the latter being the better option.

Drake R-4C Project

However, the base cover is a lot worse, although we can attempt the same, looking at the edges of the cover you can already see that it has started to split apart and swell up, this may require a little brazing or even welding carefully before cleaning up with a grinder or abrasive disc pad to hide the evidence before restoring as I mentioned above.

This is not looking good for the insides, although everything is restorable.

Hopefully once I get this one on the workbench, I can see how bad it will look after and see what needs doing.

I may just have to look out for a base cover on eBay, at least these are easier to locate than the face plates but will leave this until I have sanded or bead blasted the covers first.

Drake R-4C Rear Panel
Drake R-4C Rear Panel

Checking out the rear of the receiver it looks clean.

There is the normal dirt and dust of what you would expect from a unit of this age, and as this unit is working, I may hold off stripping it down and placing in the ultrasonic cleaner, at least until it fails totally, and the project turns into something a little meatier.

So, now this is looking very much like a weekend project, but we all know that can change quickly, but for the moment, I am happy and will take care of this unit, it was a gift from an exceptionally good friend and will be cherished.

Anyway, more on this later…

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