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Wednesday, May 18, 2011

How many Drake 2-Bs? The German Tank Problem

I have #11,976!
Hi Bill,

I was just listening to your latest soldersmoke podcast and your
discussion about how many Drake 2Bs were made. Without knowing the
exact serial number for the last Drake 2B before the Drake 2C was
made, you can estimate what that number might have been by knowing a
few of the real serial numbers that are being used by people today.
This is a
mathematical problem related to the somewhat famous "German
Tank" problem. Check out:

If you were to ask your listeners to report to you their Drake 2B
serial numbers you could estimate the largest serial number there ever
was from the formula on that wiki page. This could be a fun exercise
:) I've never had a Drake 2B so I can't contribute. But I could do the
estimate for you if you gave me the numbers.

Cheers and 73

Scott (K6AUS)


  1. Rats. You have some smart listeners, Bill. I was reminded of this while I was listening to Soldersmoke on the way to work this morning, but I've been scooped by more of your highly educated listeners.

    I'll look up the serial number on my 2B when I get home. :-)

    Mark K6HX

  2. Bill, do you want us to post the serial numbers here or send them to you via email?

    73.......Steve Smith WB6TNL
    "Snort Rosin"

  3. Bill,
    Here's a 2-B serial number for the experiment...S/N 8682

    Two of my Elmers, back in 1968 had 2-B's and I have always loved that old receiver...

    Really enjoy Soldersmoke (the book, the podcast, and of course, the actual solder smoke :>) You can see a few of my pics from the good ole' days on QRZ.

    Tnx & 73,
    Athens, Alabama


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