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Thursday, June 4, 2020

No Main-Tuning Reduction Drives in Stock Drake 2-Bs -- But why no mod articles?

Alan Wolke W2AEW and I were recently discussing our Drake 2-Bs (again!). Both of our receivers have reduction drives between the main tuning control and the string mechanism that moves the main tuning capacitor.  I wondered if these were the results of modifications by previous 2-B owners.  I vaguely recall that my Elmer -- Hilmar WB2NEC -- had done this sort of mod. 

OM Wouter ZS1KE sent me this very illuminating photo of the inside of his Drake 2-B.  No reduction drive.   So Alan and I obviously have modified 2-Bs.

One thing that puzzles me:  I can't seem to find a single article that describes this apparently common mod.  Does anyone know of an article in the ham magazines that might have described how to do this?  

Thanks again Wouter!  


  1. Hi Bill, September 1965 73 Magazine, available on the American Radio History site. But be careful if you go there, there are 108 2B articles listed in 73 Magazine alone! 73 (sic) Scott ka9p

  2. Thanks Scott. That is really interesting. Kind of "outside the box!" 73 Bill

  3. And thanks Bill. For over 49 years I’ve loved my 2B to death. Now I’m wondering if it tunes too fast! There’s a junk Siltronix VFO in the garage with not one but Two! 6:1 Jackson Bros reduction drives in it...oh my.��

  4. I knew about the article, but couldn't remember the issue.

    But, the idea isn't uncommon. I think it's the 1965 ARRL VHF Manual that showed an outrigger reduction drive on a National receiver. I assume it had been in QST, maybe with more details. The real trick is adding the reduction drive without having to drill holes.

    1. The September 65 "73" article indicates that the small Jackson brothers planetary reduction drives were introduced around 1965, making this kind of mod possible. As for drilling holes, the 2-B has a two layer front panel with a gap between them. I think the holes were drilled in the inner panel for mine, saving the appearance of the front panel. I think a real challenge was getting the skirt to work properly with the reduction drive installed. I got mine to work (but only after about 46 years!)


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