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The Drake R8 is a microprocessor controlled, synthesized, all mode, world band receiver offering excellent sensitivity, high dynamic range and other features for the most demanding listener. It has been designed as a "complete package." You get many items as standard-equipment, that would be extra on other receivers. Multi-mode reception (AM, FM, USB, LSB, RTTY and CW) is featured throughout the range of the receiver (100 kHz to 30 MHz). A high-Q, 8-pole, electronically switched IF filter provides a range of five bandwidths. Later "firmware" permits user selection of bandwidths independent of mode and 100 Hz readout in AM (in later production only). The front panel liquid crystal display provides visual feedback to the operator of the current status of the receiver. In the AM mode, a selectable synchronous detector (SYNCHRO) allows for enhanced reception by eliminating or reducing distortion due to fading signals. A Passband Offset control also aids in reducing or eliminating interfering signals by electronically shifting the receiver's IF frequencies without disturbing the operating frequency. This action allows the operator to electronically move interfering signals out of the receiver's passband thus utilizing the degree of selectivity provided by the high-Q, 8-pole IF filter. The Passband Offset is also coupled to the synchronous detector (SYNCHRO) allowing the passband to be altered while the detector is in use. Other reception aids include selectable AGC, wide/narrow noise blanker, RF preamplifier for enhancing weak signals, RF attenuator for further improvement of strong signal handling capabilities and an adjustable RF gain. A Notch filter is also supplied as an effective tool to eliminate offending tones (heterodynes). A muting control allows operation with a transmitter or transceiver. The R8 provides exceptional audio to the built-in speaker.

Two VFOs (tuners) called A and B, are provided on the R8. Selection is made with the VFO function key. Frequencies can be directly entered through the keypad. A programmable memory area allows for 100 non-volatile memories segmented into blocks of ten. The following may be stored in any memory location: frequency, mode, bandwidth, AGC setting, RF setting, antenna, notch on/off, noise blanker setting and synchronous detector on/off. As a result of three scan methods and three scan modes; nine distinct scan functions are supported in the R8. The three methods are: Stop at carrier detect, Pause 5 seconds on carrier and Pause at carrier until carrier drops for 5 seconds, then resume scan. The three modes are: Scan all memories, all unlocked memories of user-selected list or Scan from VFO A to B.

A built-in 24 hour clock-timer allows the R8 to turn on and off at preset times. In addition, the rear panel Timer connection (5 pin DIN), allows control of small recorders, etc. to record a favorite program. The R8 rear panel provides a common DB-9 connector for standard RS-232C data communications with a terminal or personal computer (9600,1,7,1,even). This interface provides control and programming capability of the R8. Only the analog controls such as volume, RF gain, etc. are not controllable. There is also antenna inputs for coaxial lead in for wire type antennas. A variety of AC input voltages may be selected as well as 12 VDC input. The R8 is a worthy successor to the earlier Drake R7A.

General characteristics

HAM bands
Frequency stability
10 ppm. -10 to 50 C.
Tuning steps
100 channels in 1 bank(s)


100 Hz - 30 MHz
(RX 35-55 / 108-174 MHz with optional converter)
AM   AM-sync   FM   CW   USB   LSB   RTTY  
All modes except FM
@ -6dB @ -60dB
6.0 kHz < 12.0 kHz
4.0 kHz < 8.0 kHz
2.3 kHz < 4.5 kHz
1.8 kHz < 3.6 kHz
.5 kHz < 1.5 kHz

FM mode only
12.0 kHz < 25.0 kHz
Receiver system
Double conversion superheterodyne
1st: 45 MHz
2nd: 50 kHz
Image rejection
> 60 dB .1-1.5 MHz > 80 dB 1.5-30 MHz
Audio output
2.5 Watts, 4 ohms, < 10% distortion


SO-239 + Clamps / screws


Power requirements
11-16V DC or mains
Current drain RX
Max 2 A


Dimensions (w×h×d)
334 × 134 × 330 mm (13.15 × 5.28 × 12.99 in)
5.90 kg (13.0 lbs)
Form factor
Base Station
Between 1991 and 199x

Other features

Amateur / Ham radio operators
Features + options
RS232C interface
RigReference ID

Manuals, diagrams and brochures

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Reviews & stories

Rating Title Submitted
In its own league. 11 years ago by Radio10
Oldie but goodie 12 years ago by freddymcgavin

New and second-hand prices

Estimating the value of a rig can be challenging. We collect prices paid by real hams over the years to help you estimate the value of a used Drake R8. Just bought or sold this model? Let us know what you traded it for and help other ham operators!

Based on historic data, today's second-hand price of the Drake R8 is around:

  • USD 20.00 ~ USD 213.00
  • GBP 28.00

Price History Chart

These estimates are based on the following prices:

Year Historic price Condition Submitted by
2012 USD 850.00 Used / Mint Radio10
2005 GBP 450.00 Used / Mint freddymcgavin
1992 USD 1100.00 New / Mint dxace1

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