The marine radio receiver Drake MSR-2 was introduced in 1977. The set seems to be derived from the receivers of the R-4 series, the set had a synthesizer for the 1 MHz segments and a nixie tube digital frequency display; the general coverage receiver was thus suitable for commercial use.
The 19 inch rack-mount receiver was also supplied by the German maritime equipment manufacturers Debeg as 7202 and Hagenuk as EE-334, the latter with German front panel designations and a German manual.
The set clearly shows that it comes from the same family as the DSR-2, which was an enhanced set with an integrated loudspeaker and preselector for the VLF beacon band.
- Mains operation: 110, 220 - 240 V
- 480 x 133 x 380 mm, weight 11.5 kg
As a commercial marine radio receiver, the Drake MSR-2 is designed as a 19-inch rack unit. The mains voltages are fed in at the rear, and the set can be operated with the ships on-board voltages of 120 and 220-240 V. There is also a terminal strip to connect the receiver to the mains. There is also a terminal strip for tapping the audio signal and the second side band for ISB (independent side band) reception. The RCA jacks for 50 kHz IF output, loudspeaker output and muting as well as the SO-239 antenna connector do not quite match the commercial application of the set and indicate its origin in the high-end amateur market.
The set measures 480 x 133 x 380 mm as a 19-inch rack unit and weighs 11.5 kg.
At the top right of the front panel is the impressive digital frequency display with the orange glowing Nixie tubes, two rotary switches under the corresponding digits select the 10 and 1 MHz ranges, the kHz and 0.1 kHz digits are tuned with the large VFO knob, which can be locked mechanically in case a heavy storm should arise. At the bottom right of the front panel, there is also a 6.3 mm headphone jack.
To the left of the frequency display is the S-meter, below it three push-buttons for AVC-fast, the noise blanker and the stand-by circuit. Next to it, below the S-meter, is the preselector for the medium and short wave ranges 0.5 - 10 MHz.
Below that, in a row, are the remaining knobs and switches necessary for processing the RF and AF signal. The volume control on the left is combined with the mains switch, followed by the two operating mode switches. The left one selects the different IF bandwidths as well as the upper or lower sideband in SSB mode and the ISB mode, the right mode switch is used to select AM or SSB reception. The fact that the next two buttons are marked brown indicates that additional functions can be activated by pulling them. Pulling the RF gain button switches to manual RF gain control. The BFO is activated by pulling the BFO knob, the rotary control adjusts the pitch of the beat note when the set ist set to CW reception. The next control, „Vernier tuning“, is used to fine-tune the frequency between the 100 kHz steps of the main VFO.
On the far left is a monitor speaker that can be activated with a slide switch, below it are the controls for the preselector in the VLF range. In the first position 0.01 - 0.03 MHz there is no need for further tuning, in the ranges 0.03 - 0.5 MHz the second preselector knob to the right has to be adjusted to signal maximum. With this, no VLF beacon should be missed…
The Drake receiver shows its origin, which explains the partly - to say the least - extraordinary arrangement of the controls. S-meter, digital display, the main preselector and the lower row of AF / RF gain controls and mode switches correspond to those of the DSR-2, this receiver was based on a SPR-4 with eelctronic frequency synthesis and digital frequency display. The monitor loudspeaker and the switchable preselector for the VLF / beacon ranges were added later…
So it is worth to study the technical manual even more, than with other receivers, which are more self-explanatory :
To tune a station in the 49m broadcast band, the left (VLF) range switch should be set to 0.5 - 30 (MHz), the preselector 0.03 - 0.5 MHz is not needed. Set the MHz frequency switches to „0“ resp. „6“, tune to 155.0 with the tuning knob. The IF bandwidth should be set to 6 and the Operation mode to AM, the RF control should be pushed in, if it is pulled out (i.e. set to manual RF gain control and happens to be in 0 - position, no reception is possible). The volume / AF gain control is now set to a comfortable volume, with the preselector 0.5 - 10 MHz below the S-meter tweak to the best volume or maximum reading on the S-meter.
The set is equipped with solid state components.