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R. L. Drake Company, Miamisburg, OH

SSR - 1

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überarbeitet am 19.10.2010

In the mid-seventies, Drake presented the SSR-1 as a sucessor to the SPR-4, that has already been a completely solid state set. It's a double conversion receiver using the Wadley Loop system for a continuous coverage from 0,5 - 30 MHz. The SSR-1 did not come up to the shortwave performance of the R-4 series receivers, a fact that made this receiver less popular amongst the shortwave listeners community.
Shortly after the SSR-1 made it's appearence on the market, the Century-21 and Standard C-6500 receivers made in Japan were a less costly alternative to their Drake uncle, but basically based on the same circuitry.

Double Conversion, Intermediate frequencies 44,5 MHz and 455 kHz

linear Analog dial, 1 kHz

500 kHz - 30 Hz

AM, USB/LSB

Sensitivity < 2 MHz: AM < 3 uV, SSB < 1 uV
> 2 MHz: AM < 1 uV, SSB < 0,3 uV

Selectivity -6 dB
SSB 3 kHz, AM 5,5 kHz

Preselector, S-Meter Owners Manual

The Drake SSR-1 is a small desktop receiver, it's dimensions are 330 x 140 x 280 mm and it's weight 6,4 kg. The set is completely solid state, it has an internal speaker and telescopic antenna, so that after connecting to mains (117 or 240 V) or inserting 8 UM-1 cells on the battery compartment unter the lid at the rear of the cabinet, the DXing adventure can begin.

You can easily overview the front panel of the receiver. At the left, You find the speaker grille and the 6.3 mm headphones jack.
In the right and upper region of the front panel, You find the signal strength meter and at it's right the frequency dial. With the MHz-knob at the left of the top row of controls, You move the front circular dial with the MHz indicators; the big tuning knob will tune the kHz dial. In between, You find the precelector knob, there are no dial marks to help You finding the preselector signal maximum.
In the bottom row of controls, You find at the left hand the volume control combined with the mains switch, the control for the preselector band ranges, the mode selector and at the right the "clarifier", a fine tuning control useful for SSB reception.

Operating the SSR-1 is not straightforward at all; as with similar sets basing on the Wadley Loop principle, it's easy to have the set detuned, so You might wonder, why You aren't hearing anything out of the speaker and even consider the set as faulty.
After switching on the set, You adjust the volume control until You will hear a slight noise from the speaker. Now use the MHz knob to rotate the out circular dial, until the 6 MHz mark is under the pointer line and adjust for maximum noise - You will miss a control lamp that would help You identifying the correct setting as found in the Yaesu FRG-7, a set that has to be operated with a similar operation scheme. When You tune the kHz / main tuning knob for 075 kHz, You might already hear "Deutsche Welle", Germany's external shortwave service. Now is the moment to select the correct range with the preselector range control BAND (in this example, it's the 5 - 12 MHz band) and to carefully adjust the PRE-SELECTOR control for maximum reading of the signal strength meter and best readability.
With incorrect settings of BAND and PRE-SELECTOR controls, it can happen, that You hear either nothing, or a strong station's signal at a completely wrong part of the shortwave dial, so called intermodulation effects. Faint signals can only be caught with absolutely careful tuning of the preselector.

If You try to listen to the faint signal of Argentina's External Service RAE, I would recommend to tune in to a strong signal in the 19 m band nearby, tweak to maximum signal strength using the BAND and PRE-SELECTOR controls and maybe adjust the MHz knob for sinal maximum. After having tuned to the strong signal in the neighbourhood, tune in to RAE's signal on 15345 kHz and adjust the preselector for maximum readability.
Try a similar proceeding when tuning in to a single sideband transmission: try first to adjust the BAND and PRE-SELECTOR knobs for the reception of a nearby strong signal and then tune in to the SSB signal with usually poorer signal strength. Try to adjust the CLARIFIER control for fine tuning of the signal until voice transmissions and music sound more natural and less "Mickey MOuse" style.

When it's carefully tuned, the SSR-1 is a useful communications receiver to catch the international shortwave broadcasters and even amateur radio traffic and local transmitters on the shortwave bands.
For a novice, this set might be less suited, as it's easy to detune it so badly, that no recepion is possible and to be disappointed about shortwave reception at all. If You just intend to enjoy programmes of an international broadcaster, I would recommend You to go for a set featuring digital frequency display and even direct keypad frequency entry. An avid DXer might rather look around for a set fully featured with different IF filter bandwidths, passband tuning, notch filter and so on - the SSR-1 cannot cope with these expectations. But if You love classic shortwave sets and are a Wadley Loop enthousiast, the SSR-1 is a set that deserves it's space on the shelves in Your collection.

© Martin Boesch 23.12.2008