[Vintage Drake Station W1JA]
Above is my vintage Drake station.  The top row, center, contains the TR-3 and TR-4CW/RIT transceivers.


[TR-3 front panel] [TR-4Cw/RIT front panel]
Drake TR-3, 1963 Drake TR-4Cw/RIT, 1978


[TR-3 without top cover] [TR-3 from front at an angle]
Two views of the TR-3 with its top cover off.  Note the gorgeous copper-plated chassis.  In the words of a fellow Drake aficionado, the TR-3 is a "glowbug!"


[TR-4Cw/RIT without top cover] [TR-4Cw/RIT, chassis underside]
Two views of the insides of the TR-4Cw/RIT.


With 20 vacuum tubes packed into a relatively small cabinet, these Drake transceivers make great heaters.  And if you dare to transmit with them, they get even hotter!

If you compare the photos of the TR-3 with the TR-4Cw/RIT, you can see that these transceivers are very similar.  In fact, they're almost identical.
 
These are the major differences between the 1963 TR-3 and the 1978 TR-4Cw/RIT:
  • The TR-3 chassis is copper plated, while the TR-4Cw/RIT chassis is not.  I believe Drake stopped copper plating chassis in the early 1970s, when the R-4C and T-4XC "C-line" separates were introduced.
  • The TR-3 front panel is "reverse engraved" (the silver lettering is brushed metal that's higher than the painted parts, which are recessed slightly below the lettering), while the TR-4Cw/RIT front panel is the standard silkscreened type common to later Drake production.
  • The TR-3 final cage is painted black, and has no top.  The only cover over the final cage is that provided by the outer case.  The TR-4Cw/RIT final cage is bright metal, with a separate cover (removed for the photos above).
  • The TR-4Cw/RIT adds the following electrical features to the basic TR-3 design.
    • CW sidetone
    • True diode detection for AM reception (a step backward—the diode detection method is inferior to "exalted carrier" detection when the radio has no IF filter wider than the 2.1-kHz SSB filter)
    • Provision for an optional noise blanker
    • Receiver incremental tuning (RIT)
    • Selectable 500-Hz CW filter
    • A redesigned dial that shows 1-kHz calibration points directly on the dial, rather than on the tuning knob skirt
    • A redesigned main tuning knob
    • The ability to monitor relative RF power output on the PA plate current meter
  • There are also several subtle electrical design changes in the TR-4Cw/RIT.  These are the major ones:
    • Final tubes are changed from 12JB6s to 6JB6s
    • The PTO (permeability-tuned oscillator) is a solid-state instead of a "hollow-state" (vacuum tube) design.


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