I finally found one! Now sitting on my shelf is a beautiful Drake TR-7A, serial number 12195, and I am in love. Welcome to the family!
When I was conducting research for my initial HF radio purchase, I had narrowed down to the Heathkit SB-104A rather quickly. It is a beautiful radio itself. However, as I was researching it I found that the principal designer for it, Mike Elliot, went on to work for R. L. Drake and to design their TR-7. What I read was that the Drake TR-7 was what Mike Elliot had wanted the SB-104 to be.
I couldn’t afford a Drake TR-7 at the time, nor were there any good options to buy a decent one anyway. And, honestly, I was content to go with the Heathkit. After all, one of my major purchase considerations was to get a radio I could tinker with. In fact I wanted to get a radio that was basically going to force me to tinker and learn (without going so far as to buy myself a problem). The SB-104A that I purchased was affordable, was (and is) itself a fantastic radio, and has given me ample opportunity to tinker and upgrade it. But I’ve always had in my head this thought: if I love my Heathkit, and the Drake TR-7 was what its designer had wanted that Heathkit to be, then what kind of radio is the TR-7?
I will be finding out!
A special thanks to Gary Follet, W0DVN (known also as “dukeshifi”) who sold me the radio. An excellent person to do business with.