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Reviews Categories | Receivers: General Coverage | JRC NRD-525 Help

Reviews Summary for JRC NRD-525
JRC NRD-525 Reviews: 13 Average rating: 4.8/5 MSRP: $1249.00
Description: General Coverage Receiver
Product is in production.
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SIERRAHOTEL Rating: 5/5 Aug 16, 2002 23:23 Send this review to a friend
Another JRC hit!  Time owned: more than 12 months
I had a Icom R70, not a bad radio, when it worked, but that's another review, and I had finally gotten fed up with it's problems, and started looking for a new receiver. I went to EEB during a Washington trip, and played with the Kenwood R5000, and the Icom R-71A, and was leaning towards the 5000, but wasn't crazy about the keypad and it ran really hot too. I had to go to the Columbus area for a work project/meeting, and went to Universal in Reynoldsburg to see the (then) new JRC NRD-525. I was impressed right away, JRC seems to have the ergonomics thing figured out better than anyone else does. Icom should hire some of these people and let them do the front panel on their rigs.

After a half hour of playing with it, I bought a 525, the NVA-88 matching speaker (Don't bother!), a couple of antennas, coax, and some books. I also made the huge mistake of playing with the display 525 and the "M600a" Rtty decoder, and that would cost me big later on.

I played with it at the motel that night, I ran a hunk of wire out into the parking lot, and was getting all kinds of stuff. The guy I was sharing the room with about passed out when I told him how much it was! I spent most of the next couple of days in the hotel room (sat and Sun) playing with it! On Sunday night, I called home and had my brother pack up my R70, and Fed-ex it to me ASAP, it was getting traded in! On Tuesday afternoon, I went back to Universal, and bought the M600, a monitor for it, and the just traded in NRD 515 they had sitting there on the counter! I got a fairly decent price for my R-70, BTW, good riddance!

I still have both radios, the 525 has been flawless for over 15 years, and the 515 has performed very well, but had to be repaired a couple of times for bad solder joints.

The positive things about the 525:

Very good build quality, most of it is SMD.
Super Stable, never seems to drift at all. ever!
Nice smooth, well spaced controls, with good sized knobs, and a decent sized front panel.
Great display, except the S-Meter.
Decent audio with the right external speaker.

Bad points:

S-Meter is spastic! A friend's later 525 is much better.
Hissy amp/IF amp, not as bad in mine as some others, but noticable all the time, unless you have some kind high end roll of filter in line.
Internal speaker is a joke, matching one isn't very good either, a $25.00 cheap bookshelf speaker sounds much better!
PBT not as good as the 515's, and odd clicks are heard when you use it.
Keypad switches are a joke, quality wise, and they are supposed to be a real horror to change, since the traces come off the PC board easily due to the flexing of it from the use of the keypad!

Since I bought the NRDs, I have bought or tried other receivers, including the Drake R-8A, and the Icom R71A. They are gone now, but the 515, and 525 are still here, joined by a NRD-535D. All three are used everyday. If my 525 would die for some reason, I would probably call Universal or look on Ebay, and get another one!
KC0EKQ Rating: 5/5 Mar 12, 2002 15:12 Send this review to a friend
Surprisingly good!  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I had the chance to pick up a JRC525 last month, and thought what the heck, it's a classic and a good performer (based on what I'd read, anyway!).
Well, I am VERY impressed!
Having used a Drake R8B for the last few years, I was expecting to be disappointed with the lack of sideband selectable synchronous detection, and a passband tuning which doesn't cover as full a range as the R8B. Plus, I'd read nothing but complaints about the audio, some minor, some pure JRC-bashing.
Well, in MY experience, the lack of the synch. detector can be a little daunting if you're used to one, but in ECSS mode, the '525 does about as well in killing distortion. The passband tuning also performs comparably to the R8B, and if it's not as wide a shift on the spec sheets, it does do the job with aplomb, given the right filter settings.
As for the audio, I cannot now see WHAT the complaints are about. Let's face it, top-firing speakers are never that hot, and the addition of almost any kind of external speaker to most receivers are a good idea. But even through headphones, straight from the phone jack, I could not detect the 'hiss' or otherwise poor audio noises that I'd read about in other reviews. I have been a musician/engineer since a very young man, and my ear simply does not hear the intrusive kind of hissing about which others have complained. Maybe unit-to-unit variance is to blame here, but JRC is not known for poor quality control or other inconsistencies. The 'bad audio' reports remain a mystery to me (my Yaesu FRG7 exhibits more hiss and warbling than the '525, and it too is a fine receiver!).
Another point, the tuning resolution, while not as fine as the R8B, does still perform perfectly for all but the most sticky of 'tweaking' jobs. When tuning AM stations using the ECSS method to kill fade distortion, being off by 3 to 5 Hz can get a little annoying, but I've found that most of the stations I monitor via ECSS are actually transmitting right on frequency, and this factor eliminates the 3-5 Hz offset annoyance. In either of the SSB modes, you can really fine tune, with no perceptible difference in performance versus the R8B or the FRG7.
I also found the 'above HF' coverage from 30 to 34 MHz to be a neat expansion. In my area, I hear a lot of low VHF skip in the mornings, and the FM mode scanning of these freq's adds a nice dimension to what is usually a dedicated HF receiver. A bonus for my tastes!
For receiving amateur traffic, I've not encountered a better radio. It's on par with the Drake, and it does fight noise and adjacent frequency interference quite admirably.
It's not the be all and end all of SW rigs I've owned, and it won't be my last.
But I wouldn't mind if it was the only one I could ever use... pleasant audio, sleek looks, easy tuning (200 memories, easy to add/remove/alter settings, a nice scan and sweep feature, etc.), and rock-solid stability combine to make this a very worthy performer.
Given it's average market value of around $500 to $600, one could say it's one of the more attractive buys on the used market.
WI0H Rating: 5/5 May 10, 2001 11:30 Send this review to a friend
Wonderful Comm Receiver  Time owned: more than 12 months
I got this rig used, and it was my first communications receiver with a digital readout. Let me tell you, this is an easy radio to fall in love with! All the knobs and dials have a good solid feel to them, and the controls are all neatly laid out on the front panel. Best of all, they work like they should too! CFRX out of Toronto, usually covered by Deutsche Velle in the evenings, was a notch and a filter adjustment away. With a crude piece of speaker wire antenna strung across the roof of a basement apartment, I logged Radio St. Helena, All India Radio, and plenty of pirates on 6955. The only knock I can make on this radio is the audio. JRC receivers always seem to be lacking in audio quality, and this one is no exception. A good external speaker will do wonders for this ill though. One other thing that should be mentioned though is the scarcity of replacement parts. Unlike Drake that is still making parts for radios made 20+ years ago, JRC is NOT, to the best of my knowledge, making parts for the 525, which disappeared from their catalog in the early 90s. On the other hand, my JRC runs circles around my R8. I will take the performance thank you.

Conclusion: Someone described their relationship with the 525 as where he "got that JRC feeling." I know exactly what he means. This dawg will hunt!

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