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write your own review of the NRD-301A.
Oct 3, 2003 17:27
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What a radio!
Time owned: 0 to 3 months
Well, the time has finally arrived. I have been looking at the blank review space for this receiver for months, wondering if someone was going to write this baby up. A few weeks ago, while scanning Ebay one late evening, I was jolted by the appearance of this receiver! As those familiar with the Osterman book on receivers knows, the NRD301A (and its sibling the 302A) were the last of JRC's commercial/marine line of HF receivers. My understanding is that they discontinued the receiver within the last two years. Not sure where to start so I'll give my rating: ***** THIS IS ONE FIVE STAR MACHINE.
As Passport to Worldband Radio started in the 2003 overview of the NRD301A, this is probably a receiver that gets passed down from generation to generation. Mine sure will. If every other piece of equipment I have goes (except perhaps for my wonderful HQ180A), the 301A will stay.
This is a very straightforward receiver. Housed in a beautiful cream colored cabinet, it just cries out QUALITY AND RUGGED CONSTRUCTION. With readout to 1hz and large LEDs with a four step dimmer, you want have any questions about who is on frequency. If they're off on this receiver, the transmitter is not on frequency. Bandwidths in mine (all 5) are 6, 3, 1, .5, and .3 controlled by wonderful square pushbuttons with imbedded indicator lights. Modes are LSB, USB, CW, DSB (AM), FSK, FAX. Four knobs below this bank are for RF GAIN, VOLUME, PBS (Passband Shift), and SQUELCH. The PSB by the way, functions very nicely, better than my NRD 525, abouty equal to my 515, but I would give the nod to the 301A.
Using the PSB in conjunction with the BW options and another wonderful little thing called the AF filter, you can clarify virtually anything. While this may not compare to DSP control of BW, and the receiver doesn't have a notch like the TenTec 340, the AF filter works wonders.
Tuning is accomplished via the separate MHZ dial on the far left, which is also multi-functional in that it also controls memory channels (there are 300) and selects groups while in SCAN or SWEEP mode. The main tuning knob -- which is among the smoothest I have ever experienced -- serves to vary the RATE of the LED readouts and doubles as the BFO offset when DELTA Ftune is engaged.
I can't stress too much how easy this radio is to tune. Despite the lack of a keypad entry system, the ergonomics are such that getting from one part of the band to the other is rapid and pleasurable. Entering frequencies into MEMORY is also simple and intuitive. Between the MHZ and KHZ knobs are three buttons for 2182 (auto switch to the emergency channel) and CH and MHZ buttons for switching between the two tuning systems.
My only gripe with the 301 A would be the S meter, which while it is of typical JRC quality and beautiful to behold, is a bit "jerky" and un-responsive at times. When signals are pushing my 515 or R8 meters, sometimes the one on the 301A take some time to react.
Sound on the 301A from the internal speaker is what one would expect. I run it on a Drake external speaker and it sounds fine.
There is nothing quite to compare with the feeling of sitting in front of one of JRC's top-gun receivers. Rounding out the stuff on the front panel is a small metal tag which identifies the receiver by Serial No. and date and month of manufacture!
These are rarely seen on the used market -- I was lucky to obtain this one in absolutely new condition, still with all spare parts, filters installed and manual (although no original box). I highly recommend this radio, for those who can afford the price bracket.
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