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Reviews Categories | Receivers: General Coverage | JRC NRD-515 Help

Reviews Summary for JRC NRD-515
JRC NRD-515 Reviews: 15 Average rating: 4.9/5 MSRP: $900-1350 US, depending on option
Description: 100Kc->34Mc, AM/USB/LSB/CW/RTTY -- Massive Cool
Product is in production.
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KZ5I Rating: 5/5 Apr 25, 2006 03:38 Send this review to a friend
A Great Performer !  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I have recently purchased an NRD-515 in great shape and I am very glad I did. As someone said on an earler review it doesn't have a lot of bells and whistles but it doesn't need to.

It is the most sensitive and QUIET reciever in the shack (That includes my TS-930 and Mark V Field).

Money very well spent.
RICHARDUK Rating: 5/5 Jan 5, 2005 14:29 Send this review to a friend
They don't make them like this anymore!  Time owned: more than 12 months
I have owned my JRC NRD 515 for 18 years now and the serial number indicates it was manufactured in 1983. As a 17 year old when I bought it, the plain and simple controls didn't immediately appeal, but my opinion changed as soon as I heard it.

Having owned many receivers and transceivers over the years, this is still one of the quietest receivers I've come across and what's more it is user servicable.

About 8 years ago, the fast Up/Down tuning control failed and two off the shelf IC's later it was back working fine. I also replaced all of the relays and cleaned all pots and switch contacts and hey presto - it was back in fine fettle. I don't think the same could be achieved on my FT1000MP.

The chassis is rugged, selectivity good with the stock filters and it has a pretty indestructable feel to it.

I use a Kenwood SP31 speaker with it and the audio is reasonable, all JRC receivers have a tendency for the audio to be a bit muffled.

Sure it doesn't have all the bells and whistles, DSP and other whizz bang features, but for hour upon hour of stable, quiet reception it's hard to beat once you've mastered the tweaking of the controls.

Sadly, mint examples are becoming more difficult to find, but I recently saw one advertised in the UK for 495 and I'm tempted to raid the bank.

If you come across a good one, don't pass it by.

SIERRAHOTEL Rating: 5/5 Aug 17, 2002 03:24 Send this review to a friend
A true classic.  Time owned: more than 12 months
I have had my 515 a long time now, it's once receiver I'll never sell by choice, I love the thing, it's so nice to use for long periods, and those red LEDS somehow mesmerize me, even after all the years I have had it.

I had gotten bit by the RTTY/SITOR bug badly during a trip to Universal Radio, and had purchased a new Nrd-525, and ended up going home with a 515 and a RTTY decoder too!

This thing makes most other Amateur rigs made since Collins went out of the consumer radio business look like toys. The front panel is cast aluminum, and the rest of the case is made of thicker than expected aluminum sheet. Inside, just looking at the PC boards(there are two large boards, and the small PS board) tells you it was EXPENSIVE. The two main boards plug into the front panel via gold plated connectors. There is a socket in the top PC board for optional filters. Mine was loaded with 6.0 and 2.4 stock filters, and 600 and 300hz optionals. Also visble inside is the one real weak point of the 515, the plain old RCA phono plugs used on the interconnects between the two main PC boards. They aren't even soldered on, just crimped, and have caused several odd problems over the years in my 515, and seems to be the most common problem, followed closely by the solder joints cracking where the VFO encoder connect to the "Synthesizer" PC board. I have had this happen to my 515, and it seems to happen to all of them sooner or later.

There's a big analog S-Meter on the left upper front panel. The main Tuning knob is magnetically damped, and feels somwhat different than the usual ham or SW receivers tuning knob does. There is no drag adjustment for the tuning knob, but it's about perfect as is. MHZ change is easy, just a quick turn of the MHZ knob, and you're there. All the controls work very smoothly, except for the fine tune control, it's very touchy, and there's a wide detent in the middle the travel that kid of grabs the pot, and sets it dead center, just as you finally get something tuned in perfectly. I had my fine tune control replaced by a 10 turn knob pot, and it sure is a huge improvement.

The AM isn't all that great, it's kind of fuzzy, but SSB is very clear, and can be spectacular with the right speaker. There is no tone control or notch, but the passband tuning (PBT) control can partially stand in for it, and just the PBT function is vastly better than the Icom/Kenwood type PBT/IF shift. The receiver is much quieter than a Kenwood R5000, but is more sensitive, so amazingly weak signals can be heard, and/or decoded.

Of all the recievers that have come and gone here, only the NRD-515 and 525 have stayed. The 515 is my favorite receiver, period. I will never sell mine, but will admit the prices on Ebay recently have me thinking about it once in a while.
WA4PQD Rating: 5/5 Aug 13, 2000 20:16 Send this review to a friend
This is ART  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
No, I'm not Art, the NRD-515. What a nice piece of work! The feel of the controls is wonderful. I copy a lot of CW and stable it is. Comes w/ a 2.4 and 6kc filter w/ option for a 600Hz and AUX position. Don't know where to get the filters... Mine has a 10-turn DELTA-F (aka RIT), it gives more range than the 2Khz stock Delta-F, which is OK but not necessary. Very quick to QSY using the MHz knob and the Up/Down switch. Not as fast as the direct entry on the NRD-535D (another wonderful device). The PBT is a nice feature. The whole rig just works for me. Looks like you have a chance to fix it too, if it goes haywire -- No BGA's to replace... They are kinda rare and if you can find one I recommend you take it for a test drive. I feel like I'm back in the '70s in a Hi-End Comm Shack. They don't makem' like this any more. My complements to the chef.
BDKING Rating: 5/5 Apr 2, 2000 05:40 Send this review to a friend
Built like a tank,a true classic receiver.  Time owned: unknown months
I first played with a 515 in 1986 when they had just been discontinued,and replaced by the 525,another great radio.I didn't have the money to buy one then,and I was using an Icom 71A for shortwave at the time anyway.A year or so later,my tower got hit by lightning,and it destroyed my 71A,even though it wasnt connected to the antenna.A couple of weeks after I got the insurance check,I went ot a hamfest to buy a 2meter mobile rig,and look for a 71A or something similar to replace the one I lost.I had never seen a 515 at a hamfest before,only an older JRC tube receiver,so I was shocked,an older man was selling two of them,one a newer one,and the other was one of the first ones made.I ended up with the newer one,with 2 extra mechanical filters,and the 96 channel memory box for $1000,not bad at all.
The positives things the 515 has are:
1.It's all metal!The front panel is cast aluminum,and the rest is sheet aluminum.Closest thing to a boatanchor made recently!
2.The knobs are big enough to use comfortably,the controls have a great feel to them,and the layout of the front panel is nearly prefect.It's a pleasure to use hour after hour.
3.There are several basic ways to tune a 515,the main tuning knob,there are no "ranges" like almost all 1979 vintage radios,the up/down switch,for moving fast,the MHZ knob to drop or go up quickly,the memory box,and finally,the optional(and hard to find now)keypad.One way or another you can tune a 515 very easily and quickly.
4.It has REAL passband tuning,like a DRAKE,not like an Icom 71A has,and it works very well,both as a interference eliminator,and as a tone control,very useful in making a narrow filter sound reasonably pleasant to listen to for an extended amount of time.
5.It's RF performance is great,it won't overload like lesser radios do,such as a Kenwood 2000,and if you manage to somehow get intermod,the "arrestor diodes" can be clipped,and that usually solves the problem,just remember to put a gas tube arrestor on the coax to replace the diodes,or you might have a deaf 515 after you forget to take the coax off,and a storm suddenly pops up.C'mon,we've all done it once or twice!It is also very quiet for a radio of it's vintage,and is super sensitive.
6.It has almost perfect stability.Never drifts,no matter how old it is..
And now for the negatives:
1.No internal speaker,and the one made for it isn't that great sounding.I recommend one of the
smaller Radio Shack "minimus" speakers,run off a small/cheap car amp/eq plugged into one of the line out jacks on the back of the 515.
2.The AM audio is kind of muffled and "wooly"sounding,the speaker/eq setup above is a huge improvement.SSB is fine,and doesn't need to use the EQ in that mode.
3.Uses crimp on plugs at end of the interconnect cables inside the radio,and they get loose or oxidized,and cause a variety of trouble.They should be soldered on,and "DeOxit" used on all the plugs,this seems to slove it pretty well.
4.There is no notch filter or squelch control.An add on DSP filter would blow any built in notch filter of that period anyway,and the squelch control is not missed at all,just turn the AGC to off,back down the RF gain till you can barely hear the background noise,and sit back and relax!
5.Age!The oldest 515's appeared in 1979,so they are over 20,and the newest ones were made in 1986,so they are 14,and parts availability is unknown.JRC has a large stock of parts for most of their radios,and they probably have a lot of 515 parts in stcok,but I'm not sure.My 515 and a friend's have had solder joints crack over the years,usually where the encoder is connected to the PC board.The power supply has had a couple of problems with bad joints,I hit all of them with the iron a few years ago,and neither of us has had any prolems since.
I always have had several SW receivers in my shack,and the 515 is by far my favorite.I usually tune aroud on the 515,and use my other radios to sit on a frequency I found with the 515,while I keep twirling the 515's big dial.If you find a good one,and want a great receiver,you won't regret buying a NRD-515.
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