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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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W4DST Rating: 5/5 May 7, 2014 17:44 Send this review to a friend
Superb quality receiver  Time owned: 6 to 12 months
I bought my NRD-525 from the original owner in Edmonton,AB, who had an Edvis PLAM board installed along with many mods when it was new. While I am primarily a CW op, this is one excellent SSB and AM receiver. This is my 3rd JRC receiver having previously owned a 515 and a 545 both of these I foolishly sold. The build quality and ergonomics are head and shoulders above any other manufacturer.

A note to the folks regarding the "tone" control. It is my understanding that this is actually a variable audio filter and I have used it to partially eliminate fading on AM signals by attenuating the higher audio frequencies. Dallas Lankford speaks to this technique in a paper he published regarding eliptic low pass audio filters. Backing off the high end of the "tone" control eliminates some of the fading in an AM signal. The "ECSS" method of AM reception using USB and LSB is as good as it gets. The 525 is also a very competent LF and VLF receiver and useful down to the Russian Navy RTTY signal at 18.1kHz. I have an old Autek QF1-A that I use with my 525 for LF non-directional beacon DXing. As Fred Osterman at Universal Radio has noted, JRC was very conservative in the published specs of their receivers only publishing specs down to 90kHz. Also being a MW DXer, the 525's combination of excellent filters, passband tuning, and the excellent notch help pull out weak AM signals on the crowded US AM broadcast band. I must admit that the Edvis PLAM board adds high quality muRata filters to the IF chain for excellent AM DXing so mine is not a stock 525 and you experience may not be the same as mine.

I give it a 5 but the only negative is not for the receiver but for the JRC manual. As others have noted it is not thorough in its explanation of the numerous features and how to use them. This has been the case on the other 2 JRC receivers I've owned. I can't in all honesty downgrade this fine receiver for the shortcomings of the manual as others apparently have.

It's a shame JRC is no longer producing shortwave and ham equipment. Their attention to quality and the smallest details has never had a peer with the exception of Collins Radio.
SCOWL Rating: 5/5 Apr 30, 2013 15:56 Send this review to a friend
Twenty years and still going  Time owned: more than 12 months
When I graduated from college and got a real job over twenty years ago, I decided to spend my new income on my dream of purchasing the best shortwave receiver I could find. The local radio shop had four or five receivers but the passband knob of the NRD-525 was able to pull in readable signals that were unreadable noise on the other receivers. The ECSS function was tremendously useful on fading AM broadcasts. When I got it home I threw up a few feet of wire around my small apartment for an antenna and was amazed to be pulling in hams from around the world, strange utility stations, and every shortwave broadcast I could expect to receive. It was also nice to finally have a receiver that has no drift under any conditions.

The release of the NRD-535 just weeks later with its improved user interface bugged me and the release of the NRD-545 with its digital audio processing and dazzling front panel made me wonder if I should have waited. Looking back and reading the reviews, I don't feel so bad now.

I took a several year break from SWL as RF noise in my new neighborhood increased every year. This year I decided to put up a simple long wire thirty feet from my house and see if the NRD-525 still worked. Not only does it still work, it still is able to pull signals out of even more noise than twenty years ago. It doesn't appear to need adjustment or realignment since the frequency counter is still dead on and it's still just as sensitive as I remember. I would be tempted to get a narrower filter for RTTY but the audio processing of modern RTTY software would make that redundant.

The built-in speaker is crummy, especially its placement on the top of the receiver directing the audio towards the ceiling and it tends to collect dust. The user interface could be more intuitive. The multiple functions of buttons like "RUN" are easily forgotten. I had to look up how to use the "MEMO" button to save a frequency.

I've looked around and I can't find any other receiver that would serve me better after all these years.
VE1FG Rating: 5/5 Jan 17, 2013 10:57 Send this review to a friend
the best reciever i have ever owned.  Time owned: more than 12 months
compared to the recieve on my icom 737 it wins hands down on a cw-80 dipole .i added a mfj-959c preamp and it works great on week stations on ALL BANDS.havent had a thing yet that i dont like about it i guess its all what u want it to do for you but so far i am just pleased the jrc-525 i have owned it for 5 years now and dont have any reasion to let it go anytime soon best 73 to all ham,s and swl,s from ve1-fg mike in canada nova scotia.
MUNGOSOOTY Rating: 4/5 Sep 15, 2010 08:25 Send this review to a friend
Nice Receiver  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
Bought second hand recently. This is a nice HF receiver, good strong front end , does not overload easily. Good selectivity, sensitivity and excellent stability. Nice audio through an external speaker or headphones especially in the “Aux“ widest position for am broadcast listening. This is a proper HF receiver with an RF gain control . I thought mine had a fault when I first tried it - the least significant digit of the tuning display was out, but an internet search showed that this can be toggled on and off by pressing "memo" and “1" simultaneously also tuning speed can be altered by pressing the "run" button (neither of these mentioned in the manual?) . SSB reception is good and the AGC keeps everything at the same audio level. A good all round receiver .
DL1KGK Rating: 3/5 Feb 6, 2010 16:08 Send this review to a friend
I have made my decision  Time owned: 6 to 12 months
I was very impressed of my first attempt to the NRD-525. I like the way it is build, and it gave me the feeling of sitting in front of a professional receiver, when i first tuned all that knobs. No, it was better! Show me the professional receiver that has 200 memories, PBT, Notch, Noiseblanker, real allmode including FM, and a self tuning preselector. I bought it for 350 Euro here in Germany, and the price seemed to be very fair. It came with the 12 kc, 6kc, 2 Kc an 1kc filter.

After half an hour of playing around with this receiver my first impression had gone. The audio sounded muddy with the built-in speaker. Using some good headphones made it sound a little bit better, but it was far away from the sound of other rigs I have owned. Compared to my old TS-930 (why did I sell that rig?) with its clear and crisp sound, my NRD sounded as if it was covered with a heavy blanket. On the other hand there was a permanent hissing, that made listening over a longer time very annoying. One more bad thing was the automatic gain control, that produced noticable distortion on strong signals.

The stability of the receiver was fantastic, the notch filter worked excellent (very smooth tuning), the noise blanker was the the best I ever had on a receiver. That is the way a noise blanker should work. On the other hand the display distorted my indoor loop antenna on mediumwave. Tuning the passband had an effect on the position of the notch filter. The tone control had nearly no effect (due to the bad audio of the receiver). Picking up very weak stations was nearly impossible. I heard all those stations, but (also due to the bad audio) couldn't read them.

I was very frustrated with this receiver. Would to like to own a tv set with a hazy display? I would not. The NRD has a very good reputation among Dxers all over the world. So I thought, that my particular receiver was a bad one. I sold it again.

One month later I had the opportunity to buy an other NRD-525. It was the same like the one I had before. But it had the computer control option and was fitted with the optional 0.5 kc filter. To make a long story short. This receiver did perform the same way as the first one did. There was no significant difference.

As I am fond of listening to mediumwave stations, I replaced my 525 against an other less sophisticated receiver with a very simple analog frequency dial. The NRD was only turned on, when I was unsure of the frequency of the station, I heard with the other receiver.

I know, that an NRD-525 wasn't build to make a job as a frequency counter. So I sold the JRC again. And I didn't have any regrets on this decision.
M0TWA Rating: 5/5 Mar 2, 2007 16:50 Send this review to a friend
new owner..and impressed  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
Well I have only had this radio for 5 days.. bought it second hand from a very nice gentleman here in the uk...'thankyou brian!'@ a very reasonable price and first impressions are very good... Some years ago I owned the R5000 and traded in for a tx/rx when I got my ham ticket. Big mistake..I have on many occasions missed it and have always longed for another good example to listen to at night while in the sack.. yep the radio hobby even follows me to the horizontal sleeping machine!!... The problem has been that the R5000 is becoming a much sort after radio and the prices for them have rocketed here in the uk.. so while searching for one I came across an advert for this nrd-525...I very quickly did my home work before contacting brian the seller.. read the reviews here on e-ham and was so convinced that it was a good purchase..I went for it! It was a 200 mile round trip to go and get it...but hell its was worth it!... the radio has come to me in mint condition and by that I mean I cannot find a single scratch, prang,or dint on the set anywhere..and it has the original box, manual..accessories etc.. the over-all feel of the 525 is one of a professional grade coms receiver and the lay out of the controls is logical... everything seems to be in just the right place...within a very short space of time I was finding my way around and enjoying some great listening with the 525 connected up to my g5rv that is generally used here in the shack.

Can confirm that the internal speaker is a pointless exercise being fitted in a radio of this quality... in fact it is so poor compared to the performance of the radio its a wonder why they bothered with it at all...however if you really want the audio to shine...plug a good set of head phones into it..perhaps what the designers of the radio wanted you to do all along... using some kenwood hs-5's on mine and they marry well to the radio.
Another point I picked up on from another reviewer... the S-meter...the single increment that flicks across the meter...yep a bit strange at first I thought..but I think the idea is to simulate the needle of a moving coil meter...and if you look at it in those terms you quickly become accustomed to fact I quite like it.

The first thing noticable while listening about on the ham bands and also the broadcast bands was the very low noise floor...this makes for very easy, comfortable listening..havent heard any hissing of the amp or psu in this puppy!!.. then the selectable band this...only have the stock filters in but I feel that there is enough range between the three options to get by in any situation... I like listening to morse code.. the 'inter'3khz filter ( while a bit too wide for the mode) I find is very sharp and used in conjunction with the pass band tuning and the bfo control gives very good results on crowded bands. SSB receiption is excellent.. currently listening to LZ129LO.. a special event station on 80 meters and there is another station up 2 MHZ with a non linear amp spattering.. the 525 is coping fantastically!!
There are radios out there with Syncronous detect.. but reading through the reviews the success of this facility is implemented with mixed results...mostly it comes as a disappointment to the reveiwer... the fact that the 525 doesnt have it isnt of great concern to me.. what makes the radio hobby for me is the fact the signals 'do' shift around and fade... its a good excuse to twiddle with the knobs on the radio to improve matters!!! I thought doing a spot of twiddling was the whole point of the hobby!?
The three settings of the AGC work very well..the notch filter also works extremely well and I haven't (as yet ) found a hetrodyne that it cannot filter out... the NB ( noise blanker ) havent had reason to use it yet as things at this qth have been quiet with localised pulse noise.
I just love the RIT control.. fantastic when listening to radioamateurs in conversation..all too often one or the other is slightly higher or lower in frequency... being able to tune across to one station with the RIT knob is brilliant and then you are able to hit the RIT button as the conversation passes back and forth.. great weapon to have in the arsenal!!... The 200 memory channels are great..and make up for the lack of a second vfo....and this is just the tip of the ice burg... havent had time to use the other features of the set as I have been having such a great time listening around.... which must call for another review in the not too distant future... watch this space.

In conclusion for this first look at the NRD-525... every thing that has been written here by other radio enthusiasts is completely true.. really nice radio... how does it compare to the
kenwood R-5000?... from my memory of the r-5000 I would say the RX performance is about the same.. however I would love to have both radios here in the shack to go head to head... if you take into account the 525's very well thought through layout and design..then the 525 wins...
I am overjoyed with this radio.. and if I never manage to get my hands on a R-5000 I dont think I will be missing out on anything..I have found a radio just as good...if not just a bit better!!
WA4053SWL Rating: 5/5 Dec 29, 2006 22:21 Send this review to a friend
Excellent Receiver!!!  Time owned: 6 to 12 months
This receiver is fantastic in all the aspects, the first thing is to put a good external speaker, I put the speaker RCA!!! professional sounds! hi, hi..any speaker minimus pro 7, pro 77, Realistic, Optimus pro X33 or pro X44AV, they sound fantasticly, or other of good quality, this one is a tremendous receiver, PBT, RIT, good selectivity and sensivity, 200 memory, 2 clock, 2 antenna, 20db ATT, fantastic AGC, and a classic and impressive look, I recommend it, I have the R-5000 and IC-R71A and it is top.
73 all and good DX
SWL1984 Rating: 5/5 Sep 1, 2006 10:46 Send this review to a friend
Great audio - with external speaker  Time owned: 6 to 12 months
I wanted JRC NRD 525 from late 1980s, I remember. At the time it used to be one of the best receiver on the market. Problem was it was just too expensive. I recall that it was somewhere over 1000 - 1500 uk pounds new. This used to be a lot of money at the time, and still is, for a working class guy like me.

As I never like new radios ?I don’t know, but I just cannot trust a new radios with a lot if bells and whistles and with DSPs ..etc ?I just cannot justify their price tag, or trust their performance. I always prefer older classics, which have been tried and tested.

Recently I was able to pick one up from a shop, and it was going for price I could not resist. Only thing was it was well used condition cosmetically. I mean the previous owner must have been some sort of weirdo treating a radio like that. This NRD 525 had 3 holes on the top casing, which I could not understand why?? - anyone would drill 3 holes into the top casing. Apart from that, it was in good nick.

I hooked it up to my trusty 160m longwire, and used to listen to Amateur SSB and some of my favorite Broadcast stations on SW.

The 525 is the top class receiver in every way. I read some people moan about the 525's audio quality poor, but it can be cured by connecting a good quality external speaker –simple solution. I use one of the 4 ohm speaker from old Sony HiFi, and it sounds fantastic.

The in-built speaker is not something to be relied upon, as it is slightly larger than 50 pence coin, and it is just to check if audio is coming out ok ?I would think.

The radio has following distinct strong points.

1. Well built ?solidly built, and heavy and looks great.
2. Tuning wheel is fly-wheel type, and it is one of the smoothest I have found, and it is a joy to use.
3. Super sensitive and stable in frequency. Rock solid. No drift from the moment it is switched on.
4. Runs cool and you can feel that it is reliable and will last forever.
5. Quiet receive ?noise will only come in, if the radio is placed in poor location with poor antenna system.
6. All mode ?CW, RTTY, FAX, SSB, AM, FM.

If I were to find any fault in this receiver, then it has optional VHF and UHF modules slot. I could not find anyone selling these modules in anywhere, and it is a bit frustrating, as these band, I guess will perform fantastically with these modules.

It is one of my favorite HF radio that I will keep for long time.
OZ4KID Rating: 5/5 Mar 3, 2006 02:37 Send this review to a friend
A timeless classic for connoisseurs!  Time owned: more than 12 months
Once you've been bitten by a product from JRC your listening experiences will *never* be the same again. You'll pickier and your standards for how reception should be will be raised. Why? Well - you've got to have one, and have several other radios to know and appreciate the difference.

I had my very first experience with the NRD-525 for about 15 years ago, one of my ham-radio friends have bought this incredibly expensive SW receiver and wanted to brag about it. I immedately fell in love with it the more he used it - and eventually for some reason I managed to convince him to "swap" it to me for a "lot" of cool gear. I just had to have it.

And that was a nice decition, because as it is - it was the BEST shortwave radio I´ve ever had. And I´ve had many expensive SW radios...Grundig Satellite 650 being one of them, several Kenwood ones to...that doesn´t even come close to the NRD-525.

The thing that struck me with the NRD-525 was the ability it had to filter noise, especially computer-noise. Back then I used a Commodore-64 to decode RTTY and I was amazed how well the NRD tackled noise - even with very bad antennas and antenna conditions. No radio I´ve had since ever came close.

Unfortunately - GREED - convinced me to swap this wonderful radio back to my ham-friend because I wanted to try other stuff and was a bit bored, bad mistake! This radio was a class-act. No matter what radios I got later on - no one could outclass the NRD-525. And it was no secret how expensive such a radio was - so it was kind of out-of-my-reach at the time.

Many years later - I got lucky and got one for an amazing 400 dollars on an online-forum for radioamateurs. And it was and IS in MINT condition. I can´t belive how mint it is after 15-20 years, it looks brand new - and came in the original box that also looked brand new.

The radio is exactly as I remembered it, perfect reception, even for me who lives in a appartment complex with 300 other people living alongside each other, no one of my other SW-radios can receive and filter the 300 appartment-noises such as this receiver.

I won't make the same mistake twice and let this one go. And I suggest if you're lucky enough to get one, keep it forever! It's a gem!
KA2SHU Rating: 5/5 Nov 26, 2005 08:35 Send this review to a friend
One Terrific Radio  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I have owned many general coverage HF receivers over the years. Recently, on e-bay I purchased a nice clean NRD 525. I have carefully compared this radio with several others in my collection. My present collection consists of a Drake R8, Collins R390-A, Yaesu FRG-7, and a Kenwood R-5000. As a ham radio receiver, I have compared it to a R-599A, TS-690S, and a Racal RA329B. I believe I know what to expect from a quality receiver when it comes to reception and quality of constuction. My experience tells me that the NRD 525 stand tall in all respects when compared to the ALL of the above. When it comes to reception of SSB utility or ham radio signals, this radio is excellent. It's ergonomics are superior to all of the radios mentioned above. Much has been written about its "wooley" audio. My experience tells me otherwise. With a good external speaker, the audio is excellent and if you want to hear real clean AM on the MW band, the AUX filter position when not filled with an optional filter actually comes close to supplying AM Hi Fi with a bandwidth of 12KHz.
The radio's vacuum fluorescent display is beautiful when compared to the Drake's R8 green back lit energy consuming display. The lack of sync detection on this radio is not a draw back and will not be missed. There is one things that could have make this radio better that must be mentioned. Recalling memory assignments must be done with the keypad or UP/DN buttons. The main tuning knob cannot do this like the Drake's. After all is said, this is one superior HF receiver that can be reasonably had in the used market. If you are looking for something really good in the $400-$500 price range, this radio is your best choice! Forget the Yaesu FRG-7, it's way over rated and no where near this radio if it's real tough signal reception you're after.
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