|An incredible radio !
||Time Owned: more than 12 months.
|Mine is a C520, which is the same radio with a different number. I bought it second hand many years ago. After the obligatory change of the caps, it still works like at the first day I owned it. Added the CTCSS option later, which is now again available if one missed the chance.|
What could I say about it ? It's a classic ! I use mine since many, many years almost every day. Mostly "only" to monitor some frequencies. The speaker sounds good and clear and it's loud enough. Transmitting audio reports are usually good. Additionally, I have the old "Densei" speaker microphone combination which still works well together with the radio.
Transmitting and receiving quality is good, even with the original antenna I can reach most of the repeaters around. For local QSOs it offers enough power with maximal 5 W at 12 V.
The menu options are too many to be listed here. It can do almost everything I want to do it, with the exception that it can't cook coffee. Maybe today the possibility to change the step to 6,25 kHz will be missed, if someone wants to listen to the PMR band. I don't see it as a problem, because the PMR band didn't exist when the C528 came out.
There are battery packs for 6 and 8 AA accumulators or batteries. There was also a NiMH pack on the market. Especially with the big battery pack the C528 gets a bit large and heavy and you have to be careful not to drop your pants if you attach it with the belt clip. Therefore it's solid built. I can't remember how many times I treated it rough and I dropped it more than just once.
Regarding the year in which it was built and what I did to it over the years, it's almost a wonder that it still works without any problems worth mentioning. Well, sometimes I have to press the buttons more than once or with more force than intended to get the desired reaction, but that's pretty much all.
On top of that, I have one accessories which is very useful to avoid the connection to a 12 V supply with the somewhat fragile coaxial plug: It's a rail connected to the bottom, used instead of the battery pack ! It was manufactured years ago by a local HAM. But today it should be possible to make it with a 3D-printer. Screw it on a stand and you have a solid solution for mobile use or in your shack.
My rating ? Four and a half stars !
|A great radio
||Time Owned: more than 12 months.
|Picked one up at a ham feast non-working little over a year ago, sell did not know what was wrong other than is did work before it went into storage and a few years late, pulled out of storage and it would not work. Found the internal battery dead, replaced it and it worked after rebuilding and charging up the battery pack. Documentation was found on the internet regarding issues with the Alum electrolytic capacitors causing problems with operation, so placed an order for the various values and spend an evening replacing them. I place a comment on eHam forum of the part numbers I used so the information is available to others. I found the radio easy to work on with using good bright lighting, magnification and small tip in the soldering iron (yes the small parts are hard to see and the eyes are not as good as they use to be).|
The radio has a solid feel to it, and out weights several of my newer HT. It does not get as hot as the newer ones on long conversation, so that is a big plus for me. I get comments on how well it sound on the air and the receive audio is also strong and clear. Plan to use it to work some of the LEO birds soon, maybe even the space station, which should be fun.
Programming and storing the settings into memory is easy to do, all by hand, no computer software required. The one area I have to watch when programming is without knowing it, I have a couple of times placed the radio in cross band mode (the manual for the C528A explains this, whereas the C528 does not - I have seen both on the internet).
Some of the down side(s):
> Limited memory (10 per band), I cannot use them all at the same time, so no big deal. There is information on the internet to expand this to 20 per band, but I have not done it at this time and not sure that I will.
> Some of the information on the internet look to have been third or fourth copies of a copy so the readability is poor.
> The VHF controls are too close to the antenna - can be hard to work, maybe it should have been swapped with the rotator decoder control.
> The lack of waterproofness/humidity seals when compared to the newer HTs on the marker. Do not even think of getting this one wet as there are no seals to keep water/humidity out of the electronics.
Overall, a very good radio and will be put to good use right alongside my other ones.
|not mil spec good radio
||Time Owned: more than 12 months.
|I got my 528 from a friend but it was DOA .|
replaced the memory lithium battery, number pad was dirty inside and out , it
was hardly making contact , had to push hard like an old remote control ,
drilled holes in the front to use small zip ties to keep the radio from
splitting in 2, the screw lugs were broken and didn't hold the radio together.
old brittle plastic and delicate! intermittent connection through the dc input. I have a cellphone screen protector on the screen. had to replace the tx and f TACT contact switches they were very dirty inside. standard company
went crazy spilling glue all over affecting everything(including my 558)
messing up the TACT's .after all that it works great ,finally. the receiver is
great, no intermod and sensitive, transmitter is a good performer and runs
sorry I have to give it a 2 as you see I had to
service it a lot and luckily I'm handy but it was work! and I couldn't find
anybody do this work!
and finally this radio is NOT MIL SPEC!!!!
not even close!
|Still nice to work with
||Time Owned: more than 12 months.
|I've bought my second C528 a few days ago and I'm very happy with it. My first 528 is out of order, following a probable capacitors leaking that I will fix after doing the proposed procedure depicted by VK3KBC.|
What I like :
- Good looking and solid;
- Two separate rx/tx;
- Can work as a crossbander;
- Turning the freq knob gives the sense that it will be reliable for decades;
- Main functions easy to work without need to read the user manual;
- 13.8 V entry not at the top but on the side;
- AA batt boxes available for 4 ou 6 cells (expect more weight accordingly...);
- Not expensive on the flee market despite it does almost the same job as todays rigs (who is using 100 % of functions ?);
- Big enough to be used as a secondary mobile station where nowadays so small pockets could be lost somewhere in the car...
- And last but not least, this rig can be open and maintained.
On the other hand :
- Positive of 13.8 V is on the outside;
- The double mic-plug is too close to the BNC;
- When using the rubber antenna, it is hard to move the vhf side buttons;
- The rubber coating of ON/OFF and squelch knobs has gone on my two rigs. The coating of freq knob is still excellent;
- Big and heavy regarding modern pocket transceivers (but not the same use);
- Rubber antenna big in diameter and not that flexible.
I have some of the Standard product (C156, C108, C156) and I can definitly say that is high quality radios.
|my first radio
||Time Owned: 6 to 12 months.
|This was my first radio in 1990 after passing my VHF/UHF test. Owned it for 2 years and within that period it performed very nice. Allthough not as versatile as nowadays HT´s and way to big and heavy, it did a nice job. Many memorable QSO´s where done with this brick of a radio.|
|One of the best Twin Band Hand Helds of all time!
||Time Owned: more than 12 months.
I purchased this handheld new when they first became available in VK in the early 1990's and was immediately impressed with its quality and performance.
After 15 years, I am now even more impressed, especially considering how much use (and abuse) it has handled over the years and at how well the radio compares with modern units.
I'd used the handheld on an almost daily basis for over 10 years without any issues at all. Due to other commitments, it was unused along with other Ham Radio gear for approximately 2 years during which the internal Lithium battery went flat. A few years ago I replaced the battery and it's like new again.
The radio has an aluminium alloy case (similar to modern radios like the VX-7R) and is almost mil-spec construction.
It has separate volume and squelch dials for VHF and UHF, allowing each band to be set with different squelch thresholds and volume settings and it displays both the VHF and UHF frequencies on the screen simultaneously. Pressing a control key and the band button will deselect a band resulting in only single band operation if required.
The radio also operates in FULL DUPLEX mode.
This means that you can set a 2m frequency and a 70cm frequency and then TX on one whilst simultaneously receiving on the other. This is ideal for working satellites or the ISS in FM repeater mode. My Yaesu VX-7R will RX on two bands simultaneously, but stops RX'ing on both when I TX. It operates like a Dual Band radio, instead of a Twin Band unit like the C528.
If you have an external speaker mike you can retransmit the RX audio, but by default, the audio received from one band is not re-transmitted to the other in manual dual band operation.
If you set the radio to Cross-Band Repeater mode, then it operates autonomously and will retransmit audio and activate PTT in both directions.
Frequency input is directly via keypad and VFO and memories can be changed via the keypad arrows or the rotary encoder.
The keypad has continued to be problem free over the years, as have the rotary selector, PTT and Squelch Monitor buttons.
The Standard C528 Output Power is selectable between 5W, 2W and 350mW on both VHF and UHF. It runs warm at 5W at high duty cycles, but doesn't run too hot.
Receiver selectivity and sensitivity are both excellent on both bands. I have not experienced any intermod issues at all.
It has Wide Band Receive and covers 'extra' bands. A Google search will provide the details.
It also has all of the normal scan, lock, power save, and tone call functions found on other hand helds.
The radio has 10 memories on each of the VHF and UHF bands (20 total), although there is a software 'hack' which allows a total of 40 but with reduced storage (CTCSS not retained per memory). By default, all offsets, CTCSS etc individually are stored per memory. I tried the 40 memory hack but had a 'hiccup' which made offsets a bit difficult to program. I didn't pursue the issue and reset the unit back to the default 20 memories.
There is also a software hack that allows the radio to operate wideband and outside of the Amateur Bands. A Google search will supply you with further information. Don't expect the sensitivity to be great outside of the ham bands if you choose to use this option, although the receiver can easily be stagger tuned to provide a decent coverage at the expense of some sensitivity.
After the extended feature set software code has been entered, the radio is capable of VCO locking across a wide range but will not go much past 470 MHz on UHF even though it is possible to enter higher frequencies into the keypad.
It is capable of being modified to operate to 480 MHz but it requires surgery, good soldering tools and techniques and very steady hands. There are about 40 micro-miniature plated-through holes, 3 main PCB's and two VCO's with individual PCB's to contend with in the disassembly and one mistake or a static zap could render the radio useless. Nevertheless, when done properly, the radio works well with a bit of front end and PA retuning. In my opinion, the effort is not worth the gain as you lose a fair bit of sensitivity as you broad tune it to cover the whole range.
The extended feature set software code will "open up" the radio and also gives the radio numerous additional features which are quite useful. Rather than describe them, some are shown in the following table:
Key\Seq Action F&key Set & key Set & F & key
0 Set / Scan mode Mute beep Set freq limits
1 PTT Lock # Pager beeps 2sec xbRPT delay
2 Dual Operation 1 kHz entry Tone scan stop
3 TX Power Pager TX delay UHF band switch
4 Freq lock Squelch mute 4 digit entry
5 Battery save Auto Power save Mute pager audio
6 Tuning step Rotary enable in FL 1MHz step
7 Tone coder on/off Set Tone freq DTMF single tone
8 Repeater mode Set Offset freq Crossband RPT
9 Reverse mode LAMP is REV 10MHz up/down
* PS step DOWN Dial/Tone Scan DTMF Clone
# SIFT step UP Memory freq shift
Call Tone burst
A CL Cancel
B PAG Page on/off Page code set/show
C MS MS.M Mem scan MS.M set/scan
D V/M ENT Mem<->Dial Memory set
VHF VHF main VHF only
UHF UHF main UHF only
LAMP Lamp on/off Lamp toggle
SQL OFF Squelch off sub-band sql off
(Note that the table format has not been retained and that a Google search will provide better detail and a clearer display of the functions)
The Standard C528 has inbuilt DTMF tone capability and also has an inbuilt DTMF 5 tone decoder function along with 10 DTMF code memories.
It will beep on receipt of a user-programmed DTMF selcall ID and open the squelch. Considering that this functionality is now being offered on current radios, it's impressive to see that Standard's engineers foresaw the usefulness of this function when they designed the radio years ago.
The radio operates from NiCd battery packs or an AA Dry Cell pack. It also accepts external 6 - 16V DC input.
External power only operates the radio; it does not charge the battery pack. This is normally done via a socket on the battery pack itself.
Battery packs are still available commercially, although I've repacked mine with 2500mAh NiMh cells, which provides all day operation. Keep in mind that the 2500mAh batteries are slightly larger than the original NiCad AA's, so you need to be conservative with solder to make them fit.
The standard charger that comes with the unit is almost useless since it takes approximately 14 hours to charge the original 650 mAh battery pack.
I've found that a GME BC12120 Fast charger (normally supplied with a TX475 UHF CB) works perfectly if you change the 1/4 W zener to the appropriate trip point for these battery packs. The trip voltage and charge currents for 'Fast' and 'Trickle' are set internally via trimpots. Fast charge takes approximately 4 hours and then the unit switches to trickle charge. Since the battery packs have their own charge socket, anything can be used to charge them so long as the charger has the appropriate current limit, sense and shutdown circuitry.
The radio is fitted with a standard BNC antenna socket which makes connecting external antennas a breeze. Whilst the original antenna works well, it is a short and solid antenna which can place a bit of stress on the BNC socket and chassis if the radio is worn on a belt often. I've found the Maldol MDL-440 dual band flexible whip antenna works perfectly with this radio and removes any likelihood of stress damage, along with making it much more unobtrusive and comfortable when worn on the belt. Any flexible 2m/70cm BNC terminated antenna should work fine.
One thing to note is that the radio's CTCSS unit was an optional accessory and they are almost impossible to find now. If your C528 isn't fitted with a CTCSS module, then that's a real drawback in my opinion, since there's very little room inside to retrofit anything but the smallest SMD tone board and it wouldn't be software configurable like the original.
The external protective case is also a bonus if you can get one with the radio. My C528 still looks like new after all this time.
I've found that the ICOM EM-46 or HM-46 low profile speaker microphone complements this radio perfectly. You may need to adjust the value of the internal bias resistor to allow the PTT to function properly. I changed it to the same value as recommended in the C528 Manual and have been very pleased with the functionally and audio quality.
I've owned my fair share of handhelds and cannot fault this unit in any way. It is by far one of the best handhelds that I've owned to date.
I think that in terms of being a twinband VHF/UHF transceiver, it outshines my VX-7R, although the Yaesu has lots of nice features, heaps of memories, and is a quad band unit, so it's a bit like comparing apples with oranges.
The Standard C528 (along with its twins - the Standard C520 and C558) were very popular in VK and I'm surprised that there aren't more reviews on this site. They seem to rarely come up on the second hand market and I know lots of amateurs who own them, swear by them.
In summary, this radio kicks butt and is an excellent unit if you can get hold of a good one with the tone board installed. This is definitely a keeper !