Everything about the new Uniden UM525 is big. Its well-lit display covers more area than any other similarly priced marine VHF radio.
Onscreen letters and numbers are huge and easy to read even at a distance. Pushbuttons are big, backlit, and well spaced.
The only downside with this super sizing is panel footprint; the UM525 gobbles up twice the space of most other fixed mount marine VHF radios.
The big, 1.5 by 3 inch, display screen has 10 levels of backlighting, adjustable contrast, a transmit icon, alpha channel display, and most importantly large easy-to-read letters and numbers. We rated it as excellent.
The UM525 managed excellent ratings in all performance categories, but is rated below average in receive selectivity at 65 dB. Audio output was a very average 89 dBA.
Manual channel selection is made with a large rotary knob located in the lower left corner of the radio faceplate. This knob also serves as the enter key for certain menu operations. Volume and squelch are controlled with a pair of smaller knobs.
Eight dedicated pushbuttons provide quick 16/9 channel selection, on/off power, scan, hail, transmitter power high or low, weather, memory/channel bank, and menu. We found the menu in the UM525 very easy to use. Hit the menu key to select the menu, then rotate and press the channel knob to complete actions.
Digital Selective Calling
The UM525 DSC capabilities include the ability to make distress, individual, all ships, group, position request, position send, and geographical calls.
Odds and Ends
In addition to the usual basics, the Uniden UM525 has a low battery monitor, special message weather encoding, and a powerful hailer with automatic fog signals. These and a few others gave this radio the longest list of value-added features of any radio in its price range.
Latitude/longitude, time, course, and speed are displayed onscreen on their own page as long as the data is input to the radio from a marine GPS navigator, a single press of the channel knob gets you there.
The feature-rich Uniden UM525, with its giant display screen, overall excellent performance, and its reasonable price tag earns it a best buy.