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Author Topic: MFJ  (Read 54148 times)
AA4MB
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Posts: 2




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« Reply #75 on: July 16, 2012, 10:58:34 AM »

The first MFJ product that I purchased was their original antenna tuner with toroids that barely withstood the 100 watt / infiinite SWR assault that I threw at it (ungrounded most of the time - yes, I learned a lot over the past 35 years or so)  I am amused that the thing still works after all that I put it through - and did it produce some smoke at times!  The basic design is good enough that they still produce the little thing, although it's no longer $29.95 like it once was.  ;-)

I literally wore out my original MFJ Morse Keyboard (forget the model number).  I used it for 10 years straight, through thousands of QSOs, until it practically decomposed and fell apart ... and continued using it as a conventional keyer after that until I gave up and bought a much higher priced MFJ keyer, which still is a perfectly functioning item to this day.

I have an MFJ antenna analyzer (forget the model number of it, too - sorry) and I had a similar problem to another ham with regard to the battery clip inside that fell apart.  I lowered myself into going to Radio Shack - NOT what they used to be, but I'm sure that's fodder for another forum topic - and bought a similar batter holder and affixed it with double sided tape.  Problem solved ... and for a lot less grief than I would have had in calling MFJ and waiting for them to ship a replacement part (which, by the way, I would not have expected them to do for free, as the antenna analyzer was years out of warranty).

I purchased a used MFJ roller tuner (have you folks figured out yet that I don't obsess over model numbers?) off of eBay about seven years ago and lately I have noticed that the roller counter stopped working.  But it's not in use any more and isn't that important to me.  But that does 'count' as far as quality goes, in my book - and I do hold out the possibility that it may have been damaged in shipment when I originally bought it off of eBay.

Finally, my most recent experience with MFJ was to purchase an 11 element Cushcraft beam - an A148-10S.  When I assembled it, I found that it was missing a rather critical part involved in the tuning of the antenna.  I immediately called the Customer Service number and was told by a nice guy that they were sorry - and they'd ship out another part to me.  Never a promise of when (and slap me about the head for not asking).  A couple of weeks later, it dawned on me that I still hadn't received the part from MFJ/Cushcraft.  I called back and spoke to the same gentleman, expressing mild frustration that I hadn't received the part.  He promised that it would go out "on Monday" (this was a Friday).  A week and a half later, I still had not received the part.  When I called back, I was understandably more adjective-laden in my frustration with MFJ.  The guy I spoke with the last time (someone else) expressed mild shock that it hadn't been taken care of.  He promised that it would ship *that* very day.  It did - as I received it two days later.  Problem over.

That might not look like a very good track record for MFJ, but as Mark Twain once opined, "There's lies, there's d**ned lies and there's statistics."  True enough, for what I have left out to this point are the two other MFJ antenna tuners that I have bought and sold over the years, my MFJ 926B remote auto tuner (a very nice piece of gear, IMHO), my el Cheapo MFJ keyer, low pass filter, three post MFJ purchase Astron power supplies, two QRP rigs and two MFJ audio filters.  All of those pieces of equipment have functioned perfectly and I still own most of them - they are just no longer in use.  When I factor all of that in, while MFJ is not perfect, their track record ain't half bad.  I find the design of their equipment is first rate - better than, say - Heathkit - which out of four (4) pieces of HF gear that I owned, 75% of them developed a major issue related to poor design.  But this isn't a Heath forum - pardon the digression.  With MFJ, one QA problem and two issues with down the road quality aren't too bad as far as I'm concerned.  That's around a 94% positive on QA in shipping and about 88% long-term quality satisfaction, for what that's worth to anyone.  (I didn't count the keyboard, as I treated it practically like a used car battery in the back of a pickup truck)

Please do not mistake me as an MFJ apologist. No way, given my very last experience with the Cushcraft antenna.  But I'll go way out on a limb here - and even start using the saw on the tree side of the limb, maybe.  I'm willing to forgive a great deal for a company that is 100% located in the USA, doesn't manufacture offshore (to my knowledge) and still manages to produce products that arrive as advertised and perform as expected - the vast majority of the time, from what I know.  I appreciate the quality of worker that is found in US manufacturing nowadays for what it is - which is, in my humble opinion, not what it used to be.  MFJ hasn't had its great epiphany yet, like the US automakers had a decade or so ago.  Until then, I wouldn't go near a domestically produced vehicle.  Now, I have no problem purchasing made in the US because the quality now approaches that of the imports - exceeding them in some cases.  I'll continue to buy MFJ, after doing my homework on individual items to see what other folks experiences have been.  I would do no different for Kenwood (I own three of their transceivers, but they've shipped their share of crappy ones), Yaesu (I own a problematic FT-897 right now) or Icom.  I love  their stuff too, but I'm not buying anything from anyone without making certain I'm not going to get a poorly thought out or ill-designed piece of equipment.

These are only my opinions.  I believe that I've probably encompassed the opinions of everyone out there - the MFJ lovers,  the MFJ haters and those that are somewhere in the middle of the road.  Nobody may agree with me, but I hope that actual experiences and detail helped reduce the nebulous nature of the thread that some didn't like. Some will no doubt say that I'm a fool for *continuing* to buy MFJ after a couple of bad experiences with them or their stuff.  Hey - what can I say?  It's my own personal reality and knock it if you want, but you can't change it.  Just as some folks may never have bought a piece of MFJ equipment due to what they "heard" - hey, that's reality for YOU, too.  I wouldn't expect you to change your opinions, either.  One must be true to their own feelings to be truly happy.

Your actual mileage may vary.  Any offers that you may have perceived as coming from me are void if prohibited where you live.  
« Last Edit: July 16, 2012, 11:00:29 AM by AA4MB » Logged
M0AWN
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Posts: 4




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« Reply #76 on: July 18, 2012, 06:39:46 AM »

I can only sing my praises for  MFJ !
I have a number of problem free products and recently purchased a used 989C tuner. ( quite old ) The roller coaster was a little noisey but was cured with a wipe of Deoxit. it then worked perfectly,even at QRO levels of power. Unfortunately the previous owner lost most of the cover screws, I just email customer support and had a bag full of new cover screws set to me F.O.C. !!! bearing  in mind i'm in the UK it's what you call "good old customer service " Grin Grin Grin
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KO3D
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Posts: 49




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« Reply #77 on: July 18, 2012, 07:59:29 PM »

IF you've got FACTS, state them. In all of the things I've bought from MFJ Enterprises, going back to the early 1980s (an active SWL antenna, the MFJ-1020, which I sold on eBay a year ago for more than I paid for it in 1980!), I have NEVER had a malfunctioning item! Now, that's unusual, for any company. I DO NOT generalize from my own experiences that no one else never has QC problems with MFJ equipment. There are certainly those factual cases. But it is not the literal 98 percent that you claim! So, list your FACTS and not your gross generalizations.

I bought an MFJ-1020 back in the 80s when I was a teenager and it wouldn't even pick up VOA. After several mails refusing to refund my money, my father spoke to Mr. MFJ himself. He said "you can't expect a little antenna like that to work like it says in the ad."

As an adult, the hyperbole in MFJs catalogs is amusing but borders on fraud. "Compete with the Big Guns using this clothes-hanger. Might not have the power of a three element beam up 30m but you will be heard!" Reminds me of the old Sea Monkey ads on the back of comic books. 

I avoided MFJ products until 2011 when I bought a Hy-Gain antenna. It arrived as all the posts say missing a part: the base insulator. Called Hy-Gain, the man I spoke to said he was sending a replacement right out. Never got it. Called back two weeks later and the woman I spoke to said none had ever been requested. She sent one out and it was the wrong one. When I called back, the woman I spoke to said she wanted $10 S+H because they had already sent me one under warranty. Needless to say, the antenna went back to the store and I will never buy another MFJ owned company product again.
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K4FMH
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Posts: 253




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« Reply #78 on: July 22, 2012, 07:41:27 PM »

KO3D:

Thanks for your post. I don't know when in the 1980s you bought a MFJ 1020 active antenna and I don't recall when the famous "no matter what" guarantee by MFJ started. However, there are a few things about your statements that I find difficult to believe.

Unless it was a combination of improbable time, frequency and directional beaming, not being to hear the VOA was nearly impossible! A bare wire or whip on an inexpensive portable SW RX would pick up a VOA broadcast that your QTH was supposed to hear.

If your installation of the MFJ 1020 was according to the manual, I cannot fathom Martin Jue refusing a reasonable refund request or state that his advertisement copy is known to be inflated. Folksy in tone, sure. Fraudulent? File a lawsuit and see.

Your Hygain experience is unfortunately not uncommon. However, I've never had that missing part experience in over 30 years of purchasing from MFJ. I've had that from some other vendors but not MFJ. Until all vendors publish their recall percentages by product, we will never be able independently confirm how gene realizable our own experiences are.

Good luck in your future purchases fromm vendors besides MFJ!

73,

Frank
K4FMH
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W4FID
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Posts: 126




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« Reply #79 on: July 26, 2012, 04:55:13 AM »

The bottom line is they do what they do well. That's why they are successful and have grown. They are price competitive and great for many uses/users -- especially newer hams and younger lower budget ones .......... of which there are many.

No Art Collins and Bill Halligan wouldn't have liked or used their stuff. They were in a league of their own and sold at the top of the scale in a very different era of all facets of life. No I wouldn't take their stuff on a rare DXpedition. Yes I can understand why the military doesn't use it. But MFJ doesn't target their stuff for those markets/uses. Henry Ford would crap if he drove my F-150 pick up for several reasons. Comparisons and expectations have to be tempered by level playing fields about cost, era, and life in today's world in general.

The troubles and shoddy QC you hear about are true.

The good stuff which is seldom publicized is also true.

I had a loop for a while. It was old and tired when I got it but it worked beautifully and was a much better stealth antenna than any other option. I have a 259 antenna analyzer. Don't know if I am the 3 or the 17th owner. Works perfect and is a great tool. When I broke the batter holder -- my fault - a new one was sent quickly with an invoice in the package so I could send them a check (it was cheap) but I got the part fast since I needed it quickly. I had both the 20M and 40M travel radios. They were used when I got them and were great fun. Their current owners also enjoy them. I have an MFJ clock on each station desk and in the car and in the RV. Worth way more than they cost. The mobile ones get hot, cold, bumped around and are fine. Have a keyer in my HF go kit. Rely on it and it's good. I have their QRP tuner. Been kicking around the RV, on picnic tables, hot, cold, even got left in the rain (my bad -- poop happens) and didn't hurt it. I have their 2M and their 2/440 amps on HTs and even run D-Star and they work fine. D-Star is fussy about the switching time and many amps don't work but my Mirage ones do fine.

My experience is the clechet "you get what you pay for" isn't true with MFJ. I got more than I paid for time after time.

No, I don't know Martin -- never even met him. No I don't and never did work for them. I just feel their stuff serves my needs at attractive prices quite often.
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KT4EP
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Posts: 15




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« Reply #80 on: July 28, 2012, 06:45:23 PM »

Bought a Cushcraft vhf/uhf antenna in 1992.  I won't buy a Cushcraft again - now.   From reviews, it seems problems are to be had since MFJ took over.  I have several MFJ products.  I had to "rebuild" a 1 to 1 balun and 4 to 1 balun I bought from them because of shoddy workmanship.  I like my analyzer, though, no problems with it.  Bought these items last year.  I ordered several small products last year such as ceramic insulators, wire, two G5RVs, and nylon line.   I ordered a colinear array and never could get a good reason for the delay in their filling  my order so I cancelled it.   I think the customer service and quality control departments have  problems.   Lack of qualified people?  They don't care?   Jaded employees?  They know it all?  Old ham employees with old attitudes?  I don't know.   But again, I will still buy things from MFJ, but just be a bit wiser in dealing with the company.
KT4EP
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K1FPV
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« Reply #81 on: August 06, 2012, 03:07:33 PM »

Well, for the most part, I can't complain about MFJ. I too feel that they are doing a fair job, though I often open a piece up and check for the often seen little solder balls floating around, especially on Ameritron amplifiers. When I bought my AL-80B, it had a solder terminal where the wires were wrapped around the terminal, but someone forgot to solder it. I had already plugged it in and it worked before I noticed the unsoldered terminal. I soldered it while I changed the input voltage setup and performed the 10 meter mod.

I just bought an ALS-1300, and before plugging it in, opened the power supply and amp to check things out...fortunately, everything was OK. I then installed the 12/10 meter module and it has been working flawlessly since. I really have no complaints with them! I must own 10 to 15 pieces of MFJ/Ameritron/Hy-Gain stuff.

Bill/K1FPV
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KA5KRV
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« Reply #82 on: August 13, 2012, 02:37:04 PM »

 Okay folks--the saga continues.  Though it took five months to get my 9420 back supposedly repaired (and at no charge!), when I finally cranked it up, not a great deal happened.  Conditions on 20 haven't been great but I couldn't hear much of anything.  What I could hear sounded like ssb on an am receiver.  Also, no reply to cq's using a beam.  Upside, there was no smoke. I put a Midland meter on the rig--1 (one) watt, not the 8-10 found on the specs.  I have a few other MFJ items that operated w/o drama but this is very discouraging.   Mr Stubbs, it's headed back to you. Please, fix it or crush it.  I'm getting to the point where I don't care very much.
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KH6DC
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« Reply #83 on: August 15, 2012, 01:31:45 PM »

I don't buy anything MFJ related _MFJ, Cushcraft, Hy-Gain, Ameritron, etc.  After 2 tuners back in the 90's that came with cold solder joints and solder balls rolling around in the case, I said forget it never MFJ ever again.  MFJ = Mighty Fine Junk as my ham buddies would say and they have warned my to expect low to non-existent QA.

Fool me once ,shame on you.  Fool me twice, shame on me.  Cheesy

73, Delwyn KH6DC
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73 and Aloha,
de Delwyn, KH6DC
WB2JIX
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Posts: 6




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« Reply #84 on: September 07, 2012, 07:45:30 AM »

Cushcraft? Go figure. I had a similar thing ordering a dual band yagi from them. The mounting bracket holes were drilled 90 degrees off so you couldn't mount it in the vertical position although it was clearly marked for both vertical AND horizontal.
I called them, took a few tries to get to someone that may have had a brain, in the engineering dept. Told him about it and his reply was "Yeah, we've known about that for quite sometime. I'm surprised it wasn't corrected. Do you have a drill?"
Pretty standard for their manufacturing I'm afraid.
Brian/WB2JIX

Oh yeah; "Fool me three times? George Bush!"
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AC4RD
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« Reply #85 on: September 09, 2012, 08:10:20 AM »

Last year I bought a used 10m 3el Cushcraft beam; the numbers make  it seem that the antenna was built in 1990.  LONG before Cushcraft folded and MFJ bought them and kept the product line alive.  I just wanted the measurements and didn't know where I left the paper copy of the manual that the seller gave me.  But MFJ had the product manual on their website.  For a product that was made 25 years ago, by a different company.

THANK YOU, MFJ!  I appreciate it!   That is great product support!
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K4FMH
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« Reply #86 on: September 20, 2012, 06:32:15 PM »

AA4MB,

Great, thoughtful post! Even though you didn't cite specific models, I think most could fully understand your thoughts.

73,

Frank
K4FMH
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WX7G
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« Reply #87 on: September 21, 2012, 08:25:29 AM »

Try to imagine amateur radio without MFJ.
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W1JKA
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« Reply #88 on: September 22, 2012, 05:50:41 AM »

     I have built two MFJ Cubs and also have two 90 series,use them all he time for past three years in rough and tumble portable ops and never had a problem of any kind.The few times I have called them about product information the sales reps were very polite and knowledgable-go figure!
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KG6AF
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« Reply #89 on: September 22, 2012, 08:19:31 AM »

Try to imagine amateur radio without MFJ.

I'd have to buy a new dummy load?
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