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Author Topic: MFJ Cub vs. MFJ 9040  (Read 7243 times)
N8TI
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Posts: 115




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« on: March 24, 2014, 06:26:14 PM »

Hello everyone. I am going to treat myself with a new QRP radio this year. I would like a prebuilt radio. If you had the choice of the Cub or the MFJ 9040, $150 vs. $200, which one would you chose and why? 

I will use the rig for portable operations at the park. No backpacking. Figure to use it with an end fed half wave with an unun and small tuner.

Thanks,  Joe
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W1JKA
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« Reply #1 on: March 24, 2014, 08:21:56 PM »

  I have 3 Cubs and 2 90s 20/40 meters. Mine were kits but you can get them pre built now. They are both excellent for QRP and the only difference is power output and the 90s have a speaker/RIT function, also both are probably the most rugged of any of the QRP radios available.   

  I prefer and use the Cubs exclusively for portable back packing, canoe, kayak and sailboat because if they get wet or go for a swim you just dry them out and get back on the air. I use simple dipoles so no need to carry and mess with tuner or balun.

  For fair weather picnic table portable or long static campground stays I will use the 90 series ( they will also take a beating) and my K-1 stays at home where it can't get hurt.

  Even with the 90 series I took out the speakers and covered the grill so if they get soaked they also can be easily dried out. You really can't go wrong with either one and with a decent wire antenna you will seldom notice any difference between 2 or 5 watts for most portable operations.

  Tuning on the Cub is by fine finger tip tapping on the knob and quite sharp but easy to get use to. For just park operating I would go with the 90 series with a $30-40 dollar jump start auto battery.
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WB8YYY
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« Reply #2 on: March 25, 2014, 06:48:55 PM »

I suggest reading reviews from multiple sources and examining what else might be out there.  I havent operated it but was impressed with a friends youkits multiband rig.  I use a pfr3 for portable operating and folk do part with them.  Many of these newer rigs use a dds in place of the vfo for amazing stability.  You just might find a nicer multiband rig with higher stability for about the same price. 

73 Curt
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WB0FDJ
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Posts: 149




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« Reply #3 on: March 25, 2014, 09:17:37 PM »

Joe

I think either way you go you'll be OK. Both radio's will allow you to have some fun.

I want to put a plug in for the Cub kit. About 4 or 5 years ago I realized that I'd been a ham since,... well a long time, and was embarrassed to admit I'd never built anything, other than wire antennas. So I ordered the 20 meter kit with some trepidation. Turns out the MFJ documentation was very adequate and helpful. The radio worked right out of the chute and wasn't difficult to build at all. Just yesterday I had it out and have to admit, for as simple as it is, it's a pretty good radio.

Good luck, Doc WB0FDJ
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M0JHA
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« Reply #4 on: March 27, 2014, 10:27:45 AM »

Both  are good /p qrp rigs . my 9040 drifted slightly but still great fun ,The cub is tiny and is a great workhorse ,personal preference is the cub ..
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KI5WW
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Posts: 75




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« Reply #5 on: March 27, 2014, 08:53:29 PM »

Ive got five of the nighty series. Had them for years all are good. Will hold onto them. Keep in mind at a typicle 12.5 supply the nighties wont do 5 watts. 14 volts will get you five watts. They can handle 15 volts no prob. 12.5 volts gets my nighties about 3 watts. But do look at newer tech avail today. Count ur bands. I recently got a Ten Tec HB1. New mfj nighty around 200.00 new. HB1 is around 300.00 i think?  Do the math and figure the cost per band. But i really like my mfj 90 series radios.  I love playing with them. There just cool. I bought all of them used around a hundred each. The hb1 covers ALL of 80. 40. 30. 20 meter bands and receives general receive ssb, broad cast across most of the bands. But it does not include a speaker. I do the parks and lakes too. GL

Never had a cub.
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N8TI
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« Reply #6 on: March 31, 2014, 04:59:42 AM »

Thanks for all the advice.  I took the advice of looking at other rigs that were newer.  I did look around and have decided to buy the Ten Tec Rebel 506 for the following reasons:

1.  Features:  Two bands and filters.  It has two built in narrow CW filters. That was the most important thing, although the MFJ has a crystal filter.  On the Youtube videos the Rebel's filters seemed to work well.

 The Rebel also has the choice between the forty and twenty meter bands, although band changes require the opening up of the case and switching five little jumpers similar to what is found in computers. I have not read that people are doing that on the fly.  But, it can be done.

It has what looks to be easy access for a frequency display and S meter to add on later. Plus, if I learn how to do it, it can be programed to gain access to other features, whatever those are. 

2.  Hey, ten bucks is ten bucks. The price is $199 compared to the $209 from MFJ for the 9040.   However, the important thing about the price is that it is the same as the MFJ, around $200. In any event, you can buy the MFJ 9040 for about $190 from dealers, so pricing isn't really even an issue at all.

3.  Performance.  It seems to be able to perform at least as well as the MFJ 9040. 

4. The newness factor.  It's relatively new, about a year old.  I hope they got the initial bugs out, although I did not read where there were any problems to begin with.  Something different for me, as I did have an MFJ 9040 when they first came out. 

5.  Looks.  I have to admit, I like the dark case better than the MFJ brushed aluminum. 

Joe
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WB0FDJ
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« Reply #7 on: March 31, 2014, 06:10:12 AM »

Joe

Although I am an old curmudgeon who is going more retro here in the shack (main rig TT Argonaut 509) I think the Rebel may be "the next thing".
The most recent Quarterly news bulletins from QRP ARCI have had write ups about the Rebel. There are some interesting things being done with that rig. Someone has developed a board that basically plugs into the jumpers, then band selection can be programmed using the on board Arduino processor. The frequency display has apparently been mastered. Theres a lot of smart folks working with this rig so the future bodes well for hams who want to have some fun with it.
I've been thinking about getting one but that would bring me into the 21st century, don't know how that would work out!  Grin

Doc WB0FDJ
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N8TI
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Posts: 115




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« Reply #8 on: March 31, 2014, 08:06:34 PM »

Doc, I am a big 'retro" guy too.  One of my favorite rigs is the TS 520 and I have several rigs not much younger than me and I am starting on Medicare tomorrow.   But, in a way, this rig, the Rebel, at least "out of the box" and unmodified, is retro.  At least it is from the outside.  It has only two knobs plus the VFO knob, although it will speak the frequency in Morse if you want it to. And, it does have the different filters, too.  ... Well, OK, it's not totally retro.

Regardless, ignoring  just a few facts, unmodified the rig is not much different than the MFJ 90's series.  It seems you take it out of the box and play with it, all without reading the manual, which is how it should happen since you can't have a pesky manual out on a picnic table when you decide to do some portable work.

The important thing is that the more I read about the Rebel 506, the more I get excited about getting it.  So far, I have not heard anything bad about it except that on a crowded band you could have problems.  Fortunately, (or unfortunately), crowded bands seem to be the least of our problems lately.  I don't think this radio is meant to be the main radio in a person's shack.

I remember when people were writing programs in Basic.  Eventually, people stopped having to write programs as inexpensive or free programs showed up on the web.  Maybe the same thing will happen here. It certainly will be interesting.  Already, there is a lot of information on the Rebel Yahoo Groups site. Some seems complicated to me, but some of it does seem doable Maybe writing programs is "retro" nowadays.

Joe

 
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