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Reviews Categories | Keyers & CW Keyboards | MFJ-493 Memory Keyer Help

Reviews Summary for MFJ-493 Memory Keyer
MFJ-493 Memory Keyer Reviews: 8 Average rating: 4.0/5 MSRP: $around 130.
Description: Memory keyer which can be used with a paddle and a keyboard.
Product is in production.
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K6WHP Rating: 5/5 Jan 26, 2018 19:40 Send this review to a friend
Good Old School Keyer  Time owned: 6 to 12 months
Picked up one of these for a very reasonable price from a ham in SC. At first, I was just amusing myself with the purchase because I always had a perverse appreciation for the "overkill" that the multi-button interface offered. I was also trolling for an AEA MM3 but lost out in a bidding war.

After receiving this, I instantly overcame my disappointment at losing the MM3 when I discovered what a nice little machine this is! It has many of the features that the MM3 offers plus a few more. The aphorism that MFJ stands for "Mighty Fine Junk" may hold true for some of MFJ's product line, but certainly not for this unit! It is built like a brick pizzeria and has a lot of "old school" functionality and gadgets that make it a real treasure.

In the dawn of my retirement, I have not scratched the surfac nor yet pushed the envelope on this fella, but the interface of the "X/Y button grid" is really appealing to a person who hates keyers with menu options hidden in the internals!

It is big and bulky but has a certain business-like elegance on the shack and it will not be parted with anytime soon here!

A final note: you WILL lose your memory and scramble the unit if you replace the internal battery with the unit powered off. However, you can reset it to factory parameters by pushing the "MENU" button when you power up.
K1MMI Rating: 5/5 May 20, 2009 12:52 Send this review to a friend
Excellent Keyer  Time owned: more than 12 months
I bought my MFJ-493 in 1993. I messed up one time and wiped out the CPU but replaced it for $8. The RS-232 interface makes it easy to program the 8 memories and to monitor your CW sending on your computer. This makes it easy to see how good/bad your spacing is between letters and words and how well you send H, 5, 4, and other characters. The built in code practice is a nice feature to help increase your code speed. Overall, the MFJ-493 has done a great job for 16 years. This keyer has more features than any keyer that is built into the most expensive transceivers being sold in 2009.
VE3VGI Rating: 4/5 Jan 28, 2009 06:09 Send this review to a friend
Nice Keyer  Time owned: more than 12 months
Brought one used. I had to changed 3 defective push buttons. It then worked fine, for about 4 month, then it quit sending, after a series of power functuations. Holding the menu button on power up reset it, put it on a protected power bar, and has worked well since.
After, the initial problems were fixed, this has been one of the nicest keyers, I've own.
W8GND Rating: 4/5 Mar 27, 2007 13:44 Send this review to a friend
Good keyer if you know the secret  Time owned: more than 12 months
I've had perhaps 3 492 keyers and 1 493. They are very similar to each other. All of them have failed me, but I like the way they send and work, and so I just buy a new one. After a while, the ones I've had begin sending nonsense, or just lock up. I figured for ten years that that was the way life went.

Today, I found a secret!!! AHA. I read the manual, and you can reset the thing by holding the "MENU" button and turning it on. That restores everything to defaults, and you're back in business. You have to reset a couple of things, but you're back in business.

I've probably had 40 keyers in my lifetime, and this series is high on my favorable list. Best of all was an AEA KK1, which really isn't practical any more, for it worked only with AT style computers.

In short, one should read manuals!

73 jerry w8gnd
AF4KK Rating: 4/5 Jul 13, 2003 15:12 Send this review to a friend
Works very well!  Time owned: more than 12 months
I've had my MFJ-493X for over 4 years now and it's never failed me once. I use it in a mobile environment so I wish the speaker was louder but my rig's sidetone makes up for that. All in all, it's a fine little unit and (with the memory expansion) it does all I need it to do!
K6NT Rating: 5/5 Jul 3, 2002 21:28 Send this review to a friend
Does everything  Time owned: more than 12 months
I have the original version of this keyer bought used. My club also got a new one for the club station. Very versatile. Just used it for field day. Easily adjusted for speed and for ops who use iambic A or B, or non-iambic. Very easy to program compared to other keyers/rigs. I have tried the keyboard and computer interface and it works well. Can load text, etc. Other uses: beacon keyer, T-Hunt transmiter keyer, VE exams, tutor for learning.
W1NRA Rating: 1/5 Jun 17, 2002 22:53 Send this review to a friend
Failed after one week  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I bought the 493 to be used for sending cw using either paddles or a keyboard. But as I had ordered a VEC 221K keyer kit from Vectronics and after assembling it it would not work I hooked the 493 up in place of the 221 which was to run my ten meter beacon station. Well the 493 programmed fine and worked very well for a week then I took it off line to make some checks on the beacon and I found that the menu's on the keyer wouldn't change, the memory bank select would not work, the same led (menu a) stayed on all the time (red) no matter what I did and the keyer would start sending PART of my original message when it decided to. It sent the first part of my message string and lost about four parts of the complete message. While sending, it still left a long blank where the rest of my message WAS then it would start over again. The WPM speed reset to the default of 20 wpm and the speaker output reset to ON. I couldn't select any of my messages but it would send random garbage. I finally reset the keyer per instructions and it did loose the rest of my message but nothing else changed. Symptoms stayed the same. I will call HRO for a replacement and I'm sure they will send me another one. BUT back to the 221 kit that wouldn't work. I got NO help from Vectronics which is also owned by MFJ. NONE AT ALL. Guess I'll have to send it to them for whatever. Don't know if I'll ever buy anything else from MFJ if I can get these two items working again. I've never had any problems with their products up until now.
K4XG Rating: 4/5 Aug 19, 2000 22:05 Send this review to a friend
A good Keyer  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
Being an avid CW operator I thought it would be nice to have a memory keyer that would be usable both a paddle and keyboard so I ordered the MFJ-493 fro HRO via the internet. I did not desire to use my computer for CW generation because I have several operating positions in the shack and wanted a keyer that could easily be moved from position to position. Another requirement was for the keyer to be compatiable with both positive and negative keying circuits. My main station is an ICOM 775DSP but I collect a lot of the old Collins, Johnson, and Drake and wanted to use the keyer with the tube rigs also.

As usual, HRO's service was excellent and I received the keyer two days later.

Out of the box I was impressed with the keyer. It looked very nice. I immediately read through the instruction manual and was anxious to give the new toy a work out.

After installing the various cables it was time to try it on the air. It appeared to key my IC-775 just fine so I decided to load the memories and give that function a try.

Unfortunately, the memories would not load. A call to MFJ did not solve the problem and they requested the keyer be returned to the factory which I did via air.

Two days later I received a call from MFJ indicating the keyer was repaired and the charge would be $47 plus shipping. I explained that I had only had the keyer one day and that it was brand new from HRO. MFJ told me I had not included a proof of purchase sales receipt. I acknowledged that I had not enclosed the receipt because I had not yet received the receipt from HRO via snail mail.

I called HRO, explained the situation, and they FAX'ed a copy of my sales receipt to MFJ. Again, excellent service from HRO. HRO also scolded me for not returning the keyer directly to them in exchange for another one.

The keyer was promptly shipped to me from MFJ and I have used the keyer a few weeks now.

The MFJ-493 is very intuitive to use. All functions are clearly marked on the front panel. There are 8 memories which is more than sufficient for my use. Contesters will enjoy the features it offers. I especially like the ability to speed up the CW for certain portions of a contest exchange such as ....5NN..and serial number insertion is easy.

I do not use the keyboard to send CW often but it is a nice change of pace. This keyer actually has more features than I will ever use.

A strong negative feature is that you must remove the cover of the keyer and change a jumper connection to convert between positive and negative keying. This means it is too much hassle to use the keyer with my "modern" transceivers and the old tube stuff.

Overall, it is a good keyer and I am pleased with it. I have several Logikeyers and think I prefer them to the MFJ-493 but it may be that I am just accustommed to the Logikeyers after so many years.

The MFJ-493 does what they say it will do.

Tom, K4XG

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