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Reviews Categories | Antennas: HF Portable (not mobile) | MFJ 2289 Big Ears Portable Dipole Help

Reviews Summary for MFJ 2289 Big Ears Portable Dipole
MFJ 2289 Big Ears Portable Dipole Reviews: 15 Average rating: 3.7/5 MSRP: $179.95
Description: Portable Dipole, Big Ears, 8 Band, 7-55 mHz, 1 kw
Product is in production.
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WB8TCB Rating: 5/5 Dec 4, 2015 15:45 Send this review to a friend
Great choice for portable operation.  Time owned: 3 to 6 months
I bought the MFJ-2289 specifically for portable and emergency operations, then designed & built a PVC quadra-pod (~$12.00 for the parts) to support the 12' paint roller extension pole that I use for the mast. I also machined the end of a 12" wooden paint roller handle (~$1.00) down to 7/8" on my lathe to mount the antenna's feed block assembly to the extension pole. The whole thing comes apart to be easily transported in my Camry.

The first time it was put on the air, it only took a few minutes to set up and we immediately made contacts with several stations across Europe and America with the feed point about 13' in the air.

I later set it up on a contest weekend and found that s-meter readings and signal reports were about the same on the MFJ-2289 as they were on the inverted "L", the G5RV, and the 40-meter loop. It worked beautifully all day long.

The antenna is very easy to tune and set up. It works like a charm with a 1.1:1 SWR at the set up point and stays quite reasonable across the entire bandwidth of most bands. If you get too far away from the set up frequency on 10-meters or 6-meters, you can slide the elements in slightly or simply use a tuner.

All-in-all, I am very pleased with the antenna and wouldn't hesitate to recommend it to anyone.
K8DXX Rating: 4/5 Sep 8, 2015 09:53 Send this review to a friend
Great Design, Great Service, Apparently Fragile  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I ordered the MFJ-2289K (kit) consisting of the Big Ear antenna, a 3 - 4 ft tripod, +/- 12 foot mast and carrying bag. Based on an afternoon of use, the antenna seems very effective. On Labor Day 2015 when many were saying the bands were "bad", I had no problems working lots of stations and getting above average signal reports on 40 and 20 meters. My rig was a Yaesu FT-991. Even though the rig wasn't grounded and the antenna was within 25 feet, I had no symptoms of RFI (must be the hefty balun).

Tuning is a breeze and more or less follows the chart in the manual. On 40, I had 2:1 SWR from roughly 7025 - 7300. In my location, 20 required shorting the loading coil and shortening the whips by about 6 inches. Again, 2:1 bandwidth was almost the entire band.

Now, the bittersweet part: The loading coil supplied had 1 bent/shorting turn (could have fixed that) and a non-functional alligator clip. Richard at MFJ had a replacement out to me in two days. During my Labor Day portable operations (slightly house/tree shielded location with 12 MPH steady winds) one of the whips broke at the base. Again, MFJ responded this morning by sending a replacement whip; very generous in my book.

Otherwise, the tripod appears to be nicely made. The telescoping mast is adequate. The clamps are adjustable to ensure both smooth sliding and reliable holding. The mast fits easily through the center insulator/balun mount. The carrying case is a work of art... very nice.

I would recommend this antenna over my Super Antenna MP-1 4.5 ft base loaded vertical. Performance wise, it seems to be on a par with my now broken DK9SQ portable loop but (the MFJ) has the advantage of not requiring an antenna tuner. MFJ support has been excellent. Still, it would be nice if they could deliver a product that was defect-free out of the box.
K4KXX Rating: 4/5 Sep 3, 2015 09:00 Send this review to a friend
Not bad for the price!  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
Been driving to New Jersey every few months to visit my 94 yr old mom and decided to take a rig with me this time. I looked at a few antennas and after speaking to a few radio buddies I decided to try a Big Ears by MFJ. First off I found it won't fit on any of the extender type painter poles sold by the big box stores except a cheap wooden one. So I bought a short wood pole and a 10 ft. Extendable. Then Ty wrapped them together and tywrapped them to a 4x4 fence post. Antenna top is just 20 ft up but no problems hitting Mississippi and Florida. I did notice that at this height it is very position defendant, typical of a rabbit ears type antenna, but for what I'm using it for its great.
Beyond simple to erect and tune with an antenna analyzer. Plus it will fit in a suitcase like a breeze.
K7ZOV Rating: 4/5 Jan 14, 2015 14:03 Send this review to a friend
It really works great..But  Time owned: 6 to 12 months
I just got back from a month visit at my in laws in DeBerry. TX. Each trip a different radio and antenna setup. This time it was KX3+KXPA/KXAT100 and the MFJ 2289. I also had my old faithful 9:1 unun with 70+ ft of wire. Something I knew would work and get me DX. It was never installed or used. I set the BigEar up using the 9 ft MFJ Fiberglass pole and tripod on the deck outside our room. Set up time 10 minutes (I was drinking coffee). Height, about 12 ft above the ground to the base of the antenna. I started out with SSB. No problem with getting Europe, Cuba, Canada and lots of States @75 watts. Next I drop the power and went digital for a few weeks. At 25 watts (amp still hooked up). All CQ's were answered with 2-4 calls. All 599 and all said no character dropping. The last couple of days I packed the amp. Running 5-3 watts I worked the Shara Desert, South Africa, Europe, Cuba and Canada again and many other States across the USA. Not just "Marcro/599" contacts but 20-40 minute contacts with Peanut Whistle power. The last day I went qrpp, 1/2 watt. 4 CQ's later and I made a MO contact. Again 599, 100% character exchange with no drops and 10 minute QSO.

Does this Antenna work..YES! Is it a typical MFJ...Might Fine Junk...YES! To this day I so not understand how this company can make so many people happy with good ideas and piss off so many people because they don't know what the hell quality control is. This would get a 5 or higher and not a 4, however when I got it I had to take it apart and tighten everything. Not a big deal, I have learned to expect that from MFJ or used.

The performance blew me away and it WILL be my first antenna of choice when I travel. I was on 20 meters mostly, but worked a bunch on 10 meters too. I made a fast setup chart and will email to anyone who wants one free. I highly recommend this antenna to anyone. If you expect the quality control to be perfect then you have not gotten MFJ products before so don't bother or you like to complain. But if you want a real full size dipole for 20-6 meters, that is easy to setup (no trees) and just plain works, I can recommend this antenna, have already, and will in the future.
JO7XVL Rating: 0/5 Nov 17, 2014 21:27 Send this review to a friend
Design flaws and manufacturing defects  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
Ordered MFJ BigEars and BigStick at the same time, to reduce shipping costs from Alabama to Japan. Neither box included a user manual. One box included a half sheet telling users to go online. Together, the two antennas had the following inventory:

3 - telescoping whips, of which 2 would not fully extend.

2 - loading coils of different lengths. One coil's alligator clip was locked shut by solder. The heat-shrink tubing on that coil did not cover all it was supposed to. The other coil looked better, but its 3/8-32 socket was improperly tapped, so a whip could not be completely screwed in.

1 - mast mount for Big Ears dipole. It has a balun inside with thinner wires than similar sized baluns from LDG that are only rated for 200 watts. Nevertheless, MFJ claims the dipole is good for a KW PEP. Other eHam reviewers have cast doubt on this power capacity. Wires connected to the balun will rub against the mast to which the mount is attached, so a metal mast will compromise performance. The balun is not weatherproof.

1 - pipe mount for Big Stick vertical. This mount was designed for clamping to a horizontal pipe, but half of it can be rotated 90 degrees for compromised attachment to a vertical mast.

4 - 12' counterpoise wires consisting of bare stranded copper. The online manual says that 50' of insulated wire is supplied for constructing a counterpoise. Other verticals in the MFJ family of companies come with a warning that counterpoise elements should be kept out of reach and not touched due to potentially high voltages.

Bottom line: I am responsible for EmComm systems at my medical university. The poor design and (lack of) quality control on these antennas make them unsuitable, and in this case, unusable.
VK6WB Rating: 4/5 Oct 1, 2014 17:25 Send this review to a friend
Exceptable for portable antenna  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
G'day All
I have this antenna MFj-2289 for about 1 months,I install the antenna 3M above ground on telescopic pole.
SSB, CW and PSK31 performents was exceptable But you can not run lots of power on CW and data mode as VSWR
all over the place. I recomment not to run more then 15W on the CW and Digital modes.Plan to replace the
Current Balun to Ugly balun, or cormecial made balun your choice .the balun that comes with is look to me made by 6 years old kid
I replace The original coil to Wolf river silver bullet Mini Antenna coil far superior to the original coil.
thinking to order more telecospic whip for spare.

I give it score 4 of this antenna , as need bit biger the Bracket as well the balun need major update.
I don't think so this antenna run at 1KW. its bulldust. 73s
N5RWK Rating: 4/5 Sep 20, 2014 16:30 Send this review to a friend
Good Portable Antenna  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I purchased an MFJ-2289 Big Ear antenna recently, as I needed a portable, multiband antenna that could handle 50+W output from my Hardrock-50 amp.

The antenna I received was defective; the feed point connector was not bolted on, and the wire wrapping the balun was loose.  Rather than return it, I elected to fix it by supplying the missing bolts from my junk box. I also replaced the SO239 feed connector with a BNC, and prior to soldering it on, I tightened the loose turns around the balun toroid. 

Other than these issues, the antenna seems to be well built.  It sets up quickly, and you can mark the proper telescoping lengths for each band.  I did not purchase the MFJ tripod, instead I am using a four section 16-foot Ettore painters pole I got at Lowes for $27.  The pole has a twist lock feature and the tip of the pole is plastic so it does not interfere with the Big Ear.

Today I got out the KX3 and worked Hungary, Tennessee and Iowa on 12W SSB from Central Texas, so the Big Ear seems to be working well.  

Changing bands is fairly quick, just untwist the pole sections to bring it down within reach, change the length of the telescoping whips and re-extend.  SWR is good on each band if tuned properly; in most cases it is well below 1.5.

So, I'm giving the Big Ear 4/5, the antenna performs well but I was not impressed with the unbolted feed point and loose balun winding (although these were easily fixed).
N6BOB Rating: 5/5 Aug 30, 2014 22:35 Send this review to a friend
Works Well!  Time owned: 3 to 6 months
I love this antenna for portable work. It works very well above 40 meters. On 40 m it tunes well but does not hear as well as a full sized antenna. On field day 2014 we used it mostly on 15 m with a low swr and could turn it to get best reception. If you can see the photo at the top of the reviews I included a small rope to keep the antenna pointed in the desired direction. The antenna tunes very quickly and covers the full SSB part of the bands. I use a tape measure to record the "correct length" and then in the future tuning is even quicker. The build quality is not up to Buddy Pole standards but MFJ has a good customer service so I'm not worried. Mine takes about 5 minutes from start to finish the setup.
The BP took me about 20 minutes to set up and this is much faster... changing bands takes about a minute or two to adjust and then you are good to go.
Bought a metal speaker stand from Musicians Friend and then used 30 inches of 1/2 inch pvc pipe in the top to mount the antenna. My antenna at the low point of the V is about 9 feet off the ground and the tips are about 15 ft up. You can see it in the photo above on FD.
W6GF Rating: 5/5 Aug 30, 2014 18:48 Send this review to a friend
Great antenna  Time owned: 3 to 6 months
This was one of my Field Day antennas. It worked great. Easy to tune, low SWR , and good construction. I had no problems putting it together or using it. I bought it with the mfj tower and mast. Both of these were ok too.

George w6GF
K5ADL Rating: 0/5 Aug 30, 2014 16:31 Send this review to a friend
Another piece of junk from MFJ  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I purchased the MFJ 2289 antenna and associated fiberglass mast for use as a temporary antenna at my QTH since I live in a HOA restricted community. First the mast: The knob on the mast used to secure the legs connects to a bolt through a fiberglass ring designed to tighten the legs to the mast. As I turned the knob by hand with only slight pressure, the threads in the fiberglass ring stripped so that the bolt no longer tightens the legs.

Secondly the antenna: The antenna consists of four pieces: two whips, a coil, and a mounting bracket for the whips. The sections of both whips included with the antenna I received were jammed together so tightly that several sections could not be extended despite hours of effort. As a result the whips could not be extended to full length rendering the antenna worthless. I discarded both whips in the trash and substituted accessory arms and whips from a Buddipole antenna I own so that I could get some use from an otherwise worthless antenna. Do not purchase this antenna or mast. There are other products on the market which might cost a little more but are not just pieces of poorly manufactured junk.
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