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Reviews Categories | Keyers & CW Keyboards | MFJ-490X Menu Driven Memory Keyer Help

Reviews Summary for MFJ-490X Menu Driven Memory Keyer
MFJ-490X Menu Driven Memory Keyer Reviews: 3 Average rating: 3.0/5 MSRP: $109.95
Description: Full feature menu driven memory keyer designed to mount on top of Bencher-type paddles.
Product is in production.
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W7MHZ Rating: 4/5 Aug 5, 2009 19:40 Send this review to a friend
Good Keyer  Time owned: more than 12 months
I bought this MFJ-490X new. I then relocated and it sat in the box for about a year. Then when I tried to use it... Nothing worked... I sent it in for repair... I had to pay a modest fee but it has worked good ever since.

I don't work a lot of CW so don't use most of the features it has on it.

Good for the money... I'd say
NO9E Rating: 4/5 Aug 6, 2001 20:37 Send this review to a friend
Not perfect but decent  Time owned: more than 12 months
My MFJ-490 is about 8 years old. The backup battery is still original. It works mostly fine although occassionally it has hiccups (slowdown between elements) and loses memory (once a year). Also, one memory button is hard to press but it works eventually. If I really wanted, I could reprogram that memory to another button. In summary, a decent buy at a decent price.
W0FM Rating: 1/5 Aug 6, 2001 19:24 Send this review to a friend
Disappointing Product...disappointing support  Time owned: 3 to 6 months
As the desktop space rapidly erodes in my ham shack, I thought the MFJ-490X Memory Keyer would be an ideal addition to the station, particularly since it is designed to integrate with (mount on top of) my Bencher paddle. Since I really don't do a great deal of CW contesting I felt the need more for desk space than contest bells and whistles. I DID, however, expect this product to do (at minimum) what it was designed to do.

I purchased the '490X in February of this year. The first one I received was scratched and obvioulsy used. It had what appeared to be peanut butter on it and something rattled inside. I promptly returned it and requested a fresh, new keyer. A few days after setting up the new keyer, it began to do goofy characters and lose its memory. The push buttons became intermittent. Speed would change without me even touching it. At times, it would stop output to the transceiver. I did the "factory default" reset and that restored the functions temporarily, but I kept having to reprogram my individual messages. Then the whole cycle would start again.

The keyer was powered by my station's trusty P/S which never exhibited any trouble so I ruled that out. Even though the keyer was brand new, I thought that, just to be safe, I'd measure the voltage on the 3V Lithium backup battery that is supposed to retain the memory. It measured right at 3 volts. I sent off an email to MFJ's tech support outlining the symptoms. I told them that I had checked the lithium battery and it was fine. It took a full five business days to get an email response. MFJ's response: "Replace the backup battery"!

MFJ's manual says the lithium battery should last about 2 years under normal use. I had this one just 4 months (no telling how long it sat on the shelf at MFJ!)and the voltage tested fine. Nevertheless, I bought a new lithium battery and went about the tedius task of trying to replace it. After struggling with the battery receptacle for an endless amount of time, I sucessfully replaced the battery. (This battery holder seemed to be specifically engineered to prevent you from getting into it!) The keyer still did not work properly and the memory continued to fail.

So, onto the MFJ tech-help telephone line. "Hey, sorry I called! Didn't mean to disturb anyone down there!" I have never felt more like an intruder into someone's day than when my call was FINALLY answered at MFJ. Their eventual response: "If the battery is good, this keyer should retain its memory!" "Maybe the battery is in upside down", they suggested. That was not the case. I gave up at that point. (Before everyone starts sending their nominees for Memory-Keyer-Of-The-Year, I have found one that serves my needs well and it has already replaced the MFJ-490X.)

All that lies ahead now is the battle for the refund. I have read so many negative reviews on MFJ product quality that I should have known better. No more MFJ! Disappointing product....disappointing support! 73, Terry, WFM

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