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Reviews Categories | Keyers & CW Keyboards | MFJ-401D Help

Reviews Summary for MFJ-401D
MFJ-401D Reviews: 12 Average rating: 3.5/5 MSRP: $49.95
Description: Budget Electronic Keyer
Product is in production.
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AG6QR Rating: 4/5 Oct 17, 2014 14:33 Send this review to a friend
Solid. Slightly harsh sidetone.  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I bought this primarily for the purpose of code practice with paddles, since my radios have keyers built in. I also own a Picokeyer Plus from Hamgadgets. The Picokeyer is smaller and more portable, but its sidetone is almost inaudibly quiet, and I wanted a little more volume. This MFJ unit delivers on that, with a built-in audio amplifier, speaker, and volume control, all packaged in a nice sturdy compact unit. However, the sidetone is somewhat harsh, definitely not a pure sine wave. It does have some low-pass filtering, so it's not a square wave, either. I'd give it a 5 if it had a more pleasing sidetone.

The case is solid, and the construction details inside are surprisingly robust and modern, mostly SMD, better than I had come to expect from MFJ.

For comparison, the Hamgadgets Picokeyer has memories, easier configurability, plus a few other esoteric features that, IMO, make it a nicer all-around keyer at a lower price, if your goal is to operate a rig that already has sidetone. But for code practice, I don't care about memories, and I just wanted a basic keyer with good sidetone. When I found the MFJ-401D at a clearance price, I snatched it up, and it fills my need.
K2JF Rating: 2/5 Oct 21, 2013 02:00 Send this review to a friend
update  Time owned: 3 to 6 months
I wrote the last glowing review of this keyer because it was working great for me. I also happen to have two of them. Then all of a sudden both of them started to 'slur' the cw I was sending. Wasn't me. I don't slur my words. Anyway, back to searching for a simple keyer that will work.
K9FON Rating: 5/5 Mar 2, 2010 14:33 Send this review to a friend
Dont know what the bas press is about!!  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I just got a new 401D as well as a MFJ 564 iambic key. Both work FB! Granted, MFJ stuff is kinda cheap looking but you get what you pay for. Most of the MFJ stuff i own all works FB! I guess im lucky? I dont know! But im a happy camper! I can set my 401D anywere between 5 WPM and 40 WPM but im a slow code genreral so i se i for about 10 WPM and im good to go. I run mine on a Drake TR-4 so i have it set for grid block keying. CW is fun and i think everyone should give it a try!!!! I have a blast!!
K7LRB Rating: 5/5 Sep 9, 2008 15:11 Send this review to a friend
Great little keyer. It is what it is!  Time owned: more than 12 months
I am convinced that the majority of posters don't know what they are doing or how to operate a keyer. This little keyer is a gem. I've used many keyers for over 47 years, including this one. Forget the internal battery. If you are operating portable or mobile or whatever, you must be getting power from somewhere. Use THAT.

I use one with an Icom 7000. I have never liked built in keyers, one big reason being that you must access a menu somewhere just to change speeds. Enter the little MFJ-401D. I simply added a Zener type regulator circuit, which fits nicely inside the case, and run mine from 12VDC. It makes a nice installation in my minivan sitting right on top of the remote head for the IC-7000. I can adjust speed by simply turning the knob, great for mobile CW. Also, for you old timers, I can push the "semi-auto" button at the end of a QSO and send the CFO "sign off" of dit dit dit dit didaaaaaaah. Cool.

It has survived Arizona's sizzling heat and never misses a beat. The name says it all. If you are looking for an "economy" keyer, get off the "bash MFJ" bandwagon and get an easy to use, reliable keyer.... if you know how to use it!
WA1UMD Rating: 2/5 Jun 19, 2006 05:12 Send this review to a friend
Disappointing performance  Time owned: 6 to 12 months
I found this keyer to be very "touchy" in the iambic A mode. I was frequently dropping the last dit in a letter, like R coming out as an A. I have not had this problem on other iambic A keyers. Switching to iambic B got around that problem.

Battery operation is impractical, which unfortunately is one of the reasons I bought it. This thing will eat 9 volt batteries if left on continuously. You must remember to turn it off when done for the day or use an ac adapter (not included).

Since you must remove the cover to change the battery, the case screws on my unit stripped out after about the 6th time I took the cover off.

If portable battery operation is what you're looking for, consider a N0XAS super picokeyer. For $20 you get an easy to assemble kit, no SMT's, and all parts except the enclosure. I used a $3 Radio Shack plastic box. It has many software adjustable features via it's 8 pin PIC and runs continuously for months on a watch battery. Board size about 1.25 x 2 inches.
K4KOR Rating: 5/5 May 31, 2006 18:22 Send this review to a friend
Great keyer  Time owned: 6 to 12 months
It works way better than the keyers I've had from Logikey and others for a lot less money!
I never thought I'd recommend something from MFJ but their keyers are FB. At least compared to the others out there. I've had them all in 46 years as a CW op.
Most people compare keyers to the ones in their rigs. Anything is better than the ones in the rigs.
There is really not a great keyer being made today. MFJ is the best at this time.

ZS6RJ Rating: 3/5 Jan 4, 2006 00:54 Send this review to a friend
Poor finish on cabinet, but works  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
Electronically, the keyer does what is promised, but what a terrible finish on the outer surface of the box! It arrived with blistering and bubbled paint or anodising or whatever they coat the cabinet with.

We checked two others at the local distributor here in South Africa and they were all the same. It served the purpose of getting me discount for the fault, but one wonders about the quality control if such an obvious visual defect can slip through production unnoticed.

It would also have been nice to receive a complimentary 2.1mm power plug in the box. How much more would this have cost? Next to nothing and would have saved the irritation of making a special trip to my local electronics store. It's the small things that make or break the purchasing experience.
LA6UIA Rating: 4/5 Oct 28, 2004 11:55 Send this review to a friend
Does the job  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
This does the job it's supposed to do. It has a pleasant sidetone and the speed is easy to adjust during a QSO. I changed the jumber to iambic B, for the sake of compatibility with my FT-897.

I use the 401D for bringing CW life to an old rig with no keyer or sidetone (an Atlas 210x), and it will simplify my homemade transmitter projects (since I don't need to worry about the sidetone).

Anders Fongen, LA6UIA
KD5VUU Rating: 4/5 Dec 29, 2003 15:07 Send this review to a friend
Works fine.  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
Originally borrowed the deluxe version of MFJ's keyers, the MFJ-407D; this was set to use iambic A. Based on this, figured the 401D would work fine since they use the same Curtis chip. This wasn't the case since the default setting of iambic A on the 401D would sometines allow the loss of the final dit on C's and L's and possibly other characters. Although this is probably due to the way I worked the paddle, it did not happen with the 407D. On the 401D, I switched the default iambic A to iambic B and the problem vanished. Another problem is the jumper setting for 5-65 wpm or 10-40 wpm seems to make no difference. This is not a show-stopper since the exterior setting works fine for the speed I want (however, the jumper should work as described in the manual.) I think some of the other problems described in this review thread may be treated with the iambic A/B jumper.
AA8EK Rating: 4/5 Mar 2, 2002 14:32 Send this review to a friend
Not bad for 46 dollars  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I wonder if MFJ hasn't improved their Econo Keyer since the previous reviews were written. I have now had this keyer for several weeks and it works just fine with a Bencher paddle and a TS130S.I only wish I would have bought one of the several "used" Grandmaster keyers that R and L Electronics had for sale, as I miss the memory option.
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